THINGS I LEARNED FROM READING ALL THE CALDECOTTS, EVER: part I

Because…
…last week was the week where the American Library Association announced this year's winners of their shiny round stickers,
…and because it was about a year ago that I completed an old goal close to my heart – reading all the Caldecott honor and winner books of all time,
…and because I never really took the time to step back and reflect on that goal’s completion,
… and because just 2 weeks ago I was busy chowing my way through the ENORMOUS stack of picture books I had checked out from the library while I was home, mostly collected due to their places on mock-Caldecott lists…
Today I’m beginning a short series of blog posts related to my thoughts on…
THINGS I LEARNED FROM READING ALL THE CALDECOTTS, EVER.
(I digress to point out that I had read all the Caldecotts, ever, up until the new winners were announced last week. The two honor books both came in under my radar – even though I LOVE Bryan Collier’s work and am surprised I missed a new book illustrated by him. I can’t catch everything though, even when I’m not living in Malaysia. I’ll read them both as soon as I find them).

In the next several weeks, every Monday I’ll put up a post elaborating on each of the following 5 most valuable things I learned (or gained insight into) by reading all the Caldecott winner and honor books, ever.


Here's the nutshell version:
1. Children’s picture books have evolved dramatically in the last century and many of the changes and evolutions are fascinating and exciting to trace through time.
2. Timeless books do some things that other books don’t. Or, if it’s possible to be more abstract, certain qualities seemed to rise up again and again in the books that felt most timeless.
3. Not all the Caldecotts’ texts felt timeless to me: there were reasons that some of the books were difficult to locate and required inter-library loans or trips to special libraries at Universities (but then there were also other qualities in those books that made me glad I took the time to seek them out or that helped shed light on why they may have won the sticker).
4. Everyone knows that, while awards committees do their best to be fair, it’s impossible for subjectivity not to play some role in what gets a sticker and what doesn’t. While reading all the Caldecotts, ever, I often found myself returning to the idea of subjectivity and pondering it.
5. For learning about picture books, there is no substitution for putting in real time with real books and real artwork.
    I apologize to those arty friends and crafty types who read my blog who aren't necessarily interested in Children’s literature. Like any blog, I hope you read what interests you and ignore the rest.

    For those interested in Children’s literature, I’ll put up the first post of the above 5 next Monday, with a new post (hopefully!) following every Monday until I'm finished with the series.

    Cheers!