Blogger Katie Salo

My Year with the 2018 Caldecott Committee

Hi, ALSC blog friends! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve “seen” you/written a post. I’ve been very busy this past year, working with the rest of the 2018 Caldecott committee, but I’m eager to be back here on the blog.

So, let me tell you ALL the secrets of my year with the Caldecott committee.

(No, not any discussion secrets. Those will remain in the Governors Square 15 ballroom in Denver.)

Picture of our door in Colorado, sign reads “ALSC Closed Session”. [Photo taken by the author.]

I will tell you the secrets to what I think made an incredibly successful year and committee:

  • Make friends with your mailpersons. I let my regular mailperson know that I would be receiving a lot of packages this year, for the Caldecott committee. Since they knew it was important, they left a plastic US Postal Service bin over the packages on rainy days to protect them.
  • Post-it notes. I should have invested stock in Post-it notes since I used them constantly to mark pages. I even color coded them so I knew what kind of note it was (technique, line, color, form, shape, story etc.) without opening the book.
  • Read widely. Beyond picture books. All illustrated books for any age between 0-14 are eligible.
  • Seek out more books. Even though I mentioned that I received a lot of packages, there were still books that I never received and only read at my library/through ILL.
  • Listen. This one was harder for me since I love to talk. (And by the time you sit down at the meeting, you are bursting to talk.) I brought my knitting to help me remember to really listen to what other committee members were saying. That’s not to say that I was perfect, but I sure tried.
  • Remember: there is only one winner. Some books become “heart” books instead of Caldecott books. Be prepared to let them go in discussion.
  • Have fun. I suggest running through the hotel halls during bathroom breaks or having dance parties while you wait to find out if the committee has reached consensus. And definitely find yourself a toaster timer! You’ll hear it dinging in your dreams for weeks.
  • Trust the process. This is so hard to grasp, but I promise once you’re in the committee room…the criteria and procedures and discussion come together in such a magical way.
  • Celebrate. Okay, so I haven’t fully done this one yet, but I have a feeling that New Orleans will be good to us.
The 2018 Caldecott Committee grouped around a table with the winner and honor books. [Photo courtesy of the committee.]

There you have it! My tips to a successful year with the Caldecott committee.

Did you get up to watch the YMAs? Were you there in person or pajamas? Let me know in the comments!

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library

One comment

  1. Kara

    I watched the YMAs at the public desk at work! It’s my job to make sure that all of our award books are current (including state award books). I had my coworkers field all the calls while I was watching–they’re so good to me!

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