AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
THE CALDECOTT "SWEEPSTAKES" IS OVER FOR ANOTHER YEAR. THOSE OF US WHO involve ourselves in this annual exercise are either nodding smugly or shaking our heads in puzzlement. This is the moment, at the very beginning of 2003, to think about the 2004 award in a new way ... to engage in the process with a different sight ... through the eyes of its real audience, as Frederic Melcher himself intended.
The Caldecott Committee Manual defines a picture book as, among other things, a book that "displays respect for children's understandings, abilities, and appreciations." We know that Melcher, in his 1921 speech to the Children's Librarians' Section of the American Library Association, gave the mandate: Children's Librarians "... knew the audience of boys and girls, knew them intimately, knew what boys and girls really wanted. They could help build a greater literature by giving authoritative recognition to those who wrote [and illustrated] well." From this speech came Melcher's concept of an award for distinguished American children's books.
Like all Newbery and Caldecott Award committees since then, the 2002 Caldecott Committee took Melcher's intent and his designation of children's librarians as authorities on children seriously. We at the Perrot Library take it to mean that the Caldecott selection process is more than an elitist intellectual exercise performed in a vacuum. It is always intended to have children's understandings, abilities, and appreciations at its heart. Because of this, we designed a program that would involve children in that thrilling process. It was an opportunity to see …