Caldecott Medal Lists

Caldecott Medal The Caldecott Medal is presented to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

2015 Medal Winner

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, illustrated and written by Dan Santat. In four delightful “visual chapters,” Beekle, an imaginary friend, undergoes an emotional journey looking for his human. Santat uses fine details, kaleidoscopic saturated colors, and exquisite curved and angular lines to masterfully convey the emotional essence of this special childhood relationship. (see reviews on Amazon)



Honor Books:
Nana in the City, written and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Castillo’s evocative watercolor illustrations tell the story of a young boy’s visit to his grandmother, and the reassuring way she helps him to lose his fear and experience the busy, loud city in a new way.  (see reviews on Amazon)


The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock. Abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds and sounds as colors; he created work that was bold and groundbreaking using colors from his “noisy paint box.” His process is reflected beautifully by GrandPré, whose paint flows across the page in ethereal ribbons of color.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett. Klassen’s use of texture, shape and earth tones in this deceptively simple book invite readers into the experience of two boys, who, accompanied by their dog, set out to dig a hole. Readers will find an unexpected treasure and be challenged to ponder the meaning of “spectacular.”  (See reviews on Amazon)


Viva Frida, illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales. Using a unique variety of media – puppetry, printmaking, painting and photography – combined with an intoxicating use of color and unfailing sense of composition, Morales celebrates the artistic process.    (see reviews on Amazon)


The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant. Sweet’s inspired mixed media illustrations illuminate the personality and work of a man passionately interested in many things. Her collages combine disparate elements to create a cohesive whole, echoing the ways in which Roget ordered the world into lists that evolved into his groundbreaking thesaurus.  (see reviews on Amazon)

This one SummerThis One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki. Intricately detailed illustrations in shades of indigo are masterfully layered with the text in this graphic novel. The pacing and strong imagery evoke myriad emotions and ground this poignant and painfully realistic coming-of-age story.  (see reviews on Amazon)


2014 Medal Winner
LocomotiveLocomotive, illustrated by Brian Floca; written by Brian Floca. All aboard! Accompany a family on an unforgettable weeklong train trip from Omaha to Sacramento in 1869. Brian Floca’s dramatic watercolor, ink, acrylic and gouache illustrations incorporate meticulously-researched portraits of the train, the travelers and the crew as they traverse the American landscape on the new transcontinental railroad.  (see reviews on Amazon)


Honor Books
JourneyJourney, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker. Finding a magical red crayon, a bored and lonely girl draws a new door on her bedroom wall that leads her to a wondrous but perilous new world. Her drab, sepia-toned, humdrum reality gives way to sumptuous, lushly-hued watercolor and pen and ink landscapes.  (see reviews on Amazon)


Flora and the FlamingoFlora and the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle. The budding relationship between an awkward young girl and a graceful flamingo is revealed through carefully orchestrated flaps. The minimalist setting, limited color palette, use of white space and page turns create a timeless and joyful visual experience. The call-and-response of this balletic duet is cinematic and comedic.  (see reviews on Amazon)


Mr. WufflesMr. Wuffles!, illustrated and written by David Wiesner. Mr. Wuffles finds a new toy that is actually a tiny spaceship in this nearly wordless science fiction tale of epic and miniature proportions. Crisp watercolor and India ink illustrations shine in an innovative graphic novel, picture book hybrid featuring hidden worlds, alien languages and one peeved cat.  (see reviews on Amazon)


2013 Medal Winner

This Is Not My Hat, illustrated and written by Jon Klassen. In this darkly humorous tale, a tiny fish knows it’s wrong to steal a hat. It fits him just right. But the big fish wants his hat back. Klassen’s controlled palette, opposing narratives and subtle cues compel readers to follow the fish and imagine the consequence.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Honor Books

Creepy Carrots!, illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds. Jasper the rabbit loves carrots until he notices they are everywhere. He is convinced they’re coming for him! Pronounced shadows, black borders and shaded edges enhance this ever so slightly sinister tale with a distinctly cinematic feel. This is one serving of carrots children will eagerly devour.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett. A selfish archduke threatens to halt a little girl’s transformation of a colorless town and steal her box of magical yarn. Klassen’s innovative digital technique results in shifts of color that signal character change and critical turns of plot -all done with just the right stitches of humor.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Green, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seege. In this original concept book, Seeger engages all the senses with her fresh approach to the multiple meanings of “green.” Using thickly-layered acrylics, word pairings and cleverly placed die cuts, she invites readers to pause, pay attention and wonder.  (see reviews on Amazon)

One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo. Energetic line and dizzying perspective combine for a rollicking tale of Father, Elliot and a highly improbable pet (or two). Buzzeo’s text, brimming with sly wordplay, earns its perfect counterpoint in Small’s ink, watercolor and pencil illustrations with chilly details and visual jokes that invite many repeated readings.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Sleep Like a Tiger, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue. Surrounded with dreamlike images of crowns, ornate patterns and repeated visual motifs, her parents coax her into bed. Using mixed media artwork on wood enhanced with computer illustrations, this is a whimsical story with universal appeal.  (see reviews on Amazon)

2012 Medal Winner

A Ball for Daisy, illustrated and written by Chris Raschka. 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.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Honor Books

Blackout, written and illustrated by John Rocco. A summer’s power outage draws an urban family up to their building’s roof and then down to the street for an impromptu block party. Rocco illuminates details and characters with a playful use of light and shadow in his cartoon-style illustrations. He delivers a terrific camaraderie-filled adventure that continues even when the electricity returns.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Grandpa Green, written and illustrated by Lane Smith. Elaborate topiary sculptures give visual form to memories in a wildly fanciful garden tended by a child and his beloved great-grandfather. Using an inspired palate, Lane Smith invites readers to tour a green lifetime of meaningful moments.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Me...JaneMe…Jane, written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. Watching the birds and squirrels in her yard, a young girl discovers the joy and wonder of nature. In delicate and precise India ink and watercolor, McDonnell depicts the awakening of a scientific spirit. A perceptive glimpse of the childhood of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.  (see reviews on Amazon)


2011 Medal Winner

A Sick Day for Amos McGeeA Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead. In this tender tale of reciprocity and friendship, zookeeper Amos McGee gets the sniffles and receives a surprise visit from his caring animal friends. Erin Stead’s delicate woodblock prints and fine pencil work complement Philip Stead’s understated, spare and humorous text to create a well-paced, gentle and satisfying book, perfect for sharing with friends. (See Review by Susan)  (see reviews on Amazon)


Dave the Potter
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill. Collier’s arrestingly beautiful artistic interpretation of Hill’s poetic text reveals Dave the potter’s artistic process while also conveying the dignified triumph of his humanity in the face of oppression. Lush, earth-toned, multimedia collages are illuminated in soft, ethereal light that focuses the eye on the subject of each spread. (See Review by Susan (see reviews on Amazon)

Interrupting Chicken, illustrated and written by David Ezra Stein. Stein’s hilarious story presents Little Chicken and her long-suffering Papa, who just wants to get through a bedtime story without his daughter’s metafictive disruptions. Exuberant artwork shifts media and style, taking readers into three fairy tales, culminating in Little Chicken’s “Bedtime for Papa,” but truly delivering a story for all.  (see reviews on Amazon)

2010 Medal Winner

51i8iifMQaL__AA160_The Lion and the Mouse, illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney The screech of an owl, the squeak of a mouse and the roar of a lion transport readers to the Serengeti plains for this virtually wordless retelling of Aesop’s classic fable. In glowing colors, Pinkney’s textured watercolor illustrations masterfully portray the relationship between two very unlikely friends. (See Review by Susan (see reviews on Amazon)

Honor Books:

All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, written by Liz Garton Scanlon. Frazee’s small vignettes and sweeping double-page spreads invite readers to share a joyful day with a diverse, multigenerational community. Flowing lines and harmonious colors give vibrant life to Scanlon’s poetic text.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman. Zagarenski’s playful illustrations enliven Sidman’s expressive poetry in this exploration of the seasons and their colors. Computer illustration and mixed-media paintings on wood combine rich textures, intriguing graphic elements, stunning colors and stylized figures to reward attentive readers with a visually exciting interplay of poetry and illustration.  (see reviews on Amazon)

2009 Medal Winner

The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes, written by Susan Marie Swanson Richly detailed black-and-white scratchboard illustrations expand this timeless bedtime verse, offering reassurance to young children that there is always light in the darkness. Krommes’ elegant line, illuminated with touches of golden watercolor, evoke the warmth and comfort of home and family, as well as the joys of exploring the wider world.

Honor Books:

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, written and illustrated by Marla Frazee In lively, detailed, subtly retro cartoons, Frazee gently pokes fun at adult expectations and captures the unbounded joy of two friends experiencing a parent-free summer adventure.  (see reviews on Amazon)

How I Learned Geography, written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz Recounting memories of his family’s flight from the Warsaw Blitz and his years as a refugee during World War II, Shulevitz employs watercolor and ink to depict a boy liberated from his dreary existence through flights of fancy inspired by the map his father buys in the village market.  (see reviews on Amazon)

2008 Medal Winner

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick From an opening shot of the full moon setting over an awakening Paris in 1931, this tale casts a new light on the picture book form. Hugo is a young orphan secretly living in the walls of a train station where he labors to complete a mysterious invention left by his father. In a work of more than 500 pages, the suspenseful text and wordless double-page spreads narrate the tale in turns. Neither words nor pictures alone tell this story, which is filled with cinematic intrigue. Black & white pencil illustrations evoke the flickering images of the silent films to which the book pays homage.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Honor Books:

Henrys Freedom BoxHenry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, by illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine Inspired by an antique lithograph, Kadir Nelson has created dramatically luminous illustrations that portray Henry “Box” Brown’s ingenious design to ship himself in a box from slavery to freedom. (See review by Susan (see reviews on Amazon)


First the Egg, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s innovative concept book on transformations, First the Egg uses strategically placed die-cuts to provide an astonishing visual explication of the word “then.” Her richly textured brushstrokes creatively reveal the process of metamorphosis for young readers.  (See review by Susan)  (see reviews on Amazon)

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, written and illustrated by Peter Sís A graphic memoir of Sís’s youth in Prague, brilliantly weds artistic and design choices to content: tight little panels with officious lines and red punctuation; full-bleed line-and-watercolor spreads of nightmares and dreams; color and absence of color.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, written and illustrated Mo Willems Willems sets the stage for one of the most dramatic double-paged spreads in picture-book history in Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. Masterful photo collages take Trixie and her daddy through their now-familiar Brooklyn neighborhood to the Pre-K class where Trixie discovers that her beloved Knuffle Bunny is not “so one-of-a-kind anymore.”  (see reviews on Amazon)

2007 Medal Winner

Flotsam, by David Wiesner Flotsam is a cinematic unfolding of discovery. A vintage camera washed up on the beach provides a young boy with a surprising view of fantastical images from the bottom of the sea. From fish-eye to lens-eye, readers see a frame-by-frame narrative of lush marinescapes ebbing and flowing from the real to the surreal.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Honor Books

Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet, by David McLimans Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet is a black-and-white iconic alphabet that is sophisticated enough to intrigue and captivate readers of any age. A contemporary interpretation of an illuminated alphabet melds animals and letters into 26 unique and elegant graphic images.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Carole Boston Weatherford Nelson’s dramatic renderings evoke the spiritual and physical journey of Harriet Tubman. Emotionally powerful images combined with poetically evocative text portray a strong woman who followed her star to an extraordinary destiny.  (see reviews on Amazon)

2006 Medal Winner

The Hello, Goodbye Window, illustrated by Chris Raschka and written by Norton Juster In this sunny portrait of familial love, a little girl tells us about her everyday experiences visiting her grandparents’ house. Raschka’s style resembles the spontaneous drawings of children, perfectly mirroring the guileless young narrator’s exuberant voice. White space balances the density of the layered colors, creating a visual experience that is surprisingly sophisticated.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Honor Books:

Rosa illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Nikki Giovanni From the arresting cover through the endpapers, Rosa, with Giovanni’s spare, elegant prose and Collier’s iconic illustrations, celebrates the quiet courage of Rosa Parks. Collier’s radiant watercolors of faces and hands highlighted against the edges of his richly colored collages create another distinguished work of art from this award-winning illustrator.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Zen Shorts, illustrated and written by Jon J. Muth Zen Shorts, Muth’s story of inquisitive siblings befriending a wise panda, is told through luminous watercolors interwoven with three lessons, set apart by starkly contrasting Asian-inspired brush paintings. The interplay of artistic styles elegantly conveys the gentle, timeless messages of self-knowledge and acceptance.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride, illustrated and written by Marjorie Priceman. Energetic lines and rich watercolors animate Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride, an aerial adventure over 18th-century France. Priceman, who previously received a 1996 Caldecott Honor for “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin,” combines spare text, dynamic design and masterful perspective to illuminate the humor and high jinks of three animals swept up in the winds of history.  (see reviews on Amazon)

Song of the Water BoatmanSong of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems illustrated by Beckie Prange, written by Joyce Sidman Eleven joyful songs of everyday pond life throughout the seasons are celebrated through Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems, an elegant and satisfying combination of visual drama, poetry and scientific facts. The organic lines of Prange’s exceptionally executed, hand-colored woodblock illustrations enlarge upon Sidman’s expressive nature-themed poems. (See Review by Susan)  (see reviews on Amazon)

Caldecott Medal Lists 1938-2005

Leave a Reply