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When Caldecott Medals Are Born

Caldecott in Diapers

A couple years back, I tried to figure out which month birthed the most Newbery Medals.

Now it’s time for Caldecott.

Similar to my Newbery assumption, I figured the most Caldecott medals would come from the pumpkin-spiced months. Adding to this is the fact that if you look at previous Caldecott winners with books out this year, many have been hitting shelves this fall (Henkes, Stead, Selznick, to name a few).

So I compiled the publication dates for the last 20 years of medal winners and here’s how things shook out:


September is the most common publication month for Caldecott Medal winners in the last 20 years. Also worth noting is that while August-September is the three-month stretch containing the most medals, the first half and second half of the year are equal (ten each). February, June, July, November, and December are all Caldecott black holes for the last 20 years.

Anything jump out to you?

Showing my work time. Here were the publication dates of the last 20 Caldecott Medal winners as best as I could track them down. If you disagree with a date, let me know.

2015: The Adventures of Beekle: April 8, 2014

2014: Locomotive: September 3, 2013

2013: This Is Not My Hat: October 9, 2012

2012: A Ball for Daisy: May 10, 2011

2011: A Sick Day for Amos McGee: May 25, 2010

2010: The Lion & the Mouse: September 1, 2009

2009:  The House in the Night: May 5, 2008

2008: The Invention of Hugo Cabret: January 30, 2007

2007: Flotsam: September 4, 2006

2006: The Hello, Goodbye Window: April 26, 2005

2005: Kitten’s First Full Moon: March 2, 2004

2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers: Sepember 5, 2003

2003: My Friend Rabbit: May 1, 2002

2002: The Three Pigs: April 23, 2001

2001: So You Want to Be President?“: August 21, 2000

2000: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat: October 1, 1999

1999: Snowflake Bentley: September 28, 1998

1998: Rapunzel: October 1, 1997

1997: Golem: January 28, 1996

1996: Officer Buckle and Gloria: September 28, 1995

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 scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Joseph Miller says


    Thanks for sharing this information. It’s pretty interesting, although it makes me wonder how the numbers would look if Honor books were included, too.

    Best Wishes,

  2. So when I read the title here, I thought you were going all astrological to see when the AUTHORS of the winning books (or medalISTs) were born, which I also think would be interesting. Maybe we can put your intern on that research?

    • Travis Jonker says

      That would require an intern, but I would also be interested in that.

    • I used the same date range (1996-2015) as Travis, and here’s what I got, based mostly on Wikipedia information:
      5 Aquarius (David Wiesner is in here twice–so 4 distinct people)
      4 Sagittarius
      3 Capricorn
      3 Pisces
      1 Aries
      1 Cancer
      1 Libra
      1 Scorpio
      **I couldn’t find Beth Krommes’s birth day/month, only year.

      Mid-February seems like a great time to have been born: David Small (2001) is Feb. 12, Simms Taback (2000) is Feb. 13, and Paul O. Zelinsky (1998) is Feb. 14.
      There’s also a tight cluster in late November: Mordicai Gerstein (2004) is the 24th, Kevin Henkes (2005) is the 27th, and Jon Klassen (2013) is the 29th. So… Valentine’s and Thanksgiving babies (except Klassen is Canadian and our Thanksgiving is different).

      • Oh, Chris Raschka’s in here twice, too, obviously–he’s 2 of the 3 counts on Pisces.

      • Travis Jonker says

        This is incredible! Thanks for sharing this

      • My brain made me do Newbery, too–I can’t easily find Clare Vanderpool’s birthday, but I’ve got everyone else from 1996 forward. And 11 of the 12 astrological signs are represented (again, according to Wikipedia where possible):
        4 Aries–Peck (01), Park (02), DiCamillo (04 & 14) [More like Newb-ARIES, am I right?]
        1 Taurus–Curtis (00)
        1 Gemini–Schlitz (08)
        2 Cancer–Kadohata (05) and Gantos (12)
        2 Leo–Perkins (06) and Alexander (15)
        1 Virgo–Hesse (98)
        2 Libra–Cushman (96) and Applegate (13)
        1 Scorpio–Gaiman (09)
        NO Sagittarius!
        2 Capricorn–Avi (03) and Stead (10)
        1 Aquarius–Konigsburg (97)
        2 Pisces–Sachar (99) and Patron (07)

        And the best days to be born? July 2 (Kadohata and Gantos) or March 25 (Park and DiCamillo). With Patron on March 18 and Sachar on March 20, a full quarter of the 20 medals are covered in one week. [I should note that I do not subscribe at all to astrology, so I don’t know what any of this “means.”]

        The age range is tighter, too–Kate DiCamillo turned 40 just after winning in 2004, and Konigsburg and Peck each turned 67 after receiving their respective medals in 1997 and 2001. (Though Konigsburg was in her 30s when she won her first medal.) Most authors were mid-40s to mid-50s when they actually won. On quick inspection, Mildred Taylor and Robin McKinley look like some of the youngest medalists.

  3. I’m curious to know at what age illustrators tend to win the Medal.

    • Travis Jonker says

      I like this question, Colby

    • I looked at this, too! (I can’t look away from a quantitative question, apparently.) From the 1996-2015 medalists, looking at the age they turned in the year they won the medal (e.g. Peggy Rathmann, born in 1953, won the medal in 1996 and turned 43 later in 1996–everyone except maybe Floca and Wiesner have post-ALAMW birthdays): lots of 40-somethings.

      From youngest to oldest (and again, almost entirely based on Wikipedia):
      29: Stead in 2011

      32: Klassen in 2013

      40: Santat in 2015

      42: Selznick in 2008
      43: Rathmann in 1996
      44: Wisniewski in 1997
      45: Zelinsky in 1998 AND Henkes in 2005 AND Floca in 2014
      46: Wiesner in 2002 AND Rohmann in 2003
      47: Raschka in 2006

      51: Wiesner in 2007

      53: Krommes in 2009 AND Raschka in 2012

      56: Small in 2001

      59: Azarian in 1999

      68: Taback in 2000
      69: Gerstein in 2004

      71: Pinkney in 2010

  4. This is very interesting. I’d like to see this data compared to the dates when all books are released. In other words, are there more books overall released in April, May, and September, and so it’s statistically more likely that one of them will win the Caldecott?

  5. Travis, I feel like you are quickly becoming the Nate Silver of Kidlit!