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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

A Fuse #8 Prediction: Newbery/Caldecott 2011

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.

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. Monica Edinger says

    Countdown has the Hugo Cabret problem, though. If you can’t consider the design, well…

  2. What!!! you didn’t like SMELLS LIKE DOG? For shame………

  3. Haven’t read it yet. That’s the problem with spring predictions.

    I don’t know that Countdown is reliant on the design, Monica. If you remove it, it still works, right?

  4. Thanks for the list so early! I am still finishing up some great 2009 books that I never got to!? Have these all added to my “to read” list. Love the idea of predicting early and often!

  5. connie Rockman says

    I’m with Betsy – Countdown does not rely on the extras, it is simply enhanced by all that background material. I’ve often wished for historical novels for kids to provide a context without turning into a boring history lesson … Wiles has found a way to do that with images and a few carefully placed biographical snippets of prominent people. The background becomes integrated with the story, but the story still stands on its own.

  6. Ed Spicer says

    We don’t need to consider the design as design because it is an essential part of the content. The extra material provides the emotional soul of the book that provides young readers with the experience (both visual and textual) that firmly places readers smack dab in the middle of duck and cover days. This one, along with Pam Munoz Ryan’s The Dreamer are my early favorites.

    I have reviewed this on www dot spicyreads dot org

  7. “Countdown” sounds extraordinary, and I would do anything to get a copy of it right now. I haven’t read any of the books mentioned in the post yet, but I have a copy of “One Crazy Summer” and will get around to it soon. (I promise.) “Out of My Mind” sounds like a great book too.

    As for my picks, I would think that “The Dreamer” would get some serious consideration based on the insane amount of starred reviews it’s already gotten alone. (I have an ARC of it that I have yet to read. Thank you eBay.) I’ve also been hearing some good things about “The Boneshaker.”

  8. Jonathan Hunt says

    My early favorites are A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS by Megan Whalen Turner and THE WAR TO END ALL WARS by Russell Freedman. I did like ONE CRAZY SUMMER and THE DREAMER, but not as much as the previous two I mentioned. I haven’t read COUNTDOWN yet, but for me the issue is this: Is the book distinguished because of its story or because of its format? If you removed all the extras, would you still find it distinguished?

  9. Brooke Shirts says

    I’d like to nominate Ashley Bryan’s ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL for the Caldecott list — if anything, because I would really, really like to hear his acceptance speech.

    I’d also like to put in two bits for Megan Whalen Turner’s A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS. I haven’t been able to get my hands on it yet, so I can’t comment on its eligibility. Anyone else know?

  10. I call Foul! No fair talking (see bragging) about having the Deborah Wiles before us commoners get a chance.

    Just began One Crazy Summer, and so far it looks like Monica’s steak might hold.

  11. Monica Edinger says

    I adored COUNTDOWN, but the documentary material was a significant factor, it deepened the atmosphere and setting that the text alone does not. And so the question the Committee will have to look at is that sticky, “The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when they make the book less effective.” criteria.

  12. *sigh* And once again I yearn for a graphic category that praises the mix of text and image. Graphic novels could win it. Books like Countdown could win it. Of course then people would wonder if wordless comics were eligible . . . there’s no winning this one.

  13. Monica Edinger says

    I do wish there was a way to rework that part of the Newbery criteria so that when you have a book that is textual, but enhanced by design elements as is the case with COUNTDOWN it can be on the table in its totality. And so I disagree with you, Connie, because it is indeed a “documentary novel” and the design is an important part of the book. Yes, the story stands alone, but what makes it really (at last to me) extraordinary rather than just a good story is the documentary stuff.

  14. We haven’t read a lot of new things at our house yet this year, but we LOVED Ashley Bryan’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” I’d love to see it win a Caldecott.

  15. Jennifer says

    Waagh! No Fair! I am DYING to see the new Barnett!! Pout.

  16. Carter Hasegawa says

    Glad to see “Oh No!” on here. When I saw it at ALA this winter, I felt it should definitely be a contender. Doesn’t really “look” like a Caldecott book, but it’d doing some really creative things in the illustrations and it’s darn right hilarious.

  17. I’m clearly prejudiced, because I haven’t read it yet (except the first 67 pages on the Harpercollinschildrens website), but I want A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS, by Megan Whalen Turner to win the Newbery. The first 67 pages were enough to convince me!

  18. I thought those books after “The Thief” were all clearly teen though. Are they not? And if I pick that book up, having forgotten the plot of #3, am I going to understand it adequately? Does it stand on its own?

  19. Monica Edinger says

    The committee considers books up through 14, that is kids who are almost 15. So I do think it fits for that. And I do think it stands on its own. (But then I thought that as well about KING OF ATTOLIA:)

  20. Ariel Cooke says

    I also thought Calpurnia Tate deserved at least a Newbery Honor, maybe the Newbery itself (though I did love When You Reach Me, especially because it was set in the now-vanished Manhattan of my girlhood). I’m dying to read One Crazy Summer.

  21. Jonathan Hunt says

    Greenwillow has designated A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS as a book for ages 10 and up. Like Monica, I do think this ones stands on its own, but then I thought that of THE KING OF ATTOLIA, too.

  22. Have you read MOCKINGBIRD yet? It’s worthy of your list.

  23. Intelligentsia says

    “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.”

    Is this an attempt at humor?

    Megan Whalen Turner’s books are on the children’s/YA edge, and definitely eligible for Newbery. I’d suggest reading all of them.

  24. Jennifer Schultz says

    One Crazy Summer is one of those books that, after reading it, lingers in my mind long after reading it.

    I know it’s not a spring book, but I am so looking forward to Cynthia Lord’s latest book, Touch Blue. From what I’ve read (and I’ve read very little about it), it seems to be about a Maine community (it’s actually an island off the Maine coast) fighting to save its one-room schoolhouse (based upon a true story). I fervently hope I’ll be able to get an ARC of it at Annual; it’s supposed to be published in August.

  25. Let’s just give the Caldecott to Pinkney and Frazee. They are the best. Head and tails above everyone else. No other considerations needed!

  26. Yuyi Morales says

    Henry in Love, by peter McCarty, is my top contender, even if it doesn’t win a think, it is my favorite book in years. Talk about elegance, clean design, artwork that tells the story with the essential detail–where every element counts, and the most gorgeous rendering, palette, and technique. The right direction for picture books from now on. Oh, I am in love.

  27. I love it too. That’s why it kills me that they released it in December 2009. Arg!

  28. Yuyi Morales says

    They did? I was so sure it was a 2010 book. And it didn’t win anything last year! Now it kills me too.

  29. Yup. Once in a while they’ll release something with a December 26th date. And usually it’s something or someone particularly good. They did it to Antoinette Portis once, which was a crying shame. Now it’s happened to McCarty. *sigh*

  30. Christine Murphy Bird says

    An old boss of mine used to say:

    The secret to predicting is to predict often.

  31. Besides One Crazy Summer by Williams Garcia and The Night Fairy by Schlitz,

    I will add How I Nicky Flynn Finally get a life and a Dog by Corriveau

  32. mr. warburton says

    Just a Caldecott?

    I nominate OH NO! for an Oscar!

  33. Joanne Fritz says

    Along with others who’ve commented here, I’m a big fan of THE DREAMER by Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis. If that doesn’t win at least a Newbery honor, I’ll be sorely disappointed. Loved MOCKINGBIRD too, but I know someone else who read it and found it confusing. For Caldecott honors: MY GARDEN by Kevin Henkes and WHERE IS CATKIN by Janet Lord and Julie Paschkis. But I’m also looking forward to discovering new treasures throughout the year.

  34. Where Is Catkin, eh? Hadn’t heard of that one before. To the library!

  35. It is high time for Kevin Henkes to win another Caldecott. My Garden is perfect in every possible way.


  1. […] Fuse #8 taped this book early on as Newbery bait and i have no doubt it will appear on mock lists. […]