Last year, I followed the ALA YMA on Twitter while preparing to teach seventh graders online research skills; the year before, I watched in my pajamas with my five-year-old on my lap. This year, I missed the beginning of the livestream, but the timing worked out so that a third grade class was in the library when the Caldecott awards were announced, and they were so excited!
As I watched not just the Caldecotts but all the other awards roll in, it struck me more than any previous year how many deserving books there are. Not that I disagree with the committees’ choices – plenty of books I cheered for, others I hadn’t read – but there are just so. many. good. books in any given year! And because I was on this year’s Heavy Medal committee (Mock Newbery) and ran a Mock Caldecott program at my school, I was more attuned than usual to award predictions.
So rather than recap today’s winners, I’m going to list a few middle grade and picture books I think could have gotten awards, and just happened not to, but are still wonderful and you should read them:
- A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
- Violet and Jobie in the Wild by Lynne Rae Perkins
- The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
- Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff
- Where the Sky Lives by Margaret Dilloway
- The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
- The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
- Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternak
- A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser
- Mina by Matthew Forsythe
- Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, illustrated by Daniel Minter
- Sweet Justice by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
- A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall, illustrated by Vera Brosgol
- I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal
- Endlessly Ever After by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Dan Santat
- Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall
- Snow Horses by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Micha Archer
Squirrels that turn out to be cats, magic doors that lead to a refuge and friendship, a Mars rover with human emotions, a choose-your-own-adventure fairytale, escaping frogs, an unsung civil rights hero, some beautiful collage, and more – there’s something for everyone, and awards are only a piece of it all. Congratulations to all authors and illustrators who put something out into the world in 2022; readers are grateful.