Saturday, February 17, 2018

Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell

Happy Saturday! I am excited to kick off my fourth annual Caldecott series. 

Click here to watch the 2018 ALA Youth Media Awards Webcast. 
I asked Matthew Cordell, Elisha Cooper, Gordon C. James, Thi Bui, and Jason Chin to answer two questions and to finish two sentence starters. 

Today is Matthew Cordell's turn to shine! Many thanks, Matthew! :) 

Congratulations, Matthew! Everyone loves hearing about THE CALL. What ran through your head when the phone rang? What were you thinking about when the Caldecott committee was clapping and cheering for you?

Matthew Cordell: Thanks so much, John! My phone call came in a little later than expected, so I had already given up hope that I was going to hear anything! Then the phone rang and I FREAKED. I jumped up out of bed and on the other end of the phone was Tish Wilson, the chair of the Caldecott committee. There was some confusion about how to connect the speaker phone for the other committee members, and what was probably only 10 seconds, at most, felt like an eternity. And then, I found out that Wolf in the Snow was going to be the Caldecott medal recipient. There were cheers and yelling on the other end of the phone. I was literally shaking and literally speechless. (I found out right then that being speechless is, like, an actual thing.)  I was trying to find the right words, but I don’t remember what I ended up saying. I remember being not totally sure if it was the Caldecott medal or an Honor that Wolf was receiving, so I asked, “is this the gold one?”. I also had enough sense to gush “thank you” before we all had to say goodbye. At that point, my wife and two kids were awake and I fell to my knees and we all hugged and laughed and cried about that unimaginable thing that had just happened.

What does the Caldecott mean to you? 

Matthew Cordell: Oh, gosh… It’s so many things. It’s the highest honor an American picture book illustrator like me could ever hope for. It’s incredibly elusive and unpredictable. It’s inspiring and uplifting and career-changing. It’s generosity and mutual respect. It’s a symbol for the selfless and tireless hard work put forth by these committee members every year. It’s high appreciation for art, creativity, and books. It’s a celebration that both children and adults can enjoy and send out and share into the world now and for many years to come.

Please finish these sentence starters:

Reading is not always an interpretation of words. It is sometimes an interpretation of pictures.

School libraries promote intelligence, curiosity, and creativity… and generally speaking, they cultivate better and more interesting human beings.

Borrow Wolf in the Snow from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.


  1. There is no way NOT to love this AND Matthew Cordell <3 Congrats!!!!

  2. I love this book (and bought it for myself)!