2016 Caldecott Medal Predictions
Let’s see, last year, I went 1 for 4. I’ll take it, I’ll take it – but I’m not puffing my chest out unless I can name two or more, so let’s see how I do this time around. Here’s hoping you see me on the afternoon of January 11 with a serious case of puffy chest.
For a second opinion, check out the Newbery/Caldecott 2016: Fall Prediction Edition at A Fuse #8 Production
Here are my picks for 2016 Caldecott glory:
CALDECOTT MEDAL PREDICTION: Float by Daniel Miyares
Wordless books have a good track record when it comes to Caldecott. But that is far from the main reason this book is a serious contender. Miyares plays with perspective, uses color sparingly to focus reader attention, and employs creative techniques to turn “I’ve seen it a hundred times” scenes like splashing in a puddle and a rainy day downpour into gasp-worthy u spreads. He surprises and delights the reader with every page turn. It all ends with one of the most perfect conclusions of the year – a paper plane and a sunny day. These good vibes just might put it over the top in voter’s minds.
CALDECOTT HONOR PREDICTION: Waiting by Kevin Henkes
If you’ve got to bet on someone, why not a guy who is an unquestioned master of the form? Henkes has won Caldecott Medals and Honors before and he is not afraid to win again (that was my “I’m going to pretend I’m a sports commentator” comment). This book gets everything right as it explores just about every big emotion in life: boredom, sadness, loss, joy, and points in between. Nothing happens, everything happens. The whole world on a windowsill.
CALDECOTT HONOR PREDICTION: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson
Does it help or hurt an illustrator’s Caldecott chances to have two strong books out in the same year? On one hand, there could potentially be some vote splitting. One the other, it could rally support around a particular illustrator, pushing one of the books into the winner’s circle. With Christian Robinson in 2015, I’m thinking the latter. With his angular, retro style, Robinson’s bold use of color is perfect for portraying this story of love and compassion set in a vibrant community.
CALDECOTT HONOR PREDICTION: Wait by Antoinette Portis
This book does so much with only three different words (hurry, wait, and yes for those keeping track). The minimalist text means the illustrations carry more of the storytelling load – always a plus when it comes to Caldecott. Portis shows a savvy grasp of visual storytelling, resulting in the sort of details that Caldecott committee member often drool over – the excellent use of page-turns to heighten drama, illustrations that allow for reader predictions, and a visual conclusion that satisfies.
CALDECOTT HONOR PREDICTION: Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Filled to the brim with atmosphere, Lenny & Lucy slowly reveals itself upon further readings. Here’s guessing the more the committee digs in to this book, the more impressed they become. The attention to detail is impeccable as the artwork perfectly reflects the fear and loneliness Peter grapples with as he moves to a new home next to the dark woods.
CALDECOTT HONOR PREDICTION: Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zacharia O’Hora
I’m calling this my Creepy Carrots pick. It’s the sort of book that shows up on the list and everyone says “I wasn’t really thinking about it for Caldecott, but now I see it.” Also, because they both have carrots. There’s tons of depth in these here pages (trust me, I read it to 26 separate K-4th grade classes a couple weeks back). I could have talked with students for twenty minutes alone about the pink bunny onesie that Wolfie wears to the Carrot Patch (as a disguise?) and how it results in his near-death experience with the bunny-loving bear. It would also potentially make a humorous Caldecott counterpoint to other, more serious books. Not that anyone on the committee is thinking that.
There are so many other books that I think have a great chance, but I have to cut myself off somewhere. What did I miss?
Filed under: Best of 2015
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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