Caldecott Winners Buyer’s Guide: The Best Children’s Books

Last Updated:  October 9, 2018

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While the covers of all Caldecott winners bear the famous gold medal, some make better birthday and holiday gifts than others.

There are indeed plenty of fantastic children’s books among the Caldecott medal winners, including our personal favorites:

Our advice? Choose wisely because you (or your gift recipient) are going to be reading whichever children’s books you buy over and over again! Now that we’ve established that not all Caldecott winners are created equal, let’s get to the list.

Quick Jumps: 2010 | 2000 | 1990 | 1980 | 1970 | 1960 | 1950 | 1940

Amazon Buying Shortcuts: Our 10 Favorites | All 82 Caldecott Winners

Caldecott Winners: The Complete List!

Hello Lighthouse (2019)

Written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Wolf in the Snow (2018)

Caldecott Books - Wolf in the Snow
Getting lost in a snowstorm is a moment for few words. Written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell.

Radiant Child (2017)

Caldecott Medal Winner 2007 - Radiant Child
The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe.

Finding Winnie (2016)

Caldecott Medal Winner 2016 - Finding Winnie
The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. Written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

The Adventures of Beekle (2015)

Caldecott Medal Winner 2015 - The Adventures of Beekle
The Unimaginary Friend. Written and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Locomotive (2014)

Caldecott Medal Winner 2014 - Locomotive
Written and illustrated by Brian Floca.

This Is Not My Hat (2013)

Caldecott Winners - This Is Not My Hat
A slippery tale of two fish, one hat, and an inky black ocean. Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

A Ball for Daisy (2012)

Caldecott Winners - A Ball for Daisy
What to do when someone bigger breaks your favorite toy? Written and illustrated by Chris Raschka.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2011)

Caldecott Winner 2011 - A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

The Lion & the Mouse (2010)

Caldecott Winner 2010 - The Lion and the Mouse
Written and illustrated by by Jerry Pinkney.

The House in the Night (2009)

Caldecott Winner 2009 - House in the Night
Written by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2008)

Caldecott Winner 2008 - Invention of Hugo Cabret
Written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.

Flotsam (2007)

Caldecott Winner 2007 - Flotsam
Written and illustrated by by David Wiesner.

The Hello, Goodbye Window (2006)

Caldecott Winners - The Hello, Goodbye Window
Written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka.

Kitten’s First Full Moon (2005)

Caldecott Winner 2005 - Kitten's First Full Moon
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2004)

Caldecott Winners 2004 - Man Who Walked Between the Towers
Written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein.

My Friend Rabbit (2003)

Caldecott Books 2003 - My Friend Rabbit
Written and illustrated by Eric Rohmann.

The Three Pigs (2002)

Caldecott Books 2002 - The Three Pigs
Written and illustrated by David Wiesner.

So You Want to Be President? (2001)

Caldecott Books 2001 - So You Want To Be President
Written by by Judith St. George and illustrated by David Small.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (2000)

Caldecott Books 2000 - Joseph Had A Little Overcoat
Written and illustrated by Simms Taback.

Snowflake Bentley (1999)

Caldecott Books 1999 - Snowflake Bentley
Written by by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian.

Rapunzel (1998)

Caldecott Books 1998 - Rapunzel
Adapted and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. Originally written by Brothers Grimm.

Golem (1997)

Caldecott Books 1997 - Golem
Adapted and illustrated by David Wisniewski.

Officer Buckle and Gloria (1996)

Caldecott Books 1996 - Officer Buckle and Gloria
Written and illustrated by by Peggy Rathmann.

Smoky Night (1995)
by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by David Diaz

Caldecott Winners 1995 - Smoky Night

Grandfather’s Journey (1994)
by Walter Lorraine, Illustrated by Allen Say

Caldecott Winners 1994 - Grandfather's Journey

Mirette on the High Wire (1993)
by Emily Arnold McCully

Caldecott Winners 1993 - Mirette on the High Wire

Tuesday (1992)
by David Wiesner

Caldecott Winners 1992 - Tuesday

Black and White (1991)
by David Macaulay

Caldecott Winners 1991 - Black and White

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China (1990)
by Ed Young

Caldecott Winners 1990 - Lon Po Po

Song and Dance Man (1989)
by Karen Ackerman, Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

Caldecott Winners 1989 - Song and Dance Man

Owl Moon (1988)
by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by John Schoenherr

Caldecott Winners 1988 - Owl Moon

Hey, Al (1987)
by Arthur Yorinks, Illustrated by Richard Egielski

Caldecott Winners 1987 - Hey Al

The Polar Express (1986)
by Chris Van Allsburg

Caldecott Winners 1986 - The Polar Express

Saint George and the Dragon (1985)
by Margaret Hodges, Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

Caldecott Winners 1985 - Saint George and the Dragon

The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot (1984)
by Alice & Martin Provensen

Caldecott Winners 1984 - The Glorious Flight

Shadow (1983)
by Blaise Cendrars, Translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown

Caldecott Winners 1983 - Shadow

Jumanji (1982)
by Chris Van Allsburg

Caldecott Winners 1982 - Jumanji

Fables (1981)
by Arnold Lobel

Caldecott Winners 1981 - Fables

Ox-Cart Man (1980)
by Donald Hall, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Caldecott Winners 1980 - Ox-Cart Man

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (1979)
by Paul Goble

Caldecott Winners 1979 - The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

Noah’s Ark (1978)
by Peter Spier

Caldecott Books 1978 - Noah's Ark

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (1977)
by Margaret Musgrove, Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

Caldecott Books 1977 - Ashanti to Zulu

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (1976)
by Verna Aardema, Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

Caldecott Books 1976 - Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears

Arrow to the Sun (1975)
by Gerald McDermott

Caldecott Books 1975 - Arrow to the Sun

Duffy and the Devil (1974)
by Harve Zemach, Illustrated by Margot Zemach

Caldecott Books 1974 - Duffy and the Devil

The Funny Little Woman (1973)
by Arlene Mosel, Illustrated by Blair Lent

Caldecott Books 1973 - The Funny Little Woman

One Fine Day (1972)
by Nonny Hogrogian

Caldecott Winners 1972 - One Fine Day

A Story A Story (1971)
by Gail E. Haley

Caldecott Winners 1971 - A Story A Story

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (1970)
by William Steig

Caldecott Books 1970 - Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship (1969)
by Arthur Ransome, Illustrated by Uri Shulevitz

Caldecott Books 1969 - The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship

Drummer Hoff (1968)
by Barbara Emberley, Illustrated by Ed Emberley

Caldecott Books 1968 - Drummer Hoff

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine (1967)
by Evaline Ness

Caldecott Books 1967 - Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine

Always Room for One More (1966)
by Sorche Nic Leodhas, Illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian

Caldecott Winners 1966 - Always Room for One More

May I Bring a Friend? (1965)
by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, Illustrated by Beni Montresor

Caldecott Winners 1965 - May I Bring A Friend

Where the Wild Things Are (1964)
by Maurice Sendak

Caldecott Winners 1964 - Where the Wild Things Are

The Snowy Day (1963)
by Ezra Jack Keats

Caldecott Books 1963 - The Snowy Day

Once a Mouse (1962)
by Marcia Brown

Caldecott Winners 1962 - Once A Mouse

Baboushka and the Three Kings (1961)
by Ruth Robbins, Illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov

Caldecott Books 1961 - Baboushka and the Three Kings

Nine Days to Christmas (1960)
by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida

Caldecott Books 1960 - Nine Days to Christmas

Chanticleer and the Fox (1959)adapted from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales by Barbara Cooney

Caldecott Winners 1959 - Chanticleer and the Fox

Time of Wonder (1958)
by Robert McCloskey

Caldecott Books 1958 - Time of Wonder

A Tree Is Nice (1957)
by Janice Udry

Caldecott Books 1957 - A Tree Is Nice

Frog Went A-Courtin’ (1956)retold by John Langstaff, Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky

Caldecott Winners 1956 - Frog Went A Courtin'

Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper (1955)translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown

Caldecott Books 1955 - Cinderella

Madeline’s Rescue (1954)by Ludwig Bemelmans

Caldecott Books 1954 - Madeline's Rescue

The Biggest Bear (1953)
by Lynd Ward

Caldecott Books 1953 - The Biggest Bear

Finders Keepers (1952)
by William Lipkind, Illustrated by Nicholas Mordvinoff

Caldecott Winners 1952 - Finders Keepers

The Egg Tree (1951)
by Katherine Milhous

Caldecott Books 1951 - The Egg Tree

Song of the Swallows (1950)
by Leo Politi

Caldecott Winners 1950 - Song of the Swallows

The Big Snow (1949)by Berta & Elmer Hader

Caldecott Books 1949 - The Big Snow

White Snow, Bright Snow (1948)by Alvin Tresselt, Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

Caldecott Books 1948 - White Snow Bright Snow

The Little Island (1947)
by Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

Caldecott Books 1947 - The Little Island

The Rooster Crows (1946)
by Maud & Miska Petersham

Caldecott Books 1946 - The Rooster Crows

Prayer for a Child (1945)
by Rachel Field, Illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones

Caldecott Books 1945 - Prayer for A Child

Many Moons (1944) by James Thurber, Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin

Caldecott Winners 1944 - Many Moons

The Little House (1943)
by Virginia Lee Burton

Caldecott Books 1943 - The Little House

Make Way for Ducklings (1942)by Robert McCloskey

Caldecott Books 1942 - Make Way for Ducklings

They Were Strong and Good (1941)
by Robert Lawson

Caldecott Books 1941 - They Were Strong and Good

Abraham Lincoln (1940)
by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

Caldecott Winners 1940 - Abraham Lincoln

Mei Li (1939)
by Thomas Handforth

Caldecott Books 1939 - Mei Li

Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book (1938)text adapted by Helen Dean Fish, Illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop

Caldecott Books 1938 - Animals of the Bible

That’s Our List of the Best Caldecott Winners

Check back soon to find the 2020 Caldecott Medal winner at the top!