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K-State Today

November 29, 2023

Vote for best picture book of 2023 at the annual Mock Caldecott

Submitted by Karin Westman

Big by Vashti Harrison

What's the best picture book of 2023? You can help decide at this year's Mock Caldecott.

The event will be held from 2-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in person at the Manhattan Public Library and via Zoom. To register for the Zoom link, visit tinyurl.com/chalc2023mockcaldecott.

Sponsored by the Children's and Adolescent Literature Community and the English department's program in children's literature in the College of Arts and Sciences, with support from the Manhattan Public Library, the Mock Caldecott includes a discussion of the most distinguished picture books of 2023, followed by a vote to determine this year's winner.

The American Library Association awards the Caldecott Medal to the most distinguished American picture book for children, as well as recognizing the runners-up. The medal is named for Randolph Caldecott, a 19th-century English illustrator.

"Now in its 16th year, the Mock Caldecott brings students, faculty and community members together to enjoy the best picture books published in the past year, assembling our short list from prominent reviewers at Publisher's Weekly and librarian Betsy Bird's blog for the School Library Journal," said Karin Westman, head of the English department and faculty advisor for the Children's and Adolescent Literature Community.

"This year, we are once again holding a hybrid event," said Westman. "Participants can review books asynchronously in advance and then gather in person at Manhattan Public Library or on Zoom on Saturday to discuss together the short list of titles and vote." 

Selected picture books are available for review from the English department blog, with the option to vote for first-round favorites by Dec. 1. On Saturday, Dec. 2, a brief presentation at 2 p.m. will describe the history and criteria for the award, followed by discussion of the short list of titles and a vote to determine this year's winner.

Phil Nel, university distinguished professor of English, values the opportunity to enjoy the art of the picture book and gain new perspectives.

"In addition to being many people's introduction to visual art, a picture book is a portable art gallery," said Nel. "Picture books also offer the pleasure of immersing oneself in a story. And there are new ones being published all the time. Which of these most merits our time and attention? Browse through the selected titles in advance and then, on Saturday, join us to discuss the best picture books for this year." 

This year's contenders include "Big" by Vashti Harrison, "Once Upon a Book" by Grace Lin and Kate Messner, "An American Story" by Kwame Alexander and Dare Coulter, and "There Was a Party for Langston" by Jason Reynolds, Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey.

"ChALC's annual Mock Caldecott is a lovely opportunity to see the contenders for the best picture book of the year and talk with some of the long-distance friends of the English department," said Delaney Sullivan, second-year graduate student in English and co-president of the Children's and Adolescent Literature Community.

Results will be posted to the English department's social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Participation at the event will count for "Service to the Profession: Professional Growth" for education majors.

For more information, contact chalc@k-state.edu or english@k-state.edu