The 2019 Mock Caldecott Books (+ Printable Score Sheet)

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Last year, I put together a Mock Caldecott list and I loved having so many of you participate in reading and picking your own winners, and then comparing them to the official winners chosen by the American Library Association.

Well, book award season is just around the corner, which means it’s time for a 2019 Mock Caldecott Book List!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Caldecott award, it’s an award given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book published in the previous year (“most distinguished” according to the panel of judges made up of librarians that year).

Each year, the winner (and any chosen Honor books) are awarded in late January or early February at the American Library Association conference.

I’ve been able to attend a couple of times (once in Boston in 2010 and once in Dallas in 2012) and it is pretty much the most thrilling thing to be in that room when they announce all the award winners.

This year, it’s being held in Seattle, and I’m delighted to be able to attend, although I won’t be there for the actual announcements.

The committee will spend the weekend deliberating and then the winners will be announced on Monday, January 28th.

I’ve participated in a few Mock Caldecott discussions in the past – when I was in graduate school and taking a children’s literature class, my professor held one at the end of the semester (she’d actually served on the Caldecott committee at one point, so she knew what she was talking about).

Then, when I was a student librarian, the (fabulous) librarian I trained with did her own Caldecott with her elementary school students each year. The following year, when I was a librarian with my own two schools, I did my own mock Caldecott award with the second graders.

It was SO fun and one of the highlights of the school year.

I made a short list of contenders and we read them all together over a week or two. We talked about what makes a book “distinguished” and the Caldecott criteria.

It’s pretty short criteria, actually, but it talks about Caldecott books being a VISUAL experience, with the story or theme developing primarily via pictures, rather than resting mostly on the text. It also has to have children as the intended audience and respect their understanding and abilities, and have both artistic excellence and appropriateness to the the topic and audience.

Last year, I thought it’d be fun to do as a family and see how our picks matched up with what actually won, and I was so delighted by how many of you did the same!

caldecott criteria

If you’d like to do it again this year, I’ve come up with a list of possible Caldecott books and have checked out as many of them from the library as I can.

I printed off score sheets with a list of all the titles of the Caldecott books I chose and then as we read them, we rate them according to the Caldecott criteria.

I spent a long time reviewing books that are getting buzz as Caldecott contenders, so your odds of at least one of them being picked as a Caldecott winner or honor are pretty good!

I made a score sheet with each of the 28 titles and then the four criteria:

  1. How well is the art executed? (Basically, is this good art?)
  2. How does the art match the story? Is the style and medium a good fit for the tone and feeling of the storyline or theme? (In a nutshell, if it’s a happy, cheerful book, does the art reflect that, or if it’s a serious, sad book, does that art match that?)
  3. Is the art important to the story? (Do you get insight into the story, the characters, or additional details through the art that you wouldn’t get if you were just reading the text without any art?)
  4. Does it have a child audience in mind? The award isn’t for the most popular book, but it does need to have children as the primary audience.

On the score sheet, there’s a space after each book to score it on each part of the criteria between 1-5. Once we’ve read all the books, we’ll tally up all the scores and determine our Caldecott winner, plus a few Honor books.

And if you’d like a copy of the score sheet with all the book titles printed on it, you can grab a free printable copy here!

caldecott books

Here are the 28 Caldecott books on our  score sheet this year:

  1. Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell, illustrated by Corinna Luyken
  2.  Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
  3. Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  4. A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
  5. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
  6. The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler
  7. Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated Dan Santat
  8. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
  9. Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Harry Bliss
  10. Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Brian Floca
  11. Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
  12. A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  13. A House that Once Was by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Lane Smith
  14. I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein
  15. Imagine! by Raul Colon
  16. Night Out by Daniel Miyares
  17. Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe, illustrated Barbara McClintok
  18. Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan, illustrated by Eric Fan
  19. Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Katherine Roy
  20. Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, illustrated by Jason Chin
  21. Pignic by Matt Phelan
  22. The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
  23. Stop That Yawn! by Caron Levis, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  24. The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes 
  25. Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
  26. They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki
  27. Water Land : Land and Water Forms Around the World by Christy Hale
  28. We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated Frane Lessac

And if you’d like a copy of the printable score sheet I made, just plug in your email here and I’ll send you a copy right away!

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  1. I was able to put most of them on hold at my library. Thanks for all the recommendations. Can’t wait to get reading with my kids.

  2. Thank you for this! I am doing this with my husband and 11 year old twin boys. It is such a fun family activity to read together on the couch each night. And to discuss the ways art can make an impact. We are reading around 3 books each night and hoping we can get them all from the library.

  3. Loved doing this this year… my 3 yo picked the winner and Alma and Mooncake! My 6yo was disappointed that his pics weren’t matched as well – LOL. My absolute favorite from this list was Adrian Simcox. We may have to add that to our personal library…

  4. Love it! Put all the books on hold between my and our resource sharing libraries. My boys and I will be excited to read them all!

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