All aboard Brian Floca's Locomotive, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal! From vivid mechanical descriptions to vast spreads of passing landscapes, young readers will love exploring the early days of America's transcontinental railroad with this detail-packed and gorgeously illustrated book. Texas-born Floca shared with us a little about the Caldecott whirlwind:
What was the first thing that went through your head when you found out you had won the Caldecott?
There was an overwhelming impulse to make sure I had heard correctly.
Who was the one person you couldn’t wait to tell about the award?
I can’t pick just one. My brain just sort of started cycling through everyone in my life. Parents, editor, girlfriend, sister, nieces, studio mates, friends and on.
Do you have a favorite past Caldecott winner?
Again, it’s hard to pick just one, but a book I was admiring recently and that makes as good an answer as any is The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by Alice and Martin Provensen, which won the medal in 1984.
What’s the best part of writing books for a younger audience?
Many things. I think the chance to be curious, to be enthusiastic, and also the chance to tell a story using both words and pictures.
What kind of reaction have you gotten from your readers about this book?
My favorite reaction was recounted by a parent and involved the word “obsessed.” If the young reader starts explaining to the parent what the different parts of the locomotive do, I feel very happy about that.
Have you read or listened to past Caldecott acceptance speeches? Are you excited (or worried!) about your own speech?
I’ve been lucky and happy to attend some past speeches, and I’m both excited and worried, yes, about giving one myself!
What’s next for you?
I’ve illustrated Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets! and Lynne Cox’s Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, two books that are coming out this spring, and then an older book of mine, Five Trucks, is being reissued by Atheneum this summer. And now I’m about to start drawings for a new novel by Avi (to whom Locomotive is dedicated, incidentally). I’m excited about each of those books.