BookKids: Awards season is here!

No, we’re not talking about the Oscars. Kids booksellers (and favorite mother-son duo) Merrilee and Thomas share their predictions for the 2019 Caldecott and Newbery Medal winners. Who do YOU think will win?

Picture books are Merrilee’s thing. As much as we all try to know a little bit about everything, booksellers tend to have an area or genre they specialize in, or they love above all else. Merrilee collects picture books, and you know when she loves a particular one because she will make sure everyone who works at the store has read it, or at least has heard her read it, usually more than once. She has her favorite read alouds, such as Interrupting Chicken and Bark, George, and her favorite illustrators, like David Wiesner and David Wisniewski. We know this because she makes it known. Merrilee is not a subtle person.

Here are her top Caldecott predictions for 2019:

Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat

9781484767603“I love the two different styles that come together in this book. The grandfather and grandson talk to each other through the medium they understand best: art! I also love Dan Santat in general– everything he creates is gorgeous. Drawn Together is pretty hard to beat.”



The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes

9780763678838“Ekua Holmes is amazing, and possibly my new favorite illustrator! The Stuff of Stars and What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? are both incredible, and I love not only the artwork, but the subject matter, too. I LOVE Barbara Jordan and I’m a huge history buff! But I think the colors and detail in The Stuff of Stars stand out among the rest.”

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

9780823440559“I was never as big a fan of Yuyi Morales as other BookPeople booksellers are, but Dreamers changed that. Wow! Usually when looking at picture books, I am able to focus entirely on the illustrations, especially when trying to predict for a Caldecott. But I love that in Dreamers, you can’t separate the art from the story. They are completely tied together, plus her immigration story is so personal and timely, as well as timeless.”


When stuck for a great book recommendation, you can always count on Thomas to suggest something fun-filled, wonderfully strange, and usually out of the general literary limelight. Thomas gobbles up middle grade and some days really does seem like a 12-year-old at heart– in the best way possible. Even though he’s a generous reader and can hand-sell in basically every area of the store, he definitely has his favorites: fantasy, sci-fi, and, we learned today, heist stories.

Here are a few of his Newbery predictions for 2019:

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

9780399252525“Jacqueline Woodson is the type of author who, if she released something that year, it will probably be at the top of the list. Same with Katherine Applegate and Kate DiCamillo. This is, by the way, NOT a bad thing. So my money is on Harbor Me.”



The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

9781626723634“While I would love for a graphic novel to make the cut, I don’t know if it would. No offense to the Newbery, but they tend to keep to the same thing. I think taking a chance on Kwame Alexander was the first time they went with someone completely new to the discussion. I’d love for the winner to be a complete surprise, and if it happens to be a graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker would be my pick!”


The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

9780545946179“Speaking of bringing someone new to the conversation, I would LOVE for it to go to Varian Johnson for The Parker Inheritance! Johnson has a LOT of heart in his books that he doesn’t always get credit for. And Parker Inheritance is, and this is in no offense to his Heist novels, but Parker Inheritance stands out from his other books. And that’s saying something because I love Heist, and heist is actually my favorite genre of anything ever. It would also be awesome because Varian is local to Austin and we love our local authors!”

We can’t wait for the big announcement on January 28th! We always put up our awards display as soon as the winners are announced. Come on by and check it out for yourself! Who are you rooting for this awards season?

Our 2018 ALA Youth Media Awards display


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