Winning a Caldecott Award by Debra Karplus
What do Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Ugly Duckling, and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly have in common? Indeed, they are old familiar tales, but each of these stories has emerged as a picture book over the past seventy-five years, that received a Caldecott medal or honor, a distinguished award with a bronze medal with the name and date of the recipient imprinted on it. Since 1938, this annual recognition has been granted to well-known stories but mostly to those with far more obscure titles and adored by many children.
Randolph Caldecott, a popular and quite influential nineteenth century British illustrator, predominantly of books and especially those written for children, was the inspiration for the Caldecott award. Prior to the inception of the Caldecott award was the Newbery award in 1922, also granted yearly, for children’s literature. The Caldecott is specific to the illustrations of books for their visual excellence, books written for the young audience.
There is a specific application process and criteria to select winners for this medal or for one of the honors, second place honorees, each year. The applicant must be an American artist and the book being nominated must have been published during the previous year. The Caldecott Award Selection Committee, managed by the American Library Association (ALA), is a panel consisting of fifteen members, judges who are also members of the Newbery Medal Committee. The website for the Caldecott awards lists detailed guidelines for their selection decision.
To receive a Caldecott medal or honor always gains the attention of schools, libraries, and bookstores; peruse the shelves of reading material at any of these places and you are certain to notice many books which display of Caldecott winner bronze colored emblem quite visibly on the cover. Librarians and other professionals who regularly purchase books prefer Caldecott winners because of their high standards of excellence. The status of being a Caldecott winner is clearly well-deserved.