Each year, fifteen members serve on the Caldecott Selection Committee. Their deliberations are sworn to secrecy; these facts are not.
◆ The Caldecott Medal is named in honor of the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott (1846-1886). He is acknowledged as the father of the modern picture book for his playful humor and lively drawing style.
◆ The bronze Caldecott Medal weighs 3.1 ounces ⚖️.
◆ The Caldecott Medal is not worn; it is presented in a cherry wood box for display on a desk or other flat surface.
◆ The front of the Medal replicates an illustration in Randolph Caldecott’s 1878 picture book The Diverting Story of John Gilpin. It shows John Gilpin astride a runaway horse, accompanied by squawking geese, braying dogs, and startled onlookers.
◆ American sculptor René Paul Chambellan (1893-1955) designed the Caldecott Medal in 1937. The Caldecott and Newbery Medals are just two of 30 medals Chambellan designed in his lifetime.
◆ In Dorothy Lathrop’s Animals of the Bible, which received the inaugural 1938 Caldecott Medal, the artist mistakenly gave a boy two left feet in the final illustration, and on the spine, the printer spelled her name “Lathop.” The book has since been reissued with corrections, but antiquarian book dealers use these errors to determine first edition copies.
◆ Plato Chan, age 13, is the only child to win a Caldecott Honor in 1944 for The Good Luck Horse.
◆ Robert Lawson is the only person to win a Newbery Medal and a Caldecott Medal. He was awarded the 1941 Caldecott for They Were Strong and Good and the 1945 Newbery for Rabbit Hill.
◆ Leonard Weisgard was the first artist to win two Caldecotts in a single year. In 1947 he won the Medal for The Little Island by Golden MacDonald (the pen name of Margaret Wise Brown) and a Caldecott Honor for Rain, Drop, Splash by Alvin Tresselt. Jon Klassen, the only other artist to accomplish this feat, won them both in 2013 for This is Not My Hat and Extra Yarn.
◆ Roger Duvoison delivered his 1948 acceptance speech at the annual Newbery-Caldecott banquet via long-distance telephone.
◆ In 1957, Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire re-illustrated their art in Abraham Lincoln (1940) on acetate since their original lithographic stones were too heavy for the publisher to handle and store. They were unhappy with the results: “with a heavy heart we had to give up our beloved stones, not because our back broke but because the offset printers hate to handle them. We try to work on acetates just like the stones, but cannot get as much life out of dead material.” In 2015, Abraham Lincoln was again reissued with minor re-illustrations and text changes to address offensive representations of African-Americans and Native Americans.
◆ Only two Caldecott Medal books are out-of-print: Mei Li and Nine Days to Christmas.
◆ In 1966 two offensive characterizations of an African-American child were deleted from Maud and Miska Petersham’s The Rooster Crows: A Book of American Rhymes and Jingles (1946). Since it is impossible to remove just two pages from a book, the publisher opted to replace the drawings with six additional rhymes from Mother Goose. Today no individual double-page spread is the same as it appeared in the original publication.
◆ Evaline Ness, the 1967 Caldecott winner for Sam, Bangs & Moonshine, was married to FBI agent Eliot Ness. Ness was leader of the FBI team nicknamed “The Untouchables,” who famously brought down Al Capone during Prohibition.
◆ Leo Lionni and Clare Turlay Newberry each won four Caldecott Honors, but never a Medal.
◆ Only one illustrator (or in this case, a team of illustrators) has won the Caldecott Medal in consecutive years: Leo and Diane Dillon in 1976 for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears and in 1977 for Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions.
◆ Marc Simont is the oldest recipient of a Caldecott Honor: he won it in 2002 at age 87 for The Stray Dog. Forty-five years earlier, he won the 1957 Caldecott Medal for A Tree Is Nice.
◆ Only two artists have won the Caldecott Medal three times: Marcia Brown and David Wiesner.
◆ Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day was the first Caldecott Medal book to use collage as a medium. In October 2017, the U.S. Postal Service issued Snowy Day “Forever” stamps to celebrate the significance of this 1963 Caldecott winner.
◆ The Caldecott Medal is only awarded to residents of the United States. These winning artists are all immigrants to the U.S.:
Ingri (b. Norway) and Edgar (b. Switzerland) Parin D’Aulaire
Miska Petersham (b. Hungary)
Roger Duvoisin (b. Switzerland)
Berta Hader (b. Mexico)
Nicholas Mordvinoff (b. Russia)
Ludwig Bemelmans (b. Austria-Hungary)
Feodor Rojankovsky (b. Russia)
Marc Simont (b. France)
Nicolas Sidjakov (b. Latvia)
Beni Montresor (b. Italy)
Uri Shulevitz (b.Poland)
Peter Spier (b. Holland)
Paul Gobel (b. England)
Ed Young (b. China)
David Macaulay (b. England)
Allen Say (b. Japan)
David Wisniewski (b. England)
Jon Klassen (b. Canada)
Sophie Blackall (b. Australia)