5 Questions with Jason Chin

When Jason Chin won the 2022 Caldecott Medal for Watercress, he immediately called the book's author, Andrea Wang. But the next conversation with Wang made Chin smile the most.

Photo of Jason Chin and Watercress Cover


Winning awards can be life-changing. That’s definitely true if the honor is the Caldecott, Newbery, or Printz. SLJ asked past winners of the Big Three about their fondest memories of receiving the award, the biggest challenge after, and their words of advice for this year’s winners—who will be announced Monday, January 22 during the Youth Media Awards ceremony.

Jason Chin won the 2022 Caldecott Medal for Watercress, written by Andrea Wang. Here he discusses his favorite moment after winning the award and more.

For you, rules and criteria aside, what makes a book Caldecott worthy?
Great picture books have a seamless combination of text and pictures that together tell a story that is more than the sum of its parts. I think that the winning book should have this quality. I also think it should have excellent craftsmanship and that the illustrator should have made thoughtful choices in their approach. Last, but not least, I would look for a book that drew me in, captured my imagination, and made me feel something.

What is your fondest memory of winning the award?
It’s hard to pick a fondest memory, but here’s one that comes in two parts. First, was “the call,” which was amazing and special. Right after the call, I phoned Andrea to tell her, which was great but also a little weird, because the book was such a collaboration, and here I was winning the biggest award for something we both made. Then, the next day, Andrea called me to tell me she had received a Newbery Honor. That sent me over the moon with joy. The memory of it still makes me smile.

What is the biggest challenge for an illustrator after winning?
The challenges that came from winning the medal were mostly in the realm of time management (there were suddenly a bunch of new deadlines to meet that I hadn’t planned on), but it really wasn’t bad at all. I’m grateful to have had the experience, challenges and all.

What’s your advice for this year’s winner?
Enjoy the year! You earned it, and you deserve it!

What are you working on now?
I have a book coming out this year called Life After Whale. It was written by Lynn Brunelle, and I illustrated it. Right now I’m working on a book about hurricanes, scheduled for 2025.

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