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Picture Books That Will Never Win Awards

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Every year the American Library Association bestows the Caldecott Medal upon the most distinguished American picture books of the year. So what happens to all those picture books that were written overseas, were translated from other countries, and that remain brilliant but unrewarded?

The Butler Children's Literature Center held their first ever Mock CaldeNott program (applying the Caldecott terms and criteria to outstanding picture books of 2013 from around the world, ineligible due to their international provenance). Out of all the books considered they determined the following:

The Winner

Jane, the Fox & Me by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood Books) - Not only did this book appear on the New York Times Best Illustrated list of 2013 but it also showed up on New York Public Library's 2013 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing! In it, the drab world of sad, bullied Hélène takes on fresh life and color thanks to a new friend, a bright red fox, and Jane Eyre—her favorite book. Sensitive ink and wash illustrations likewise take on color to reflect her rising confidence.

The Honor Book

My Father's Arms Are a Boat by Stein Erik Lunde, illustrated by Øyvind Torseter (Enchanted Lion Books) - Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father's arms and asks about birds, foxes, and whether his mother will ever awaken, then under a starry sky, the father provides clear answers and assurances. School Library Journal said this, "distinctive look at life, death, and grief is beautiful and thought-provoking."

Other distinguished titles discussed:

 

The Line by Paula Bossio (Kids Can Press) - Surreal and silly all at once. A little girl stumbles onto a line... and endless possibilities for fun! With a twist and a shake of the line, it becomes a slide, a giant bubble or even a jungle vine. But what—or who—could be at the other end?

The Bear's Song by Benjamin Chaud (Chronicle Books) - It's like Where's Waldo with bears! Papa Bear wakes up to find his son missing, and his search leads him to an opera house and a command performance. Find the cub! Find the bee!

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke (Margaret K. McElderry Books) - As PW says, this is, "An encyclopedic look at these permanently smiling, adorably snub-nosed 'masters of mellow' by way of a photo-tour of their now famous sanctuary in Costa Rica." Don't look too closely. You might expire from all this cuteness.

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon (Roaring Brook Press) - A personal favorite here at NYPL as it appeared on our 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list this year. City life can be busy, bustling... and lonely. Two musicians find a satisfying friendship in this musical journey set in the always exciting Manhattan, New York.

 

Here I Am by Patti Kim, illustrated by Sonya Sanchez (Capstone) - Akin to The Arrival but in picture book form. Tells the story in pictures of a family newly immigrated to the United Sates and the challenges of starting a life in a new place.

 

The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers (Toon Books) - An easy graphic novel experience perfect for new readers. Matilda promises her little sister Clemmie an amazing weekend spent playing outside. But the weather's rainy and Clemmie can't bring her new balloon along. Matilda teaches Clemmie all the delights of a wet Saturday.

The Tiny King by Taro Miura (Candlewick Press) - A perfect fit for the castle-obsessed. Feeling lonely in a well-guarded, oversized castle where he eats sumptuous meals he cannot finish alone, rides on a horse that throws him, and sleeps poorly at night, a tiny king marries a big princess.

 

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski (Big Picture Press) - A Polish import (!) that provides an illustrated collection of maps covering the continents and major nations of the world, detailing cities, landmarks, and cultural icons for each. Trust us when we say that you've never seen a map book quite like this one before.

 

Nasreddine by Odile Weulersse, illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) - Another book on our 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list! The villagers always find something new to scold Nasreddine and his father about each week on their way to market. How can one boy please everyone, yet still stay true to himself?

Check each and every last one of these out today!

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