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Check Out the Caldecott Medal and Honor Books for 2014!


The Caldecott Medal Books for 2014 were announced on January 18th. I was finally able to get copies of them from my library and have a look. The winner—

LOCOMOTIVE by Brian Floca
Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2013

Caldecott Honor Books are—
JOURNEY by Aaron Becker, Candlewick Press
FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO by Molly Idle, Chronicle Books
MR. WUFFLES! by David Wiesner, Clarion Books

A few things struck me as interesting.
The Caldecott winner and all three honor books were by author/illustrators.
The Caldecott winner is non-fiction.
All three honor books are wordless, or almost wordless in the case of MR. WUFFLES.

I love when picture books have illustrations on the inside covers as well as inside the book itself. The inside covers of LOCOMOTIVE are illustrated with different historical moments and maps as well as having text and pictures with additional information. On the inside covers of JOURNEY there are illustrations of vehicles of transportation.

FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO has flaps to open, like in ‘Lift the Flap’ books. The illustrations are very graceful, a good compliment to the type of dance that the flamingo and the little girl are doing in the book.

In JOURNEY, the girl with the red marker or crayon reminds me of Harold in HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson, and the door that she goes through reminds me of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by CS Lewis. You’ll have to ‘read’ it to see the surprise at the end.

Never underestimate the power of a cat in MR. WUFFLES! As in other David Wiesner books, the detail is fun and interesting.

Unlike the Caldecott Honor books, LOCOMOTIVE is filled with wonderful words and language. It tells the story of a train, its crew, and a family traveling west aboard America’s first transcontinental railroad. The use of different fonts and letter size, and the many ‘sound’ words (onomatopoeia) throughout the book make it both fun to read and to look at. It reads like poetry—

“…Men came from far away
to build from the East,
to build from the West,
to meet in the middle….”

I listened to a speech online given by Brian Floca at the 2013 National Book Festival. He talked about how his first idea for this book grew from something simple to something more complicated. He also talked about the research he did before beginning to write and illustrate his book. It included reading many books, visiting museums, looking at old photos from the era, as well as primary sources such as talking to people and taking the trip to get the full picture. He actually drove a train along the same path as the first continental railroad trip. From that trip he took what he found most interesting and began to write—notes, questions, phrases. He also drew things that he saw along the way. Revisions included re-writing the text, and changing and re-shaping his drawings as well.

LOCOMOTIVE has received many other awards and recognitions as well, including being selected as a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, NY Times 10 Best illustrated books of the year and Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013.

Congratulations to all of the author/illustrators of the Caldecott Medal books for 2014!  Read More 
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Crazy for Caldecott? Join the Mock Caldecott Awards!

2008 Caldecott Medal Winner Brian Selznick designed the logo celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Award

This year celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal for illustration of a children’s book. The winner for 2012 will be announced on Monday, January 28th.

The Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1938. An annual award presented by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), it is given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children during the previous year. Any picture book by a citizen or resident of the USA and published in the United States is eligible, but only one picture book receives the award each year.

So what exactly is a Mock Caldecott? I looked for that answer on line and found much more.

The Mock Caldecott is a fun way to predict which picture books will be given the award for 2012 on Monday. It’s your chance to recognize outstanding artistic merit in a children's book. Here are some other benefits to participating:

• Learn about the history, terms, and definitions of the Caldecott Medal
• Participate in book discussions
• Look at the evolving nature in children's picture books and its impact on the Caldecott selection process
• Become familiar with how the medal impacts librarians, authors, publishers and children
• Develop skills in holding mock Caldecott discussions with children and other programming ideas
• Form the skills to look at picture book art more critically

The Mock Caldecott follows the same selection process that is used by the Caldecott committee. But with so many children’s picture books published each year, what makes picture book illustration distinguished? You might be surprised to see that the criteria used focuses on both illustration and writing in a picture book!

A picture book has a collective unity between text and pictures. Narrative elements include character, plot, theme, setting and information. Art elements include medium, style, composition, color, line, space and shape. When considering their selections, committee members need to consider all of this through the pictures. Sounds a little harder than I imagined!

Some questions to consider when evaluating a picture book for the Mock Caldecott award are these:

Does the story appeal to kids?
Is this an outstanding use of the artistic medium?
Is the artwork critical to the story being told?
Can the story stand alone without the support of additional media?
Is there an appropriate balance of text and illustration?

There are some wonderful websites that I visited while doing my research.

Visit Matthew C. Winner’s blog, The Busy Librarian at http://www.busylibrarian.com/2012/12/mock-caldecott-stage-1.html to find a mock Caldecott evaluation chart.

Find a Mock Elections Toolkit slide show on Steven Engelfried’s site at http://www.slideshare.net/stevene/mock-caldecott-criteria-power-point

Or check out the authors blog, Books Around the Table, for a discussion on the Caldecott selection process, and see the different art forms used in picture books being considered for the award at
http://booksaroundthetable.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/the-word-distinguished-a-mock-caldecott-discussion/

Learn about the 75th anniversary logo and its many characters at the official ALSC site at http://www.ala.org/alsc/Caldecott75#preconference. Scroll down to the bottom. Can you name all of the characters?

The 2013 Caldecot Medal announcement will be made on Monday, January 28th at 7:45 am. You can watch a free live webcast of the award presentation from the link at the American Library Association (ALA) website at http://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/presskits/youthmediaawards/alayouthmediaawards.

Congratulations to all illustrators being considered, for the official Caldecott and the Mock Caldecott as well!  Read More 
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ALA announces Caldecott and Newberry winners

Caldecott Winner 2012

Randolph Caldecott Medal
The Randolph Caldecott Medal honors the illustrator of the year's most distinguished American picture book for children. Presented every year since 1938, the medal is named for Randolph Caldecott, a 19th-century English illustrator known for the action, vitality and humor of his picture books. It is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA.

Dorothy P. Lathrop won the first Caldecott Medal in 1938 for ANIMALS OF THE BIBLE.

This year’s winner is A BALL FOR DAISY written and illustrated by Chris Raschka, published by Schwartz & Wade Books (Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.).

“In a wordless book with huge children’s appeal, Chris Raschka gives us the story of an irrepressible little dog whose most prized possession is accidently destroyed. With brilliant economy of line and color, Raschka captures Daisy’s total (yet temporary) devastation. A buoyant tale of loss, recovery and friendship.

“Chris Raschka’s deceptively simple paintings of watercolor, gouache and ink explore universal themes of love and loss that permit thousands of possible variants,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Steven L. Herb. ‘A Ball for Daisy’ holds as many unique stories as there will be young readers and re-readers.” –from the ALA website.

Caldecott Honor Awards went to:

Blackout, written and illustrated by John Rocco, published by Disney • Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group

Grandpa Green, written and illustrated by Lane Smith, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership

Me … Jane, written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The John Newberry Medal
The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year. The award was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery.

The Newbery Award became the first children's book award in the world. Its purpose: "To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field."

Hendrik van Loon was awarded the first Newberry Medal in 1922 for THE STORY OF MANKIND.

This year’s winner is DEAD END IN NORVELT by Jack Gantos, published by Farrar Straus Giroux.

“The importance of history and reading (so you don’t do the same “stupid stuff” again) is at the heart of this achingly funny romp through a dying New Deal town. While mopping up epic nose bleeds, Jack narrates this screw-ball mystery in an endearing and believable voice.

“Who knew obituaries and old lady death could be this funny and this tender?” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Viki Ash.” –from the ALA website.

Newberry Honor Awards went to:

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai, published by HarperCollins Children's Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin, published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
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