Kadir Nelson

Happy Wednesday! I am excited to kick off my sixth annual Caldecott series today. 

Click here to watch the 2020 ALA Youth Media Awards press conference. 

I asked Kadir Nelson, LeUyen Pham, Rudy Gutierrez, and Daniel Minter to answer the same questions and finish a series of sentence starters.

Today is Kadir Nelson's turn to shine! Congratulations, Kadir! 

Hello, Kadir Nelson! I love hearing about THE CALLS! What ran through your head when the phone rang TWICE?

Kadir Nelson: Well, honestly, I was sleeping soundly when the phone rang several times at 3AM PST. With the time difference, I was in deep REM and didn’t hear the phone, so I didn’t hear the news until 10am the next morning. My wife shot up and urged me to look at my emails. There were several of them, as well as multiple text messages full of congratulations…but none of them were specific! I was unaware that ALA was taking place this past weekend. I said, “Wow! It looks like I won something.” Turns out I did!

What were you thinking about when the Coretta Scott King Award committee and the Caldecott committee were clapping and cheering for you?

Kadir Nelson: Unfortunately, I missed the cheers since they didn’t want to leave the news on my voicemail, but I did reach Caldecott committee chair Julie Roach while she was at the airport on the way home and got a few cheers from the group she was sitting with. That was sweet.

Please finish these sentence starters:

The Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award and the Caldecott Medal sing the praises of artists and illustrators. I’m truly grateful to receive them both in 2020.

Picture books are the first form of fine art that children see and interact with. They speak to the souls and intellects of children and adults.

School libraries are essential and gold mines for kids who want to learn just about anything. Librarians are priceless gems who match the right books with the right kids at the right time.

Borrow The Undefeated from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


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