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Update: The NYT Best Illustrated/Caldecott Overlap

Back in 2014 I put together some data about the overlap of New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book awards and Caldecott awards.

I was trying to see how well the NYT list “predicted” the books that would win Caldecott (since the NYT lists comes out around early November and Caldecott is announced in late January).

It’s been a few years, so I updated the data. Here’s where we stand now:

(Click to enlarge)

Above is a chart of the overall number of books, by year*, selected for the NYT Best Illustrated list that went on to win either a Caldecott Honor or Caldecott Medal. Below is a list of the titles of those books.

*Due to the fact that the Caldecott Medal is always awarded in January for the previous year’s books, it doesn’t match up with the year of the Best Illustrated list. For example, Kitten’s First Full Moon was on the 2004 Best Illustrated list, but won the 2005 Caldecott Medal.

Honor | Medal

2004: Kitten’s First Full Moon

2005: The Hello, Goodbye Window

2006: Gone Wild, Flotsam

2007: First the Egg, The Wall

2008: A River of Words

2009: All the World, The Lion & the Mouse

2010: A Sick Day for Amos McGee

2011: Grandpa Green, Me…Jane, A Ball for Daisy

2012: None

2013: Journey, Locomotive

2014: None

2015: None

2016: Freedom in Congo Square

2017: None

2018: None

Whoa! Things have changed. When I first crunched the numbers back in 2014, I found that there was a ton of overlap between these two lists. But since that time, there’s been almost none.

So in the past I would have said “Look out for the NYT Best Illustrated list, because there’s a good chance the upcoming Caldecott winner will be there, now I’m not nearly as confident.

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 scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. I think the NYT list has become a lot more international so lots of things not eligible for Caldecott.