The Coveted and Classic Caldecott Medal Celebrates 75 Years of Creative Reads
Snuggery readers may have noticed the 75th Caldecott Anniversary logo featured on the web site this week. Created by Caldecott Medal winner, Brian Selznick, winner of a Caldecott for his picture book in 2008, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the logo celebrates ten iconic characters in the Caldecott history of distinguished picture books and is representative of the 75-year span of the awarding of the medal from 1938 to the present.
I’m sure parents have noticed over the years the replicated gold seal on picture books that have either won the medal or are designated Caldecott Honor Books. The medal itself is bronze and its inscription at its outset read, in part, “Awarded annually by the Children’s and School Librarians Section of the American Library Association..” though the group awarding the medal today is now technically called the Association for Library Service to Children, still a division of the American Library Association.
Named in honor of Randolph J. Caldecott, noted nineteenth-century English illustrator, it “shall be awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the U.S. during the preceding year…”
Picture the illustration on the actual bronze medal if you will, because it is what a truly great picture should encompass and symbolize. It is taken from an actual Randolph Caldecott illustration from his book, The Diverting Story of John Gilpin. I love that word “divert”, because it alters our attention to something worth seeing. The Caldecott picture books focus young reader’s attention and imagination, as do many other picture books, in a riveting, transformative way that becomes a singular part of children’s lives. The Caldecott illustration on the medal itself shows John Gilpin at full gallop astride his horse, amid honking geese, barking dogs and startled citizens looking on. He has certainly captured their attention. And that’s what Caldecott’s illustration attempts to symbolize – the sense of fun, energy and sheer momentum generated by one picture book in a child’s life. Caldecott’s illustration on the medal embodies all the qualities generated by a Caldecott winning book.
There is a big arc in the 75-year history of the Caldecott, from the first winner in 1938 called Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book, by Dorothy P. Lothrop, with text selected by Helen Dean Fish, to the 2012 winner, A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka. A complete list of the Caldecott winners from 1938 to the present can be seen here. For a look-see, just type in the following: www.ala.org/alsc/Caldecott75. It’s worth it to see the breadth of children’s picture books that have won this distinguished award, and perhaps revisit some old favorites or open some yet to be discovered winners with your child.
I will be sharing some of the ten books featured on Brian Selznick’s 75th Caldecott Anniversary logo on our Way Back Wednesday segments. It’s fun trying to see how many of the characters picked from former winners you and your young readers can identify on the logo. Hints are given on a monthly basis on the site for the ALA I just mentioned as to the identity of the iconic characters Selznick referenced. It’s fun to guess, so please give it a try. Happy 75th to the Caldecott!
And please look for the first book next Wednesday I’ve chosen from Brian Selznick’s logo as my first representative honoree. It’s none other than that great mimic, Gloria the dog, in Peggy Rathmann’s hilarious Caldecott winner of 1996.
Her book is a great reminder of why some actors have a motto: “Never act with children or animals. They steal the show every time.” Stay tuned for Officer Buckle and Gloria!
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