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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Newbery Knockouts & Caldecott Clashes!

Welcome to our week of Newbery and Caldecott coverage. In less than seven days we will have a brand-new series of award winners to congratulate and fawn over, but for now, we’re going to talk about the books we loved this year, which we would love to see win!

Today, we’re kicking off a competition within Scholastic. It’s called Newbery Knockouts and Caldecott Clashes!

Our employees have picked some of their favorite books of 2012 and are going to bat for them! All week we’ll be pitting these books against each other until we have our own Newbery Knockout and Caldecott Clash champs! I, the venerable Preeti, will be residing judge and officiant of the matches. Which is to say, I will judge based solely on my own council (and your comments!) because this is really just for fun and a way to talk about books we loved and were excited by in 2012. :)

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get it started!

First up, the Newbery Knockouts:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Ann Marie, Editorial Director for Arrow, TAB, and TeenRC Book Clubs

Wonder appeals to a very wide audience because it is filled with rich, well-developed, and honest characters. It is told from alternating perspectives, so I think most kids will find something or someone to relate to. At some point in our lives, we’ve all been a bully, a victim of bullying, a bystander, or the one who’s standing up for what’s right, and this book addresses all of these roles with thoughtfulness and sincerity.


The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds

Edmund, Samples and Image Coordinator for Title Presentation

Most kids frequently feel like they’re short on luck. Luc, the protagonist of The Unfortunate Son, is one of the unluckiest characters I’ve come across, and sure to appeal instantly to young readers. Taking place in France and Tunisia during the early 16th century, this suspenseful historical novel has a bit of everything, from page-turning suspense to romance—there are even pirates!


The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Caitlin, Editorial Manager for Lucky Book Club

The Year of the Book is the perfect story about friendship. This is one of the only books I have read that shows you the true meaning of being a friend and the evolution of a friendship at an early age. Any reader would be able to relate to Anna’s hardships with learning to let someone in and trust them with your own heart.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Gaia, Editorial Manager for Arrow Book Club

Kids love reading about animals, but what sets The One and Only Ivan apart from other animal stories is that it is told from the perspective of a gorilla—a gorilla who just happens to be on a mission to save a baby elephant. Readers will fall in love with Ivan the gorilla, Ruby the elephant, and Bob the dog, and the suspense surrounding their future will keep kids captivated.

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

Trevor, Editorial Manager for TAB and TeenRC Book Clubs

Filled with action, suspense, and espionage, this spy thriller will have readers on the edge of their seats. With short chapters, photos, and a gripping story, Bomb will have (reluctant) readers turning the pages and begging for more books like it. It reads more like a novel than a nonfiction book and is perfect for fans of books like Chasing Lincoln’s Killer and The Notorious Benedict Arnold. Best of all, this REALLY HAPPENED, so readers are learning history while being thoroughly entertained.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Kristin, Editorial Assistant for Arrow, TAB, and TeenRC Book Clubs

Who doesn’t want to be lucky? Mo LoBeau certainly is. But she’ll need all the luck she can get when a murder, a kidnapping, and a hurricane happen in her small Southern town. You will laugh out loud as Mo tries to solve the mystery before the bumbling detective does…not to mention solving the mystery of her own past! Filled with nonstop action and quirky characters you’ll wish you could spend your summer vacation with.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Mia, Managing Editor for Title Presentation

Drama may be an unconventional Newbery choice, but I think it appeals to so many readers because it makes its point with humor, it isn’t obviously a book for girls or boys, and the graphic format makes it a great choice for multiple reading levels. I also love that common themes like sorting out first crushes and finding a place in the confusing world of middle school are taken seriously.

Now for our Caldecott Clashes:

Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino

Celia, Assistant Editor

This may seem like a simple story about friendship, but boy (bot!), is there drama, humor…and even a ROBOT, for goodness’ sake! If that’s not enough to get a child on board, then Dan Yaccarino’s playful, colorful illustrations will do the trick. A truly original story with a TON of charming, not to mention relatable, scenes and characters. Affirmative!

Chloe by Peter McCarty

Celia, Assistant Editor for Cartwheel Books

Bunnies, bunnies, so many bunnies! If there’s one thing to be said about Chloe, it’s definitely that all the adorable illustrations star her and her VERY large family (she has 40 brothers and sisters, after all!). But that’s not the half of it, because this story shines with moments all about family and togetherness—an appealing and captivating message for children and their parents alike. Oh, and did I mention that this story features bubble wrap? You can’t lose on this one!


Unspoken by Henry Cole

Kate, Editorial Manager for SeeSaw Book Club

Unspoken is a snapshot into the history of the Civil War through the eyes a Southern girl living on a farm. Readers will connect with the characters of this wordless picture book at different levels. Whether children are struggling or avid readers, this book will ignite imaginations and inspire their own storytelling.

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Edmund, Samples and Image Coordinator for Title Presentation

Children will love this heartwarming story on the meaning of being a good friend (hint: it has something to do with patience). Most of all, however, they will be enchanted by Erin E. Stead’s absolutely stunning artwork. The expressive and understated illustrations are arguably the best work we’ve yet seen from this incredible talent.

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Caitlin, Editorial Manager for Lucky Book Club

Creepy Carrots! is one of the funniest picture books EVER! Every reader will love finding the hidden shade of orange on every page haunting Jasper rabbit. Hilarious carrots that come to life, a funny bunny who thinks his favorite food is out to get him, and a spoof of The Twilight Zone? This is a hard book NOT to love.

A Leaf Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Jennifer, Assistant Marketing Director for Scholastic Book Clubs

I think children will love the bold and brightly colored illustrations in the book. The rhyming text and accompanying drawings explore the many things a leaf can be. The book is also packed with nonfiction facts and a glossary of scientific terms for curious readers.

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small

Lucille, Senior Director of Acquisitions for Scholastic Book Clubs

Who would not want a penguin as a friend? When Elliot and his dad visit the aquarium, Elliot asks for a penguin. Dad assumes that Elliot will buy a stuffed penguin.  As you look at the pictures, you will know that Elliot has something entirely different in mind.  You will see what he puts in his backpack and watch how he takes care of his new friend, Magellan. You will laugh out loud when you watch Elliot’s father enter the bathroom to discover Magellan. Then you will giggle uncontrollably when you meet Captain Cook.

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Lori, Associate Director of Title Presentation

With its spare, quirky text and illustrations, And Then It’s Spring creates a quiet space for readers. The author and illustrator have filled the book with a sense of whimsy that still feels utterly true, never failing to respect the reader with every thoughtful description and expressively illustrated creature. The perfect kind of book to curl up with in any season!

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

Laura, Editorial Director for Firefly Book Club

The perfect story to share with young children this spring! Told in simple question-and-answer format, this book follows Baby Bear and his mama as they take a walk through colorful nature observing everything from the green grass to the ripe red strawberries. Like the curious Baby Bear, young children will be prompted to ask their own questions about what Bear is learning and will enjoy pointing out colors they already know. Toddlers will love snuggling up morning or night to enter Baby Bear’s lively world in this gentle and sweet picture book.

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Heather, Senior Marketing Manager for Honeybee and Firefly Book Clubs The Academic: The concept of a magical never-ending wonderful something is an old one, but the details here are fresh. Klassen’s artwork is sometimes reminiscent of Caldecott artist Margot Zemach, but with a unique use of ink and watercolor that had me studying his illustrations.

The Gut: For all the adults (like me) who have more yarn stashed than they’ll ever be able to use, and for all the kids who are dragged to sheep and wool festivals, this is The Perfect Book.

So there you have it! Our first round of picks for Newbery Knockouts and Caldecott Clashes!

Tune in tomorrow to see what three books bubbled to the top in each category and sound off on your favorites in the comments!




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4 Responses

  1. Cathy Hansen

    I have to vote for BOMB. My 6th grader devours any and all military history books!

  2. Both Wonder and Boy+Bot have that connecting with reader quality that is pure magic. Both have that potential to be the first book that makes a reader LOVE reading.

    On another note, Extra Yarn recently won our local libraries “Mock Caldecott” award.

  3. margaret joyce

    i purchased Wonder for my granddaughter for xmas. she couldn’t put it down and was finished reading the day after xmas!

  4. Nancy O

    Hi, Preeti! One Cool Friend gets my vote, can’t go wrong with a penguin story…
    but A Leaf Can Be sounds pretty good!

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January 22, 2013