The Caldecott Medal: Understanding Distinguished Art in Picture Books

For almost 75 years, the Caldecott Medal has been a sign of superior artistry and creativity in children’s picture books, given to only one book every year.  With so many children’s picture books published each year, how is the Caldecott Medal winning book selected?  What makes picture book illustration distinguished, and how has that definition changed over time?  Learn about the history of the award, how the award has transformed books over time, and how to look critically at picture book art.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn about the history, terms, and definitions of the Caldecott Medal
  • Participate in book discussions
  • Look at the evolving nature in children's picture books and its impact on the Caldecott selection process 
  • Become familiar with how the medal impacts librarians, authors, publishers and children
  • Develop skills in holding mock Caldecott discussions with children and other programming ideas
  • Form the skills to look at picture book art more critically

Who Should Attend

Children’s librarians in public libraries and schools; library paraprofessional and support staff who are working with students, parents and teachers.

Course Level & Prerequisites

This course is open to library staff of all experience levels; no prerequisites are required.


Kathleen T. Horning, Director, Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison.

Date(s) & Time(s)

This is a six week Moodle course run asynchroniously, meaning you will never need to login to a class on a certain date/time.  This course will begin the week of July 15, 2013.

Credits &/or CEUs

College credit and CEU's are not available at this time.  ALSC's online courses are the equivalent of a one day face-to-face workshop.  A certificate of completion will be sent to each participant upon successful completion for each course taken.

Requirements vary by state and school district regarding certification and continuing education credits.  The decision to grant CEU credits remains entirely up to your state or school district.  If you are in need of credits, check with your state and/or school district before enrolling to determine eligibility.  Some states will review your certificate of completion and course syllabus to determine eligibility.  A PDF copy of the syllabus can be provided to you upon request.


Class size is limited to 30 students.

ALSC Personal Member: $115
ALA Personal Member: $165
Nonmember: $185

Member rates apply to personal memberships only.  Interested in joining ALSC?  Click here to learn more about ALSC and how to join.

Technical Requirements

Computer, internet connection, web browser.

How to Register

Registration is now open!  Visit the ALA Registration page to register online, or fill out the registration form and mail it in.  You can also register by calling ALA Member and Customer Service at 800-545-2433 ext. 5.  Course space is limited.


If you have questions about the course material, please contact the course instructor Kathleen Horning.

If you have questions about registration, please contact ALA's Member and Customer Service Department by email or by calling 800-545-2433 ext. 5.

All other inquiries, including sponsorship questions, can be directed to Jenny Najduch, ALSC program officer, via email or by calling (312) 280-4026.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be made in writing and postmarked or faxed to the ALA/MACS department by no later than seven days before the class starts.  Cancellations will result in a full refund less a $35 processing fee.  NO phone cancellations will be accepted.  Refunds will be processed two weeks after the start of the course.  ALSC reserves the right to cancel a course for reasons including insufficient numbers of students. Cancellations after the course has begun will not be accepted.