Too early, you say? Why it is NEVER too early to predict things! I love it! I’m enthralled by it! I spend much too much time predicting the unpredictable (example: I hereby declare that next year the new middle grade trend will be girls who dance in some way).
So with all that in mind, here are some Newbery/Caldecott Spring predictions for (gasp!) 2011. Recall that last spring I managed to include The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. Granted, I dropped it from future predictions, but surely I get at least half a point for loving it from the start, right? Yeah, maybe not so much. I also included The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Downside: I didn’t get a single Caldecott winner or honor book right. Lackaday.
Newbery Predictions (Spring Edition!)
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper – Maybe this will drop off my radar as the year progresses, but I was just so impressed with this little novel. On paper, it sounds like Newbery bait. A girl with severe disabilities who cannot walk or talk. But Draper makes this more than just a standard underdog-triumphs-above-all book. And it has a kicker of an ending to boot. Trust me, this is one to watch.
The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz – No surprises here. Anyone who has read the book is aware of what a perfect little gleaming jewel of a novel it is. Pure poetic writing that just gets everything right on the money. A classic feel with a modern sensibility too. This book has a definite chance at garnering its author a double gold, or at the very least a silver.
Countdown by Deborah Wiles – In terms of buzz, this is a book of which I hear good things. Wiles has been wily about getting a Newbery before now. Maybe this will be her year? Plus, if it wins then we get to jump up and down on the furniture to the song "Final Countdown" in celebration. That right there is reason enough for a win for me.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia – Can we just call the Newbery winner now? I mean, it’ll save us time in the long run, right? Generally speaking, this is my pick of the litter. I love this book. I lurve it. I wub it. I am overly fond of it too. If you haven’t read it yet go. Go and find it and read it all up. Then come back to me and we can debate it at length. Go on. I’ve all the time in the world.
Caldecott Predictions (Spring Edition!)
My Garden by Kevin Henkes – Because life is too short not to mention Kevin Henkes in a Caldecott prediction list. And it’s a purdy book.
Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Kadir Nelson – Kadir Nelson: Now with collage! The buzz has been mild in this Napoli/Nelson collaboration. But when it comes to the images, no one can deny that the man has really tapped into a fantastic look. The story simplifies its subject’s life a bit and maybe that will hurt it in the long run, but it wouldn’t be a serious Caldecott prediction list if I didn’t at least mention it.
The Boys by Jeff Newman – I’m optimistic enough to hope against hope that Newman gets his due. I have difficulty putting into words how much I love this book. I suspect that it hasn’t a chance against the big guns to come later in the year, but if this simple little look at a boy’s battle with loneliness and bashfulness does get some attention, I can die a happy lady.
Oh No! by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat – Because life’s too short not to hope that Mr. Santat get a little attention for his work. Generally speaking, books with a cinematic or graphic novel quality to them do not garner Caldecotts. Generally speaking, this fact should change, and it should change with this book. I’m sorry, but epic monster battles between robots and frogs . . . how can you not give that a medal? Storytelling = fabulous. Imagery = fantastic. Caldecott = please?
Your own picks? Surely you have one or two by this point. Don’t be shy. It’s all random speculation at this point. We haven’t even seen 75% of the releases yet.