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Juanita

Geography, Part 1

Many picture books have anonymous settings, but some include authentic landmarks identifying locations that can be pinpointed on a map. Traveling from west coast to east coast, several Caldecott Award books feature settings in the United States, and we can become armchair travelers through the illustrations.
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Bill Peet: An Autobiography

Visual Artists, Part 2

When considering picture book biographies of visual artists, one cannot overlook the three illustrators who have garnered Caldecott Honors for their autobiographical works: Bill Peet, Uri Shulevitz, and Peter Sis.
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Radiant Child

Visual Artists, Part 1

With declin­ing fund­ing for arts edu­ca­tion in schools1,2 and lim­it­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties for school-spon­sored class vis­its to art muse­ums, Calde­cott Award-win­ning pic­ture books invite chil­dren to explore var­i­ous media and styles of art deemed “dis­tin­guished.”3 Indeed, as pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish and children’s lit­er­a­ture spe­cial­ist Philip Nel observes, “Good pic­ture books are portable art gal­leries.”4 A num­ber of Calde­cott award books extend the art enrich­ment expe­ri­ence by intro­duc­ing chil­dren to the lives and works of visu­al artists.
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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Fairy Tales, Part 2

Trina Schart Hyman’s retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” is a familiar one. This was Hyman’s favorite fairy tale, and as a child, she spent a whole year wearing the red cape her mother made for her. On the verso of the title page, Little Red is reading her own story featuring the cover of Hyman’s book, sucking her thumb, just as Hyman did in childhood.
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Puss in Boots

Fairy Tales, Part 1

The uni­ver­sal appeal of fairy tales is doc­u­ment­ed by the sim­i­lar­i­ties of sto­ries across coun­tries, cul­tures and cen­turies. The “Cin­derel­la” sto­ry alone is over 1000 years old with over 1000 vari­ents. What makes an indi­vid­ual pic­ture book ver­sion of a fairy tale unique? The illus­tra­tions. Jane Yolen (2004) states, “Many of the pic­ture-book retellings of folk­tales are more about the art than the sto­ry” (p.
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Leave Me Alone

Grandparents, Part 2

Fictional Caldecott grandparents reveal interesting and surprising personalities. While the stories are imaginary, some of the characters are inspired by admired grandparents and mentors.
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Grandfather's Journey

Grandparents, Part 1

The typ­i­cal post-World War II nuclear fam­i­ly was side­lined dur­ing the polit­i­cal and soci­etal tur­moil of the 1960s. Due to divorce, remar­riage, and blend­ed fam­i­lies, the 21st cen­tu­ry has seen an increas­ing num­ber of grand­par­ents involved in their grand­chil­dren’s lives. To cel­e­brate Grand­par­ents Day in Sep­tem­ber, this arti­cle exam­ines the por­tray­al of grand­par­ents and great-grand­par­ents in select­ed Calde­cott Medal and Hon­or books.
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Dogs and Cats, Part 2

Peter McCar­ty doesn’t just include his dog, but also his cat in Hon­do and Fabi­an, a 2003 Calde­cott Hon­or book. This sto­ry describes a day in the life of his pets. Hon­do goes to the beach while Fabi­an stays home, but both have a good time. The soft pen­cil illus­tra­tions of the yel­low Labrador retriev­er and the gray tab­by on the front jack­et cov­er are matched with pho­tographs of the real Hon­do and Fabi­an on the back jack­et flap.… more
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A Ball for Daisy

Dogs and Cats, Part 1

It is almost guar­an­teed that chil­dren will respond favor­ably to ani­mal sto­ries, espe­cial­ly sto­ries with dogs and cats. Two-thirds of Amer­i­can house­holds own dogs or cats. Nine­teenth cen­tu­ry British illus­tra­tor Ran­dolph Calde­cott seemed to under­stand the nat­ur­al affin­i­ty between chil­dren and ani­mals. Before sci­ence doc­u­ment­ed the impor­tance of pets in children’s lives, he includ­ed ani­mals in most of his illus­tra­tions, and they added to the frol­ick­ing fun that ani­mat­ed his scenes.… more
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