Saturday, June 21, 2008

Caldecott Award vs. Newbery Award

The Newbery Medal and the Caldecott medal are both awarded to children’s books annually. There are many similarities between the two but they ultimately serve two distinct purposes. According to the database Information Please, The Caldecott medal is awarded “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published in English in the United States during the preceding year” and the Newbery medal is awarded “to the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in English in the United States during the preceding year.

Both awards are named after Englishmen, although they are from different time periods. The Caldecott Award is named after the nineteenth century illustrator Randolph Caldecott and the Newbery Award is named after John Newbery, an eighteenth century bookseller.

Both medals are also awarded by the same division of the American Library Association; the division is called the Association for Library Service to Children. Although these two awards appear to be very alike, they each focus on a completely different aspect of children’s literature and those aspects are the author and the illustrator.

Before I took this class I had a very vague idea of what each award was. I figured that the Caldecott award must be for pictures because it is seen predominantly on the cover of picture books and I knew from middle school that books like “The Giver” and “Bridge to Terebithia” are Newbery award books so I assumed it was an award for chapter books, but I honestly did not know any other information about the two.

I do not know whether I can say that one of these awards is better than the other because I enjoy both types of books. I love looking at the pictures in picture books, especially those that are clearly “distinguished” because the pictures are magnificent and I am always in awe of the artwork, but at the same time I really enjoy reading books that have been designated for older children because I can imagine my own picture for each part of the story.

All in all, both awards are great and speak volumes for the books that they accompany. I know that if I am given the choice of reading a Caldecott Award book or not, I will always choose the one that has been given this special award because I know that the book will stand out among others.

Information Please. (2007). Pearson Education. Retrieved on June 21, 2008 from

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