The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year's "most distinguished American picture book for children", beginning with 1937 publications. It is awarded to the illustrator by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The Caldecott and Newbery Medals are the most prestigious American children's book awards.
|Awarded for||"the most distinguished American picture book for children"|
|Presented by||Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association|
Beside the Caldecott Medal, the committee awards a variable number of citations to worthy runners-up, called the Caldecott Honors or Caldecott Honor Books. The "Honor" was introduced in 1971, but some runners-up had been identified annually and all those runners-up were retroactively named Caldecott Honor Books. The number of Honors or runners-up had always been one to five, and it had been two to four since 1994, until five were named in 2013 and six in 2015. The Honor Books must be a subset of the runners-up on the final ballot, either the leading runners-up on that ballot or the leaders on one further ballot that excludes the winner.
The award is named for Randolph Caldecott, a nineteenth-century English illustrator. Rene Paul Chambellan designed the Medal in 1937. The obverse scene is derived from Randolph Caldecott's front cover illustration for The Diverting History of John Gilpin (Routledge, 1878, an edition of the 1782 poem by William Cowper), which depicts Gilpin astride a runaway horse. The reverse is based on "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie", one of Caldecott's illustrations for the nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence".
Eligibility and criteria
The artist must be a US citizen or resident and the illustrations must be original to the book, which must be published first or simultaneously in the US in English during the preceding year. In December 2019 children's literature expert Leonard S. Marcus suggested that the Caldecott had achieved its mission in the US and the award should be expanded so children's book illustrations from anywhere in the world be considered.
A picture book provides "a visual experience. A picture book has a collective unity of story-line, theme, or concept, developed through the series of pictures" that constitute the book. Picture books for any audience up to age 14 should be considered.
The Medal is "for distinguished illustrations in a picture book and for excellence of pictorial presentation for children". The book must be self-contained, independent of other media for its enjoyment. Components other than illustration should be considered as they bear on effectiveness as a children's picture book.
The committee that decides on the Caldecott Award winner comprises fifteen members. Eight are elected by the entire ALSC membership and seven including the chairperson are appointed by the ALSC President. Many publishers send copies of books to the committee; 2009 members each received more than 700. To help identify possible contenders, the chairperson generally asks for committee members to identify strong contenders each month. In the fall each member of the committee may formally nominate seven books. Publications late in the year should receive equal consideration. As of 2009/2010 each committee member must nominate three and no more books in October, two in November, two in December, and January identification of worthy December publications is solicited.
The annual number of runners-up has ranged from one to six, same as for the Newbery Medal during the same timespan, from 1938. Indeed, for twenty years from 1993 to 2012 there were two to four Honors every year.
Multiple award winners
Listed below are all authors who have won at least two Caldecott Medals or who have won a Medal and multiple Honors.
|Author||# of Total Medals and Honors||# of Caldecott Medals||Caldecott Medals||# of Caldecott Honors||Caldecott Honors|
|Sophie Blackall||2||2||2016, 2019|
|Marcia Brown||9||3||1955, 1962, 1983||6||1948, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954|
|Barbara Cooney||2||2||1959, 1980|
|Leo and Diane Dillon||2||2||1976, 1977|
|Marie Hall Ets||6||1||1960||5||1945, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1966|
|Stephen Gammell||3||1||1989||2||1982, 1986|
|Nonny Hogrogian||3||2||1966, 1972||1||1977|
|Berta and Elmer Hader||3||1||1949||2||1940, 1944|
|Kevin Henkes||3||1||2005||2||1994, 2016|
|Trina Schart Hyman||4||1||1985||3||1984, 1990, 2000|
|Jon Klassen||3||1||2013||2||2013, 2015|
|Robert Lawson||3||1||1941||2||1938, 1939|
|Blair Lent||4||1||1973||3||1965, 1969, 1971|
|Arnold Lobel||3||1||1981||2||1971, 1972|
|David Macaulay||3||1||1991||2||1974, 1978|
|Robert McCloskey||5||2||1942, 1958||3||1949, 1953, 1954|
|Gerald McDermott||3||1||1975||2||1973, 1994|
|Evaline Ness||4||1||1967||3||1964, 1965, 1966|
|Jerry Pinkney||6||1||2010||5||1989, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2003|
|Leo Politi||3||1||1950||2||1947, 1949|
|Chris Raschka||3||2||2006, 2012||1||1994|
|Uri Shulevitz||4||1||1969||3||1980, 1999, 2009|
|Maurice Sendak||8||1||1964||7||1954, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1982|
|Marc Simont||3||1||1957||2||1950, 2002|
|David Small||3||1||2001||2||1998, 2013|
|Chris Van Allsburg||3||2||1982, 1986||1||1980|
|Leonard Weisgard||3||1||1947||2||1946, 1947|
|David Wiesner||6||3||1992, 2002, 2007||3||1989, 2000, 2014|
|Ed Young||3||1||1990||2||1968, 1993|
|Paul O. Zelinsky||4||1||1998||3||1985, 1987, 1995|
|Margot Zemach||3||1||1974||2||1970, 1978|
- "Welcome to the Caldecott Medal Home Page". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2012-01-11.
- "The Randolph Caldecott Medal". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- Manual, p. 37.
- "Caldecott, Randolph 1846–1886". Children's Literature Review. 2005. Archived from the original on 2016-03-09.
- "Caldecott's Picture Book John Gilpin". Randolph Caldecott Society UK (randolphcaldecott.org.uk). May 26, 2005. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- "[Caldecott] Terms and Criteria". ALSC. ALA. 2008 . Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- Marcus, Leonard S. (2019-12-12). "The Caldecott Medal Needs an International Makeover". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
- Manual, p. 9.
Colburn, Nell (February 1, 2010). "Caldecott Confidential: What's next year's best picture book for kids? Please, don't ask". School Library Journal. Reed Business Information: 39–40. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
Colburn chaired the 2009 Caldecott committee.
- Manual, p. 28.
- Manual, p. 19.
- "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2013-05-05.
- "Randolph Caldecott Medal Committee Manual (formatted August 2012)" (PDF). Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA). June 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
- Kolbe, Richard; Joseph C.Lavoie (1981). "Sex-Role Stereotyping in Preschool Children's Picture Books". Social Psychology Quarterly. 44 (4): 369–74. doi:10.2307/3033906. JSTOR 3033906.
- Leonard S. Marcus (August 11, 2013). "Seal Of Approval". New York Times Book Review. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- Smith, Irene (1957). A History of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. New York: Viking Press.