I’m starting to think, just a tiny bit, about Christmas. And now is the time to start figuring out what Christmas books I want to include in my Christmas Book a Day thing, while they aren’t all checked out from the library.
But I’m not quite there yet. I’m busy maxing out my library card on Cybils books (I’m a panelist for Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books this year, which is a really fun project), and also, putting together holiday book lists is a really time consuming task for me, since I’ve discovered I am ultra super picky about holiday books.
(Why can’t I ever get right to the point? It’s like I require a long long running start to write any post. I’m so sorry).
Anyway, updated Christmas book list is on the horizon (also book gift guides. Get excited).
In the meantime, these are my twelve favorite Caldecott winners (if I’d included Caldecott Honor books, this list would have been two hundred books long). Ella and I have been steadily working our way through them as part of preschool, and I think every day, “I really love Caldecott books.”
If you’re looking for great books to give as gifts, any one of these are a sure-fire winner. Or, just a very nice book to check out from the library (although, one of my dreams is to someday own every Caldecott book).
- 2011: A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Erin E. Stead and Philip C. Stead. This book has that classic Caldecott all over it. Amos McGee works at the zoo and has a sweet relationship with several of the animals, playing chess with the elephant, etc. And when he stays home sick one day, the animals come to take care of him. Sometime you just want to tell the Caldecott committee, “Well done.”
- 2010: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. I was in Boston at the ALA convention when they announced this as the Caldecott winner and, whoa, that’s a rush. It was the big favorite to win, and rightly so. Jerry Pinkney makes this well-loved tale fresh again, and he does it without words. This has long been one of Ella’s favorite books.
- 2008: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. This doesn’t look like a Caldecott book because it’s 500+ pages long. This was one of my favorite books to hand off to reluctant readers because they could actually get through (and enjoy!) a big fat book and feel super pleased with themselves.
- 2007: Flotsam by David Wiesner. This book. It’s just about perfect. David Wiesner can do no wrong in my mind. Even as an adult, I’m totally entranced by the idea of a camera washing up from the ocean with photos of all sorts of cool things taking place below the surface.
- 2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein. I really did have to go look up on Wikipedia (you know, the most reliable of all sources. My library and history professors would be appalled) to see if this was a true story. I kind of feel nauseous every time I imagine walking a tight rope between the Twin Towers. This book is magic.
- 2001: So You Want to Be President? by David Small and Judith St. George. Like loads of people, I’m completely fascinated by the American presidents and this is such a fun and clever way to look at the various men who’ve held the office. The cartoony illustrations make it even more fun.
- 1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner. If you forced me to pick a favorite Caldecott book, I’m pretty sure this is the one I’d choose. I have a really awesome video of Ella reading it aloud to me (it’s wordless, so. . .not really reading), that I’ll have to share sometime. Especially the part where she points to a frog with a big smiley mouth and says, “This one looks like Ani.”
- 1981: Fables by Arnold Lobel. I don’t usually enjoy odd-ball books, but this one is so ridiculously funny, I can’t help myself. All the fables are ones you’ve definitely never heard from Aesop.
- 1970: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. I checked this one out earlier in the year and Ella was the most enormous fan. We read it dozens of times, and I still love it. But then, I’m a big fan of William Steig (Doctor DeSoto might be my favorite).
- 1964: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I never read this book as a child (my mom is not a fan), but it’s one of Bart’s favorites and I’ve come to really love this book. So many cool things about it (have you noticed that when Max is in the real world, the pictures are small and contained in white, but as he ventures into the world of the wild things the pictures get bigger and bigger until they take up the entire page, then start to shrink back as he returns to his room at home (obviously, I NEVER noticed this on my own. A professor pointed it out in a children’s lit class I took)).
- 1963: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Is there anything not to love about this book? I always want to hug Peter when he puts a snowball in his pocket to save for later and then, after his bath, is sad to discover it’s disappeared.
- 1942: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. This is the ultimate Caldecott book for me. If you say “Caldecott,” this is the first book I’ll think of. I love those little ducklings.
I just was reading about the Caldecott award a few weeks ago and this article (book? Can’t even remember where this was) mentioned that when Robert McCLoskey was informed he’d won the Caldecott award, it was so new, he didn’t even know what it was. He went on to win the gold medal once more and get four additional Honor medals. Store that away for the next time you need some trivia.