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Caldecott Medal

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years ago

In 1936, Frederic Melcher, creator of the Newbery Medal, was gathering support for another medal, one that would honor picture books. In the years since the creation of the Newbery, it was noted that picture books did not do well in the competition and Melcher believed that "the brilliant work of picture-book artists in the nineteen-thirties needed full critical attention, and wider acclaim where it was deserved" (Smith 63). In 1937, at the ALA conference in New York, the children's librarians voted to approve this new medal and the Executive Board approved the resolution. According to the resolution, the criteria for consideration for the Caldecott included: "This medal shall be awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year. The award shall go to the artist, who must be a citizen or resident of the United States, whether or not he be the author of the text" (Smith 65).


Melcher named the medal in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. Caldecott was one of three illustrators (Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane rounded out the trio) who were best known for revolutionizing children's book illustrating with "their humor, and their ability to create a sense of movement, vitality, and action that complemented the stories they accompanied" ("About the Caldecott Medal").


The first Caldecott Medal was awarded to Dorothy P. Lathrop in Kansas City on June 14, 1938 for her illustration of the book __Animals of the Bible__. Similar to the Newbery, each year the Caldecott committee has the option of chosing Caldecott Honor Books in addition to the Caldecott Medal Book. The Honor Books in 1938 were __Four and Twenty Blackbirds__, illustrated by Robert Lawson and __Seven Simeons: A Russian Tale__, retold and illustrated by Boris Artzybasheff. The ALA website has a complete list of all of the Caldecott Medal and Honor Books from 1938 and on.




Smith, Irene. A History of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. New York: Viking Press, 1957.


Caldecott Medal Winners and Honor Books, 1938-Present. http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/caldecottmedal/caldecotthonors/caldecottmedal.htm#30s


About the Caldecott Medal. http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/caldecottmedal/aboutcaldecott/aboutcaldecott.htm


The Caldecott Medal Homepage. http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/caldecottmedal/caldecottmedal.htm


By Katie K.

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