80 Years of Caldecott Winners

For all you book lovers, this year marks the 80th year of the prestigious Caldecott Medal Award.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children”, beginning with 1937 publications.

This award is presented to the artist (illustrator) , while the Newbery Medal is presented to the author for literature.

I knew nothing of this award until I visited our library when my children were young.  I quickly learned to spot the emblem, the gold seal affixed to the  cover of the book.  For me, it was a huge help in selecting books.  So, if you see a gold or silver (2nd place) emblem on a book, like the one below, rest assured it is an excellent book.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts currently has on display all eighty Caldecott winning books.  All eighty.  I was a child in a candy store the moment I walked into the exhibit.  The books are displayed on a shelf, all front-facing of course, in the proper order from this year’s winner to the 1938 winner.  Newest to oldest.  Even the oldest books are highly recognizable, such as Make Way For Ducklings and The Little House.  Interspersed is original artwork from many of the books.  For example, from The Polar Express  hangs the illustration of Santa Clause holding up the bell and announcing, “The first gift of Christmas.”

After circling the room many times to enjoy every book, It struck me to take a video that would film all the books, in order.  I did just that!  It is broken into two short videos, with the second one picking up where the first one leaves off.

Here we go, starting with 2018:

Here we go, ending with 1938:

The exhibit will be on display through May 13th.  There’s always something wonderful at The Carle.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, books, children's books, Early Education, Eric Carle, museums, picture books, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to 80 Years of Caldecott Winners

  1. What people often don’t know is that illustrations from children’s picture book were done by some of the most prominent fine artists of their day, like Mary Blair and Gustaf Tenggren. What a neat idea for an exhibit!

  2. beetleypete says:

    I had never heard of this before, and really enjoyed seeing all the books.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Well done with the videos, Jennie! Kudos. Hugs.

  4. L. Marie says:

    So many wonderful books. I have some of these in my collection. The Snowy Day is still one of my favorites.

  5. Thank you! I’d never get to see these on my own.

  6. Darlene says:

    Thank you so much for videoing the exhibit so we can all see it! Even those of us in Spain! I loved seeing all these wonderful books. I had a copy of the Madelaine book as a child and loved it, especially the illustrations.

  7. Luanne says:

    Love this post! I agree with you about using the Caldecott and Newbery medals as guidance in choosing books for children. Their sensibilities are fine. Sometimes an honor book coulda/shoulda been the winner, in my opinion hahaha, but that is really slicing it thin. I have a pretty good collection of both “sets” up until about 2005 or so. Not complete by any means, but a lot of books. I can’t part with them as I hope for grandchildren in my future.

  8. Luanne says:

    I meant to say their sensibilities are mine hah!

  9. This museum sounds wonderful, Jennie. I would love it too. There is nothing like a beautifully illustrated children’s book with a good story.

  10. FlowerAlley says:

    I saw many of my favorite books in here. What a great post. Thank you.

  11. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is another wonderful post from Jennie!

  12. Ritu says:

    Awesome Jennie!

  13. An exceptional display, Jennie. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Dan Antion says:

    I wasn’t aware of this museum until reading your posts. What a great idea. I love the tour you’ve given us. Right now, I think I’d rather think about making way for ducklings than another snowy day,

  15. I knew nothing about this tribute either. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Norah says:

    What an amazing collection of books, and we are the winners because we get to read them all! I noticed some old favourites and even a few unfamiliar in your videos. Thank you for taking those and helping us to experience the exhibition with you. One day, I want to visit the Eric Carle museum. It looks wonderful.

    • Jennie says:

      It really is an amazing collection. I wish my phone video skills had been a bit better. Like you, I know many books,and some were unfamiliar. I was surprised that the original Madeline was an honor book, not a winner. Actually, the honor books (silver medal) are just as good. I am so glad you enjoyed this, Norah. If I can help others to experience this remarkable museum, that is a good thing! If you ever get here, we will go visit together. 🙂

      • Norah says:

        The silver medallists are all fabulous, as are many others that don’t even get to be winners at all. As long as they win the hearts of some readers, that’s what matters.
        Thank you for your invitation, Jennie. I’d love to visit the museum with you. 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        You are absolutely right. I think of a multitude of outstanding books that haven’t won the award and are beloved by children (and adults). We will have the best time at the museum if you get here. 🙂

      • Norah says:

        I can but dream at the moment. One day, hopefully, a reality. 🙂

  17. Oh my. I loved the video. Thanks so much for showing them all to us, Jennie. What a treat since I probably wouldn’t get to see them in person. I just love picture books. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      I’m so glad you loved this, Diana, albeit my primitive video skills. I was struck by being in the presence of 80 winners. Humbling is an understatement. Scanning the books with a video seemed like a rather brilliant idea. That was the only way to share this. Like you, I love picture books. It’s what I do.

  18. Thanks for sharing this wonderful exhibit, such a great collection of books. I hadn’t realized it was the 80th anniversary. 🙂

  19. Jennie says:

    ….was overwhelming to a children’s book lover, in the best of ways. 80 years is remarkable. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Marcia. Thank you.

  20. reocochran says:

    This was such a beautiful gift 🎁 to us, Jennie!! I loved finding some that I remembered and others I want to check out sometime from the library! Books, this museum, plus your friendship mean so very much! 📖📕📚

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks, Robin. I’m so glad you liked the video. I couldn’t imagine any other way to show all eighty books. Like you, it was thrilling to see books I knew, and I need to read those that are new to me. I echo your words and feel the same way: books, this museum, and your friendship mean so very much! 😍

  21. Pingback: Sunday Post – 25th March, 2018 | Brainfluff

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