Randolph Caldecott Medal

About the Randolph Caldecott Medal
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children logo

Award and Frequency

An annual award where the winner recieves a bronze medal and honorees, if any, receive a plaque.
This award is given out on an annual basis.

Eligibility

TERMS

1. The Medal shall be awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published in English in the United States during the preceding year. There are no limitations as to the character of the picture book except that the illustrations be original work. Honor Books may be named. These shall be books that are also truly distinguished.

2. The Award is restricted to artists who are citizens or residents of the United States.

3. The committee in its deliberations is to consider only the books eligible for the award, as specified in the terms.

DEFINITIONS

1. A "picture book for children" as distinguished from other books with illustrations, is one that essentially provides the child with a visual experience. A picture book has a collective unity of story-line, theme, or concept, developed through the series of pictures of which the book is comprised.

2. A "picture book for children" is one for which children are a potential audience. The book displays respect for children's understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen and picture books for this entire age range are to be considered.

3. "Distinguished" is defined as

  •       marked by eminence and distinction: noted for significant achievement
  •       marked by excellence in quality
  •       marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence
  •       individually distinct

4. The artist is the illustrator or co-illustrators. The artist may be awarded the medal posthumously.

5. "Original Work" means that illustrations reprinted or compiled from other sources are not eligible.

6. "American picture book in the United States" specifies that books originally published in other countries are not eligible.

7. "Published . . . in the preceding year" means that the book has a publication date in that year, was available for purchase in that year, and has a copyright date no later than that year. A book might have a copyright date prior to the year under consideration but, for various reasons, was not published until the year under consideration. If a book is published prior to its year of copyright as stated in the book, it shall be considered in its year of copyright as stated in the book. The intent of the definition is that every

book be eligible for consideration, but that no book be considered in more than one year.

8. "Resident" specifies that author has established and maintained residence in the United States as distinct from being a casual or occasional visitor.

9.The term, "only the books eligible for the Award," specifies that the committee is not to consider the entire body of the work by an artist or whether the artist has previously won the award. The committee's decision is to be made following deliberation about books of the specified calendar year.

Applicant Responsibility

Medalist and honorees attend the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet during the ALA Annual Conference.  Medalist presents an acceptance speech. Honorees accept plaques, no speech.

Application Instructions

How to submit books for consideration for the Caldecott Medal:

  • Review the terms and criteria for the award. 
  • Mail one copy of the book to the ALSC office (ATTN: Caldecott Submission, 50 East Huron, Chicago, IL 60611-2795).
  • Mail one copy of the book to the award committee chair. Please e-mail alscawards@ala.org for address information.
  • ALSC membership is not a requirement to submit your work.
  • If you wish, you may attach a cover letter with your contact information to your final work. There is not a submission form to fill out or an entry fee for the Caldecott Medal.

Please note:

The ALSC office is only requesting for one copy to be sent to the ALSC office and one copy to the committee chair. Standards are in place for the committee members to review and share submissions. If you are submitting for multiple awards, only one copy needs to be sent to the ALSC office.

Neither the ALSC office nor the committee chair can confirm receipt of submissions. If you would like to confirm receipt of your submission please use a mailing service with delivery confirmation. Submissions that are dropped off in- person to the ALSC office will not be accepted.

The ALSC office cannot answer eligibility questions or advise on which award your submission is eligible for. It is up to you to review the terms and criteria and if you feel you qualify, submit as appropriate. Eligibility is determined by the committee and is confidential.

The book and media awards are announced each year at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in January. The materials received by the ALSC office throughout the year will be used for ALSC’s Bookapalooza Program. The Bookapalooza Program selects three libraries to receive a Bookapalooza collection of these materials to be used in a way that creatively enhances their library service to children and families.

Deadline for submitting books is December 31 of the publication year.

Contact Information

ALSC Office ATTN: Caldecott Medal Submission
50 East Huron
Chicago, IL 60611-2795
800/545-2433 ext. 2163
Fax: 312-280-5271
alscawards@ala.org

Displaying active committee roster as of 09/29/2014. Last retrieved on 09/29/2014. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.

Selection Criteria

1. In identifying a distinguished picture in a book for children, 

a. Committee members need to consider: 

  • Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;
  • Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept; of appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept; of delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting mood or information through the pictures. 

b. Committee members must consider excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience. 

2. The only limitation to graphic form is that the form must be one which may be used in a picture book. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound or film equipment) for its enjoyment.

3. Each book is to be considered as a picture book. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the illustration, but other components of a book are to be considered especially when they make a book less effective as a children's picture book. Such other components might include the written text, the overall design of the book, etc.  

Note: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for distinguished illustrations in a picture book and for excellence of pictoral presentation for children. The award is not for didactic intent or for popularity.