One-Minute Book Reviews

February 12, 2012

10 Picture Books by Women That Didn’t Win a Caldecott Medal

Filed under: Caldecott Medals — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:27 pm
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Why have male artists won twice as many Caldecott medals as their female contemporaries? I suggested a few answers in my post “American Library Association to Little Kids: Women Are Second Best.” And I’ve since created a one-page display on Pinterest of the covers of 10 picture books by women that lost the ALA’s annual award for “the most distinguished American picture book for children.” Among the books passed over for the prize: Virginia Lee Burton’s classic Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius, winner of the American Book Award. All have good company in the Caldecott judges’ reject pile, including Dr. Seuss, who won three Honor awards but never the medal. What other titles belong on my Pinterest list?


  1. That is such an insightful comment. Women seem to have to work twice as hard as men to get the attention they deserve. Perhaps we should use male nom-de-plumes as happened in times gone by.

    Comment by akismetuser771340963 — March 8, 2012 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  2. There is a lot to respond to here. First you suggest that the Caldecott award is sexist, then you seem to suggest it also is just a misguided award.

    To the first point, while those excellent books you mentioned did not win the Caldecott both Virginia Lee Burton and Barbara Cooney have been recognized for other wonderful books and Barbara Cooney has won twice. Further Marcia Brown is the first illustrator to win the award a staggering 3 times. While you are correct that male illustrators have dominated the Caldecott it is equally important to point out that female authors have dominated the Newbery Medal also given out by ALA. The ALA judging panels are by and large mostly populated with women as judges. My strong feeling is that the ALA is not biased against women’s work in children’s books as you suggest.

    As far as Dr Seuss goes, this occasionally happens with every award. It is unfortunate he never won but it does not diminish the truly wonderful work that is celebrated every year by these awards. Whenever you single out one outstanding work, there always several more of equal (or sometimes even greater) value that can not be recognized. It is the nature of an award.

    Comment by Don Phillips — May 27, 2012 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

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