Caldecott Medal

Children's Book Award Study

The Caldecott Medal

The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the most distinguished children’s picture book of the year. First awarded in 1937, it is named after Randolph Caldecott, an influential 19th century English illustrator. The Caldecott Medal, which is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children, was created to honor illustrators who may not be otherwise recognized.

Jumanji 1982

Judy and Peter are sister and brother who are bored out of their minds one afternoon. They decide to go to the park while their parents are out and they discover a small box under a tree. The mysterious box includes a board game and a warning note in bold letters. The pair bring the game back to the house to try it out in hopes of curing their boredom. Little did they know, as soon as they rolled the dice their wild jungle game, "Jumanji", would come to life and bring all the jungle creatures into their home. Between escaping a lion and a stampede of rhinos, Judy and Peter are in for the afternoon of their lives.
Read Aloud Reading Level: K-2

Grade Level Equivalent: 4.4


Chris Van Allsburg does an amazing job of creating realistic sketches to illustrate this book. The jungle creatures really come to life every time you flip the page. I had never read this book before, although I saw the movie when I was very young and it scared me to death. The book is not nearly as frightening as the movie but the story puts any child's imagination to use.


Teaching Ideas: Animal studies, Fantasy/Imagination study

Grandfather's Journey 1994

This book is narrated by a grandson who tells the story of his grandfather. His grandfather migrated from Japan to the United States when we was a young adult. He traveled all over and fell in love with the new land and the adventure. However, after a while he began to miss his home country and decides to move back to Japan. He continues to raise his family there and talks about making it back to San Francisco where he spent many years. He never makes it back to the country that is his second home but his grandson who is grown now goes to see the new land for himself. He loves the land but also longs to visit his home country like his grandfather and in some way it makes him feel like he knows his grandfather better.
Read Aloud Reading Level: K-3

Grade Level Equivalent: 4.2


The illustrations in this book are incredible! I enjoyed this book because I think it addressed the feeling of homesickness and also not feeling as though you fit in to one place.


Teaching Idea: The study of world cultures and geography, generations and immigration

Snowflake Bentley 1999

This is the biography of Willie (Wilson) "Snowflake" Bentley. Willie was a child who loved the snow. He thought everything about it was beautiful and most of all he loved the different snowflakes. His mother got him a microscope one winter and he was able to see the snowflakes up close! He began to draw all of the different patterns he saw and he leaned that no two snowflakes are the same. After several seasons, he leaned about a new camera that had its own microscope. Willie had to have this camera, and so his parents saved up and bought it for him so that he could continue his hobby of photographing snowflakes. Willie continued to study snowflakes for a great deal of his life and today he is known as "Snowflake" Bentley, the man who discovered that no two snowflakes are exactly alike.

Smoky Night 1995

This book takes place in a city neighborhood that is occupied by violent riots happening in the streets. Daniel, is a young boy who is witnessing these riots from his apartment above with his mother and his cat. He notices that people are angry but also seem happy that they are causing trouble. His mom nods when he asks if they are stealing things from the stores but she tells him to go to sleep and that it will be over soon. He is awaken in the middle of the night by his mom and a heavy smell of smoke. He has to evacuate his apartment building and relocate to a shelter at a near by church. During these events, he (and his cat) become friends with neighbors he once avoided because of differences that don’t seem to matter any more.
Read Aloud Reading Level: K-3

Grade Level Equivalent: 2.5


This book is beautiful; not just based on the pictures alone, but on the emotion that it triggers. Riots like this happen a lot and in a lot of different parts of the world. I would read this book to my class today as a way to explain the riots in Ferguson, MO. A big part of this book is the discrimination between the neighbors and Daniel's family. In the end he realizes it doesn't matter what the skin color or culture, everyone can be friends once they get to know each other.


Teaching Ideas: History of civil rights, community building, introduction to current events

My Friend Rabbit 2003

My Friend Rabbit is narrated by Mouse, the best friend of Rabbit. Mouse explains that Rabbit is a good friend but whatever he does or wherever he goes, trouble follows him. Rabbit tries hard to fix the mistakes he makes, such as getting Mouse’s airplane stuck in a tree, but even his efforts cause a little trouble. Mouse is a patient friend who loves Rabbit for who he is. In the end, Mouse knows that Rabbit is just trying the best he can to be a good friend and he has good intentions.
Read Aloud Reading Level: K-1

Grade Level Equivalent: 2.3


This is a simpler yet for younger ages. I love the artwork, especially the colors of the different animals. The size comparison of the animals is realistic and the images are sure to make you laugh.


Teaching Ideas: Friendship and patience, animals, problem solving skills

Read Aloud Reading Level: K-2

Grade Level Equivalent: 4.1


The illustrator, Mary Azarian, does a fantastic job of portraying a beautiful, snowy Vermont winter. She helps to tell the story of "Snowflake" Bentley through her drawings which is appropriate because "Snowflake" Bentley told the story of snowflakes through his camera lens. I think this book is a great tool for a teacher because it can help to teach several different subjects and objectives. Children will love to learn the secret of snowflakes just as much as "Snowflake" Bentley loved to discover it.


Teaching Ideas: Weather, geography, seasons, biographies,