GSLIS’s Mock Caldecott Results!

For immediate release
Sunday, 12/13/2015
Contact: Diane Foote, Butler Children’s Literature Center Curator,, 708-524-6054

River Forest, IL–Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of If You Plant a Seed, is the 2016 winner of the Dominican University GSLIS Mock Caldecott Medal, among the most prestigious mock awards in children’s literature.

The real Caldecott Medal honors outstanding illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year. The real Caldecott Medal is sponsored and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Dominican’s Mock Caldecott course took place on campus during the fall 2015 semester, with 15 MLIS students serving as committee members and the Butler Children’s Literature Curator as instructor and chair (with no vote). The class followed all the established procedures, from suggestions, to three rounds of seven nominations total, to meeting at length over the course of a weekend to deliberate and vote according to the balloting instructions from ALSC.

IfYouPlantaSeedThe 2016 GSLIS Mock Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book is awarded to Kadir Nelson for If You Plant a Seed, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. If You Plant a Seed is an uplifting tale of a rabbit and mouse. When their garden becomes threatened by ravenous birds, rabbit and mouse learn to sow the seeds of kindness.

The committee, er, class, characterized the winning illustrations: “Nelson’s expansive oil on canvas paintings depict realistic animals make dramatic use of varying perspectives to draws readers into the story and explore universal themes of peace and generosity.”

Nelson’s accolades for illustration include Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards for Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange; Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honors for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, Nelson Mandela, and We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, each of which he also authored, I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thunder Rose by Jerdine Nolan; and Caldecott Honors for Moses and Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine. Nelson lives in Southern California.

Three Mock Caldecott Honor Books were named:

Bird&DizBird & Diz, written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Ed Young, published by Candlewick. Pastels, gouache, and sumi ink in an accordion frieze format capture the essence of the improvisational style of jazz through Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker’s “Salt Peanuts” performance. Using abstraction and vibrant colors, Young presents a visual experience readers can see, hear and feel.

FloatFloat, written and illustrated by Daniel Miyares, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Venturing outdoors on a rainy day, a young boy with his newspaper boat experiences the wonder of play. Pops of bright color contrasted against a monochromatic gray background effectively direct readers’ attention to the movement of the boy, the boat, and the water. Panoramic views and distinctive, digitally rendered images successfully convey the meaning of the story without the use of words.

NightAnimalsNight Animals, written and illustrated by Gianna Marino, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA). While hiding from scary night-time sounds, possum and skunk encounter other frightened “night animals.” Rendered in gouache and ink, Marino’s illustrations capture a humorous nighttime escapade. On an ink-black background, the night animals’ realistic fur and cartoon eyes combine with speech bubble narration to provide an unexpectedly hilarious adventure.

The Butler Children’s Literature Center commits itself to imagination and wonder, encouraging and supporting adults in libraries, classrooms, childcare centers, and homes to engage young people with good books.

For information on the real Caldecott Medal, please visit For information about the Butler Children’s Literature Center, please visit the Butler’s Pantry blog at