Saturday, January 05, 2019

Sophie Blackall and the 2016 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee

I thought it was odd that one of the worst professional illustrators I have ever seen, Sophie Blackall, won the 2016 Caldecott Medal for children's picture book illustration. Especially when you look at the vastly superior work of the 2016 runners-up.

I didn't immediately leap to the conclusion of cronyism when I heard the news. But after looking at the names of the people in the Medal Selection committee, I'm definitely considering it. The Chair of the 2016 selection committee was Rachel G. Payne of the Brooklyn Public Library.

I did a little research and it seems, if the online location sources are correct, that Blackall and Payne are neighbors - they live about a mile from each other in Brooklyn.

And they are also Facebook friends, although I don't know if they were friends before Payne gave Blackall the medal. It would be very surprising if they were not, since not only do they apparently live in the same Brooklyn neighborhood, they have both been to at least one conference at the same time prior to 2016.

Now it's possible that Payne and the rest of the selection committee simply don't know shit from Shinola, and that's why Blackall won the Caldecott, but I have my doubts now.

But again, if the awful Renoir is still beloved by the masses there is no reason why Blackall can't have a thriving, award-winning career forever. There will always be tasteless idiots to champion mediocrities while the vastly superior are ignored - superior artists like Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot.

There is no justice in this world. And plenty of bad taste. And cronyism.

This book...

...was judged better-illustrated than this book...

and this book...

and this book...

and this book... the 2016 Caldecott committee. Completely insane.