Literature and Language

Fourteen of Our Most-Loved Children’s Books and The Caldecott Medal

July 24, 2017

I try to read books to my children every night before they go to bed, but with the late nights of summer bedtime is already compromised.  As a result, I wax and wane between sleep and books and the books are sometimes sacrificed.  I won’t even tell you what happens to bath time. 😉

Reading Books

This analysis of my back and forth on book reading at bedtime and the guilt that comes with sometimes bypassing books for sleep caused me to pause in my children’s room the other night and think about some of their most-loved books.  Several titles immediately came to mind and then I flipped through books on the shelves to fill in the gaps in my memory.

While each one of these books may get pushed to the bottom of the book basket, or shoved to the back of the book shelves from time-to-time, when they do resurface they endear and engage each one of my littles as they have the countless times before.  My children have loved these books for years.  And, I would have picked many more, but I was trying to be reasonable with myself!

Fourteen of Our Most-Loved Children’s Books

  1. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

  2. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

  3. One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

    Robert McCloskey Books

  4. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

  5. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

  6. The Funny Little Woman retold by Arlene Mosel

    Favorite Children's Books

  7. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

  8. The Mouse and the Motorcyle by Beverly Cleary

    Murfaro and Mouse books

  9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

  10. Choo Choo by Virginia Lee Burton

    Favorite Children's Books

  11. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

  12. The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley

  13. Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead

    Favorite Children's Books

  14. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

    Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel book

My children also really like me to read them an ongoing draft of a children’s book that I am writing (and are begging me to finish writing!). Perhaps when I do complete it and somehow get it into print, it will join the ranks of ‘most-loved’ through the eyes of other children besides my own biased ones! 😉

One can hope and dream!

Read on, write on, dream on and journey on friends!

XO, Melissa


The Caldecott Medal

Several of our favorite books include ones that have been awarded The Caldecott Honor and one recipient of The Caldecott Medal:  the classic and incredibly illustrated Make Way for Ducklings.

A Caldecott Medal Winning Book

The Randolph Caldecott Medal recognizes the “most distinguished American picture book for children” for the preceding year.  The award is named for Randolph Caldecott, a nineteenth-century English illustrator and is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).

The medal scene, which depicts a man on a runaway horse, is derived from Randolph Caldecott’s illustration for The Diverting History of John Gilpin.  The back of the medal, which is not seen on the cover of awarded books, is based on an illustration Caldecott completed for the nursery rhyme, “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”

The Caldecott medal is one of the most-prestigious American children’s book awards, along with the Newbery Medal.

The award has been given every year since 1937.  In 1971, the “Honor” was introduced with some Honor awards retroactively given to the runners-up of years past.

A Caldecott Honor Book

Eligibility

To be considered, an artist must be a US citizen or resident and the illustrations must be original to the book.  The Medal is “for distinguished illustrations in a picture book and for excellence of pictorial presentation for children.”  A picture book provides a visual experience and any for an audience up to age 14 are considered.

The book must be self-contained and independent of other media.  Other factors besides illustration are considered, as they bear on the effectiveness of a children’s picture book.

How is the Winner Chosen

The committee is comprised of fifteen members.  Eight of the members are elected by the ALSC membership and seven, including the chairperson, are appointed by the ALSC President.

During the year, each committee member reads as many of the eligible books as possible, including those books suggested by other committee members or other members of the ALSC.  Committee members cast preliminary ballots two times in the fall to begin to focus on top contenders.

The committee then discusses all nominated and suggested books during selection meetings.  Each committee member votes for three books, using a scoring system that awards more points to top choices.  To win, a book must receive at least eight first place choices and at least eight points more than any other book.

Once a winner is chosen, the committee decides whether to name honor books and exactly how many to award.

The 2017 winner is “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe, and published by Little, Brown and Company.

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