Caldecott Honor Artist Carson Ellis

Happy Saturday! I have not stopped smiling for Javaka Steptoe, Vera Brosgol, R. Gregory Christie, Carson Ellis, and Brendan Wenzel since the ALA Youth Media Awards press conference ended on January 23.

Click here to watch the ALA Youth Media Awards press conference
I asked this year's Caldecott winners to answer two questions and finish two sentence starters. 

Today is Carson Ellis' turn to shine. Thank you, Carson! 

Congratulations, Carson! 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? 

Carson Ellis: Thank you! It was 4 am in Portland, Oregon when the phone rang. I saw that the call was from Atlanta so I figured it would probably be terrific news, though I also thought I might be dreaming. What was I thinking when they were clapping and cheering for me? Nothing. I was overwhelmed with emotion and confusion and couldn’t think of a single smart thing to say. I hung up the phone and started crying. And then I got up and made coffee.

What does the Caldecott mean to you? 

Carson Ellis: So much. I’ve been obsessing over picture books since I rediscovered a childhood copy of Outside Over There in my basement as a miserable teenager. Oh I was SO miserable and that book spoke to me like few other things could then. It was so poetic and angsty and the art was so good - it totally transformed my idea of what picture books could be and who they could be for. I’ve been collecting and studying them ever since. I don’t think I knew or cared at the time that Outside Over There was a Caldecott Honor book but I obviously do now. It’s amazing to have made a picture book that was awarded the same designation as the book that made me love picture books. But it’s more than that too. 

Illustration Credit: Carson Ellis 
Please finish these sentence starters: 

Reading is everything.

School libraries are sometimes sanctuaries. Speaking from my own experience as a kid who liked to be alone, had a hard time fitting in, and loved to read: school libraries were my safe haven. And school librarians are angels from heaven.

Borrow Du Iz Tak? from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


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