Monday, July 4, 2011

Caldecott Award Winners and Honor Books

Week of July 3—Picture Books for Your Summer Reading Enjoyment
Monday, July 4—Caldecott Award Winners and Honor Books

Happy 4th of July!

The Caldecott Awards were first presented in 1938. Named for nineteenth century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott, the award is presented annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. You can visit the official Caldecott Medal Home Page at There you will find a list of past winners and additional information about the award.

Many book stores and libraries have special sections that feature Caldecott-award winning books and honor books. To sit in this section of your local book store or library is to take a history course in American picture books. Many of the delightful books you will find there are still perennial favorites. Be aware that many of the titles might not even sell in today’s difficult market, but we still can learn from them. While the award is given for illustration, you will also find great literature within the pages of these books.

For your summer reading list you need look no further than this year’s Caldecott Medal Winner and Caldecott Honor Books.

The 2011 Caldecott Medal winner is A Sick Day for Amos, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. This is the first book by this husband-wife duo. The book is a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing, © 2010.

This is a warm story of friendship between the zookeeper, Amos McGee, and the animals at the zoo. When Mr. McGee gets the sniffles, he receives a surprise visit from the animals. The illustrations are lovely and award-worthy, but the text is also memorable. The story is unique, uses great language choices, wonderful text features such as parenthetical phrases, and purposeful repetition.

Two books were included in the 2011 Caldecott Honor Books category. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier was published by Little, Brown, and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., © 2010. The realistic illustrations and poetic text are delightful and weave the reader through this non-fiction story. Even if you don’t think you would ever write historical fiction, you need to read this book and study the writing craft that went into the text.

The second Caldecott Honor Book for 2011 is Interrupting Chicken written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein. The book was published by Candlewick Press, © 2010.
The story features Little Chicken and her Papa, who just wants to get through a bedtime story without his daughter’s interruptions. My kids at school love interrupting animal knock-knock jokes, so I know this will be a favorite for kids. The book also shows authors some neat writing tricks. Take a peck . . . I mean peek!

I have started a collection of Caldecott award-winning books. I carry a list in my writer's notebook since the books often seem to not have the Caledcott seal. Keep your eyes peeled when you're at garage sales and used book stores.

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