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Caldecott Medal Winners

Content last modified September 2008


The Caldecott Medal is presented annually by the American Library Association for the best-illustrated American picture book for children. The award was named in honor of the nineteenth-century English illustrator and painter, Randolph Caldecott, who was well known for his drawings for children's books. Established in 1938 by the coeditor of Publishers' Weekly and founder of Children's Book Week, Frederic G. Melcher, the award is limited to artists who are U.S. citizens or residents and whose work was published within the preceding year. On the face of the medal is a reproduction of Randolph Caldecott's depiction of John Gilpin's ride from the poem, by William Cowper, "The Diverting History of John Gilpin." The reverse side illustrates "four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie." The inscription on the medal reads "For the most distinguished American picture book for children."

Many of the Caldecott Medal winners have delightful and imaginative narratives that complement their award-winning illustrations. These have been successfully brailled or recorded. If used together with their print versions, the recorded or brailled versions can allow children or parents who are unable to read print books to share the pleasures of reading with those who can.

Following is a list of the Caldecott Medal winners in the NLS collections. The list is in alphabetical order by title; the date accompanying each title is that of the Caldecott Medal award.

Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale by Gerald McDermott.

The Lord of the Sun sends a spark of life to earth, and it becomes a boy. Several years later, he searches for his father until Arrowmaker makes an arrow of the boy and sends him to the sun. Preschool-grade 2. 1975

AZ-BPH (AZ CB 1074) RC

The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward

Because all of his friends have bearskin hanging in their barns, Johnny Orchard wants one, too, but instead of a bearskin he gets a live pet bear. Grades K-3. 1953


Drummer Hoff adapted by Barbara Emberley

A folk rhyme tells how soldiers work together to fire their cannon. Grades K-3. 1968


Finders Keepers by Will Lipkind and Nicolas Mordvinoff.

Two dogs find a bone and immediately begin to argue about whose it is. Grades K-3. 1952


The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: A Russian Tale by Arthur Ransome

A simple third son enters a contest for which the czar offers his daughter's hand to any man who can bring him a flying ship. Grades K-3. 1969

RC 16474


The Funny Little Woman retold by Arlene Mosel

A funny little woman who giggles all the time attempts to outsmart a horde of fearsome monsters who capture her and make her cook for them. In a surprise turn, the monsters have the last laugh and provide a humorous end to this Japanese folktale. Grades K-3. 1973

RC 22908


The Gift of the Sacred Dog by Paul Goble

A legend from the Great Plains Indians telling how the horse (Scared Dog) was given to the Indian people by the Great Spirit. Grades K-3. 1980

Co-BPH (CC 02229) RC

Wa-BPH (BRW 374) BR

Golem by David Wisniewski

A retelling of how a chief rabbi of Prague creates a giant golem of clay in 1580. The golem's task is to seek out those spreading false rumors about Jews and to turn them over to the authorities unharmed. When his job is done, the golem is to return to clay. For grades 2-4. 1997


Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say

A Japanese American tells of his grandfather's journey to America. Grandfather loves California, but he also loves Japan and later returns there to live. In Japan, however, he is homesick for America. The narrator, born in Japan, moves to California as a young man. Yet he often returns to visit his birthplace. When in one country, he feels homesick for the other—just like his grandfather. For grades K-3 and older readers. 1994.


Hawk, I'm Your Brother by Byrd Baylor

Rudy Soto, a young Native American boy, captures a hawk in the hope that he can gain a sense of the hawk's ability to fly. Grades 3-6. 1977

Tx-BPH (CBT 4457) RC

Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski

Al, a janitor, and his dog, Eddie, grow tired of living in one room on the East Side, always working and struggling. One morning, a beautiful, gigantic bird appears at the window and offers to take them to paradise. They leave the next day for a magnificent island in the sky. They soon learn, however, that there is no place like home. Preschool-grade 2. 1986


Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback

Joseph starts with an overcoat. When it is old and worn, he makes it into a jacket. The original material becomes smaller and smaller until he arrives at the moral of the tale. Adapted from a Yiddish folk song. For preschool-grade 2. 2000.


Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

When Kitten sees her first full moon, she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. She ends up tired, wet, and hungry from trying to reach it and finally goes home, where a pleasant surprise awaits her. For preschool-grade 2. 2005.


The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Many years ago the little house stood in the country where she could see the sun, the moon, and the seasons come and go. Since then the city has grown up around the little house, surrounding her with tall buildings that lock the light and the trees, making her sad and lonely. Grades K-3. 1943

RD 20955


Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young

A good mother lives in the countryside with her three children, Shang, Tao, and Paotze. One day she has to leave to visit their grandmother. She cautions, "Remember to close the door tight and latch it well." Soon, a wolf disguised as an old woman knocks on the door saying, "This is your grandmother, your Po Po." Grades K-3. 1990


Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

Little Madeline of Paris is rescued from the Seine by a dog named Genevieve. Grades K-3. 1954

RD 7034


Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Five helpful Boston policemen stop busy city traffic so that Mrs. Mallard can move her family of eight ducklings from their island in the Charles River to their new home in the Public Garden. Grades K-3. 1942


The Man Who Walked between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

Tells of Frenchman Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the unfinished World Trade Center Towers in New York City. Discusses the sentence he received for this illegal act. For grades 2-4 and older readers. 2004.


Many Moons by James Thurber

Princess Lenore, who is ten going on eleven, falls ill from eating too many raspberry tarts. When her father, the king, promises her anything that will make her well, Princess Lenore asks for the moon. Grades K-3. 1944

BRA 6594

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

The Great Bellini--who crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope and stopped in the middle to cook an omelette, who crossed the Alps with baskets on his feet, and who walked a flaming wire in Naples--is the gentle stranger staying at the widow Gateau's boardinghouse. Mirette, the widow's daughter, has befriended Bellini, and he has taught her to walk the wire. Now, she must teach him to overcome his fear. Grades K-3. 1993

RC 6482


Mojo Means One: Swahili Counting Boo by Muriel L. Feelings

This tribute to the heritage of East Africa teaches the reader to count to ten in Swahili. While learning the numbers, the reader is introduced to geography, clothing, music, animals, and other topics about this region of the world. Grades K-3. 1971

F-BPH (FBI 117) BR

Nine Days to Christmas by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida

Ceci, a little Mexican girl, is excited because she is finally old enough to buy a piñata for the village Christmas party. Grades K-3. 1960

RC 22909


BRA 16450

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Officer Buckle knows lots of safety tips, and he loves to share them with the students at Napville School. But nobody seems to listen to him. Then one day, the Napville police department gets a police dog--Gloria. Office Buckle takes her along the next time he goes to Napville School, and this time the children listen. But why? For grades K-3. 1996.


Once a Mouse: A Fable Cut in Wood by Marcia Brown

In this fable from India, a compassionate hermit changes a frightened mouse into successively larger animals to save him from his enemies until the mouse's arrogance causes his downfall. Grades K-3. 1962

RC 22903

BR 5912

One Fine Day by Nonny Hogrogian

After a greedy fox laps up an old woman's pail of milk, she cuts off his tail and refuses to sew it back on until the fox refills her pail with milk. Grades K-3. 1972

RD 20954


Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

On a cold winter's night, under a bright full moon, a young girl and her pa trek into the woods to see the Great Horned Owl. Preschool-grade 2. 1987


Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

A lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and changing seasons in the life of one nineteenth-century New Englander and his family. Grades K-3. 1980

RC 21584


The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a boy to the North Pole where he is chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas. Grades 1-3 and older readers. 1985

RC 23625

Sdl (317) BR

Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field

Gentle verses and illustrations express a child's gratitude for her parents' love, her toys, the firelight, and all the other people and things she loves. Grades K-3. 1945

RD 20898


Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault and Malcolm Arthur

A poor miller's son gains a fortune and marries a beautiful princess with the help of his cat, the clever Puss. Grades K-3 and older readers. 1990

RC 28195


Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky

Rapunzel is twelve, with beautiful, long red-gold hair, when a sorceress places her in a high tower in a lonely forest. A handsome prince secretly visits Rapunzel until the sorceress finds out and punishes them, keeping them apart. But their love for each other promises to restore their happiness. For grades K-3. 1998.


Saint George and the Dragon: A Golden Legend adapted by Margaret Hodges from Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen

A dramatic retelling of the classic tale recounts the battle between brave Saint George, the Red Cross Knight, and the deadly dragon that has terrorized the countryside for years. Grades 2-4 and older readers. 1985

RC 22236

Smoky Night by Eve Bunting

Daniel holds his cat, Jasmine, and watches with his mother at their window as riots take place in the street below. Soon Daniel and his mother are forced to leave their home and take refuge at a shelter. But where is Jasmine? For preschool-grade 2. 1995.


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Captures a small boy's ecstatic delight over a crisp, snowy day. Grades K-3. 1963

RD 13067


Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

The biography of Wilson Bentley, who loved the beauty of nature and wanted to share that loveliness with others. Especially intrigued by snowflakes, he taught himself how to photograph them, and that became his lifelong project. For grades K-3. 1999.


So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George?

Offers unusual and interesting facts about the forty-two presidents of the United States. Points out the variety of personalities and physical characteristics of these men who had at least one thing in common: "their first priority has always been the people and the country they served." For grades 3-6. 2001.

RC 50856


Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman and Stephen Gammell

Grandpa used to be a song-and-dance man on the vaudeville stage. When his grandchildren come to visit, he tells them about the good old days before television. They go to the attic, pull out Grandpa's old tap shoes, hat, and cane, and enjoy a show better than any on TV. Grades K-3 and older readers. 1988

F-BPH (CBF 1231) RC


A Story, a Story: An African Tale retold by Gail E. Haley

Before the spider man can obtain the Sky God's golden chest of stories, he must outwit and capture three fantasy creatures. Grades 2-4. 1971


Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey

The author describes the enchanting beauty of a Maine island in rain, fog, sunshine, and hurricane. Grades K-3. 1958

RD 6292


When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant

The story of a very special Appalachian childhood, which evokes a love of place, of family, and, above all, of a way of life. Preschool-grade 3. 1982

Co-B (CC 02336) RC

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

After being sent to bed without supper for acting wildly, Max puts on his wolf suit and sails away "through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year" to where the wild things are. Grades K-3. 1964

RC 22906


White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt

Tells all about the magic and beauty of a snowfall. Grades K-3. 1948

RD 15563

BRA 6614

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale retold by Verna Aardema

An amusing, repetitive tale explains why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. Grades K-3. 1976

RC 22905


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Posted on 2014-12-02