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Favourite Caldecott Medal Winners (Picture Books)

The Caldecott Medal is an award for children's picture books. It is awarded annually and one of the most prestigious American children's book awards. This award has been going on since 1938. I searched for all of them for C, but it's not always successful especially for the older ones. Sometimes those books in the Public Library here are not for borrowing but only for reference. But whatever available, I borrowed them. Most of them are excellent books in my opinion, they usually have unique and meaningful story lines and/or great illustrations.


I list down those that we really like, for your inspiration to borrow or buy for your kids.


(2016) Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

I used to love Winnie The Pooh so much and to find out the story behind it through this heartwarming book is simply amazing. The story is about a veterinarian named Harry Colebourn who found an orphaned bear on the platform of Winnipeg train station and named it Winnie. The bear travelled with him and his regiment until it was too dangerous for Winnie to continue and Winnie was put in London Zoo. Here, a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne, an only child, became a good friend of Winnie. His father, A.A. Milne, an author, made the character Winnie The Pooh and wrote many stories based on his own child friendship's with Winnie.

What a lovely story and illustration!


(2004) The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein.

This is about a French street artist, Philippe Petit, who wanted to walk on the wire 400 metres above the ground, between the not-finished-yet twin buildings, known as World Trade Center. He was not allowed to do that so he sneakily planned it and executed it with his friends, quietly went inside the buildings and did it in August 1974. He was caught by the police and sent to court.

I like this book because it shows Petit bravery and persistence - although when I read it to my son, I said to him - please don't do such thing :-) especially without a safety harness.

[The twin towers were blown up by bad people many years later. Bad bad people]

--- my 6 years old just asked me to type :-)


(1996) Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann.

This is the first Caldecott book I borrowed for C when he was around 2 years old but at that time I didn't have any awareness about Caldecott Medal or Honor. The story is about boring police officer named Buckle whose task was to give speech about safety in a local school but students always fell asleep and not listening. Until one day he took a dog named Gloria with him to the speech and unknown to him, Gloria imitated him as he spoke and the students loved that. Officer Buckle was succesful in conveying the safety messages to the students because of Gloria.

I like this book because it has sense of humour. Peggy Rathman also wrote other books we like, for example Good Night, Gorilla and Ruby The Copycat.


(1994) Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say.

The story is about a Japanese man who moved to America and started a new life there but continously missed his home country, Japan. We really love this book and we started to read many of his other books. Most of them are stories related to Japan such as The Bicycle Man, Kamishibai Man, Erika-San, The Boy in the Garden, and Tree of Canes.


(1993) Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully.

This book is about a frenchgirl named Mirette, whose mother owned a small hotel. One day, she saw one of the hotel guest doing tightrope walking. Mirette was so amazed and determined to learn to do it. She failed a few times but didn't give up. She kept on trying.



(1989) Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman and illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

This book is about a grandfather who told his grandchildren that long time ago he was a stage performer. He took them to the attic and performed with his old costume - he sang and tap-danced. The children were amazed. The story is just heartwarming.


(1986) The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.

The book is now widely considered to be a classic Christmas story for young children. A very lovely story about a young boy who is beginning to doubt that Santa does exist. One night he was awakened by the train sound. He rode this Polar Express train going to North Pole, where the elves gathered to send Santa Claus on his way. Santa asked him a present and he chose a bell from a reindeer's harnesses and put it in his pocket. However he lost it on his way home. The morning after, he found a small gift with this same bell inside - the bell that produces a beautiful sound for him and his sister, but their parents can't hear it.


At the end of the book, it says:

At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.

A very lovely book!

We borrowed Chris Van Allsburg other book, The Stranger - after I read it, I felt magical. I guess it's his kind of style - leaving me feel magical. There is another one I still hold on from borrowing, Jumanji. I don't think C is ready for it now.


(1980) Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall and illustrated by Barbara Cooney.

C has always been fond of farm life. This book is about the life of a family who worked hard all year long and each year the father took all of the things they produced the whole year into a cart pulled by an ox to the market. Not only he sold the items (wool from their sheeps, shawl, knitted mitten, birch broom) but he also sold his ox. This way they got money to buy food and other things to survive.


(1970) Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig.

The book is about a donkey named Sylvester who one day found a magic pebble that could make his wishes come true. He accidentally wished for one thing wrongly and that made him changed to a rock. His parents were very sad. By small chance, his parents managed to found the rock and the magic pebble and Sylvester was turned back into a donkey.


(1968) Drummer Hoff adapted by Barbara Emberley and illustrated by Ed Emberley.

The illustration style of this book is really distinctive, very unique. The story is quite simple, about seven soldiers who built a cannon and fired it off. What I like about this book is that the name of each soldiers rhyme with the steps done to build the cannon. For example Corporal Farrell brought the barrell. I am a bit obsessed with rhymes :-)


(1954) Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans.

The book is about a girl named Madeline who lives in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. She found a dog with no owner and kept it in the boarding house. All girls loved her and they named her Genevieve. But this lead into other troubles. At the end the dog gave birth to eleven puppies.

There are many other Madeline books, all of them are quite interesting. and royal.


(1942) Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

[The book is about a mother duck giving birth to her ducklings. The whole family tried to cross the road but the road was too busy. So a policeman had to stop the traffic so the ducklings and the mother duck could cross the road.

It feels good to read it]

--- my 6 years old wrote the review for this last book. He just hijacked my computer :-)


There were other Caldecott winner books we have borrowed and read but not in the list above simply because although they are also good, we are not overly impressed.

(2013) This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

(2006) The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka

(1988) Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr

(1979) The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble

(1965) May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers and illustrated by Beni Montresor

(1964) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

(1963) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

(1949) The Big Snow by Berta & Elmer Hader


Many great books, we are spoilt for choices here. Although C has been able to read by himself for quite some time and now into chapter books, he also still read picture books and I still read him too as part of our bedtime routine. Thus I am always on the search of great books. I love reading books to him and hopefully can continue to do so as long as possible :-)


The next post would be about the Caldecott Honor Books - which are the runner-ups. There are many really nice ones!


Happy Reading!


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