If I were on the Caldecott Committee, there is a book I would have added to this year’s list.
Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse.
This is the story of a girl who lives in a castle and longs for a dragon, and a dragon who lives outside and longs for a girl.
This lovely book sends shivers up my spine every time I read it, because of language like this:
I read Sleep Like a Tiger during story hour this week, and even though the program starts at 10 am and the toddlers are usually bouncing off the walls, I swear that by the end of this book they were starting to yawn. If I had just closed the shades and tiptoed out I think they all would have fallen asleep right there in the library. This book is that good–truly deserving of the Caldecott Honor it received this year.
This book transports readers to a peaceful, sleepy place. It is subtle. I did not appreciate its brilliance until I read it aloud, slowly, to a group of transfixed young children.
I had dangerously high expectations when I picked up this book. For starters, I got to know and really like author Maria Padian when we were both guests on a recent call-in show about teen fiction on Maine Public Radio (listen here). I am already a fan of Padian’s other teen books, Brett McCarthy, Work in Progress, and Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best, which are excellent teen books about strong, non-stereotypical female characters. To top it off, I have followed stories of Somali immigrants in Maine for years, and figured teen fiction on the subject would be pretty interesting.
High expectations sometimes set me up for disappointment, but not this time. Out of Nowhere is a terrific book.