The 2022 Newbery and Caldecott Awards were awarded today by The Association for Library Service to Children.
The lists for the Newbery and Caldecott winners and honor books are below.
Congratulations to the winners!
However, I felt that the committee missed out on an AMAZING, incredibly life-changing, want-to-read-again book with powerful writing and messaging– Starfish by Lisa Fipps. Among other books that were amazing and ignored.
In case you’re wondering about my favorite books from last year to be considered for a Newbery, please visit my TOP MIDDLE-GRADE book picks for 2021 and TOP PICTURE BOOKS for 2021. The Last Cuentista is on that list but none of the other 2022 Newbery books were.
*Also, why is there a YA book on the Newbery list? Is that really children’s literature? Please comment if you have a different understanding of the criteria of “child audience”.
Moving on to the Caldecott…
As far as this year’s Caldecott, they picked picture books with excellent artwork.
But, my personal favorite illustrations were from the book My First Day by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien –which didn’t make the list at all with Wishes by Muon Thi Van and illustrations by Victo Ngai as a close second choice.
See my top Caldecott picks, none of which are on the winning list.
Leave me a comment with your thoughts about this year’s selection of books.
Newbery Award & Honors (2022)
The 2022 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished children’s book goes to The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera.
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
Reha is struggling to figure out her place in her two worlds–India and America. She wants Amma to understand how she feels. But, when Amma gets cancer, Reba focuses on being virtuous enough so it will help her mom get better. But, her Amma dies. And Reha feels so much grief. Then, she gets a letter mailed by a nurse from her Amma that helps Reha move into her future and belong to two cultures. (It’s a heartfelt, beautiful ending and if you’re like me, you’ll probably cry!)
Watercress illustrated by Jason Chin, written by Andrea Wang
The girl’s family stops on the side of the road to gather watercress. She’s embarrassed and mad because she hates being poor. But later that night, while eating the watercress, her mom shares more about her childhood in China and how her younger brother died from starvation. The girl sees the value in both food and watercress. She feels bad for being embarrassed about her earlier perceptions. With a new understanding of her history and the value of having enough food, she eats the bitter, delicate watercress and finds that it is delicious and meaningful.
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
This is a YA book that I didn’t read so I can’t share my thoughts but here’s the gist…Nina, a Lipan girl from our world meets Oli, a cottonmouth kid from the land of spirits and monsters, when their worlds merge after a catastrophic event on Earth. Their story, set in Texas follows traditional Lipan Apache narration includes themes of climate change, family, and identity plus mythology, monsters, and magic.
Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff
It’s the summer vacation after Bug’s beloved uncle has passed away. But his ghost seems to be haunting the house only Bug can’t figure out why. Bug’s best friend Moira is focusing more on makeup and clothes none of which Bug is interested in. As the ghostly experiences continue, Bug notices the messages focus on finding yourself, and Bug beings to understand that he identifies as a boy, not a girl. Narrated in the first person, Bug’s character arc shows how they develop a new gender understanding.
Caldecott Award and Honors (2022)
The 2022 Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children goes to Watercress illustrated by Jason Chin.
Watercress illustrated by Jason Chin, written by Andrea Wang
The girl’s family stops on the side of the road to gather watercress. She’s embarrassed and mad because she hates being poor. Later that night, while eating the watercress, her mom shares about her childhood in China and how her younger brother died from starvation. The girl feels bad for being embarrassed about her earlier perceptions. With a new understanding of her history and the value of having enough food, the story finishes as she eats the bitter, delicate watercress and finds that it is delicious and meaningful.
Have You Ever Seen a Flower written and illustrated by Shawn Harris
The narrator prompts readers to experience a flower with all our senses…to see with our nose, breathing deeply, and feeling the flower’s life. Does the smell help us see “a fancy lady? Dancing babies at the royal jelly jubilee?” Or have readers ever felt a flower? “Do a flower petal’s veins feel like the veins beneath your skin?” The narrator compares the flower with the life inside our bodies and asks us to remember that.
Mel Fell illustrated and written by Corey R. Tabor
Mel’s mom is gone but Mel’s ready to fly anyway. So she jumps out of the nest and falls. As she falls down the length of the tree, the squirrels below try to catch her, so do the bees and the spider but Mel goes down…straight into the water! There she catches a fish and flies out of the water. She flies back up the tree and passes the animals she saw before — the spider, the bees, and the squirrels. Kids will love the other fun things that happen besides Mel’s falling and flying adventure–she frees a fly from the spider, the fish is excited to fly, and the snail cheers her on sloooowlly. Charming!
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre illustrated by Floyd Cooper, written by Karole Boston Weatherford
Sad and powerful, this historical picture book is an important reminder of our recent past. Near Tulsa, Oklahoma. neighborhoods, schools, streetcars, and more segregated White and Black people. In Greenwood, a thriving Black community became known as the Black Wall street with Black-owned businesses, libraries, a hospital, a post office, churches, doctors, hotels, barbershops, and many more thriving businesses. Some white people weren’t happy about Black families Greenwood thriving and when a White elevator operator accused a Black man of assault, it sparked so much violence that Greenwood, set on fire by white mobs, was destroyed, leaving 8,000 people homeless. The Greenwood residents were forced into a tent encampment and had to carry passes to enter the city of Tulsa. After decades, it was proven that police and the white mobs plotted to destroy Greenwood. Now there’s a park that represents reconciliation and hope.
Wonder Walkers illustrated and written by Micha Archer
A girl and her brother wander outside and wonder, asking questions about the world. “Is fog the river’s blanket?” and “Are trees the sky’s legs?” Beautiful illustrations and remarkable curiosity will give readers beauty to observe and questions to ponder. What will you wonder?
Previous Newbery and Caldecott Winners