Award-winning picture books

Looking for excellent picture books to purchase for your kids? Here’s a selection of nine award-winners. Each one has been honored with the prestigious Caldecott Medal, which is awarded annually to the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

illustrated by Sophie Blackall,

written by Lindsay Mattick

(Little, Brown/Hachette)

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. And, she was a girl! In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear he named Winnie. It’s a true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey – from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England.... And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin. Here is the true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

Ages: 2-5

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

by Dan Santat

(Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and – at long last – is given his special name: Beekle. An unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one’s place in the world.

Ages: 4-7


by Brian Floca

(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

Locomotive is a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads. It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean.

Ages: 4-10

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

illustrated by Erin E. Stead; written by Philip C. Stead

(Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press)

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.

Ages: 2-6

The Hello, Goodbye Window

illustrated by Chris Raschka; written by Norton Juster

(Michael diCapua/Hyperion)

This is a love song devoted to that special relationship between grandparents and grandchild. The kitchen window at Nanna and Poppy’s house is, for one little girl, a magic gateway. Everything important happens near it, through it, or beyond it. Told in her voice, her story is both a voyage of discovery and a celebration of the commonplace wonders that define childhood, expressed with evocative and exuberant illustrations.

Ages: 1-7

The House in the Night

illustrated by Beth Krommes; written by Susan Marie Swanson

(Houghton Mifflin Company)

A spare, patterned text and glowing pictures explore the origins of light that make a house a home in this award-winning bedtime book for young children. Naming nighttime things that are both comforting and intriguing to preschoolers – a key, a bed, the moon – this timeless book illuminates a reassuring order to the universe.

Ages: 2-3


by David Wiesner


A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam – anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share...and to keep.

Ages: 4-7

The Lion & the Mouse

by Jerry Pinkney

(Little, Brown and Company)

In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney’s wordless adaptation of one of Aesop’s most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher’s trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African Serengeti and expressively-drawn characters, Pinkney makes this a truly special retelling, and his stunning pictures speak volumes.

Ages: 1-8

This Is Not My Hat

by Jon Klassen

(Candlewick Press)

From the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling and award-winning I Want My Hat Back comes a second wry tale. When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened. Visual humor swims to the fore in this deadpan-funny tale.

Ages: 4-8