Sharing our 2020 Mock Caldecott Winners! These are all excellent new Picture Books for Kids that you definitely won’t want to miss.
A few weeks ago I shared our Mock Caldecott Project for 2020, with printable score cards and a list of this year’s Caldecott contenders. Since then we’ve been gathering the books from the list, reading/discussing them, and scoring them.
It’s been such a fun way to not only read a lot of fantastic books together, but to also teach my kids how to think critically about a book and really understand the elements that make a picture book great.
And now, we’re ready to announce our 2020 Mock Caldecott Winners!
2020 MOCK CALDECOTT AWARDS BREAKDOWN
- Allison – Age 37, mother of 4, and life long bookworm
- Esme – Age 13, stays up way too late reading every single night, and yet manages to wake up happy every single morning
- Eila – Age 11, deep thinker with a talent for art and an eye for beauty
- Adelaide – Age 9, has expensive taste and a flair for the dramatic, but really just loves to cuddle up and listen to a story
- Rory – Age 5, learning how to read and loving it!
Esme knew right away what her 2020 mock Caldecott winners would be. Here are the books that spoke to her:
Winning Title: A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney | This is a powerful book about Martin Luther King Jr.. Esme loved both its message and the beautiful illustrations.
Honor Title #1: The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson | This is a beautiful poem about Black leaders that have profoundly influenced our history. Esme thought the poem was incredibly moving and the artwork is stunning.
Honor Title #2: You Are Home by Evan Turk | This is a book about the National Parks. Esme has always had an appreciation for nature, and this one touched her heart. She enjoyed seeing scenes from parks we’ve visited. She also thought the lyrical words were beautiful.
Eila took her time deciding and struggled because she enjoyed so many of the books. However, when she did make her final decisions, she chose well!
Winning Title: Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez | Eila is a very talented pianist, so this picture book biography about the Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño was so inspiring to her. She thought the art and story danced together just like fingers dancing on a piano to make music. She also loved that piano music brought Teresa such comfort after she had to flee from her own country during a revolution.
Honor Title #1: Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis | Eila loved the art in this one. And she thought it was clever how it moved through all the different forms water can take.
Honor Title #2: Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare | Eila chose this one just because it was so fun. It’s a wordless book, but the pictures tell the most wonderful story.
Adelaide wants you to know that she liked ALL the books. However, if she absolutely must pick favorites, then this is how it goes:
Winning Title: Truman by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins | Ada loves this one because the pictures are the best and Truman is so brave. This book really stole all of our hearts.
Honor Title #1: Fly! by Mark Teague | Ada was amazed that a book without words could tell such a fantastic story! This one made her laugh out loud.
Honor Title #2: Saturday by Oge Mora | Ada loved this book about a little girl on a Saturday adventure with her mother. The illustrations are bright and colorful and she especially loved that they kept figuring out how to make the best of their day when things didn’t go as planned.
Rory, at 5, has some strong opinions about books. He knows what he likes!
Winning Title: Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham | This fun cumulative story about a river and a slew of forest animals has been Rory’s pick for a bedtime story everyday since I brought it home from the library. It’s an absolute delight to read!
Honor Title #1: Vroom! by Barbara McClintock | Rory loved this one for the pictures, the car, and the very clever story. He was so delighted when the main character drives her car right out of the second story window. It’s a fantastic read.
Honor Title #2: Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal | I think Rory mostly picked this one because I told him we could make the Fry Bread recipe at the back of the book. However, it really is a wonderful book about the significance of Fry Bread to Native American Culture – I’m sure he’s picking up on that too (wink).
And last, but not least, here are my favorites:
Winning Title: Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman | Not only is this just a pleasure to read aloud with kids, but I love the layers of meaning in the story. Carl is a worm trying to figure out his purpose in life, as told through a charming story and delightful illustrations. You can talk about his search in terms of his effect on the environment and ecological systems, but you can also help a child to look at the ways that their life and actions effect those around them too and their role in their own family (or classroom, or neighborhood, or city, etc.).
Honor Title #1: A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel | Wow! This is such a beautiful book. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.
Honor Title #2: Let ‘Er Buck! by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by Gordon C. James | I’m a little biased here because Vaunda was our beloved children’s librarian for many years and I think she’s fantastic. But I also really love this book too. I love finding out about unsung heroes that history has overlooked and I love how well the story and illustrations came together to highlight George Fletcher’s importance. This is also such a well-researched picture book biography and is really a perfect model for the genre.
But honestly, I’m with Ada – I liked them all!
The official Caldecott winners will be announced on Monday at the ALA conference and I’m excited to see what this year’s panel picks. I keep hearing rumors that it will be Saturday by Oge Mora, and I wouldn’t be disappointed by that at all. We’ll see!
It was fun to see so many of you participating in our Mock Caldecott! Share your winning picks in the comments below. And if you still want to do a mock Caldecott of your own, it’s never too late. Grab this excellent book list and get reading!