Artificial Intelligence: Food for Thought

Berry Song
Following up on Gail Nordstrom and Heidi Hammond’s Caldecott Lines of Connection article, “Food for Thought,” Gail decided to give artificial intelligence a challenge to write an article on the same topic. Here’s how it went down.

Food for Thought

Thank You, Omu!
Sean Sherman, “In an epiphany, I tasted how food weaves people together, connects families through generations, is a life force of identity and social structure.” These formidable themes are central to recent Caldecott Award books.

Scary Stories

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
According to multiple sources, being scared and overcoming our fear is good for us, and this is especially true when reading or listening to scary stories.

Bible Stories

Animals of the Bible
This month, we look at Bible stories which have been awarded recognition by the Caldecott committees, beginning in 1938.

Connecting with Nature

Song of the Water Boatman
While experiences in the natural world are beneficial to both children and adults, they are especially crucial for young people. This selection of Caldecott Honor books invites readers to explore and appreciate the natural world.

Let It Snow!

Owl Moon
In the far reaches of the northern hemisphere, snow graces the winter landscape and shapes the activities of the season. Picture books set in winter typically feature snowy backdrops. This column takes a look at five Caldecott Award-winning snow stories.

Abecedaria, Part 2

Ashanti to Zulu
Not all alphabet books are for the purpose of early literacy, nor do they meet the criteria for traditional alphabet books ... Still others are thematically connected, as are the following Caldecott Honor ABC books.

Abecedaria, Part 1

An Alphabet City
Traditionally, alphabet books, or abecedaria, serve as beginning literacy instruction for babies and young children to promote letter, sound, and word development. But, greater potential than instruction exists in this form of picture books.

Transportation, Part II: Riding the Rails

Locomotive
In the second part of our Transportation series, we look at Caldecott Award books that consider trains from different vantage points, from the outside or inside, from a real or fantastical world. Climb aboard!

Transportation, Part I: Hitting the Road

The Paperboy
From an early age, children are captivated by “things that go,” from climbing on trucks in a Big Rig library event to racing bicycles along a park path. This article offers a line-up of Caldecott Award books that feature various modes of land transportation.

Picture Book Illustration

Reading the Art in Caldecott Award Books
In picture books, the illustrations often carry half, or more than half, of the narrative. Increased understanding of illustration techniques can enhance your appreciation and pleasure when reading and sharing picture books.

Geography, Part 2

Finding Winnie
In Part 2 of Geography, we take a look at Caldecott winning and honored books with settings in Europe. Recognizable landmarks are among the illustrations in these books, giving a strong connection to location.

Geography, Part 1

Juanita
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.

Visual Artists, Part 2

Bill Peet: An Autobiography
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.

Visual Artists, Part 1

Radiant Child
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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Fairy Tales, Part 2

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
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.

Fairy Tales, Part 1

Puss in Boots
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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Grandparents, Part 2

Leave Me Alone
Fictional Caldecott grandparents reveal interesting and surprising personalities. While the stories are imaginary, some of the characters are inspired by admired grandparents and mentors.

Grandparents, Part 1

Grandfather's Journey
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

Dogs and Cats, Part 1

A Ball for Daisy
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

Skinny Dip with Heidi Hammond

Heidi Hammond
For this inter­view, we vis­it with Hei­di Ham­mond, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at St. Cather­ine Uni­ver­si­ty in the MLIS pro­gram, long-time school librar­i­an, and author of Read­ing the Art in Calde­cott Award Books: a Guide to the Illus­tra­tions, along with co-author Gail D. Nordstrom. Which celebrity, living or not, do you wish would invite you to a coffee shop?more