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[Monday Reading] 2019 Caldecott Medal Winner and Honor Books

In case you missed it: Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall is the winner of the 2019 Caldecott Medal.



Fats here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.


Last January, the winner of the 2019 Caldecott Medal was announced. Congratulations, Sophie Blackall! Check out her award-winning book below as well as three Caldecott honor books this year!

2019 Medal Winner

mr0304b'Hello Lighthouse

Written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2018)
ISBN-13: 9780316362382
Copy provided by Twinsburg Public Library.
Book photos downloaded online.

Book summary: Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.


Hello Lighthouse is a beautiful tribute to lighthouses and lighthouse keepers around the world. Written in verses, the book portrays the duties of a lighthouse keeper: tending the light from sunrise to sunset, sounding the signal to warn ships when it’s too foggy, doing household chores, and meticulously recording what happens each day in a logbook. The most important job was to never, ever let the light go out. This beautiful, well-researched account in the life of a lighthouse keeper—and the life of the lighthouse itself—is complemented by Blackall’s breathtaking paintings.

About the Author Sophie Blackall is an Australian artist and illustrator of children’s books based in Brooklyn, New York. She illustrated Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, which won the Caldecott Medal in 2016.

2019 Honor Books

mr0304dThank You, Omu!

Written and Illustrated by Oge Mora
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2018)
ISBN-13: 9780316431248
Copy provided by Conneaut Public Library.
Book photos downloaded online.

Book summary: Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?


Thank You, Omu! is a heartwarming debut from author-illustrator Oge Mora about the importance of sharing and having a sense of community. Mora notes that “Omu” is pronounced as AH-moo and is the Igbo term for “queen.” Omu truly was a queen in the story and she would find that out at the end of the book. Vibrant paper cutouts were used to illustrate the book.

About the Author Oge Mora graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration. Thank you, Omu! was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge’s life. When not painting in her studio, Oge is in the kitchen cooking her late grandmother’s recipes. She enjoys creating warm stories that celebrate community.

mr0304fAlma and How She Got Her Name

Written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by Candlewick Press (2018)
ISBN-13: 9780763693558
Copy provided by Geauga County Public Library.
Book photos downloaded online.

Book summary: If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell.


This tells the cute story of a little girl who finds out the origins of her names. It’s a wonderful book about self-awareness and identity. It’s also perfect for anyone who enjoys tracing one’s genealogy or family history.

About the Author Juana Martinez-Neal is the daughter and granddaughter of artists. She started her story in Lima, Peru, and then moved to the United States. Juana is still writing the story of her life, with the help of her family, in Arizona.

mr0304hA Big Mooncake for Little Star

Written and illustrated by Grace Lin
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2018)
ISBN-13: 9780316404488
Copy provided by Hudson Library & Historical Society.
Book photos downloaded online.

Book summary: Pat, pat, pat… Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake. Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble?


I don’t think I’ve ever had mooncake. Mooncake is a Chinese bakery product eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate lunar appreciation and moon watching. The closest to a mooncake I’ve had is hopia, which is a bean-filled pastry that is popular in Indonesia and the Philippines. Anyway, you can imagine how this food—I mean, book!—made me hungry! A Big Mooncake for Little Star is an adorable picturebook not only about a little girl’s appreciation of her mom’s cooking but gives a nod to the phases of the moon! How fun!

About the Author Grace Lin is a Newbery Honor author and National Book Award Finalist of books including Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same, and The Ugly Vegetables. She lives in Massachusetts.




A fourth Caldecott finalist, The Rough Patch by Brian Lies, was previously featured on the blog last October. Check it out!

#WomenReadWomen2019 (United States)

13 comments on “[Monday Reading] 2019 Caldecott Medal Winner and Honor Books

  1. lindabaie

    I’ve read and loved them all, Fats. Hello Lighthouse was a favorite from the first time I read it. I am so glad it won the Caldecott. Yet, the others, too, are wonderful stories. There were many superb ones published last year! Thanks for reminding with good reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fats Suela

      If it hadn’t been for the book emails I get regularly, I wouldn’t have known about these books right away, Linda. Like you, Hello Lighthouse was my favorite from the list! It was just beautiful. I am fascinated by lighthouses and it was really interesting to read about one in picture book format with such details! Maybe when I visit Florida again this fall, I’ll check out the lighthouse!


  2. Some of my favorite books! They are all beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved all of the Caldecott books, this year (the only one I haven’t yet read for myself was Alma and How She Got Her Name — but I feel like I’ve read it because I’ve heard so many friends’ discussions over it). But my favorite was Hello Lighthouse. My dad was in the Coast Guard and so we’ve always kinda had a thing for light houses. I was hoping to purchase this one for my mom even before I heard it was a Caldecott nominee. Wonderful post, Fats, and I hope you have a great reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are such cute books. That stew one had me drooling and made me think of the two recipes my mum makes that she learned from my paternal grandfather. I love how that little girl has so many names making up her name. Sometimes I wish I had named my youngest Serafina, but I didn’t want her to have a name starting with the same letter as mine when her sister didn’t. But I did hyphenate their last name to give tribute to my parents who always helped us whenever we needed them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fats Suela

      The stew made me drool, too, Stefanie! It’s definitely perfect for winter, but I won’t complain about stew all year round as well! It’s interesting how parents come up with name for their kids. I’m going to visit my dad in Boston in June, so maybe that would be the perfect time to ask him again how he and my mom came up with my name!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah Sammis

    Interesting selection of books. I reviewed Hello, Lighthouse last September. These others look good too. My weekly updates.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fats Suela

      Thanks, Sarah! I’m so glad I was able to read Hello, Lighthouse and did not have to wait long for my reserved copy!


  6. The awards were surprising with titles I’m glad won and some I wished got more recognition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fats Suela

      I was hoping Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse would make it. I was glad to see The Rough Patch, the only one I’ve read last year. What were some of the titles you wished got more recognition?


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