Build a Collection of Vintage Caldecotts for Your Child’s Library

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The Caldecott Medal has been awarded to the year’s most distinguished picture book for children since 1937. Caldecotts go to the illustrator, so a look back at the Caldecott winners provides a nice little lesson in art history.

Parents are constantly inundated with new picture books—More than 20,000 are published each year. This is great when it’s time for your kid to load up on library books. But when it comes to investing in quality books to add to your little one’s home library, A Caldecott winner is always a safe bet.

This year’s winner is I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Take a look at the preview. (And by the way, how cool is it that now we get trailers for books! I love it!)

See what I mean about how Caldecotts reflect the taste and style of the time? You see the clean, minimalist style and even a fox. Looks like my Pinterest boards!

Take a look at some of the earliest Caldecott winners to see a vintage aesthetic that’s coming around again. Why not start a gorgeous collection for your kids that they’ll want to pass down to their kids!

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  • 1940 Winner: Abraham Lincoln 1 of 10
    1940 Winner: Abraham Lincoln
    Written and illustrated by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire. I love the colors and Lincoln is still topical—The movie, Lincoln, is up for an Academy Award this week.
    Available at Amazon for $19.95
  • 1941 Winner: Make Way for Ducklings 2 of 10
    1941 Winner: Make Way for Ducklings
    Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, these charming charcoal illustrations scream 40s retro. But it's just 40s. Go figure!
    Available at Amazon for $19.60
  • 1942 Winner: The Little House 3 of 10
    1942 Winner: The Little House
    Written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton, and one of my favorite books. This is definitely one to add to your library. Just look at the cover. It looks like a dish towel.
    Available at Amazon for $6.77
  • 1944 Winner: Many Moons 4 of 10
    1944 Winner: Many Moons
    Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin and so, so modern! It's hard to believe the design is almost 70 years old.
    Available at Amazon for $7.44
  • 1948 Winner: White Snow, Bright Snow 5 of 10
    1948 Winner: White Snow, Bright Snow
    llustrated by Roger Duvoisin. These gorgeous colors depict the simple life we're all trying to go back to living.
    Available at Amazon for $6.14
  • 1953 Winner: The Biggest Bear 6 of 10
    1953 Winner: The Biggest Bear
    Written and illustrated by Lynd Ward. These opaque water colors say hipster to me.
    Available at Amazon for $5.95
  • 1957 Winner: A Tree is Nice 7 of 10
    1957 Winner: A Tree is Nice
    Illustrated by Marc Simont. With simple, vibrant colors. 56 years later—A tree is still nice.
    Available at Amazon for $6.30
  • 1961 Winner: Baboushka and the 3 Kinges 8 of 10
    1961 Winner: Baboushka and the 3 Kinges
    Illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov Super cool, right?
    Available at Amazon for $12.48
  • 1964 Winner: Where the Wild Things Are 9 of 10
    1964 Winner: Where the Wild Things Are
    Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this book may prove to be eternally timeless.
    Available at Amazon for $12.21
  • 1964 Winner: May I Bring a Friend 10 of 10
    1964 Winner: May I Bring a Friend
    Written and illustrated by Beni Montresor. This book does look a little dated to me. I had this exact version when I was a kid so it feels very 70s, but those colors! Plus, best book ever.
    Available at Amazon for $7.21

A complete list of Caldecott Medal winners and honors, here.

Read more of my writing at Babble and on my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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