It’s been a while since I’ve been properly immersed in the book world, sadly! Still, the ALA Youth Media Awards are always fun, and it seemed a nice time to sit with a sleepy baby (the Spriggan is a little over two months old now, and very good at talking over Caldecott-worthy picture books) and watch the awards. I wanted to see, properly– what had happened last year? Was it really only one year?
This year’s awards were bittersweet: sweet because there are so many lovely books of all kinds, but bitter because I missed so many. I’ve never been able to keep up fully with the intense joys of an industry churning out so much valuable literature, but during a pandemic, with doors shut everywhere, it just wasn’t possible. (I owe incredible thanks to my local shop, as ever, for keeping me and my whole community here as in the loop as possible.) It’s always fun to get guessing about the Caldecott, in particular. Flipping through a stack of gorgeous picture books is just the best kind of joy under any circumstances; doing so while thinking “is it Caldecott-worthy, though–what is the role of the illustrator in this book?” That’s a whole other level of fun, especially while doing so with a keen Changeling with opinions of her own.
She voted for The Bear and the Moon, by the way, though she agreed with my musings that The Blue House was a worthy choice. My husband mentioned I Am Every Good Thing.
This year, I was way off! There was precisely ZERO overlap between my thoughts and the Caldecott committee, and that means you get an extra list to browse! I encourage you to take a look at the YMA list, which includes many books I loved, and many which completely passed me by due to the aforementioned dumpster fire of the pandemic. Here are all the winners of this year’s awards. I encourage you to read it through and look to your local book shop to pick up anything that strikes your fancy– these are very fine books.
As for my Caldecott-worthy picks? Well, not all are eligible according to their rules, but I’m not so restrictive as they are, so here’s my list of books with absolutely extraordinary illustrations which deserve a careful read Links below lead to the Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, where I found all of these, but maybe you have a great shop of your own!
In the Half Room by Carson Ellis
All Because You Matter by Tami Charles and Bryan Collier
The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding and Britta Teckentrup
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith
If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
Finding François by Gus Gordon
I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James
The Bear and the Moon by Matthew Burgess and Catia Chien
I’m hoping that the Spriggan continues to allow me half-hours for writing these days! I do have plans… and books…