Sunday, April 26, 2009

Caldecott and Newbery Awards

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to an illustrator of children's picture books who provides a child with a "visual experience." In this case "children's" refers to children up to the age of fourteen. In order to qualify for this prestigious award the illustrator must be a United States citizen or resident. The work must be published in English and considered "original work." The award may be given posthumously. The Caldecott Medal is given to illustrators for distinguished work or excellence in artistic technique, pictorial interpretation and appropriateness of the story, theme, or concept. Selection committee members also consider delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood, or information specifically as they apply to picture books written for children.

The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature published in English in the United States. The author must be a citizen or resident of the United States and may be awarded posthumously. Authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are considered. Selection committee members consider interpretation of the theme or topic, presentation of information (accuracy, clarity, organization), delineation of characters and setting, development of the plot, and appropriateness of style. The decision is based primarily on the text of the book and its contribution to literature. The Newbery is the best-known and most discussed children's book award in the United States.

Is one award better than the other?

In my personal opinion one award is not better than the other. The authors and illustrators who are selected to receive these awards are phenomenal on their own and are selected because of their excellence and distinguished quality of work. The recipient of the Caldecott Award is an illustrator who creates authentic work that complements text. Not only does the illustrator need to have great artistic ability, he or she must be able to make the connection between the illustrations and text. On the other hand, the Newbery Award winner must be able to write a story that stands solely on the text without regard to illustrations. The recipient of either award must be a standout in his or her category with incredible talent.

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