The Caldecott medal is an award given out each year in the middle of January. This award celebrates an artist who has a picture book with the best illustrations, and the American Library Association chooses it. And I am excited to share a list of books that I believe are strong candidates to be recipients.
I’m sharing all of these books on video as well! Check out the Caldecott Predictions of 2022 video on my Youtube channel.
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Before diving into the books, below is a list of criteria that librarians across the country use in determining the winner of the Caldecott award. And, remember, this isn’t the most popular book. The winner of this award is solely based on illustrations.
- How well the art is executed. Basically, is it good art?
- How does the art match the story? Are the illustrations a good fit for the tone of the book?
- Is the art important to the story, and do you get insight from the art? Does the art give the reader details and information that the text doesn’t?
- And, most importantly, do the illustrations appeal to kids?
Caldecott Predictions for 2022
Dream Street by Tricia Elam Walker
Dream Street tells the story of the neighbors along Dream Street. A story with beautiful words and vibrant collages make this story an excellent contender for the Caldecott Award. I love the bright colors and the personal details of everyone you meet.
I Sang You Down from the Stars by: Tasha Spillet-Sumner
I Sang You Down from the Stars is a wonderful story of the traditions of the Inniniwak nation in celebration of the arrival of a new baby. The illustrations are incredible and so soothing. And, the illustrations all connect, bringing the story together in a full circle.
Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor
Mel Fell is a unique book with a fantastic twist. You read the story vertically then turn, turn and flip it around as Mel falls. It’s fun and different, bringing an energy to the pages that will make your students smile and cheer. And, the illustrations tell the story so perfectly.
Off Limits by: Helen Yoon
Off Limits is the story of a little girl who has a little bit too much fun in her dad’s office. Who would have thought that the simplest office supplies could spark so much creativity? This story could be a wordless picture book as the illustrations take us through her masterpiece. The illustrator did such an excellent job with the visual humor, and it’s definitely appealing to kids.
Milo Imagines the World by: Matt de la Peña
Milo Imagines the World is the story of a young boy who is on a long subway ride and to pass time, he observes what is going on around him and draws stories. The illustrations are incredible in this book. Especially because they take us through what MIlo sees and then his drawings. The child-like drawings will definitely appeal to your students. I also shared this one in my Favorites of 2021 post.
Is, Was by: Deborah Freedman
Is, Was explores the connections found in nature in this simple yet beautiful book that explores the concept of change. I love how the illustrations bring you to another place and make complex concepts easier to understand through breathtaking art.
Wonder Walkers by: Micha Archer
Wonder Walkers takes us on the journey of two children as they explore nature and ask questions. The collage illustrations are absolutely stunning and had me touching the pages as the textures jump out at you. I was in awe of these drawings and maybe even skimmed a few pages because I wanted to see the illustrations.
The Lost Package by: Richard Ho
The Lost Package is a sweet story of a lost package that is rescued. The illustrations take us on the journey of what happens to the package and helps readers understand a bit more about the postal service. The pictures give an in-depth view that the words don’t necessarily say. I love the watercolor images, and they are gentle yet so unique. Make sure to check out the back matter!
Have You Seen a Flower by: Shawn Harris
Have You Seen a Flower is the story of how a child experiences a flower. And, in my opinion this is a major Caldecott contender. The incredible vibrant colors contrasted with crayon-like lines and texture. It’s just beyond amazing, and I’m a big fan of all the bright pinks used in this one. I will admit, I was so drawn to what this artist created.
Outside, Inside by: LeUyen Pham
Outside, Inside is a beautiful testimony to what the first few months of pandemic life were like. The illustrations do a wonderful job of capturing the big emotions portrayed in this book. As a reader, you can definitely connect to the message. I also shared this book in my Favorites of 2021 post.
I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams by: Jessica Young
I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams is a beautiful children’s story that portrays a parent’s love for their child, and it warmed my heart. The illustrations take you through the story in such a graceful way. They truly add so much to this picture book, more than what the words have to offer.
Amos McGee Misses the Bus by: Philip C. Stead
Amos McGee Misses the Bus is a worth-waiting for sequel, and this time Amos oversleeps and misses his bus to the zoo! It’s an adorable picture book with pops of colors in each illustration. Your students will definitely love this one.
A House by: Kevin Henkes
A great read and response book, young readers are invited to consider what a house is and what makes it a home—simple and soft watercolor illustrations.
I Dream of Popo by: Livia Blackburne
I Dream of Popo tells the story of a girl and her family who emigrated from Taiwan to San Diego. She leaves behind her beloved Popo, her grandmother. And, the illustrations are eye-catching and take you through her culture with pictures and words in Taiwanese. An excellent overall contender.
My Tree by Hope Lim
My Tree is a beautiful but quiet story about a boy who finds comfort in an old Plum tree in the backyard of his new home, and it reminds him of his native home of Korea. The textures, colors, and just simplicity in the illustrations of the tree are beyond incredible. I love the pops of coral and all the unique colors used in this story.
The Rock from the Sky by: Jon Klassen
The Rock from the Sky is another great one from Jon Klassen. Turtle enjoys standing in his favorite spot. He invites his friend Armadillo to join him, but Armadillo feels something off in the spot and decides to move. From there, we go along with them on a quirky and hilarious journey. But…the illustrations are on another level. They are just exquisite paintings in neutral colors that will capture your students
Unspeakable by: Carole Boston Weatherford
Unspeakable provides a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The illustrations are real-life and do a great job showcasing the fashions, life, and devastation. They do a great job of bringing the events and people to life, genuinely allowing readers to relate.
Host a mock Caldecott ceremony with your students by grabbing the FREEBIE.
What is your prediction of the Caldecott Winner?
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