Are you ready for your Mock Caldecott 2022? A fun activity to do each year is to do some Mock Caldecott activities in which you determine which book your class, grade level or school thinks is should win the Caldecott Medal and Caldecott Honors. More so than the Newbery Medal, a Mock Caldecott Medal competition is great for both upper and primary elementary students as each book must be a picture book. Books can be read in short periods of time and allow for many books to be considered. The Newbery Medal, however, includes both picture books and middle grade novels and makes considering possible winners more difficult to do due to the time constraints of reading novels. Check out below some background information about the medal and the picture books I believe stand the best chance of winning the Caldecott Medal this year!
Last year for 2021, I correctly guessed the Caldecott Medal winner as well as a few other award winners and honorees.
Each year the American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards honors books and other media for children at the end of January. Named for the 19th century English children’s book illustrator Randolph Caldecott. The scene depicted on the medal is from a book he illustrated titled “The Diverting Story of John Gilpin.”
The Randolph Caldecott Medal is given to the most distinguished artist of an American picture book. The artist must be an American citizen or resident.
Books may only be considered if they were published in the United States in English first or at the same time as being published in another country or in another language.
A single medal winner is chosen each year and the selection committee may choose one or a few runners-up called Caldecott Honor books.
A 15 person selection committee comprised of librarians chooses the winner and honor books based on the following criteria:
- Excellence of execution in the artistic technique
- Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.
- Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story,
theme or concept.
- Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or
information through the pictures.
- Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child
If you’d like to read the full Caldecott Committee Manual, you can do so here.
Mock Caldecott 2022 Activities
- Introduce the Caldecott Medal
- Read previous medal winners and honorees
- Present the selection criteria
- Read potential winners
- Vote for which is the best based on the criteria
- Decide how many honor books to select
- Watch the awards live or the recording to see which books won and were honored (usually 30-60 minutes into the awards banquet)
Mock Caldecott 2022 Potential Winners
See below for books that I think stand the best chance of winning or being honored to include in your Mock Caldecott 2022 competition. Books are not listed in any order nor does the order reflect which are most or least likely to win.
Check back frequently as I will be updating this list!
Watercress by Andrea Wang
Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can.
At first, she’s embarrassed. Why can’t her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress. A great book about Asian Americans and family history.
The Rock From the Sky by Jon Klassen
There is a spot.
It is a good spot.
It is the perfect spot to stand.
There is no reason to ever leave.
But somewhere above there is also a rock.
A rock from the sky.
Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit, celebrated picture book creator Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages. If you’re looking for funny picture books, this needs to be near the top of your list!
Unspeakable by Carole Boston Weatherford
Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.
News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.
Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena
Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo–walking the same path, going to the exact same place–Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them. A great book about imagination.
Nicky and Vera by Peter Sis
In December 1938, a young Englishman canceled a ski vacation and went instead to Prague to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Nazis who were crowded into the city. Setting up a makeshift headquarters in his hotel room, Nicholas Winton took names and photographs from parents desperate to get their children out of danger. He raised money, found foster families in England, arranged travel and visas, and, when necessary, bribed officials and forged documents. In the frantic spring and summer of 1939, as the Nazi shadow fell over Europe, he organized the transportation of almost 700 children to safety.
Then, when the war began and no more children could be rescued, he put away his records and told no one. It was only fifty years later that a chance discovery and a famous television appearance brought Winton’s actions to light.
This Very Tree by Sean Rubin
In the 1970s, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided shade for people looking for a place to rest and a home for birds, along with the first blooms of spring. Then, on September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree’s home was destroyed, and it was buried under the rubble. A month after tragedy struck, first responders discoverd that the tree had survived.
Dubbed the “Survivor Tree,” it was moved to the Bronx to recover. And the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation nursed the Callery pear back to health. Almost a decade later, the Survivor Tree returned home and was planted in the 9/11 Memorial to provide beauty and comfort…and also hope. One of the newest additions to my favorite September read alouds!
Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal
Zonia’s home is the Amazon rain forest, where it is always green and full of life. Every morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia, and every morning, she answers. First, she visits the sloth family, greets the giant anteater, and runs with the speedy jaguar. But one morning, the rain forest calls to her in a troubled voice. How will Zonia answer? The engaging text emphasizes Zonia’s empowering bond with her home, while the illustrations—created on paper made from banana bark—burst with luxuriant greens and delicate details. Illuminating back matter includes a translation of the story in Asháninka, information on the Asháninka community, and resources on the Amazon rain forest and its wildlife.
Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn
An arresting, poetic journey and a moving reflection on immigration, family, and home, from an acclaimed creative team.
Wishes tells the powerful, honest story about one Vietnamese family’s search for a new home on the other side of the world, and the long-lasting and powerful impact that makes on one of the youngest members of the family. Inspired by actual events in the author’s life, this is a narrative that is both timely and timeless. Told through the eyes of a young girl, the story chronicles a family’s difficult and powerful journey to pack up what they can carry and to leave their world behind, traveling to a new and unknown place in a crowded boat.
With sparse, poetic, and lyrical text from acclaimed author Mượn Thị Văn, thoughtful back matter about the author’s connection to the story, and luminous, stunning illustrations from Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Victo Ngai, Wishes tells a powerful and timely story in a gentle and approachable way for young children and their families.
Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor
Mel Fell is a hilarious book that kids are sure to love. A baby bird decides one day that she is going to fly! Despite her siblings’ misgivings and her neighbors’ attempts to stop her, Mel falls…straight down. She falls and falls until she hits the water and catches her first fish. Then, she flies! Mel, it turns out, is a kingfisher. She’s supposed to fall… into the water! Corey R. Tabor’s story is a joy, and his illustrations add a layer of comedy that Caldecott committees eat up. An excellent story about bravery and confidence!
Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler
Buildings, bridges, and books don’t exist without the workers who are often invisible in the final product, as this joyous and profound picture book reveals from acclaimed author of The Christmas Boot Lisa Wheeler and New York Times bestselling illustrator of Love Loren Long
All across this great big world, jobs are getting done
by many hands in many lands. It takes much more than ONE.
Gorgeously written and illustrated, this is an eye-opening exploration of the many types of work that go into building our world–from the making of a bridge to a wind farm, an amusement park, and even the very picture book that you are reading. An architect may dream up the plans for a house, but someone has to actually work the saws and pound the nails. This book is a thank-you to the skilled women and men who work tirelessly to see our dreams brought to life.
The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought For Justice With Art by Cynthia Levinson
“The first thing I can remember,” Ben said, “I drew.”
As an observant child growing up in Lithuania, Ben Shahn yearns to draw everything he sees—and, after seeing his father banished by the Czar for demanding workers’ rights, he develops a keen sense of justice, too.
So when Ben and the rest of his family make their way to America, Ben brings both his sharp artistic eye and his desire to fight for what’s right.
As he grows, he speaks for justice through his art—by disarming classmates who bully him because he’s Jewish, by defying his teachers’ insistence that he paint beautiful landscapes rather than true stories, by urging the US government to pass Depression-era laws to help people find food and jobs.
In this moving and timely portrait, award-winning author Cynthia Levinson and illustrator Evan Turk honor an artist, immigrant, and activist whose work still resonates today: a true painter for the people.
Mock Caldecott 2022 Activities
Be sure to have a fun Mock Caldecott competition at your school! Which books do you think have a chance of winning? Did I miss any that you think really have a good chance?