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Children’s Book Awards Winners—Different Thoughts in Collecting

by Liz Holderman (10/09/08).
The Caldecott Medal
The Newbery Medal

Children’s Book Awards Winners—Different Thoughts in Collecting

By Liz Holderman

Fans of antique children’s books collect in many different ways. Some like to collect the entire work of one author or illustrator, some like only first or limited editions, some seek books about a certain subject and some like to collect books that have received literary awards.

Those who collect award books fall into two camps. Some want the edition of the book released right after the award, which will include an impressive stamp or seal on the dust jacket cover designating that award. Others like to collect the first edition of the award book, which of course won’t include the seal but is generally much rarer, since award books are re-printed in larger numbers in anticipation of higher sales.

Although literature awards, in general, have been in existence for a long time, children’s book awards only began in the 1920s, with most not coming into play until the 1940s and 1950s. English-language children’s book awards include the following:

• Canada: Canadian Library Association Book of the Year; Governor General’s Award
• England: Carnegie Medal; Greenaway Medal
• Australia: Book of the Year; Picture Book of the Year
• New Zealand: Esther Glen Award; New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award
• United States: Newbery Medal; Caldecott Medal

Additionally, Denmark awards the Hans Christian Anderson medal for books in any language, which can sometimes be in English. And the United States-based Children’s Literature Association established the Phoenix Award in 1985 for English-language books from any country.

The Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal is considered the most prestigious award for children’s literature in the United States. It was named for 18th century British bookseller John Newbery (1713-1767), who was the first publisher to make children’s books a profitable part of the literary market. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). On June 21, 1921, publisher Frederic Melcher proposed the distinguished book award to the ALA and had the Newbery Medal designed by sculptor Rene Paul Chambellan. His idea was enthusiastically accepted and the medal has been awarded every year since, with the winner’s name and date engraved on the back. Runners-up are sometimes awarded “Honor Book” awards each year, so that more than one book might be recognized.

Newbery Medal recipients for the earliest years (considered representatives of the vintage genre) are listed below. There are a few beloved favorites in the list, but it is very interesting to note that many of the books that received the awards never became very popular and have now sunk into relative obscurity. The ALA is generally a conservative group. In the past, they avoided mature themes and often chose books for their moral and educational values. Therefore, they did not necessarily select books that were best sellers. For example, it did not consider juvenile series books, which many, many collectors now cite as their all-time childhood favorites. (The very famous Little House books only received honorary awards because they were classified as a series.) In recent years, the ALA has also received some criticism for its Doctor Dolittle selection in 1923, since that book’s treatment of African Americans is now considered politically incorrect.

The Caldecott Medal
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of 19th century English artist Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886), who greatly encouraged and influenced the colorful and imaginative illustration of children’s books. It is also awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most distinguished picture book for children. This award was created 16 years after the Newbery Medal because many people had expressed the opinion that the illustrators of children’s books were as deserving as the authors and should be equally recognized. Again, it was Frederic Melcher in 1937 who suggested the establishment of a second annual award. And again, Rene Paul Chambellan designed the bronze medal, in a similar style.

Early Newbery Medal Winners
1922: The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik Willem van Loon
Honor Books: The Great Quest, A Romance of 1826 by Charles Hawes; Cedric, the Forester by Bernard Marshall; The Old Tobacco Shop by William Bowen; The Golden Fleece by Padraic Colum and The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs

1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
Honor Books: None

1924: The Dark Frigate, by Charles Hawes
Honor Books: None

1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger
Honor Books: Nicholas: A Manhattan Christmas Story by Annie Moore and
The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish

1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Chrisman
Honor Book: The Voyagers by Padraic Colum

1927: Smoky, the Cow Horse by Will James
Honor Books: None

1928: Gay-Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
Honor Books: The Wonder Smith and His Son by Ella Young and Downright Dencey by Caroline Snedeker

1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric Kelly
Honor Books: The Pigtail of Ah Lee Ben Loo by John Bennett; Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag; The Boy Who Was by Grace Hallock; Clearing Weather by Cornelia Meigs; The Runaway Papoose by Grace Moon and Tod, of the Fens by Elinor Whitney

1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
Honor Books: A Daughter of the Seine by Jeanette Eaton; Pran of Albania by Elizabeth Miller; The Jumping-Off Place by Marian McNeely; The Tangle-Coated Horse by Ella Young; Vaino, a Boy of New Finland by Julia Davis and Little Blacknose by Hildegarde Swift

1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Honor Books: Floating Island by Anne Parrish; The Dark Star of Itza by Alida Malkus; Queer Person by Ralph Hubbard; Mountains Are Free by Julia Davis; Spice and the Devil’s Cave by Agnes Hewes; Meggy McIntosh by Elizabeth Gray; Graham the Hunter by Herbert Best and Ood-le-uk the Wanderer by Alice Lide and Margaret Johansen

1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer
Honor Books: The Fairy Circus by Dorothy Lathrop; Calico Bush by Rachel Field; Boy of the South Seas by Dunice Tietjens; Out of the Flame by Eloise Lownsbery; Jane’s Island by Marjorie Allee and The Truce of the Wolf by Mary Gould Davis

1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis
Honor Books: Swift Rivers by Cornelia Megs; The Railroad to Freedom: A Story of the Civil War by Hildegarde Swift and Children of the Soil: A Story of Scandinavia by Nora Burglon

1934: Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Megs
Honor Books: The Forgotten Daughter by Caroline Snedeker and Swords of Steel by Elsie Singmaster

1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon
Honor Books: The Pageant of Chinese History by Elizabeth Seeger; Davy Crockett by Constance Rourke and A Day on Skates by Hilda Von Stockum

1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Honor Books: Honk, the Moose by Phil Stong; The Good Master by Kate Seredy; Young Walter Scott by Elizabeth Gray Vining and All Sail Set by Armstrong Sperry

1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
Honor Books: Phebe Fairchild: Her Book by Lois Lenski; Whistler’s Van by Idwal Jones; The Golden Basket by Ludwig Bemelmans; Winterbound by Margery Bianco; The Codfish Musket by Agnes Hewes and Audubon by Constance Rourke

1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy
Honor Books: Pecos Bill by James Bowman; Bright Island by Mabel Robinson and On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
Honor Books: Nino by Valenti Angelo; Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater; Hello the Boat! by Phyllis Crawford; Leader by Destiny: George Washington by Jeanette Eaton and Penn by Elizabeth Gray Vining

1940: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty
Honor Books: The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy; Runner of the Mountain Tops by Mabel Robinson; By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Boy With a Pack by Stephen Meader

1941: Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
Honor Books: Blue Willow by Doris Gates; Young Mac of Fort Vancouver by Mary Jane Carr; The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nansen by Anna Gertrude Hall

1942: The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds
Honor Books: Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; George Washington’s World by Genevieve Foster; Indian Captive by Lois Lenski and Down Ryton Water by Eva Roe Gaggin

1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
Honor Books: The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes and Have You Seen Tom Thumb? by Mabel Leigh Hunt

1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Honor Books: These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Fog Magic by Julia Sauer; Rufus M. by Eleanor Estes and Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates

1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
Honor Books: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes; The Silver Pencil by Alice Dalgliesh; Abraham Lincoln’s World by Genevieve Foster and The Lone Journey: The Life of Roger Williams by Jeanetter Eaton

Early Caldecott Medal Winners
1938: Animals of the Bible by Dorothy Lathrop (text by Helen Dean Fish)
Honor Books: Four & Twenty Blackbirds by Robert Lawson (text by Helen Dean Fish) and Seven Simeons by Boris Artzybasheff

1939: Mei Li by Thomas Handforth
Honor Books: Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty; Barkis by Clare Newberry; The Forest Pool by Laura Adams Armer; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Wanda Gag (text by Jacob Grimm) and Wee Gillis by Robert Lawson (text by Munro Leaf)

1940: Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire
Honor Books: The Ageless Story by Lauren Ford; Cock-A-Doodle-Doo by Berta and Elmer Hader and Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

1941: They Were Strong and Good by Robert Lawson
Honor Book: April’s Kittens by Clare Newberry

1942: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Honor Books: An American ABC by Maud and Miska Petersham; In My Mother’s House by Ann Clark; Nothing at All by Wanda Gag and Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling

1943: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Honor Books: Dash and Dart by Mary & Conrad Buff and Marshmallow by Claire Turlay Newberry

1944: Many Moons by Louis Slobodkin (text by James Thurber)
Honor Books: Small Rain: Verses from the Bible by Elizabeth Orton Jones (text by Jessie Orton Jones); Pierre Pidgeon by Arnold E. Bare (text by Lee Kingman); The Mighty Hunter by Berta and Elmer Hader; A Child’s Good Night Book by Jean Charlot (text by Margaret Wise Brown) and Good-Luck Horse by Plato Chan (text by Chih-Yi Chan)

1945: Prayer for a Child by Elizabeth Orton Jones (text by Rachel Field)
Honor Books: Mother Goose by Tasha Tudor; In the Forest by Marie Hall Ets; Yonie Wondernose by Marguerite de Angeli and The Christmas Anna Angel by Kate Seredy (text by Ruth Sawyer)

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