The Best of Children's Picture Books!
Reviewd by Amy Halvorson Miller
For children’s picture books published in the U.S., the Randolph Caldecott Medal carries the highest honor among illustrators. The medal and a few honors are awarded each January for distinguished artwork for a children’s book published in the previous year. While picture books are generally recommended for ages 4-8, story-lovers of all ages should not miss out on the literary magic of a well-crafted picture book.
The medal for 2021 was awarded by the American Library Association to Michaela Goade for We are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom. In this Native American author/illustrator team, Lindstrom (Ojibwe) and Goade (Tlingit & Haida) celebrate the indigenous-led movement to protect the earth’s natural water sources, specifically from the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Goade’s skillful illustrations are composed from watercolor and colored pencil paintings which are then collaged together digitally. Shades of blue and aqua propel the text as a flowing river, immersing readers in the truth of our reliance on water and interdependence with one another. Floral and faunal motifs swim through waves. The water becomes a character in the story, carrying energy, spirit, and life itself.
2021 honor books:
A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart (illustrator Noa Denmon, author Zetta Elliott, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.00)
The Cat Man of Aleppo (illustrator Yuko Shimizu, author Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, $17.99)
Me & Mama (illustrator and author Cozbi A. Cabrera, Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99)
Outside In (illustrator Cindy Derby, author Deborah Underwood, Houghton Mifflin, $17.99)