The Caldecott Medal, an annual award bestowed upon “the most distinguished American picture book for children,” is one of the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature. First conferred in 1938, the Medal is named for nineteenth-century British illustrator Randolph Caldecott, acknowledged as the father of the modern picture book for his playful humor and lively drawing style.
Each year, the Association for Library Service to Children—a division of the American Library Association—selects fifteen members to form a Caldecott Committee. This group reads, critiques, and discusses hundreds of picture books published in the previous year before voting on a winner.
This exhibition celebrates artistic achievement in picture books, presenting a chronological display of the winning titles from 1938 to the present. Nearly all the books are first editions. While these rare objects cannot be handled, guests may read copies available in the Museum’s Reading Library.
Co-curated by Barbara Elleman and Ellen Keiter