Monday, January 28, is a big day in the world of children’s picture books. The 2013 Caldecott Medal will be awarded as well as some honorable mentions. If you aren’t obsessed with children’s books like myself, then you may not care a lick; but in case you want to at least be a little knowledgeable, I am here to help. Here are 10 interesting things to know about the Caldecott Medal:
1. It is awarded to the “most distinguished” children’s picture book printed in the United States in the previous calendar year.
2. The illustrator must be a citizen or maintain residence in the United States of America.
3. The award is given based on the illustrations for that particular book only, not the artist’s full body of work.
Fifteen committee members vote until they have 1 winner. Strangely, all fifteen are women this year.
4. This is the 75th year for the award.
View all the winners and honorables on the ALSC website.
5. The award is named after Randolph (Ralph) Caldecott, 1846-1886.
Randolph Caldecott is called the father of the modern picture book. Maurice Sendak summed it up well when he said, “Caldecott’s work heralds the beginning of the modern picture book. He devised an ingenious juxtaposition of picture and word, a counterpoint that never happened before. Words are left out—but the picture says it. Pictures are left out—but the word says it. In short, it is the invention of the picture book.”
6. The book awarded receives a bronze medal sticker for the rest of its publication life.
7. The illustration on the medal is based on an illustration by Ralph Caldecott called The Diverting Story of John Gilpin.
8. The first book awarded was in 1938 and was Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book by Dorothy P. Lathrop.
9. There are usually 1-5 honor books named.
They used to be called runners-ups but that changed in 1971.
10. Two illustrators have received the award three times, Marcia Brown (1955, 1962, 1983) and David Wiesner (1992, 2002, 2007), as well as receiving several honors apiece.
There you go. A short intro to the Caldecott medal. I’m so excited about Monday’s announcement I’ve been reading everything I can with guesses and discussions. Now, who wants to attend my 2013 Caldecott party? So far, my guests are a baby and a crazy Jack Russell….