With the 2021 Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet come and gone, my term on the Caldecott committee is officially over. What a rollercoaster these last two years have been. But, when I look back on it all, I feel nothing but pride. I’m proud of my fellow committee members (and feel so lucky to have served with them). I’m proud our choices. I’m proud of the process, which went on alongside one of the most difficult years for the whole world.
I don’t really have too much else to say but, then again, it’s not really about me. It’s about the picture books. And the art. We’ve been able to see the world embrace We Are Water Protectors online and in media. The book has been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 20 weeks, as of this writing. Though I don’t have children, I have shared the book with picture book-loving friends and coworkers. I feel this urge to buy a copy for everyone I know.
While We Are Water Protectors alone is a treasure, Michaela Goade’s beautiful acceptance speech truly reveals what a gift both the book and she are. You can watch the speech above or read it here. My favorite line: “My dream is that this book will encourage those conversations far into the future and ripple out to sea, growing into wave upon wave of action. What more could this saltwater soul of mine hope for? After all, mni wiconi. Water is life.”
While this is the end of my committee’s service term, it is not the end of this book. Or, perhaps, as one of my brilliant committee members Shannan wrote in our email thread, “the Quarantine Committee will always be in session.” So, too, may this book always be read—and its readers called to action.