Caldecott Medal Award Winners

Designed by Rene Paul Chambellan in 1937, the Caldecott Medal has been bestowed upon over seventy books, distinguishing them as the best American picture books published in that year. The medal is awarded by the Association for Library Service and is the most prestigious awards next to the Newberry Medal.

For years, parents have looked to this award to offer their children classic books that have been loved for decades. These stories become fond memories for everyone, remembered even when people reach adulthood and bringing smiles to their faces when pulled from the shelf. There are stories for every taste and desire, each one worthy of the award.

Caldecott Award Winners (Newest to Oldest)

a ball for daisy A Ball for Daisy: Written by Chris Rashcka, this lovely tale follows Daisy, the delightful dog, whose favorite ball is ruined by another, bigger dog. As with his other almost wordless picture books like Yo! Yes?, the author shows the range of emotions this dog goes through with humor and a real attention to detail. Any child who’s lost a toy of their own will relate to the sadness poor Daisy feels – especially kids with a special fondness for pooches. The illustrations are swirling, colorful, and very expressive, which gives this book extra light and life, and helps to make Daisy’s feelings more realistic.
a sick day for amos mcgee A Sick Day for Amos McGee: In this story, the animals love their zookeeper so much, when he takes a sick day they all come to visit him! Philip and Erin Stead bring to life a story of friendship and fun. The illustrations are sure to make kids giggle, from the idea of elephants and rhinoceroses riding in a bus to see Amos to the little penguin sitting at the foot of his bed, holding a balloon. From elephants who play chess to owls who read goodnight stories and a bit of a slumber party, children will delight in this imaginative tale. Particularly good on sick days!.
the lion & the mouse The Lion & the Mouse: Sometimes books don’t need words, and in the timeless tale of kindness as illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, it is easy to see why this story was the winner of the Caldecott awards. The lion spares a tiny mouse that he intended to eat, and later on the little creature returns the kindness by rescuing the lion from a poacher’s trap. Done in colored pencil and watercolor, it brings to life the colors of the African plains and draws children in to a world with magnificent details. This is a book they will want to look at over and over again..
the house in the night The House in the Night : Using only shades of black, white, and yellow, and in a scratchboard style, the illustrations are completely intertwined with the text. Susan Marie Swanson works with illustrator Beth Krommes to create a simple yet warm tale that adults and children alike will relate to. The text takes on a layered approach; “Here is the key to the house. In the house burns a light. In that light rests a bed.” Readers will delve deeper and deeper into the cozy house and the book within. Like a fractal, it has a story within a story, which will awe kids and leave them smiling well after both stories have ended.
the invention of hugo cabret The Invention of Hugo Cabret : Most people attribute Caldecott medal award winners to thin picture books. This story, however, is meant for children ages 9-12. At a surprising 533 pages, this winner brings illustrations of all sorts to delighted eyes. Black and white, but with wonderful detail and the occasional photo. The main character, Hugo, lives inside the walls of a Paris train station. Mysteries abound in this tale and when Hugo’s life becomes entangled with a strange girl and an old man, all his secrets may fall apart and the world is no longer as it seems. It’s a unique take on an old format sure to surprise anyone.
flotsam Flotsam: Don’t expect to see any text at all within this story. Pictures and pictures alone tell the story. Readers will be captivated with this tale by David Wiesner.When a boy finds an underwater camera washed upon the shore of a beach, he finds that all the pictures reveal magical places within the sea. From strange sea creatures doing amazing things to shipwrecks that are more than what they seem, the last photo is of all the people who have found the camera before. With one last picture of himself mimicking all those before him, he releases the camera back to the sea, where it is found by another child at the end.

The skill and colors will have kids flipping through this book for hours, loving its ability to tell a story without words. Encouraging imagination for a few years now, there is no doubt it will do so for many years to come.

the hello, goodbye window The Hello, Goodbye Window : Norton Juster and illustrator Chris Raschka have teamed up to create a story told through the eyes of a child. Written for ages 4 through 8, a young girl sees the window to her grandparents’ house as an amazing place. Everything around that window is magic. Everyday activities become special, each experience transforms into something that is unique to the girl.A story that many children will easily relate to, the bright and free illustrations look as though a child could have drawn them in crayons, and yet still maintain an expert overtone through the added details and additional blended colors.
kitten’s first full moon Kitten’s First Full Moon : What a night to be a kitten! The moon is full and it is the first time Kitten sees it. It looks much like a bowl of milk, and she wants to have a drink of it. However, things don’t work out quite as she plans as she moves throughout the night, trying to reach the moon. She experiences many adventures in her search, finally deciding that it might be best to go home and have a drink from her own bowl of milk. Drawn completely in black and white, this book evokes the perfect image of a dark night awash in moonlight.
the man who walked between the towers The Man Who Walked Between the Towers: In 1974, the World Trade Center was near completion. One man by the name of Philippe Petit decided to take his skills as a French aerialist and show everyone his amazing talents. So he set up a tight rope from one tower to the next and spent nearly an hour walking back and forth and performing all sorts of tricks a quarter of a mile high.As parents read this story to their children, the best part is that it is a true tale. Children will be amazed by Philippe’s abilities. The illustrations are done in ink and oil by Mordicai Gerstein and provide dizzying perspectives to bring that sense of height right into any child’s bedroom.
my friend rabbit My Friend Rabbit: This story is great for best friends. When Mouse gets a new toy, he lets his friend Rabbit play with it. However, Rabbit gets the toy stuck in a tree. Things always tend to go wrong when Rabbit gets involved, and this time is no exception. But Rabbit is determined to get Mouse’s toy back, and because the two are such good friends, Mouse is willing to let him try.Fun and silly illustrations by Eric Rohmann bring the story to life. It focuses on friendship, toys, and the trouble that can develop when the two come together. Great for children ages 4-8, showing them what sharing and friendship means.
the three pigs The Three Pigs : David Wiesner has created many excellent children’s books, and this tale is one of them. Everyone knows the story of the three little pigs, but this time, a different approach has been taken. This time, the pigs escape the wolf and find themselves in another world entirely. It is here they meet other nursery rhyme and fantasy creatures such as a dragon, the cat and the fiddle, and more.The illustrations are magical, providing a fantastic three-dimensional look that kids will find themselves staring at for many long minutes before turning the page. A delightful 40 pages bring unique twists to well-known characters and stories for children and adults alike.
so you want to be president? So You Want to Be President? : There are plenty of facts that they don’t teach in the history books about our former Presidents. Judith St. George takes those facts and puts them together in this fun story about being President. From our first President George Washington, up until Bill Clinton, numerous tidbits and a lighthearted style bring together all sorts of information that even most adults don’t know: “People are crazy about log-cabin Presidents. They elected eight.” The illustrations utilize a caricature style that adds to the goofy approach the text provides. Good for fun or for a look into American President history, it’s a worthy book to be among Caldecott award winners.
joseph had a little overcoat Joseph Had a Little Overcoat : From an overcoat to a jacket to…who know? Simms Taback shows us what a bit of cloth can transform into over time through Joseph. Joseph starts with an overcoat, but as it gets too worn and full of holes, he takes it and turns it into something else he can use.This picture book brings an extra bit of fun to children through the actual die-cuts within the pages. Each hole acts as a little clue. Children can use these clues to guess what Joseph might make next. In the end, Taback shows that you can always make something – even out of nothing.
snowflake bentley Snowflake Bentley: Pictures of snowflakes abound in our world today, and through the tale set down by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, children can learn of how this came about. Wilson Bentley’s story of snowflake fascination will not only show children that no two snowflakes are alike, but also the kind of rewards that determination and love of your work can bring.The pages are full of vibrant colors and an abundance of snowflakes help to showcase Bentley’s love of nature and discoveries. Each illustration is done as a woodcarving Meant for children ages 5 through 8, children will love looking at each snowflake as they read about how one man showed everybody the magic of snowflakes.
rapunzel Rapunzel: Most people know the story of Rapunzel, and Paul O. Zelinsky used his storytelling power and beautiful illustrations to bring it to life. In this 48 page award winner, readers experience a retelling of the story complete with amazing full page Renaissance-like illustrations, lush with color and talent. Rapunzel’s hair, when let down from the tower, cascades in shimmering locks and braids and the intricate details on clothing and jewelry make for lovely added touches.Adults and children will both adore this tale, reading it over and over until the copy is worn out. No worries though – as a winner of the medal, it isn’t going anywhere!.
golem Golem: The golem comes from a Jewish legend that is brought into the world of children though David Wisniewski’s retelling of the tale. When the people within the book are oppressed and need help, a rabbi brings to life a giant made of clay. With this new creature’s aid, the people can be saved – and perhaps the golem will get his own chance to live free.Wisniewski doesn’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes by transforming the old tale into one of magic and fantasy. He uses cut-and-paper illustrations and the original story to show children the history of the tale as well as the conflict that surrounds the golem’s existence.
officer buckle and gloria Officer Buckle and Gloria: Poor Officer Buckle is ignored when police dog Gloria isn’t around. But suddenly, with Gloria, children are attentive to his speeches, even enjoying them! What is it about Gloria that makes them better? One day, the two are videotaped and he takes a look to see just what Gloria is doing when he’s not looking…A story full of giggles and silliness even as it teaches children safe habits, Peggy Rathman shows children the lighter side of learning safety with a very active dog and her oblivious owner. It ends in fun and gives all kids plenty of things to think about the next time their shoelaces become untied or they decide to go somewhere without a buddy.
smoky night Smoky Night: Most children’s books steer clear of subjects like urban violence, but not Eve Bunting and David Diaz. In this story, Daniel and his mother find themselves stuck amidst Los Angeles riots. They flee the area to go to a safe shelter where they learn to get along with others no matter what their background.Using a mix of thick paints and torn collage materials, children will be enthralled by the images as well as receive a message all people could learn to benefit from. It teaches even as it entertains; even the art never does quite differentiate characters’ races, a good reemphasis upon the story’s message.
Grandfather’s journey Grandfather’s Journey: Allen Say’s grandfather travels from Japan to America, and though he loves America, he misses his homeland of Japan. Throughout the book he moves back and forth, torn between which country he wants to call home and eventually this love shifts into Say himself, who goes from Japan to America and realizes what his grandfather loved so much.Still relevant even in today’s society, Allen Say’s story of his grandfather traveling from one country to another can resonate with anyone. It is perfect for immigrant children who may be able to relate, as well as teach native-born children what it might be like to come from somewhere else.
mirette on the high wire Mirette on the High Wire: Mirette lives in a world full of fascinating people. Along with Mirette, actors, dancers, jugglers, and more live in a boarding house, telling stories and showing off their talents. One day she finds a tightrope walker who takes her under his wing and shows her how to do it. Together they will overcome the fear of tightrope walking and the once great Bellini can become a master on the rope again.The story is accompanied by full page illustrations that are bright and colorful, from blue shutters on houses to Mirette’s fiery red hair. Reminiscent of French impressionist paintings, it’s the perfect sort of story to read on a sunny spring day.
tuesday Tuesday: Some might laughingly call this book a trip, and indeed in many ways, it is! Prepare to go on a ride with your children when this particular day of the week rolls around. You never know quite what you’re going to get, but this time, it will be frogs flying around on lily pads! Fun to leaf through, even the frogs don’t know what’s going on, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying themselves! Solid colors and skillful artistry bring this surreal tale to life – it’s no surprise it boasts a Caldecott Medal. David Wiesner is no stranger to this award. The story needs no text at all to explain to the reader what is going on – that is, if the reader can figure out why frogs might be flying around on lily pads in the first place.
black and white Black and White: A quick glance at the short summary on the front flap can leave people either confused or intrigued. David Macaulay doesn’t exactly bring children the typical beginning, middle, end story. Instead, it is almost dreamlike, with strange occurrences, people, and the unexpected. Nothing is as it seems within this story, which is sure to delight children with its essentially non-existent order. The goal is therefore reached; nothing is black and white as we tend to perceive it.Children ages 4 through 8 are sure to grin and read this book over and over, making their own interpretations each time and perhaps never coming to the same conclusion twice.
lon po po: a red-riding hood story from china Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China: Never judge a book by its cover. Though this story definitely has an intimidating cover, it is beloved by children all over. It provides an interesting take on the Red-Riding Hood tale many people know and love. Three girls remain at home while their mother visits their grandmother. It is then that the Wolf pretends to be the grandmother and goes to the girls’ home in order to eat them up. But the eldest daughter realizes who it truly is and together, they find out a way to save themselves and get rid of the wolf. The illustrations provide a sense of mystery and cunning, using colors and shadow and a unique style to best showcase this particular tale.
song and dance man Song and Dance Man: In this original tale, three children go to the attic with their grandfather. It is there he puts on his old vaudeville costume and performs for them. Through these children, readers can see what it was like to be a vaudeville actor, as well as take away that you are only as old as you feel.Color pencil illustrations almost make the pages look as though they have been covered in watercolors. The myriad of rainbow shadings blend together to create a fun and almost dreamy feel. It is a delight to read to children ages 3 to 7, especially for grandparents who may decide to use the opportunity to tell their grandchildren a little about themselves afterward.
owl moon Owl Moon: A classic for over twenty years, the story of a father and daughter hiking through the woods to find the Great Horned Owl is still beloved by readers today. Under the light of a full moon, they cross over glittering snow banks, beneath stark tree branches, and around snowy coated pine trees. The skill of the storytelling and open feeling the illustrations produce will make readers feel breathless in cold winter air and huddle more beneath warm sheets. It offers a sense of magic in the middle of the night – a great read for fathers and daughters over a cup of hot chocolate on a wintry night.
hey, al Hey, Al: Take a trip to a fantastical world in this story. It begins with Al, a janitor, and his dog Eddie who live in a little apartment. Times are tough and the apartment is tiny. The two are about to crack when suddenly a mystifying bird appears and offers them a life in paradise. The two go on a strange adventure and eventually realize that their lives back home weren’t so bad after all. Now, all they have to do is find a way to get home.This story is full of bright and charming illustrations that show all sorts of crazy birds that surround Al and Eddie. Kids will enjoy the interactions between all the animals and learn that even something like paradise can come with a price. Home sweet home never rang more true!.
the polar express The Polar Express: Now made into a fantastic movie, Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s books always bring a sense of wonder and magic into any child’s world. A boy who goes unnamed throughout the book goes on an amazing journey to the North Pole to greet Santa Claus. This story quickly became a staple of Christmas, second only to the classic “The Night Before Christmas.” Instead of sugar plums, we get dancing reindeer and glorious silver bells. There’s no dashing to a window, but instead riding a train through snowy forests and under glimmering stars. It is a tale that can put a spark of warmth and Christmas cheer into any heart, no matter what time of the year.
saint george and the dragon Saint George and the Dragon: Margaret Hodges takes a small part from the old tale of Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene and with Trina Schart Hyman’s fantastic illustrations, brings it straight onto children’s bookshelves. The age-old tale of a troublesome dragon slain by the gallant knight will entertain children and adults. Who doesn’t love an incredible tale of bravery and dragon-slaying?The illustrations are almost like stained glass windows with their color and awe-inspiring detail. Each page will remain open for several minutes before either the person doing the reader or the person being read to will be willing to go on. Destined to become a favorite, it’s no wonder this story won a Caldecott Medal.
the glorious flight: across the channel with louis bleriot The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot (1984): No fantasy here, as Alice Provensen tells the story of one man’s dream to cross the English Channel using a flying machine.The text that accompanies each illustration is almost more like a caption, allowing the pictures to do much of the storytelling. The illustrations themselves are simple and clear-cut, the colors helping to add to the tone of the story as well as the history of the time. This tale is excellent for showing children what things were like in the 1900s, how airplanes and flying were far from what they are now, and how things we take for granted now were amazing accomplishments back then.
shadow Shadow: Marcia Brown is no stranger to creating Caldecott books. Using a poem written by Blaise Cendrars, she has created a book that focuses on the shadow and how it is much more than what we perceive it to be. It follows us in more places than we think, even to places we might never think of.For some children, this story can be a little eerie, though it is meant to entrance rather than perturb. It is filled with enigmatic lines that some children and adults may not fully understand, but when coupled with Brown’s talented illustrations, complete comprehension may not matter as the feelings the book evokes overall is what matters.
jumanji Jumanji: Chris Van Allsburg has a knack for creating Caldecott award winners. A magical game leads to a wild jungle flourishing within a house and the only way to get rid of the monkeys, lions, and other rowdy creatures, someone must win the game. Allsburg’s illustrations bring the story to life with their realism that make it seem as though the reader has stepped into the situation alongside the characters.Not only is this story beloved by children everywhere, but it gained even more notice when it became a movie. Now, more than ever, people want a chance to play Jumanji and experience its crazy power – even if it does mean dealing with a jungle and unexpected animals!.
fables Fables : Arnold Lobel, creator of Frog and Toad, brings in unique stories in this children’s book. It encourages children’s imaginations with fun and splendid ideas such as camels pirouetting through deserts, a wolf who looks like an apple tree (or is it an apple tree that looks like a wolf?), and as on the cover, a bear who wears a frying pan for a hat and has paper bag boots.Amusing and filled with happy thoughts, Lobel’s fables are whimsical and perfect for children who aren’t yet ready to tackle Grimm’s fairy tales, but love a good story all the same.
ox-cart man Ox-Cart Man: Seasons change, time passes, and what better way to show the passage of time than through the life of a New Englander and his family? Donald Hall presents a tale of a man during the early nineteenth century. As the year progresses and the family creates and gathers things such as clothing and feathers from geese. Eventually it is packed up in a cart and taken to market. There, the man sells everything, including his ox. Then he returns home with the money and the cycle starts all over again.The illustrations are simple and yet breathtakingly beautiful in several spots, such as when the man returns home and the sky behind him is awash in red, pale yellow, faint green, and blue. It gives children a glimpse into the past and shows the importance of hard work.
the girl who loved wild horses The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses: This children’s book focuses on a Native American girl who was a great friend to the wild horses of their lands. The horses all love her and allow her to be near them and sleep among them. One night, a terrible storm drives them all far from her home, and she is taken in by the stallion leader of the horses. Now she must decide if she wants to remain with them or try to return to her family and home.Paul Goble presents the story alongside bold paintings with bright colors. The horses are strong and proud and stand amidst a vivid landscape with the girl. Any child that loves horses will enjoy this tale.
noah’s ark Noah’s Ark: The story of Noah and the ark he built is known to many people and children. Peter Spier uses his talent as an artist to best showcase the story. Religious or not, it is indeed an amazing story that utilizes almost no text at all and the illustrations take on almost a Where’s Waldo type quality. Numerous animals fill the pages, milling around as clotheslines attached at the top of the ark with clothing billow in the wind, birds fly everywhere, and just about any creature one can think is represented within the pages. From elephants to dolphins, the ark overflows with animal fun that children from all over can appreciate.
ashanti to zulu: african traditions Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions: Leo and Diane Dillon combine the alphabet and African tribes to create a wholly unique ABC experience. They bring together the different tribes’ customers, traditions, and styles for each letter. Filled with rich color and detailed illustrations, both child and parent will learn something new. It provides a fun and interesting way to learn about other cultures at a young age (the book is meant for children 5 through 8), and it may easily become a favorite for its non-typical picture book approach. There is also a map included so readers can see where each tribe is located in Africa.
why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ear Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ear: The kind of story that sticks in a child’s head well until he or she is an adult, this retold African tale takes on a life of its own. Using bright, full-color illustrations with a distinctive African flavor, children can enjoy the folk tale that explains why those annoying mosquitoes buzz around in our ears. All because of the mosquito’s annoying habit of telling tall tales, things lead to a tragedy. Due to this tragedy, Mother Owl refuses to wake the sun. King Lion finds out why, and in the end, the mosquito is admonished. While it may not be the real reason mosquitoes buzz in our ears, it’s a fun thought.
arrow to the sun Arrow to the Sun: Gerald McDermott brings an old Pueblo Indian folktale to life with his powerful and boldly colored illustrations. It is the story of how the Lord of the Sun is brought into the world of men. Through the courage of a boy who shoots an arrow into the sun, light is brought to the world. When he returns, the people celebrated with the Dance of Life.This story not only brings children unique native style illustrations, but also a taste from another culture and another time. It will draw children in because of all these things that make it different from other picture books.
duffy and the devil Duffy and the Devil: During the nineteenth century in Cornwall, this tale was popular during the Christmas season when children would go from house to house and perform it. Now, Harve and Margot Zemach have used their talents to bring it into the twentieth century to children everywhere. The tale itself is very similar to a Rumpelstiltskin story; a young girl named Duffy wishes to win the hand of Squire Lovel and makes a few promises about her knitting skill that she cannot keep. That is when a little Devil pops in and says he will do her work and after three years, she must go with him instead. The only way Duffy can break the deal is by guessing the Devil’s name.
the funny little woman The Funny Little Woman: Set in old Japan, a woman who seems to find the humor in everything chases after an escaped dumpling. This dumpling brings her more trouble than she expected, for she soon finds herself face to face with three evil Oni. She must use all her wits to escape their grasp.Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent have created an interesting story that will have children captivated. Though the illustrations aren’t as bright as most parents expect, it won’t be enough to sway children away from the story. The detail as well as the places and things the woman encounters will be enough to keep them glued to the story until the very end.
one fine day One Fine Day: Nonny Hogrogian tells the tale of a fox who, after a day of traveling through the forest, finds an old woman’s milk pail. Thirty from his travels, he takes a drink, only to suddenly lose his tail under the old woman’s knife. If he wants it sewn back on, he has to go through a lot of bargaining with other creatures.It’s a fun, tiered story in which the fox must keep performing tasks and obtaining items for everyone in order to get his beloved tail back. One character wants a jug, but in order to get a jug from someone else, the fox must find yet another item. Only when readers reach the end will they find out whether or not the fox gets his tail back as well as his thirst quenched!.
a story a story A Story A Story: A lot of people are familiar with Kwaku Ananse, the “spider man.” They are known as the “Spider Stories” and this story is how all other stories came to be. Gail E. Haley tells us the tale of when there were no stories at all. They were all kept by Nyame, the Sky God. When Ananse wanted to buy some of the stories, but he had to pay the Sky God in return. Using his own set of clever tricks, Ananse is able to pay the Sky God and thus stories were brought to the land. It is a delightful tale surrounded by large and colorful woodcut illustrations that bring the flavor of Africa right into a child’s bedroom.
sylvester and the magic pebble Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: This children’s book quickly takes on a sad quality, but has a happy ending. Then Sylvester the donkey finds a magic pebble, a sudden turn of events leads him to wish himself into a rock. Unable to fix the problem, he’s stuck as a rock for a long time while his parents grieve over his disappearance. William Steig, the author, makes sure readers get a loving reunion between son and parents in the resolution.Written for children ages 5 to 8, it’s a wonderful tale everyone can cozy up together and enjoy, relishing their time with one another and the love shared between parents and children.
the fool of the world and the flying ship The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: The Czar has proclaimed that any man that can bring him a flying machine will marry his daughter. The story then follows the Fool of the World as he searches for a flying ship and all the interesting characters he meets along the way.Valeri Gorbachev adapts an old Ukrainian folk tale to the pages of this tale, using pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations that bring out the sense of Gorbachev’s native Ukraine. Children will marvel at the fantastic places and people that the Fool meets and have a great time along with him on his adventures until he finally reaches his goal for a happily ever after ending.
drummer hoff Drummer Hoff: An interesting story, this tale focuses on the building of a cannon. While some parents may find this strange, the focus is more on the folk song the story is based on. Seven soldiers come together to create a magnificent cannon, which the Hoff the Drummer eventually gets to fire. It is really the illustrations that will catch readers’ interest as the woodcuts and colors look more like elaborate mosaics all pieced together to create a final, fantastic image. With words that rhyme and fun repetition, parents and children will have a fun time reading this book together and enjoying all it has to offer.
sam, bangs & moonshine Sam, Bangs & Moonshine: If your child has a wonderful imagination, then stories like this one will be perfect. Young Samantha is a fisherman’s daughter. She dreams beautiful dreams, which her father calls moonshine. Bangs is her cat, whom she often talks to. Sam imagines all sorts of things, from mermaids to kangaroos. However, her imagination eventually brings trouble to one of her friends and she finally realizes when to avoid bringing her dreams into reality.This is a story that teaches kids the importance of being truthful and separating their fun fancies from the rest of the world. Everything comes together through the illustrations using bold brushstrokes and the occasional abstract style.
always room for one more Always Room for One More: The title of this tale represents what the hero, Lachie MacLachlan, says to all those who comes to his doorstep. No matter how many people visit his home, he always lets them in – with the occasional amusing outcome. Sorche Nic Leodhas teams up with Nonny Hogrogian to give life to this Scottish story. It ends with a heartwarming “thank you” from all Lachie’s guests and readers will have a good time gazing at the dreamy illustrations. The people are almost shadowlike in their black and white forms while the area around them sweeps with pinks and greens. Though written in 1966, it is a story with a message that continues on to this day.
may i bring a friend? May I Bring a Friend?: Surrounded by backgrounds of mostly purples and pinks, a king and queen often have a young boy over to visit with them. The boy always requests to bring a friend and the two monarchs always agree. In fact, they are rather patient considering the boy brings in friends such as giraffes, monkeys, even lions and more!Kids will delight in reading this book and turning the page to find out just what they boy will bring in next. Some of the animals are not always well behaved, but the king and queen always weather it with good graces. On the seventh day, the there is a bit of a surprise for everyone – readers included.
where the wild things are Where the Wild Things Are: More than just a winner of the Caldecott Medal, this story has been loved by children throughout the world for years. Every child dreams of sailing to the island of the Wild Things, becoming their king, and dancing with them throughout the night. It’s a tale of wild abandon and strange creatures, escaping from real life but eventually returning to home again.It’s a story that has captured the imagination of children for over 25 years and became a live action movie in October of 2009, coming more to life than ever before. This is a story that will never leave a child’s memory and will remain on bookstore shelves for many, many years to come.
the snowy day The Snowy Day: Everybody loves the first snowfall of winter. Author Ezra Jack Keats aims to please with this tale of a young boy named Peter who plays in the snow all day. There are snow banks to play in, snowmen to build, snow angels to be made, snowballs to be thrown, and so much more! No other story has captured the fun of a snow-filled day in the city quite like this one. Adults and children alike will love it. There is no wonder it is among Caldecott books; this is a story that kids remember well into lifetime, and always remembering it with a smile.
once a mouse Once a Mouse: Author and illustrator Marcia Brown is no stranger to childrens books or winning awards. In this story, her retelling of an Indian fable coupled with her skilled woodcut illustrations bring the story to life for every child to enjoy.A hermit has the power to change a small mouse into different animals; a cat, a dog, and a tiger. However, each time it changes, the once-mouse grows more and more vain. In the end, the lesson is that you should be happy with who and what you are as well as appreciating what others can do for you. A great read for adults and children to entertain as well as teach.
baboushka and the three kings Baboushka and the Three Kings: Many old folktales have become Caldecott award winners, and this story is one of them. Derived from a Russian folktale about an old woman who seeks the baby Jesus, it opens with the woman meeting the three Wisemen. The woman says she will go to see the child after finishing her chores and taking some rest. However, the next day she cannot find their trail. From then on every year, she renews her search in the hopes of finding the child.This story may not be for everyone because the woman never actually finds the Christ child. The moral of the story is not to wait when opportunities present themselves.
nine days to christmas Nine Days to Christmas: This story comes from Mexico, and it tells the tale of a young girl named Ceci. Ceci is about to experience her first Christmas posada party. The party as well as the wonderful piñata has brought all the people of her village together as they celebrate the occasion.The story is still relevant today and can be a good method of teaching children about other cultures and their customs. Not everyone celebrates the same, but the feeling of fun, love, and good times overall is seen throughout the book, which many children can relate to, no matter what their background.
chanticleer and the fox Chanticleer and the Foxe: Many years ago, Geoffery Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales. Barbara Cooney took one of those tales and transformed it into an award winning story. It is a story about a rooster and a fox; the rooster struts around all day, proud of his domain, until one day a hungry fox jumps in and snatches him up. The rooster will have to do some quick thinking to save himself and get rid of the fox. The story is simple and yet delightful, with bright illustrations that echo the times that Chaucer lived in, giving every child not only an introduction to English literature, but also a glimpse into the past.
time of wonder Time of Wonder: Robert McCloskey uses lyrical language to tell the story of a family who spends time in a little house on a Main island. While there, they experience gentle rain, foggy mornings, quiet nights, and the scare of a hurricane. Throughout the story, seagulls gracefully sail through the sky, the family enjoys the thrill of sailing, and the illustrations provide a vibrant look into their everyday activities. The paintings are perfect in evoking all the right emotions, using gorgeous blues for the water, bright greens for forested hills in the background, and bright oranges and yellows for added color and sunshine. It is a great story to help bring forth any child’s imagination.
a tree is nice A Tree is Nice: Everybody loves trees – why wouldn’t they? Janice May Udry gives a number of reasons why “Trees are very nice.” The reasons are wide, varying from funny to factual, all presented in a simple yet poetic way that kids will love to read or be read to. The story is accompanied by charming illustrations that demonstrate the reasons as performed with child characters, such as lounging beneath a tree on a sunny day, going fishing, or climbing. The illustrations are presented half in color, half black and white. This story is enough to give any child a new appreciation for trees.
frog went a-courtin’ Frog Went A-Courtin’: Even for children who aren’t familiar with the original story or song, this story will introduce them to the ballad about a frog who seeks to court and marry a mouse. It’s a romping time with a sword-carrying frog, a modest mouse, a party at the wedding with a banjo-playing bee and a flea that’s not afraid to perform a few jigs. The illustrations are colorful and present the animals as realistically as can be when playing instruments and wearing clothes. With so many fun and fantastical things occurring, it’s probably a good idea to avoid reading this story right before bed!.
cinderella, or the little glass slipper Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper: Just about everyone knows some version of the Cinderella story, and Marcia Brown presents children with her own tale that doesn’t stray far from the one most people know and love. Cinderella has to do the bidding of her nasty stepmother and mean stepsisters, until her fairy godmother finally arrives and gives her the chance to go to the ball and meet the handsome prince. The illustrations are full of color and done in a whispy sort of way, created through a mixed media of pen-and-ink and dye. When there is no Disney to turn to, Caldecott award winners like this one will make for an excellent read aloud for your little one.
madeline’s rescue Madeline’s Rescue: A little girl by the name of Madeline is familiar to a lot of people – adults and children alike. When Madeline falls into a river one day, she is rescued by a courageous dog. The girls quickly adopt the dog – except there are twelve girls and only one dog. Things get a little frustrating, and even more so when they are told that their beloved dog has to go!Children and pets seem to go hand in hand, and this is sure to be a big hit with any child – especially when they find out the surprise in the end! Ludwig Bemelmans adds plenty of character to this story with his rich illustrations. If you have more than one child, hopefully there will be enough book to go around!.
the biggest bear The Biggest Bear: Children love stories about bears. They’re cute and cuddly and harmless – so they think. Young Johnny Orchard has found himself a bear cub and takes care of it. However, eventually the little bear grows into an enormous one that bothers the neighbors and gets Johnny into trouble. Finally Johnny has to release the bear into the woods, but can he do it or will the bear keep finding its way back home?A good book to show children that bears aren’t exactly fun and games (though the bear’s facial expressions presented in the illustrations are great fun). The pages are filled with talented art by Lynd Ward that really captures the action of the book.
finders keepers Finders Keepers: With a clear message of sharing in mind, this story opens with two dogs, Winkle and Nap, digging away in the dirt. They find a bone, but immediately each one claims, “I saw it first, it’s mine!” The two can’t decide and everyone is too busy to help them. They need to hurry and settle on something because Mr. Longshanks, a big unpleasant dog, will take it away from them if they can’t.The illustrations, though mostly in orange, black, and white, are still fun and interesting. The story is enjoyable for kids 4 through 8 and helps to teach them that sharing is a good idea that will make everyone happy.
the egg tree The Egg Tree: When Easter comes around, this story is just right for the occasion. Children will read and learn how a family’s tradition of making an Easter egg tree came about. When the children in the book discover special Easter eggs in the attic, their grandmother tells them how she made them and hung them from a tree.The illustrations by Katherine Milhous use a wide array of colors and are sure to captivate children as they read about this interesting tradition. The story may very well give children the idea to start their own tradition of creating an Easter egg tree themselves.
song of the swallows Song of the Swallows: Re-released in April 2009, Leo Politi’s Caldecott Medal winning story tells of the swallows the fly away from San Juan Capistrano. In spring they return. It is little Juan’s dream that when they return, they will nest in his garden. One year, his wish finally comes true.The faded colors of the illustrations add extra character to the story as swallows swoop to and fro on the pages. Children will enjoy the friendship between Juan and Julian, the gardener at the mission. It may even encourage kids to find a way to attract their favorite birds to their own yard.
the big snow The Big Snow: Berta and Elmer Hader are experts in childrens books and it is this story that won them the prestigious award. All the animals in the forest are preparing for winter. Children will learn about different ways animals do this, and how they react when the first big snowfall comes. From pheasants to deer, each animal has a unique method of weathering the cold seasons. Entertaining as well as educational, the illustrations provide a glimpse into a world that some children may never get to see, rich in shading and color. The ending may provide a sweet surprise for anyone reading this tale.
white snow, bright snow White Snow, Bright Snow: Look at all the snow! All the white drifts really make the colors of the houses and cars pop in this story. While parents and adults run around and prepare, children laugh and prance in the white, fluffy snow. Alvin Tresselt and Roger Duvoisin present snow in all its exciting glory, reawakening the joy all children feel when a good, heavy snowfall comes to town. Even adults reading this story may feel that fun twinge of giddiness in remembering a snow angel or snowball fight. Written over 50 years ago, it provides a charming look into life that is much different from today’s.
the little island The Little Island: A little island sits in the middle of the ocean. It weathers storms and is surrounded by fish. One day a kitten visits the island and the two speak to each other. As they talk, the kitten learns a few things about the island that it didn’t know before.Children ages 4 to 8 can learn much through this simple story. They can learn about the changes a place may go through over time, how an island may react to a storm, and how and island is still connected to land though it is surrounded by water. Margaret Wise Brown has several Caldecott books, and this story has earned it, with bright, sweeping pictures and entertaining yet interesting text.
the rooster crows The Rooster Crows: Many American rhymes and jingles have long since disappeared from everyday children’s fun, but with this title, they can all come back. Miska Petersham has compiled several of the most well-known playtime rhymes for several occasions such as general rhymes, finger games, rope skipping rhymes, counting-out rhymes, and more. Songs and jingles such as “Yankee Doodle,” and “Lazy Mary” can all come back to life, accompanied by fun and soft illustrations that can bring back memories of bygone times for adults and keep children entertained for hours. It’s difficult to say who might enjoy this book more – kids or adults!.
prayer for a child Prayer For A Child: The complete prayer is actually written whole on the first page. Afterward, each line gets its own page, coupled together with wonderful illustrations that echo the words. The entire prayer is done in rhymed couplets: “Bless the lamplight, bless the fire / Bless the hands that never tire” which can be fun for children to repeat, or for kids and parents to read together.A reference to Jesus may either entice or deter parents in obtaining this book for their child, but as it has won a Caldecott Medal, one can be sure that it contains nothing but positive thoughts and encouraging intent.
many moons Many Moons: James Thurber and Louis Slobodkin bring a fun fairy tale to life concerning a princess, a moon, the king, and a court jester. The princess desires the moon, and yet it is too big and far away – the king cannot find anyone able to get it. He tells his troubles to the court jester, who uses his wit to find a way to obtain the moon for the princess.Great fun for any fantasy lovers out there, from the jester’s insight to the princess’s “That’s easy, silly,” remarks and how she perceives the moon. A delight for children ages 4 through 8 and a bit of joy for any adults who have rediscovered this story after years of its absence.
the little house The Little House: Virginia Lee Burton’s tale of a small house slowly being surrounded by the big city rings true even today. For over sixty years, this tale has endured, just as the little house within the book has. For children ages 5 to 8, it tells of a small house that was built out in the country. Eventually, roads were built in front of it, then more homes, and soon, huge skyscrapers.But there is a light at the end of the story. The house is brought back to the country by the descendent of the original owner. The house itself is personified; “She watched the children going back to school.” She gets a happy ending that will leave readers, old and young, glad and probably wishing for a little house out in the country all for their own.
make way for ducklings Make Way for Ducklings: A simple but truly lovable story, this is in every way worthy of the award that has been bestowed upon it. Two mallard ducks search for a place to raise their family. They finally found it, and after the ducklings hatch, they eventually make a trek through the city toward a quaint pond. Luckily for them, the police are on their side and make sure the way is safe all the way through.Perfect for children of any age, this story will make them grin even after they’ve passed the age of 25, lending them fond memories of adorable ducklings marching their little ducky way behind their mother. Simple yet highly skilled illustrations bring the ducks and their world to life, making this a book that will not soon to be forgotten, if ever.
they were strong and good They Were Strong and Good: This story is a classic tale that can show children the hardships some families had to endure to get where they are today. They may find that their ancestors had to go through these very same ordeals and better appreciate what they have now.The story follows a family through time, from coming to America to fighting in the Civil War to two families meeting to create one family. The author, Robert Lawson, writes about his own family’s history in this tale, but it is one that many people can relate to. Powerful black and white images help give the story an extra touch of sentiment.
abraham lincoln Abraham Lincoln: Many books include famous people, but this is the only award winner so far to take a peek into the life of this particular President. An excellent biographical choice for first time reader, the text is simple and does not get too entangled with outside thoughts or overly sentimental attitudes. From his simple beginnings in a log cabin to the President that brought an end to slavery, this story encompasses Lincoln’s life as a whole to provide an inspiring sight during today’s skeptical times. Bright illustrations add to the book’s energy and give children a look into the life of our sixteenth President.
mei li Mei Li: Now out of print, this story by Thomas Handforth focuses on a young girl’s meeting with the Kitchen God. The story takes place in China where all day she has enjoyed the fun and excitement of the New Year’s Eve festivities. When she is greeted by the Kitchen God, she is told that her home is her kingdom and everyone is her subject. A very unique and fanciful tale, it can be a bit disappointing to find that the illustrations are all black and white. With all the colors described in the text, children won’t be able to enjoy the visual stimulus. However, it can also lead to the use of imagination and teaching them about colors. It is a fun book, no matter how it is viewed, but can be slightly difficult to obtain.
animals of the bible, a picture book Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book: The very first winner of the Caldecott award winners, this story takes a look at many of the animals that are included within the Bible. Using excerpts from the Bible itself, Dorothy P. Lathrop creates an amazing combination of words and rich black and white illustrations full of detail that will awe little eyes.Though some may not accept it for its religious content, it is still an amazing look at the creatures that are still on the planet, from tame sheep to wild gazelle, bears to lions, and how they are all special in their own way. The text may potentially be too wordy for young readers, but as they grow they will better understand their meaning and appreciate this title even more.

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