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Mocking the Caldecott

By January 13, 2019May 13th, 2021The Kerlan Blog


 Alachua County Library, Gainesville Florida

I spent a delightful Sunday afternoon with graduate students, professors, and librarians discussing Caldecott contenders. The event was organized by the District and the University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture. I was invited by Suzan Alteri, Curator of the Baldwin Collection.  


Discussion Titles

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

A House That Once Was

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse

Alma and How She Got Her Name

Black Bird Yellow Sun (BB ONLY)


Drawn Together



Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories

Hello Hello

Hello Lighthouse


Julian is a Mermaid

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain

Ocean Meets Sky

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere

Our Car (by J M Brum)

Run Wild

The Day You Begin

The Field

They Say Blue


The title selections were varied in artistic style, content, and themes. 

The participants were engaged, respectful, and thoughtful.

The Winner Was Julián!

In keeping with Caldecott confidentiality, I am not sharing our discussion comments but

I can’t think of a better appreciation than Betsy Bird’s at Fuse 8

“A book for mermaids and boys and girls and parents and teachers and booksellers and librarians and . . . aw, heck. Let’s just simplify things and say it’s a book for the human race.”



Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Ellen McEvoy says:

    I try to keep up with picture books, and I’ve noticed the considerable rush of gender-issue books. I’d love to see a discussion of the use of these books in classrooms…especially by a guest reader who reads to a kindergarten class once a week and has no real connection to the kids or the teacher. Why no real connection? Well, I’m only there for about 15 minutes, I don’t get to do any real discussion, and I never see the teacher outside of this reading time. Plus, I read to them in the library…I’m not even in their classroom.

    My feeling is that there are plenty of other books and I should just let this go. Can you convince me otherwise?

    • Lisa Von Drasek says:

      Can I convince you that Julian is a good picture book? Can I convince you that you can read it aloud to a class of kindergartners and teacher and class you don’t know?
      I don’t think I can do that. I applaud that you read aloud. I applaud that you are in a library and read aloud books to kindergartners. My hopes and dreams are that you never read aloud a book that you have never read before. I want you to love the book that you read aloud and have reasons to share it to this specific class, this specific age group. That could be an old favorite like Millions of Cats or a newish retelling like Jerry Pinkney’s Lion and Mouse, or a book that was recently published like A Hat for Mrs. Goldman By Michelle Edwards S Illustrated by G.Brian Karas. I want you to enjoy the drama of every page turn. I want you to revel in the language. If you are looking to discover new books to share look at the lists from the Bank Street College of Education Children’s Book Committee and the Irma Black awards. Does that answer your question?

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