Before the rush of beginning-of-the-school-year book publications, I thought I'd examine some potentials for the Newbery/Caldecott 2016 published so far. Heck, I'm just guessing (although I'd like to think they're educated guesses) but I'm thinking there's some definite winners already out there. Here are my predictions. Or, favorites, more like.
Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Balzer + Bray
Two (adorable) animals set out to grow a most delicious garden. But what if others want to enjoy the spoils of their hard work? Will the two sow a seed of friendship? Or selfishness? First of all, great lesson in the story. But of course, we're here to talk about the art. Which is AMAZING. So incredibly detailed. Really, the story is told through the art. Especially with the emotions--did you even know you could illustrate a bunny with emotions?? Just look at the cover! Now imagine the whole book. Yeah. See my original review here.
Illustrated by Daniel Miyares
Simon & Schuster Books
One boy, the rain, and all the joy that comes with it. It's a wordless book that expertly illustrates the joy, action, and heartbreak of a little boy. The monochromatic scheme is poignant; the yellow rain jacket in the gray weather pulls your eye through the story. Plus, the ending is amazing. So, all around, it's definitely a favorite. See my original review here.
Written by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch
THE ILLUSTRATIONS ALL LOOK LIKE GINGERBREAD. Seriously, I'm that excited about it. I may or may not have drooled while reading. It's an original, well-done idea for illustrations that I think deserves Caldecott attention, especially since it's highlighting a little known story about the American Revolution. See my original review here.
Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan
This brick of a book involves three different stories all centered around one harmonica. The characters in each story each have their historical challenges, including the Holocaust, the Great Depression, and racism against Hispanics in California. Really, if anyone else had attempted it, but honestly, Ryan made it work amazingly. It's just really long. See my original review here.
Written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
This one is about disability and war—a surefire winner. Ada has been shut in her apartment her whole life, due to her deformed foot. But war means the children need to be evacuated, so Ada escapes to the countryside for an entirely different, better sort of life. It's emotional and gripping and accurate. See my original review here.
Written by Victoria Jamieson
Going into Junior High is tough enough, but it's worse when you start to lose your best friend. Astrid is still determined to give all she's got to her new hobby: roller derby. This is a graphic novel and while the increasing popularity of this genre has garnered some recent Newbery attention (way to go El Deafo!) it's hard to say if this one will be considered, due to its reliance on illustrations. But still, the story is fantastic and I have rarely felt so connected to a story as I did this one. Really well done, see my original review here.
Written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Nancy Paulsen Books
This is about a girl who struggles with dyslexia and the teacher who helps her find the confidence she needs. Is it pretty cliche? Sure, the characters don't feel all that original, it's true, but the writing is so amazing and the story is so engrossing—I'll admit. It's a major favorite, whether or not it gets considered for the Newbery. See my original review here.