Committees that select outstanding picture books to recognize each year with awards like the Caldecott Medal and Michigan’s Mitten Award review books published throughout the previous year to decide on winners. I had the privilege of serving on Michigan’s Mitten Award Committee to select this year’s winner, and I wanted to share some personal favorites I discovered along the way. This year, the Caldecott Medal was awarded to We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, an indigenous, poetic book and rallying cry for the preservation and protection of our sacred water supplies. It’s fittingly and beautifully illustrated with blue-hued watercolors. Our Mitten Award committee chose If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall, a thoughtful letter written to potential Earth-bound extraterrestrial guests that explains the quirks and beauty of our planet. The rest of my favorites from the year include a wide variety of tales, including books that made me laugh out loud, books with mesmerizing illustrations, and books with imaginative, innovative, and heart-felt messages to share.