2024 Mock Caldecott List

Happy Picture Book Month! Colby Sharp and I teamed up to create a 2024 Mock Caldecott list.

Principal Brian Sammons created a 2024 Mock Caldecott Unit packet. Download it HERE. Thank you, Brian!

Big | Illustrations and words by Vashti Harrison 

"For me, this story was really about the words we give and share with children, and I wanted to make a story that followed a child on a journey towards self-love." -Vashti Harrison

Once Upon a Book | Illustrations by Grace Lin | Written by Grace Lin and Kate Messner 

"Alice is actually very much based on my own daughter. But you can see from all of my work, I almost always feature Asian or Asian American characters. And that's really because that's what I really wished when I was younger to see." -Grace Lin

If I Was a Horse | Illustrations and words by Sophie Blackall 

"A delightful bedtime read perfect for one on one sharing."—School Library Journal, starred review

When Rubin Plays | Illustrations and words by Gracey Zhang

"Spreads and text from Zhang... pulse with joy... as the whole community acknowledges Rubin’s unique contribution... in this wondrous tale of trust in self and collaboration." 
Publishers Weekly, starred review

Evergreen | Illustrations and words by Matthew Cordell 

"With every reading something new will present itself to you in either the text or the artwork. And as you read it, you will wonder how he selected the names for his characters and the points on his map of Buckthorn Forest. Trust me when I say, people will be reading this title for generations to come. Be sure to have at least one or more copies in your professional and personal collections." -Margie Myers-Culver

Tomfoolery! Randolph Caldecott and the Rambunctious Coming-of-Age of Children’s Books | Illustrations by Barbara McClintock | Words by Michelle Markel 

“[An] exuberant tribute to the illustrator who revolutionized children’s books.” —Horn Book Magazine, starred review

A Walk in the Woods | Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney and Brian Pinkney | Words by Nikki Grimes 

“This is my way of showing my love to my dad. By honoring him. By finishing his book.” Brian Pinkney

Make Way: The Story of Robert McCloskey, Nancy Schön, and Some Very Famous Ducklings | Illustrations by Claire Keane | Words by Angela Burke Kunkel 

"Picture books can be a relationship between the reader and the child sitting on their lap. It’s all about how the book sounds when it’s read aloud, and the connection between the person reading and the person (or people) listening.” Angela Burke Kunkel

I'm From | Illustrations by Oge Mora | Words by Gary R. Gray

"Multiple-award-winning illustrator Mora creates a vibrant world: double-page spreads pop with bright, detailed collages of painted and patterned paper, including well-considered swatches of printed paper." — Booklist

This Is a Story | Illustrations by Lauren Castillo | Words by John Schu 

"Each book ends up being a little different, but I like it best when I’m able to wait to draw the cover until after all the interior art is complete. That way I have a clearer vision of how best to capture the story in one image. I sketched a few different ideas for the cover, but the one we all ended up loving best was the book hug." —Lauren Castillo

In the Night Garden | Illustrations and words by Carin Berger

"The name of my daughter, Thea, is somewhere, hiding within the illustrations in all of my books including In the Night Garden. You will need sharp eyes, but I bet you can find it. Also keep an eye out for the letter T…as in Thea! In the Night Garden was in part inspired by Thea’s fear of the dark and difficulty in going to sleep at night." Carin Berger

"The Tree and the River, which follows human history through, like, 500 years from the perspective of a tree and a river, does just that. It kind of speaks to these ideas that are kind of hard to explain with words, but somehow the wordless format really does the trick." 
Aaron Becker

"She created art for this book that I've never seen in a children's book. I think I wrote a pretty good poem that told a pretty good story, but her art, hands down, is majestic, magical. Magnificent. It's a masterful piece of work. That's what I think about Dare Coulter’s illustrations. Boom." Kwame Alexander

There Was a Party for Langston | Illustrations by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey | Words by Jason Reynolds 

"The way he uses words—it’s just incredible, and it conjures all sorts of images. This is Jason Reynolds’s first picture book we’re talking about, and it’s about Langston Hughes! We so badly wanted to do right by him and Langston." 
Jarrett Pumphrey

Nell Plants a Tree | Illustrations by Daniel Miyares | Words by Anne Wynter 

"Every time I work on a book I feel like I’m relearning how to balance all the visual information needed to give the story context while leaving enough room for the emotional journey to be felt by the reader. The same was true with this one. Also, specifically for this book, I worked to carry a quilt panel theme through the visuals. Sometimes more specifically like the end papers that are based on a quilt my grandmother made and gave to me, or sometimes simply suggesting that all the character’s lives are woven together in the book by using collaged elements to define shapes." 
Daniel Miyares

The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale | Illustrations and words by Jon Klassen

"A lot of my favorite storiesthey aren't necessarily about a moral or a lesson. They're just sort of like, I feel better now in a very general way. And that was sort of the idea here. It was like, do you feel better? Like, I think I felt better." —Jon Klassen

My Powerful Hair | Illustrations by Steph Littlebird | Words by Carole Lindstrom 

"The story connects to my own personal history as an Indigenous person, and I was flooded with memories of my grandmother and Native family. The book touches on some painful history related to the Indian Boarding School era, so it was important that my artwork honored the gravity of Carole's story." Steph Littlebird

The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made Of | Illustrations by Katherine Roy | Words by Kirsten W. Larson

"I was very attracted to the possibility of making art that told two stories at once. I was also excited that there was a lot of fresh material to explore because at the outset I didn’t know anything about Cecilia Payne or how stars are formed. So the fact that there was room to stretch and play made me keenly interested in the project." —Katherine Roy

All the Beating Hearts | Illustrations by Cátia Chien | Words by Julie Fogliano

"The book is called All the Beating Hearts, and it’s illustrated by Cátia Chien. It’s the book that I wrote during COVID. And it was really coming from a place of feeling very kind of disconnected and isolated from my family, my friends." Julie Fogliano

Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider | Illustrations and words by Jessica Lanan

"An immersive exploration of a common jumping spider’s abilities and physical traits. Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

Remember | Illustrations by Michaela Goade | Words by Joy Harjo

"Children can be natural poets in that they naturally play with whatever materials are at hand. Word play is a given. They like ear surprises, respond to rhythm and music. They love poetry and when given a change to make their own poems are usually eager to participate." —Joy Harjo


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