CPL Children’s Librarians’ Picks for Award-Winning Books

This year, like every year, children's librarians across the country spend part of their January thinking about what books might win the year's big awards. Some of them are discussing the writing in books for the Newbery award in person or on the Heavy Medal blog. Others are discussing illustrations in books for the Caldecott award in person or on the Calling Caldecott blog

Before the real awards are announced by the American Library Association on January 25, CPL children's librarians are discussing the most distinguished books of 2020 and selecting our own picks for the award winners. Will they match the real committees' picks?

Mock Newbery

The Newbery is given to an author for their writing and is typically awarded to a chapter book.

The 2020 mock Newbery goes to When Stars Are Scattered, which tells the story of Omar and his little brother Hassan in graphic novel form. The brothers' lives as Somalian refugees in a camp in Kenya are inspired by co-author Omar Mohamed's childhood.

Two mock honor books were selected:

King and the Dragonflies: Handling his brother's death has been hard on King and his family. King's life gets even harder when his old friend Sandy runs away from his abusive father and King has to figure out how and if he can help.

Show Me A Sign: On Martha's Vineyard in the 1800s, more than half the population was deaf, including 11-year-old Mary Lambert. Mary never thought much her seemingly normal life until she is taken to Boston as a research specimen and must find a way home.

Mock Caldecott

The Caldecott is an award given to an artist for their illustrations and is typically awarded to a picture book.

The 2020 mock Caldecott goes to We Are Water Protectors, a book with richly colored watercolor illustrations. The story of freshwater is told by an Indigenous girl who shares stories of her ancestors as well as a rallying cry to protect our resources.

Two mock honor books were selected:

Me & Mama: The best place to be is with mama, and it's easy to see why in this book with dreamily painted illustrations. Our narrator, a young Black girl, compares her things and mama's things as they have a quiet rainy day together.

I Am Every Good Thing: The vibrant colors in this book share the joy, wonder, courage and confidence of young Black boys alongside text that is easy to read to yourself or fun to read aloud.

Do you have a favorite book you think should win an award this year?