Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!
Like so many other children’s literature lovers, I enjoy the annual game of trying to predict the winners of the Caldecott Medal (given to artist of “the most distinguished picture book”) and the Newbery Medal (given to the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature to children”).
In my last 10 or so years as the Scripps Howard children’s book reviewer, I did an annual column looking at some of the best possibilities. It's such a lot of fun that I've decided to continue the tradition. My guesses are based on two main ingredients:
__ the results of the various mock Caldecott and Newbery discussions around the country; and
__ the opinions of a duo of hugely-knowledgeable children’s literature experts: Amy Kellman, a Pittsburgh children’s literature consultant, and Anita Silvey, children’s book publisher, editor and author of several books, including the book & website, "Children's Book-a-Day Almanac."
I also try to keep up with the blogs – Calling Caldecott and Heavy Medal that spend months discussing the merits of possible winners.
Stirring this stew of information, here’s a list of a few good bets for each medal:
Caldecott Medal top possibilities:
“Journey,” written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
“Mr. Tiger Goes Wild,” written and illustrated by Peter Brown
“Locomotive,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca
“Mr. Wuffles,” written and illustrated by David Wiesner
Other possibilities include: “The Mighty LaLouche,” illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Matthew Olshan; “Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me,” illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Daniel Beaty; “The Dark,” illustrated by 2013 Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen and written by Lemony Snicket; and “Nelson Mandela,” written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Newbery Medal top possibilities:
“The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp” by Kathi Appelt
“Zebra Forest” by Adine Gewirtz
“The Year of Billy Miller” by Kevin Henkes
“The Thing About Luck” by Cynthia Kadohata
Other possibilities include: “Doll Bones” by Holly Black; “Ghost Hawk” by Susan Cooper; “Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo; “Counting By Sevens” by Holly Goldberg Sloan; “The Real Boy” by Anne Ursu; and “P.S. Be Eleven” by Rita Williams-Garcia.
If you forced me to pick, I’d lay my bets on “Journey” for the Caldecott Medal and “The Thing About Luck” for the Newbery Medal. But who really knows? It could be something totally out of blue! It’s just fun to discuss the possibilities and anticipate the actual award announcements, which will be broadcast livelive.webcastinc.com/ala/2014/live/ on Monday, January 27 at 8 a.m. For even more fun, tune into School Library Journal’s first-ever “Youth Media Awards Pre-Game and Post-Game Show."