I Am Not An Artist: The Biggest (And Oldest) Knock on the Caldecott
Calling Caldecott, the Horn Book-housed blog all about the most prestigious award in picture books, is back up and running (click here to visit).
Over the coming months they’ll examine a bunch of books that are knocking collective socks off.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with an illustrator at the most recent ALA Annual. We were talking about Caldecott, and specifically the idea of non-artists critiquing art. This illustrator thought there should be more guidance for those on the committee. Maybe adding a member who was an expert or some other way for the committee to have more facility when it comes to discussing art.
It’s a debate that’s been going on for a long time, probably since the award was created. It’s interesting to think how it would change the Caldecott. *Update* And it’s a conversation, Julie Danielson reminds us in her comment below, that’s taken place at Calling Caldecott.
To the illustrator’s point, I think there is a varying degree of art-specific expertise among the Caldecott committee – some folks come with a lot of previous experience, others less so.
In defense, I would say the committee members do work hard to educate (or refresh) themselves on all things illustration before and during their service. Members are provided with a reading list (see page 24 of the Caldecott manual) of excellent resources to help expand their knowledge.
What do you think? Should the Caldecott committee have more artistic guidance?
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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