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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Newbery & Caldecott 2010: Halfway Mark Predications

I’m feeling good.  Feeling pumped.  Got the wind at my back.  So before I begin I’m just gonna see how I did this time last year when I made my 2009 Halfway Mark Predictions.  Let’s see, let’s see . . .

Newbery Stats:

Out of the one Newbery Award winner and the three Newbery Honors I correctly predicted . . .  one book.  The Underneath.

Out of the one Caldecott Winner and the three Caldecott Honors I correctly predicted . . . . two books.  The House in the Night and How I Learned Geography.

Could be worse.  But that gives you a pretty good feel for how haphazardly I am able to come up with the correct winner (though I fared considerably better in 2007).  I’m feeling lucky right now though, so let’s check out my newest crop!  Alphabetically by author’s last name:

Newbery Predictions (Summer Edition!):

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle – The danger when I make up these lists is that I’m going to be so influenced by the last thing I read that I’ll put it on the list willy nilly without proper time and consideration.  But Margarita Engle has the advantage of being the kind of person that is underestimated.  She quietly bides her time with her little verse novels, their lines a shocking collection of pinpointed emotional accuracy.  Then BOOM!  She’s gets herself a Newbery Honor outta left field.  And Tropical Secrets is completely middle grade appropriate.  That means one thing to me.  It’s got a clear shot at taking home the gold.  Give it a read.  You’ll see what I mean.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly – Also a Henry Holt title.  Those HH folks are really firing on all cylinders this year.  Calpurnia has been a longtime favorite from the minute the galleys came out.  There has been some argument that the Newbery committee might see this as the kind of book that appeals more to librarians than actual children, but I don’t think that debate will go very far.  With its gorgeous cover and smart prose, this debut novelist might find herself thrust into the spotlight without warning.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick – I had this on my springtime predictions and I’m damned if I’m going to remove it now.  This is a great book.  I had to convince someone the other day to get past the cover (which didn’t appeal to them) and to check out the meat inside.  Generally, it has gotten favorable buzz but nothing too significant.  We’ll see how it fares in the long run.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – Anyone who reads this blog with regularity knows how I feel about this novel.  Take a gander at the Goodreads reviews of it sometime if you like.  The term "one of the best children’s books I’ve read in years" pops up with frightening regularity.  Now the Newbery might decide that some tiny element or another didn’t work of them and then they’d attempt to discount the book altogether.  This happens sometimes.  And with a story containing this amount of backing and forthing within the narrative, it’s more vulnerable than most.  That said, it’s an amazing book and deserves everything everything everything.

Peace, Locomotion
by Jacqueline Woodson – Still hanging in there.  Don’t discount the Woodson.  This one was released in January, so the danger is that folks forget about it by the end of the year.  But it has her customary style and grace intact and she’s been edging closer and closer to outright Newbery Award status with every year.  Could 2010 be hers?

Caldecott Predictions (Summer Edition!):

Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham – Aside from the fact that I would like to see someone pronounce the name "Fotheringham" in front of a large crowd anyway, I think this dude has a shot.  His fame has been steadily rising.  His technique is superb.  His style well-suited to the picture book genre. 

A Curious Collection of Cats by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Michael Wertz – Part of what a Caldecott committee looks at when they consider a picture book is how well the text integrates with the image.  And brother, this text doesn’t just integrate with the images.  It becomes them.  Just the perfect mix of style and substance, I will insist on this book being considered until the last minute.  Consider me a big big fan.

Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa, illustrated by Ed Young – Ed Young may have been passed over last year in the old Wabi Sabi corner (remember what I said about my haphazard predictions?) but that isn’t to say he doesn’t have a shot with this new beaut.  Plus it’s kid-friendly, which may or may not be important to this new crop of Caldecottians. 

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney – Well.  This might be it.  Might be the one.  The one to push Pinkney over and above the top.  No Caldecott Awards are in his name quite yet, but this is the book that could change everything.  Almost wordless.  Meticulously researched.  And this is the kind of Pinkney book that will make converts out of people who weren’t Pinkney fans before.  Expect to be astounded. 

What’s Missing?

All right.  So amongst my Newbery picks one subject area is grossly underrepresented.  Non-fiction.  So while I’d love you to comment here with your own selections and suggestions, if you have any idea of a non-fiction that work that strikes you as Newbery-worthy, I ask you particularly to go to it.  Tell me what it is.  Maybe you’ve a penchant for that Claudette Colvin biography.  Maybe the Candace Fleming Barnum book took your fancy.  Perhaps you think Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude has a crazy shot at it.  Tell me.

In the Caldecott arena, I’m a terrible predictor of folks when it comes to aaaht.  What have I missed that tickles your fancy?  Speak! 

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Rasco from RIF says:

    Can July 14 come soon enough? No!

    The Pinkney book is a book of art, I was knocked over at SLJ’s Day of Dialog when I saw it on the table…..WOW!

  2. I am utterly behind you with Calpurina, Homer, and most, most, most especially Miranda and the gang. I was lucky enough to get one of the ARCs from Ms. Edinger class. I spent part of the weekend reading When You REach Me, and the rest of it gloating about it.

  3. Susan Mello says:

    All this talk of “When You Reach Me” is giving me book envy. I have read so many positive reviews on this book. I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
    But then I got a copy of Catching Fire at BEA and I love that. Maybe that will give someone else book envy.

  4. Jules, 7-Imp says:

    Mr. Fotheringham—who, indeed, does not wear top hats, despite how it sounds—will be stopping by 7-Imp this week. Maybe even tomorrow. Woot!

    Must. read. Calpurnia.

  5. Laura (?) says:

    Yeah, I got that reference…I still find the cover of “Homer” incredibly off-putting. For Newbery, I recently read the F&G for “Sweethearts of Rhythm” – Pinkney’s art is good but Nelson’s poetry is exceptional. *Begs* to be read aloud. I like a number of picture books but they all pale in comparison to “Lion & Mouse”. I liked Chin’s “Redwoods” and Gerstein’s “A Book.” And I’m hearing bzzzz about Brown’s “Curious Garden.”

  6. Fuse #8 says:

    “Curious Garden” buzz, eh? I knew it was doing particularly well on the old bestseller lists, but hadn’t realized that Peter was getting some critical love as well. “Redwoods” is a good point. I very much enjoyed that book. And Nelson’s poetry means I shall have to check out her book. Thanks!

  7. NF choice: Charles and Emma: the Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Heiligman

  8. Moonshot by Brian Floca displays exquisite storytelling both in words and images. One of the finest marriages of text and pictures on the shelves.

    Jules? A 7-Imp feature on Brian Floca?

  9. Jennifer Schultz says:

    I adore Calpurnia. Would love it if it won. I have When You Reach Me on order and am anxiously awaiting it.

  10. Fuse #8 says:

    That man deserves all the accolades and praise we can give him. I need to review that book too. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice and Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal both feel Newbery-ish to me.

    Last year I felt the same way about The Underneath and Savvy, so we’ll see!

  12. I love predictions!
    Tsunami is a book that has really stuck with us and keeps coming up. Just yesterday my daughter mentioned the book and asked me the question of whether I’d rather be dead or lose all my food (being 6, it wasn’t quite as obvious a question as it seems) and of course for the book it was really would you rather other people be dead or lose all your food. I loved the cat poems – a very fun book to read. Not sure my younger kids appreciate all the feline nuances but enjoyed it nonetheless. We have Redwoods from the library right now (but haven’t read it yet).

    Any mid-year Geisel predictions? :-)

  13. KieraParrott says:

    Okay, maybe a longshot, but has anyone read Bubble Homes and Fish Farts by Fiona Bayrock? A non-fic instant classic, as far as I’m concerned! Practically booktalks itself- and chock full of facts!

  14. JmikeTracy says:

    Wow. Your blog rocks. It’s sending me straight to the library then to the bookstore to read these.
    Thanks for the inside dope.

  15. Fuse #8 says:

    Geisel = Rhyming Dust Bunnies. Didn’t occur to me until today, but now I’m committed to the idea. An award for Thomas! And now I really need to pull the old “Bubble Homes and Fish Farts” off the shelf. This isn’t the first recommendation of it that I have seen . . .

  16. Andrea Vaughn says:

    Great predictions! I’ve read almost all of them and loved them too.

    My fav nonfiction so far is Down Down Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins! The narration makes you feel like you have been taken on a deep sea exploration. There is a little bar along each page to show you how deep you have gone so far, and as you go deeper the undersea life becomes more exotic. All are wonderfully rendered with Jenkins’ collage. A winner, I tell ya, a winner!!!

  17. How about, “We’re All in the Same Boat”?

  18. Jules, 7-Imp says:

    Would love to chat with Brian Floca. Good ideer.

  19. Fuse #8 says:

    Excellent! Get him to send you the behind-the-scenes images that helped him to create “The Hinky-Pink”. They’ll play well in Peoria.

  20. I haven’t seen the Mermaid Queen book yet but a mermaid will always get my vote.

  21. your neighborhood librarian says:

    I like that Bubble Homes book, but I like that Charlesbridge moon phase book (Faces of the Moon) even more – genius use of die-cuts, super illustrations. And the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that Wabi Sabi got passed over b/c committee members had already seen Tsunami, and didn’t want the award to go to Ed Young 2 years in a row!

  22. for Caldecott possibilities I like Me with You, Kristy Dempsy, illus Chris Denise and One Red Apple, Harriet Ziefert and Karla Gudeon illus.

  23. anonymous says:

    I’d love to see the Geisel go to some actual easy-to-reads for a change instead of young picture books.

  24. Sorry I don’t have any NF recommendations, but for the Caldecott I like Little Beauty by Browne and also Moon Rabbit by Russell.

  25. shelf-employed says:

    I didn’t see as many great NF books this year as last, so I don’t have any suggestions there; but I’m disappointed to see that no one has mentioned Wendy Mass’ Every Soul a Star for a Newbery.

  26. That is because its publication date was 2008. Alas.

  27. shelf-employed says:

    Yes, I realized that after I posted. Pity.

  28. I am looking forward to reading the books thanks for the great suggestions that have been posted on this list. While I know my tastes are quirky and never remotely pick the same winners as the selection committee; I really liked Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Marino.

  29. I hope that Bella and Bean, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich is not overlooked in Caldecottland. It’s such a rich book, all about poetry, the creative process, and friendship too. The prose is wonderful, the art by Aileen Leitjen is a perfect match. I love the spread where Bean is showing her beautiful toes to grumpy Bella. Sigh.

  30. I still can’t get over When You Reach Me.. I couldn’t see anything else taking the Newberry! For the Caldecott I love Down Down Down by Steve Jenkins and Red Sings From Treetops by Joyce Sidman. I’m shocked that nobody else has mentioned it!

  31. One book not mentioned that I rate a deserving winner of at least four 2010 book awards is Stars Above Us illustrated by E.B.Lewis. Read it and let me know what you think.

  32. what about Crow Call for Caldecott the illustrations are breathtaking?

  33. cynthiap_1228 says:

    My vote goes to “Tsunami!,” definitely!

  34. I adore When You Reach Me, I love the mentions of of A Wrinkle In Time, my Newbery mock club even chose it this year, the only thing I thing I think might hold it back is that it’s a little hard to understand in parts.