History was made this week! What’s the “Big” deal?
The 2024 Randolph Caldecott Medal (which is like the Oscars for children’s picture books) was awarded to author and illustrator Vashti Harrison for Big. Vashti is the first Black woman to win the Caldecott! Since 1938, the American Library Association has awarded the Caldecott Medal to the illustrator of the most distinguished picture book, representing quintessential excellence in American children’s literature.
Big follows a child’s quest for self-love, emphasizing the profound impact of words on one’s journey. The book explores standing out and feeling invisible. Pinks and grays symbolize the emotional landscape of bigness in a world that values smallness. Big is an exploration of individuality, self-acceptance, and resilience. (ALA Synopsis)
Rita, a Librarian at The City Library, served on this year’s Caldecott Committee. Rita and the other committee members read over 650 children’s picture books and graphic novels! In praising Big, Rita described Harrison’s masterful use of color and space.
Along with the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott is considered the most prestigious and influential award in children’s literature and almost guarantees that the winning book will never go out of print. The award also brings the book onto the radar of many readers around the country. Caldecott winners often become evergreen classics: past winners include Where the Wild Things Are, Jumanji, Make Way For Ducklings, and The Polar Express.
Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named:
In Every Life, illustrated and written by Marla Frazee
Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter, illustrated by Molly Mendoza, written by Aida Salazar
There Was a Party for Langston, illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey, written by Jason Reynolds
The Truth About Dragons, illustrated by Hanna Cha, written by Julie Leung.
The City Library wants to thank this year’s committee for their time, thoughtfulness, dedication, and commitment to the legacy of children’s literature and the importance of literacy for everyone.