Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Hello, hello, hello! It's great to be back on Mr. Brian's Picture Book Picks. I had the privilege and the honor of serving on the 2017 Caldecott Award committee. It was a complete joy to work with 14 amazingly insightful individuals to pick this year's honorees. 2016 proved to be an incredible year for illustrated books. I cannot reveal anything about our fantastic conversations, but I am proud to give a shout out to this year's winner and the four honor titles (in alphabetical order by title).
The winner of the 2017 Caldecott Medal!
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean Michel Basquiat, illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The ALSC Caldecott page says it best: "Like Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work, Steptoe’s illustrations radiate energy and immediacy. A patch-worked canvas of scavenged wood, painted and collaged with photos, and images of human anatomy, evokes the improvisatory nature of Basquiat’s art. “Radiant Child” resonates with emotion that connects Steptoe with Basquiat and Basquiat with young readers." This is the first time the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner and the Caldecott Award went to the same book!
The four honor books:
Du Iz Tak?, illustrated and written by Carson Ellis, published by Candlewick Press. From the ALSC Caldecott Page: "A diverse community of anthropomorphic bugs is intrigued by an unfurling sprout. Carson Ellis deftly depicts the mysteries of life in an imaginary, natural world. Through intricate details and the witty humor of a made-up language, “Du Iz Tak?” is a treasure trove of visual and linguistic literacy."
Freedom in Congo Square, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, published by Little Bee Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Group. From the ALSC Caldecott page: "As they work throughout the week, slaves look forward to their afternoon of music, hope, and community in Congo Square, New Orleans. Christie’s folk-art inspired paint and collage images powerfully capture the emotions of this little-known historical event. Vibrant color and brilliant use of line heighten the impact of the rhyming couplets." Christie also received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for this powerful book.
Leave Me Alone!, illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership. From the ALSC Caldecott page: "At the end of her rope, Granny is desperate for time alone to finish knitting sweaters for a house filled with dozens of rambunctious children. Brosgol’s expressive watercolor and cartoon art presents a genre-breaking journey taking Granny from the traditional forest setting to the mountains to the moon and beyond."
They All Saw a Cat, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel, published by Chronicle Books LLC. From the ALSC page: "A cat’s walk through the world becomes a surprise-filled exploration of perspective and empathy. As the feline encounters a variety of creatures, the thoughtful composition paired with spare language and repetition focuses on each individual’s perception of it. Wenzel’s use of a range of art materials reinforces the idea that the essence of a cat might be in the eye of the beholder."
Congratulations to these five outstanding picture book creators. I see something new every time I look at these unforgettable books.