The Caldecott Criteria
A “picture book for children” as distinguished from other books with illustrations, is one that essentially provides the child with a visual experience. A picture book has a collective unity of story-line, theme, or concept, developed through the series of pictures of which the book is comprised.
A “picture book for children” is one for which children are an intended potential audience. The book displays respect for children’s understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen and picture books for this entire age range are to be considered.
“Distinguished” is defined as:
Marked by eminence and distinction; noted for significant achievement.
Marked by excellence in quality.
Marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence.
2018 The Caldecott Medal
“Wolf in the Snow,” illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell, and published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan.
In this spare, nearly wordless picture book, a girl and a wolf cub each get lost in the snow and rescue each other. Cordell uses pen and ink and watercolor wash to capture the frenzied snowfall and the brave girl’s frantic, frightful journey. Fairy tale elements and a strong sense of color and geometry offer an engrossing, emotionally charged story.
“HOOOOOWWLLLL!!” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Tish Wilson. “Committee members were astonished that a deceptively simple book could be such a dramatic story of survival.”
2018 Honor Books
Big Cat, little cat, illustrated and written by Elisha Cooper, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership
Simple and joyful domestic routines underscore the deeply entwined lives of two feline companions and the impact of loss on one. Cooper uses expressive black-and-white line art with strategic, evocative washes of color to convey the reassuring circular nature of life.
Elisha: A few years ago, we got two kittens, and a year after that one of them died. My daughters were devastated. I was too — but less so. In an odd way, I was glad—wrong word, maybe—as it let me usher into my children’s lives the subject of loss and sadness, their first heartbreak. Within a month we got a new cat.Growing up on a farm, I was surrounded by animals—cats, dogs, goats, cows—and they were often leaving us. Then, reappearing—again, maybe that’s the wrong word—as new animals. Life went on.
I wrote the first draft for Big Cat, Little Cat in a morning. It came out quick. I’m not one-hundred-percent sure, but I think this is that draft:
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, illustrated by Gordon C. James, written by Derrick Barnes, published by Bolden, an Agate Imprint, a Denene Millner Book
Sometimes a haircut is so much more than just a haircut. Sometimes a haircut makes you royalty. A love-letter to the contemporary barbershop experience and the empowerment it affords, Gordon C. James’s impressionistic oil paintings capture every bit of the bravado, swagger, and joy of this African-American institution.
“The swagger is on a million. The sauce is drippin’. . . . This book oozes with black cool and timely, much-needed black joy, using the unique and expansive experience of the barbershop to remind young boys that their inner lives have always mattered there. One of the best reads for young black boys in years, it should be in every library, media center, and, yes, barbershop.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui, written by Bao Phi, and published by Capstone Young Readers, a Capstone imprint.
An early morning fishing trip between father and son provides food for that evening’s dinner and time to reflect on a similar pond in Vietnam. Bui’s evocative thick black ink brushstrokes with graphic novel panels create a cinematic experience, powerfully capturing facial expressions, mood, and quiet moments. Based on the experiences of both the Vietnamese American illustrator and author, this story depicts the immigrant experience as well as universal themes of family, love, and survival.
Grand Canyon, illustrated and written by Jason Chin, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership. An Asian-American father and daughter explore this nation
An Asian-American father and daughter explore this national park, from the Inner Gorge to the South Rim. Chin uses watercolor, gouache and pen and ink to render sweeping landscapes, culminating in an epic gatefold panorama. Diagrams, die-cuts and field-guide inspired illustrations of animals, plants and fossils reveal the multiple layers and eons of formation.