Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet

I hope you enjoyed reading about the life-changing phone calls Kwame AlexanderJacqueline Woodson and Cece Bell received on February 2. This behind-the-scenes information makes my booktalks and presentations more interesting and unique. 

I thought it would be fun to check in with this year's Caldecott winners. I cannot guarantee  every illustrator will agree to an interview, but I hope to hear a YES from most of them.

Today's special guest is Melissa Sweet, the recipient of a Caldecott Honor for The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

Everyone loves hearing about THE CALL. What ran through your head when the phone rang? 

That morning there was a howling blizzard. I had just popped into my studio (20 feet from my house) before going out for groceries in case we were snowed in.

I was surprised when the phone rang, because no one calls me that early, especially on my landline.

All I heard was "Caldecott committee" and I said: oh my god oh my god, I have to sit down I am sitting down!

It was surreal, fantastic, wonderful and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the committee.

I stuttered a few thank you's and ended by saying we'll celebrate in June.

(It was about three days later before I finally got out for groceries!)

What were you thinking about when the Caldecott committee was clapping? 

 I thought, “Holy Toledo, they're all in the room. They're all listening! Is this really happening? I wanted to have coffee and breakfast with them.

What does the Caldecott mean to you?

It means The Right Word will have a home on the list of books by fellow Caldecott heroes: William Steig, Marcia Brown, Ezra Jack KeatsAlice Provensen and so many other artists who continue to inspire me.

It means too, that this story of Roget and his Thesaurus will be even more widely seen by students in classrooms and libraries.

Please finish this sentence starter: 

Reading is free and gives you freedom.

Borrow The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. I get emotional watching that first video with the phone calls to the authors. I can't even imagine what they must have felt like. This world is a better place because of authors and illustrators everywhere. Thanks for sharing it.


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