My Caldecott Experience Ten Years Later

I am off to Philadelphia on Thursday to attend a meeting of state librarians and also to attend some of the ALA midwinter meeting. The two things I will be doing at the conference will be exhibits and the children’s media award announcements on Monday.

The last time I attended ALA Midwinter I was a member of the 2004 Caldecott Committee. I was also the youth services consultant for the State Library. The conference was in San Diego (why can’t it be there this year???) and it was also the year of that horrible ice storm that closed everything from Seattle to Medford for days. I was supposed to leave out of Portland but managed to get a flight from Eugene, where it had started melting.

I know most of you have heard my rantings about being on the Caldecott Committee but I do appreciate your indulgence. It was a high point of my career as a librarian, especially as a children’s librarian.

It is very serious business to select the most distinguished American picture book for children so the artist can be awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal. I read more books that year than I have in the ten years since and I agonized over those books and the discussions with my fellow committee members more than I have over most of what has occurred in the last ten years (with a few notable exceptions).

I will be in the audience on Monday to hear which book the 2014 Caldecott Committee has chosen as the most distinguished American picture book for children. I will be nostalgic for 2004 but one thing I will not do is second guess the committee’s selection.

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