Caldecott Honor Artist Oge Mora

Click here to watch the ALA Youth Media Awards press conference. 

I asked Sophie Blackall, Juana Martinez-Neal, Grace Lin, Brian Lies, and Oge Mora to answer two questions and finish two sentence starters. 

Hello, Oge Mora! Congratulations on winning a 2019 Caldecott Honor for Thank You, Omu! I love 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

Oge Mora: Monday was just surreal. That morning, I’d turned off my WiFi and was working in my studio. My plan was to look up and celebrate the winners when I finished in the evening. I actually didn’t pick up the call because I didn’t have the number in my phone and assumed it was a telemarketer. A minute or two later the number called again, and so I figured I should pick up. I still didn’t know what was going on and was expecting a spam robot. When the committee introduced themselves and let me know I’d won a Caldecott Honor I started shouting. I hope I didn’t hurt their ears! After the call ended I cried for a bit before I let people in my circle know. I received the Coretta Scott King call a little later and at that point I just couldn’t believe it. I’m not letting any calls go to voicemail at the moment!

Illustration Credit Oge Mora

What does the Caldecott mean to you?

Oge Mora: Like most children’s book illustrators it has always been my dream to get Caldecott recognition one day. I simply cannot believe this has happened so early in my career but I am incredibly grateful. The award and previous winners have always inspired me to give my readers everything I can give them. The best I have to write. The best I have to paint. Children’s book illustrators don’t hold back when it comes to their work.

I listen to Matthew C. Winner’s lovely podcast regularly and he had Tomie dePaola on who mentioned that he makes books because children deserve the very best. I think a lot of us would agree with that. There are so many publishers, editors, designers, agents, artists, writers, teachers, and librarians who work incredibly hard to put the very best book in a child’s hand and the Caldecott and YMA Awards are a celebration of that hard work and passion.

Illustration Credit: Oge Mora

Please finish these sentence starters:

Picture books are everything.

School libraries are where you are always welcome.

Borrow Thank You, Omu! from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


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