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Early Childhood Education: Newbery & Caldecott Medal Books

Guide to Early Childhood Resources

Newbery Medal and Caldecott

The Newbery and the Caldecott awards are the most anticipated of the annual prizes given out by the American Library Association for young adult and children’s literature.


Basically the difference in the two awards is that one is for illustrations (Caldecott), while the other is for literature (Newbery). ... Created in 1922, the Newbery Medal is also awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year.

Newbery and Caldecott books are shelved in the Early Childhood Sections at RCCC North and South.

How the Newberry Medal Came to Be

picture of the Newbery Medal



The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year. On June 22, 1921, Frederic G. Melcher proposed the award to the American Library Association meeting of the Children's Librarians' Section and suggested that it be named for the eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by the children's librarians, and Melcher's official proposal was approved by the ALA Executive Board in 1922. In Melcher's formal agreement with the board, the purpose of the Newbery Medal was stated as follows: "To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field."


  • 2019: Hello Lighthouse illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)
  • 2018Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan)
  • 2017: Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe (Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)
  • 2016: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear illustrated by Sophie Blackall, written by Lindsay Mattick (Little, Brown/Hachette)
  • 2015: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat (Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)
  • 2014: Locomotive by Brian Floca (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
  • 2013: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press)
  • 2012: A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka (Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.)
  • 2011: A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group)
  • 2010: The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown and Company)

For a complete list of Newbery Winners:

2018 Medal Winner and Honor Books

2019 Newbery Medal Winner

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.

A Newbery Medal Honor book.

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner
New York Times bestseller

"Important and deeply moving." --John Green

Acclaimed author Renee Watson offers a powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her.

Why Should We Incorporate Newbery Books into a Curriculum

girl silhouette reading a book



"Reading is the most fundamental skill taught in school. Many schools rely heavily on textbooks and basal readers to teach reading skills. Research, however, shows that exposing students to outside literature is more likely to promote a love of reading that will last for a lifetime. Given since 1922, Newbery Award books provide a variety of themes and thought-provoking topics appropriate for classroom use. Teachers assume the role of exposing students to quality literature to promote not only academic growth but also the desire to become a lifelong reader."

Ricksecker, R. E. (n.d.). Irresistable Children’s Literature: The Benefits of Integrating Newbery Award Books into the  Curriculum(Unpublished master's thesis). Liberty University.

Caldecott Medal "Winners


image of the Caldecott Medal


The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year's "most distinguished American picture book for children", beginning with 1937 publications. It is awarded to the illustrator by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

2019 Caldecott Winner

Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships.

Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). “Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits.”—Booklist

“Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.”—School Library Journal