2022 Mock Caldecott List

Happy Picture Book Month! Colby Sharp and I teamed up to create a 2022 Mock Caldecott list.

In identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider:

Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;

Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept;

Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept;

Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;

Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.

The only limitation to graphic form is that the form must be one which may be used in a picture book.

The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound, film or computer program) for its enjoyment.

Each book is to be considered as a picture book.

The committee is to make its decision primarily on the illustration, but other components of a book are to be considered especially when they make a book less effective as a children’s picture book. Such other components might include the written text, the overall design of the book, etc.

(Please click here to view the full manual.)

Watercress | illustrated by Jason Chin | Written by Andrea Wang

"Jason Chin’s illustrations leave me speechless, in the very best way. I don’t even know where to start or how to describe how amazing the illustrations are. The art captures and evokes all the different emotions the girl and her family experience. I am in awe of how Jason depicted all the different memories, especially the ones set in China. There’s a dreamy quality to them, but they don’t sugarcoat the hardships the mom faced as a child. I cried while writing the book, and now I cry while reading it because the art packs such a powerful emotional punch. I have the honor of owning the original paintings of the cover and an interior spread, and they are even more incredible and luminous in real life. I get choked up just looking at them." -Andrea Wang

Wishes | Illustrated by Victo Ngai | Written by Mượn Thị Văn

"Wishes is a story which speaks to the universality of wishing for hope in a sea of helplessness and in times of changes and turmoils. It’s relatable to anyone who has to leave their homes in search for a better life." -Victo Ngai

Have You Ever Seen a Flower? |  Illustrated and written by Shawn Harris 

"Harris tried a new stencil and colored pencil technique with Have You Ever Seen a Flower? and the results are awe-inspiring." -Travis Jonker

Yes & No | Illustrated and written by Elisha Cooper 

"This book is about a puppy and a cat and their day together (with a surprise twist at the end). It’s also, I hope, about something more." -Elisha Cooper

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston | Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara | Written by Alicia D. Williams 

"I got a flood of images and emotions reading those first few sentences - Alicia’s writing is so juicy, playful and rhythmic! While I knew of Zora Neale Hurston, I hadn’t read any of her novels before this project, but I did grow up reading Brer Rabbit and other trickster stories. Reading these folktales weaving in and out of the adventure of Zora’s life really drew me in and I was desperate to dive deeper into her life and work!" -Jacqueline Alcántara

Strollercoaster | Illustrated by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay | Written by Matt Ringler

"In Strollercoaster, interacting with your environment in a way that activates your imagination was something that excited me when I sat down at my drawing table. The fact that it was a shared experience with a father and his daughter made it even more so." -Raúl the Third

The Ramble Shamble Children | Illustrated by Lauren Castillo | Written by Christina Soontornvat 

"Because there is so much outdoor landscape in the book, I visualized very organic printed backgrounds. Gelli printing is a loose form of printmaking that I thought would suit my needs well. When you lay colors and shapes down on a Gelli plate you definitely get some unexpected and (most times) fun results. It feels very ramble shamble. :) I combined those loose backgrounds with more rendered drawings of the characters using Photoshop on my computer. When you layer art digitally, it can be nice because if you aren’t quite satisfied with one of the layers you have the opportunity to rework it without having to scrap the parts you love." -Lauren Castillo

Mel Fell | Illustrated and written by Corey R. Tabor 

"When it came time to do the final art, I played around with all my paints and pencils and crayons and inks and markers and stuff until I found something that fit the story. I like to do the art a little differently with each book I illustrate, so I tested out tons of options before I settled on acrylic paint and pencil. Most of the art was made with two tubes of cheap acrylic paint I found in the back of a drawer." -Corey R. Tabor

Hello, Star | Illustrated by Vashti Harrison | Written by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

"Did you know every book I’ve illustrated up to this point has been fully digital -- done completely in Photoshop? I love working digitally, I feel very comfortable with those tools and work quickly but I was excited to switch things up. This was my first opportunity to take my time and experiment with so many different tools and media to find the right thing for this book. I did lots of samples and tests in chalk pastels, gouache, before landing on colored pencils. I also did some tests with photographing iridescent and metallic watercolors on glass and plexiglass to create deep space, in the end though it was almost too intense and realistic and lost that sweet fairy tale in space look I wanted!" -Vashti Harrison

Lala's Words | Illustrated and written by Gracey Zhang 

"I work traditionally with brushes, black speedball ink, and gouache watercolors! If I’m not happy with how a piece is turning out, I’ll scrap the entire thing and start over with a blank page, sometimes frankensteining together different spreads I think are working better." 
-Gracey Zhang

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre | Illustrated by Floyd Cooper | Written by Carole Boston Weatherford

"The art in this book came from my heart. I painted each scene from a personal point of reference. How I remember the setting and details like the brick streets and buildings that still remained a part of Tulsa in my childhood. How I remember reacting when my elders told me these stories. And I guess some of that came out in my art." -Floyd Cooper

The Rock From the Sky | Illustrated and written by Jon Klassen

"The painting stage is mostly about noise. It's not even about the value yet because you can punch that up digitally. From what I know about photography, I liken it to the same process as taking a photo on film, then bringing it into a dark room and finding out what the photograph actually is. How you deal with the exposure makes the photograph." -Jon Klassen

Wonder Walkers | Illustrated and written by Micha Archer 

"What if you took these sounds, sights, and odors and shifted how you listened, looked, and inhaled? Wonder Walkers is an exuberant one-day journey outside. Excited siblings share their musings and questions drawing readers into each and every moment of this glorious day celebrating our planet." -Margie Myers-Culver

Is Was | Illustrated and written by Deborah Freedman

"The narrative, infused with a tenderness that avoids preciosity, is a contemplative, thought-provoking one and will prompt children to think about the here and the now—and how quickly such a thing becomes memory. An experience that is, and always will be, memorable."– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The Old Boat | Illustrated and written by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey

"Our family is our greatest source of inspiration. Pretty much anything we do has some element of family in it. It’s that important to us." -Jarrett Pumphrey

"Bears are massive and soft and cuddly. But they are also massive and scary and grumpy and emotional. Perhaps the bear was some sort of metaphor for something big happening in her life. Maybe a loss of some sort? It was then that I realized I was going to dip my toe into the idea of making a book about the enormity of grief."-Matthew Cordell

Outside, Inside | Illustrated and written by LeUyen Pham

"I used color to communicate ideas that simply couldn’t be put into words. I think the first two spreads are the best representation of this. The opening spread reveals a busy and colorful crowded street scene, with bright saturated colors and lots of reds and yellows. The next spread shows the world shut down, and the imposing grays and lack of colors illustrate that. From that point on, the book is painted in muted colors and grays. I wanted that to be felt immediately, that shift in color as we shifted to this new reality. The book gradually moves back toward color, as the world grows and signs of spring emerge." -LeUyen Pham

Bright Star | Illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales 

"Child, I wish that you always feel accompanied when you most need it. I hope that you never, ever feel alone, and that there is always someone to protect you." -Yuyi Morales

Inside Cat | Illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel

"Like my past books Inside Cat was rendered in pretty much every material imaginable; watercolor, acrylic, pencil, crayon, cut-paper and more.This book provided the interesting challenge of creating a clear distinction between the main character, the structure of the building and the vibrant world outside. As the windows needed to be a point of focus for both Inside Cat and the reader, I decided to render them, in bright bold color, using mostly paint and cut paper. The cat itself was created with loose brush strokes. This felt right as the main character needed to feel solid and certain in places, but also become frenetic and unresolved at other points in the story. This also made the cat stylistically distinct enough that it would remain separate from the scenes it gazed upon. The third element of Inside Cat is the building in which the cat lives. I liked the idea of this space feeling incredibly layered and complex, but also remaining entirely in the background. My hope is that even after multiple read the book will continue to invite further exploration and hold new surprises. I tried many different approaches before zeroing in on the faint blue brush strokes that outlines the interior world of Inside Cat. This also made the building feel a bit like a blueprint, which felt appropriate." -Brendan Wenzel

Amos McGee Misses the Bus | Illustrated by Erin E. Stead | Written by Philip C. Stead

"We have really tried to gently expand the Amos story while still letting the reader feel comforted by the same order and kindness of the first book. Over the years we’ve had a few story ideas for Amos and his friends float around, but I think this one became itchy and persistent because of the last few years of our lives, on both a micro and macro scale." -Erin E. Stead

Principal Brian Sammons created a 2022 Mock Caldecott Unit packet. Please click here to download it. Thank you, Brian!


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