Every February, I look forward to discovering what treasures the American Library Association will decide to honor with the Caldecott awards. The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott and has been awarded annually since 1938 by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This year, the committee’s shelves were overflowing with talent as they awarded one winner and six additional honors. This means it is time to go book shopping and here is what to look for.
The following descriptions were taken directly from the www.ala.org website as we are still waiting for delivery of the books.
The 2015 medal winner is The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, illustrated and written by Dan Santat. In four delightful “visual chapters,” Beekle, an imaginary friend, undergoes an emotional journey looking for his human. Santat uses fine details, kaleidoscopic saturated colors, and exquisite curved and angular lines to masterfully convey the emotional essence of this special childhood relationship. “Santat makes the unimaginable, imaginable,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Junko Yokota.
The first honor book is Nana in the City, written and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Castillo’s evocative watercolor illustrations tell the story of a young boy’s visit to his grandmother, and the reassuring way she helps him to lose his fear and experience the busy, loud city in a new way.
Next, The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock. Abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds and sounds as colors; he created work that was bold and groundbreaking using colors from his "noisy paint box.” His process is reflected beautifully by GrandPré, whose paint flows across the page in ethereal ribbons of color.
Third on the honors list is Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett. Klassen’s use of texture, shape and earth tones in this deceptively simple book invite readers into the experience of two boys, who, accompanied by their dog, set out to dig a hole. Readers will find an unexpected treasure and be challenged to ponder the meaning of “spectacular.”
After the boys, we get Viva Frida, illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales. Using a unique variety of media – puppetry, printmaking, painting and photography – combined with an intoxicating use of color and unfailing sense of composition, Morales celebrates the artistic process.
The fifth honor went to The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant. Sweet’s inspired mixed media illustrations illuminate the personality and work of a man passionately interested in many things. Her collages combine disparate elements to create a cohesive whole, echoing the ways in which Roget ordered the world into lists that evolved into his groundbreaking thesaurus.
And the final Caldecott honor went to This One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki. Intricately detailed illustrations in shades of indigo are masterfully layered with the text in this graphic novel. The pacing and strong imagery evoke myriad emotions and ground this poignant and painfully realistic coming-of-age story.
You can find all of these winners on Amazon.com, Amazon.cn or search for them in the brick and mortar bookstores around town. Enjoy story time!