In 1937 the Caldecott Medal was established as the most distinguished picture book of the year. The American Library Association award the Caldecott Medal “shall be awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year. In 1977 the Board of Directors of the Association for Library Service to Children rescinded the final part of the 1937 action and approved that any book published in the preceding year shall be eligible to be considered for either the Newbery Award the Caldecott Award or both awards.
I became aware of the Caldecott Medal as a college student majoring in elementary education. I became aware of the importance of the Caldecott Award and the Newbery Award. I never failed to enjoy a book that had won either award. Knowing that one of these books would be a great tool for the classroom was reassuring when making a book choice.
The following books are ten of my favorite Caldecott Medal books.
The House in the Night
Illustrated by Beth Krommes
Written by Susam Marie Swanson
Young readers are interested in this story as soon as they read that a young girl is given a golden key to a house. The story, which was inspired by a nursery rhyme, is illustrated in scratchboard decorated in gold. The illustrations and words combine to tell a tale that is reassuring as well as delightful. Appropriate for preschool through kindergarten.
The Hello,Goodbye Window
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Written by Norton Juster
All children could relate to a window where both hellos and goodbyes are said. This story is that tale. The window is at grandma and grandpa’s house. Both Nana and Poppa share in the goings on here. Appropriate for preschool and kindergarten ages.
My Friend Rabbit
By Eric Rohmann
Mouse and Rabbit are friends and yet there are a lot of difficulties in this relationship. The illustrations are as clear and simple as the message and deliver the lesson the importance of patience and loyalty well. Great for ages 4-8.
Illustrated by David Diaz
Text by Eve Bunting
This story tells of cats who have trouble getting along as well as people who have difficulty getting along. It takes a fire to cause them to discover that their differences can be bridged. Based on feelings following the Los Angeles riots caused the author to write this book which reminds the reader to resist assumptions about race. Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Illustrated by John Schoenherr
Text by Jane Yolen
Walking through the woods on a moonlit winter night owling bring a father and his daughter together as they enjoy every bit of the experience. The watercolor washes depict the New England woods and night animals in a way that enhances the adventure. This snowy adventure would appeal to children aged 2-6.
Translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown
This book is a translation of a French poem by the author Blaise Cendrars. The illustrations and words combine to tell a tale through the senses. It almost seems like you can feel the textures of the mountains, plains and grass. The message may seem a bit frightening or scary for some so preview the book and consider the child before choosing this book. Most children will find it fascinating and beautiful while thought provoking.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
By William Steig
Most every child loves collecting stones or pebbles. Sylvester did too. This story tells the story of Sylvester Duncan and how the discovery of a magic pebble led him through a wondrous series of events which finally taught him that he already had all that he really needed. Children between the ages of 4-8 would appreciate this story most.
Always Room for One More
Illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian
Text by Sorche Nic Leodhas
Generosity and goodwill prevail in this tale derived from an old Scottish nursery tale. Text, rhyme and illustration combine to bring this folktale’s message to us in a most fun way. A musical score is provided so that the main chorus of the legend can be sung. This is a delightful picture book.
Where the Wild Things Are
By Maurice Sendak
The book is much more attractive for children than the movie. Children relate well to Max, the monsters and the forest. Children can accept the dream world and imagination that Max explores as he frolics with the monsters.
A Tree Is Nice
Illustrated by Marc Simont
Text by Janice Udry
Children love trees and especially planting trees. This book explains the beauty, usefulness, and importance of trees all in words the child can understand. Children learn that they can plant and grow a tree. The illustrations in this book are wonderful in many ways which make it is great book for exploring the wonder and beauty of even one tree.