A Selected List of Children's Book Awards
Alberta Book Awards
This webpage from the Writers' Guild of Alberta website offers lists of the
2005 finalists for the R. Ross Annett Award for children's literature, Children's
Book Award for publishers, and Alberta Book Design Award for book illustration.
A full list of winning titles since 2002 is available in its online archive.
Alberta Book Illustration of the Year Award
This webpage from the Book Publishers Association of Alberta website offers information
about the Alberta Book Illustration of the Year Award, for which children's books may be
entered. Eligibility, criteria, and lists of previous winners are listed.
Alberta Children's Book of the Year Award
This webpage from the Book Publishers Association of Alberta website offers
information about the Alberta Children's Book of the Year Award, which includes
fiction, non-fiction, and picturebooks. Eligibility, criteria, and lists of previous
winners are provided.
Alcuin Society Book Design Awards
This webpage from the website of the Alcuin Society provides information about its book
design award, which has recognized and celebrated fine book design in Canada since 1981.
Award winners since 1996 may be viewed online.
The Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award
This webpage from the Canadian Library Association website supplies information about
the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, which is presently annually to an
outstanding Canadian illustrator of a children's book published in Canada. A list of
previous winning titles is also available.
The Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature
This webpage from the Nova Scotia Library Association website introduces this
regional award for writers residing in Atlantic Canada, who have made an
outstanding contribution to children's literature. Previous winning titles,
a shortlist of the 2005 award, and annotation of the 2005 winner are also supplied.
Arthur Ellis Best Juvenile Crime Award
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website offers information about
the Arthur Ellis Juvenile Crime Award, which is administered by the Crime Writers of Canada.
Entry criteria and a list of winners are available online.
B.C. Book Prizes
This website lists eligibility criteria for the Sheila A. Egoff Prize for
Children's Literature and the Christie Harris Prize for Children's Illustrated
Books-two B.C. Book Prizes for children's literature. The winning titles of these
two awards are also supplied.
Blue Spruce Award
This webpage from the Ontario Library Association website offers information about the Blue
Spruce Award for the best Canadian picturebook voted by Ontario children ages four through
eight. Lists of nominees and winners are also available.
Canadian Awards Index
This webpage from The Canadian Children's Book Centre website provides a list
of Canadian children's book awards--current and discontinued, introductions
to the awards, contact information and winning titles and authors.
Canadian Children's Book Centre: Children's Book Awards
A current list of all Canadian children's book awards and award winners.
Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award
This webpage from the Canadian Library Association website supplies information about this
award, which is open to any work that is an act of creative writing for children, such as
fiction, poetry, retelling of traditional literature, regardless of published format
(including anthologies and collections). Shortlists and previous winners since 2003 can be
Canadian Library Association Young Adult Canadian Book Award
This webpage from the Canadian Library Association website provides information about this
award, which recognizes an author of an outstanding English language Canadian book of appeal
to young adults. Lists of winners and shortlists since 2003 are available online.
Children's Literature Translation Award
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website supplies information about
the award, which is administered by the Children's Literature Service of Library and Archives
Canada. It recognizes translators who have introduced young readers to Canadian children's
literature in two official languages. The 2003 winner is listed.
Children's Literature Web Guide
Compilation of a wide variety of Internet resources related to books
for children and young adults. Includes a discussion board, information
on awards and bestsellers, and an awards directory.
The Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award
This webpage from the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable website introduces
the Information Book Award, which is presented to a title of non-fiction for children
published in Canada. Other criteria and winning titles since 2000 are supplied.
Chocolate Lily Book Awards
This website offers information about the Chocolate Lily Book Awards for the best
picturebook and novel/chapter book by British Columbia's authors and illustrators
voted by school children. Lists of nominees and winners since 2002 are provided.
Christie Harris Prize for Illustrated Children's Books
This webpage from the BC Book Prizes website introduces the Christie Harris Prize, which is
awarded to the author and illustrator of the best children's picturebook by a British Columbia
or Yukon resident. Other criteria and a list of previous winners are available via links.
Claude Aubry Award
This webpage from the International Board on Books for Young People, Canada (IBBY-Canada)
website provides information about the Claude Aubry Award, which is presented biennially to
an individual for distinguished service within the field of Canadian children's literature.
Recipients since 1981 are listed.
The Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award
This webpage from the International Board on Books for Young People, Canada, website
offers information about the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, which is presented annually
to a Canadian illustrator of a picturebook. Criteria and a list of previous winners are also provided.
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website introduces the Geoffrey Bilson
Award, which is presented annually to the author of an outstanding work of historical fiction
for young people. Criteria and previous winners since 1988 are listed.
Golden Eagle Children's Choice Book Award
This website supplies information about a children's choice book award presented annually
to an Albertan writer whose juvenile fiction book is selected by children in grades four through
seven in southern Alberta. Lists of winners and nominated books for 2005 are available via links.
Governor General's Literary Awards for Children's Literature
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website offers information about the
Governor General's Literary Awards for children's literature regarding eligibility and winners
since 1987 in the English-text, English-illustration, French-text, and French-illustration categories.
The Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
This website, available in English and French, offers lists of winning
titles to the Atlantic Canadian Book Award voted by children ages 9-12
in the categories of English Fiction, English Non-fiction and French.
The Halifax Mayor's Award for Excellence in Book Illustration
This webpage from the website of the Halifax Regional Municipality introduces The Mayor's Award
for Excellence in Book Illustration, which recognizes artists' contribution to cultural heritage
in this region. Lists of criteria, nominations and previous winners are available via links.
Hamilton Lit Awards for Children's Book
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website introduces Hamilton Lit Awards
for the best children's book, which is presented to an author 16 years or older and currently
residing in Hamilton and/or surrounding region. Other criteria as well as a list of previous
winners are provided.
IBBY: Canadian Nominations for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website introduces the Hans Christian
Andersen Awards, which are given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People
(IBBY) to one author and one illustrator devoted to children's literature. The list of Canadian
nominations since 1980 is supplied.
IBBY Honour List
This webpage from the International Board on Books for Young People website supplies information
about its biennial selection of recently published outstanding books, which honours writers,
illustrators, and translators from IBBY member countries. The 2004 honour list is available online.
Information Book Award
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website introduces the Information Book
Award, sponsored by the Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada, which recognizes an outstanding
information book for children and young people five to 15 years of age, and written in English by a
Canadian citizen or permanent resident. A list of recipients since 1987 is available.
The Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
This webpage from the website of Stanley Knowles Library, Winnipeg, Manitoba,
offers lists of books nominated for this award since 1992 as well as lists of
the winning titles voted by readers grades five through eight.
Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award
This webpage from the Young Alberta Book Society website offers information about the Martyn
Godfrey Young Writers Award devoted to humorous short stories and novels. This annual writing
competition is open to all Canadian students in grades 7 through 9. Criteria for submission are
also listed. The list of 2004 winners can be viewed at www.bookcentre.ca/awards
The McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award
This webpage from the website of the Manitoba Writers' Guild introduces the McNally Robinson
Award, which is divided into young adult and children categories and is presented to two Manitoba
writers. Entry criteria and a list of previous winners may also be viewed online.
The Municipal Chapter of Toronto IODE Book Award
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website provides information about the book
award presented by the IODE Municipal Chapter of Toronto, which aims to encourage the publication
of books for children ages six through 12. A list of winners since 1974 is included.
National Library of Canada: Award-Winning Canadian Children's Literature Books
English and French titles from 1992 to the present for more than twenty different Canadian awards.
Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards for Young Adults and Children
This webpage from the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador's website offers information
about its book awards for writers for young adults and children, which are given biennially to honour
artistic excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador literature. Criteria and previous winners are also listed.
Norma Fleck Award for Children's Non-Fiction
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website introduces the Norma Fleck Award,
which recognizes an author, or author and illustrator, of Canadian non-fiction for children.
Previous winners since 1999 can be viewed at www.bookcentre.ca/awards
The Pacific Northwest Library Association's Young Reader's Choice Award
This webpage from the Pacific Northwest Library Association website provides information about
the oldest children's choice award in the U.S. and Canada, established in 1940. Nominations are
taken only from children, parents, teachers, and librarians in the Pacific Northwest region.
Nominees and previous winning titles are available online.
The Red Cedar Book Awards
This children's choice award website provides lists of the winning titles voted
by British Columbian children grades four through seven in the categories of
non-fiction and fiction.
The Red Maple Awards
This webpage from the Ontario Library Association's website introduces the Red Maple Awards,
which are open to Canadian authors writing for grades seven and eight students. The winner is
selected by Ontario's young readers. Lists of winners and nominees are available in the Red Maple Award archive.
R. Ross Annett Award for Children's Literature
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website supplies a brief introduction to
the R. Ross Annett Award administered by Writers' Guild of Alberta as well as entry criteria.
A list of winning titles since 1982 is also supplied.
Rocky Mountain Book Award
This website introduces the Alberta-based readers' choice program, in which students
in grades four through seven read and vote for their favourite book among those exemplifying Canadian
literature. Shortlists and winning titles since 2001 are also available.
Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards
This webpage from the Ontario Arts Council website provides information about the
annual Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards-one for picturebooks and the
other for young adult/middle readers. The short list is selected by the Canadian
Booksellers Association, and the winners are chosen by juries of school children
from a school selected by the Ontario Arts Council.
Saskatchewan Book Awards for Children's Literature
This webpage from the Saskatchewan Book Awards website lists eligibility criteria
for this Canadian regional award for children's literature as well as the winning
titles since 1995.
The Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice--The Willow Awards
This webpage introduces The Willow Awards, which are granted to the Canadian and/or Saskatchewan
book(s) voted annually by Saskatchewan students to be the best of those nominated in the following
categories: The Shining Willow Award for books written for young readers, The Diamond Willow Award
for titles written for upper elementary readers, and The Snow Willow Award for young adult books.
Lists of nominated books and winners are available via links.http://www.willowawards.ca/
Science in Society Book Awards
This webpage from the website of the Canadian Science Writers' Association introduces three Science
in Society Awards, which are given separately to honour outstanding contributions to science writing
intended for and available to children, youth, and the general public. Lists of winning titles are available online.
Sheila A. Egoff Prize for Children's Literature
This webpage from the BC Book Prizes website introduces the Sheila A. Egoff Prize, which is awarded
to the author of fiction or non-fiction for children and young adults, which have not been highly
illustrated. Criteria and the list of winners are also available via links.
Silver Birch Awards
This webpage from the Ontario Library Association website introduces Silver Birch Awards, which
were established in 1994 as part of a reading program for Ontario children in grades four, five and
six. Winners voted by students and nominees chosen by a selection committee are available in the Silver Birch Awards archive.
TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website offers information about the TD
Canadian Children's Literature Award, which was established in October, 2004 and will be presented
to the author of the most distinguished book of the year. All books, in any genre, written by a
Canadian and for children aged one through 13 are eligible.
Tiny Torgi Literary Awards
This webpage from the Canadian Institute for the Blind website supplies information about the Tiny
Torgi Literary Awards, which consist of two categories: Tiny Torgi Audio and Tiny Torgi PrintBraille.
The awards recognize alternative-format books written, published, and produced with excellence for
the benefit of children who are blind or visually impaired. Lists of nominees and winners are available online.
Toronto Public Library Celebrates Reading Award
This webpage from the Canadian Children's Book Centre website introduces the award administered
by Toronto Public Library, which honours individuals, organizations or corporations who have made
an outstanding contribution to the enjoyment of reading. List of previous winners is also supplied.
UVic Libraries Gateway: Award Winning Children's Literature
This website provides a list of 20 Canadian and two major U.S. awards for children's literature
and illustration and the winning titles.
Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature
The Writers' Trust of Canada website offers information about the Vicky Metcalf Award, which is
presented to the author of a body of work in children's literature that demonstrates the highest
literary standards. Guidelines for submission and a list of winners since 1963 are also available.
White Pine Award
The webpage from the Ontario Library Association website introduces the White Pine Award, which is
presented to the author whose book is voted most popular by Ontario high school-aged teens at all grade
levels. Lists of winning and nominated titles together with their annotations can be viewed online.
Writing for Children's Competition
This webpage from the Writers' Union of Canada website provides information about the Writing for
Children Competition, which is open to Canadian authors not previously published in book format and
currently without a contract with a publisher. Other criteria for entry and the list of winners since
2003 are also listed.
The BolognaRagazzi Award
This webpage from the website of the Bologna Children's Book Fair provides information
about the BolognaRagazzi Award, which is administered by the Bologna Children's Book Fair
in collaboration with Ibby Italia and Comune di Bologna and conferred annually to children's
publishers in Fiction, Non-fiction and New Horizons categories.
The Caldecott Medal
This webpage from the American Library Association website offers information about the
Caldecott medal, which is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American
picturebook for children. Lists of the past winning titles and honour books since 1938 are also available.
The Charlotte Zolotow Award
This webpage from the University of Wisconsin-Madison website offers information
about the Charlotte Zolotow Award, which is awarded annually by the Cooperative
Children's Book Center to the author of the best picturebook published in the
United States in the preceding year. Lists of winners, honor books and highly
recommended titles are also available.
The Crichton Award for New Illustrators
This webpage from the website of Children's Book Council of Australia provides information
regarding the Crichton Award for New Illustrators, which is aimed to encourage new talent in
Australian children's book illustration. Winners and shortlists are also listed.
The Ezra Jack Keats New Writer's and New Illustrator's Awards
This webpage from the New York-based Ezra Jack Keats Foundation website offers information
about the annual New Writer and New Illustrator Awards presented jointly by this foundation
and the New York Public Library. A list of past winners is also supplied.
The Golden Kite Award
This webpage from the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators website provides
information about the Golden Kite Award. Four Golden Kite Statuettes, in fiction, nonfiction,
picturebook text, and picturebook illustration, are awarded annually to the most outstanding
children's books by members of the SCBWI members. A list of award recipients since 1973 is also supplied.
The Hans Christian Andersen Award
This webpage from the International Board on Books for Young People website offers information
about the Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is presented biennially to a living author and
illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature. A
list of winners since 1956 is also available.
The Kate Greenaway Medal
This webpage from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
website supplies information about the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in a
book for children, which includes award criteria, recent winners, recent shortlist,
and a full list of winners.
The Marion Vannett Ridgway Book Awards
This webpage from the website of Mark Shasha, an artist and author, offers information
about The Marion Vannett Ridgway Book Awards which is dedicated to an author's or illustrator's
first picturebook for children. Lists of first prize winners as well as honor book winners
since 1993 are also provided.
The New Zealand Post Book Award for Children and Young Adults-Picturebook
This webpage from the website of Henry Field Library, Christchurch College of Education,
New Zealand, lists winners and shortlists of the New Zealand Post Book Award for Children
and Young Adults in the category of picturebook.
The Pura Belpré Award
This webpage from the American Library Association website provides information about
the Pura Belpré Award, which is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator
of children's literature whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience. Lists of
winning titles since 1996 are also available.
The Russell Clark Award
This webpage from the New Zealand Book Council website offers information about the Russell
Clark award, which is presented annually by the Library and Information Association of New
Zealand Aotearoa to the most distinguished illustrations for a children's book by an artist
of New Zealand. Also provided are a list of past winners and the 2004 shortlist.
International Illustration Awards
An annotated list of selected national illustration awards
created by the CCIB research team.
Australian Book of the Year Awards, Picturebooks:
This award is given for a picturebook by an Australian or a
resident of Australia. It is awarded by the Children's Book Council of
Australia from a shortlist of up to six books. The CBC is an Australian
organisation of "ordinary people who are committed to bringing children
and good books together." For more information on this award, go to the
web site for the CBC: http://www.cbc.org.au
or visit the Children's Literature Web Guide: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/index.html
1970: No award given
1971: Paterson, A.B. Waltzing Matilda. Illustrated by Desmond Digby. Sydney: Collins, 1970.
This is a picturebook version of a song strongly associated with
Australia, both internationally and by Australians. Digby’s expressive,
painterly illustrations set the historic period and landscape; they
also show a love for the landscape and the characters.
1972: No award given
1973: No award given
1974: Wagner, Jenny. The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek.
Illustrated by Ron Brooks. Harmondsworth: Longman Young Books, 1973.
In this animal fantasy, a bunyip searches for his identity among
Australian animals and places. Wagner’s use of patterned prose gives
the story a fairy tale feeling, and Brooks’ use of expanding and
contracting frames and variations in style reflect the bunyip’s
progress on his quest.
1975: Paterson, A.B. The Man From Ironbark. Illustrated by
Quentin Hole. Sydney: Collins, 1974.
This is a picturebook version of a traditional Australian ballad in
which the rural hero triumphs over the sophisticated Sydney dwellers.
Hole’s dramatic mixed media illustrations give the period and setting
of the song.
1976: Roughsey, Dick. The Rainbow Serpent. Illustrated by
author. Sydney: Collins, 1975.
Roughsey illustrates his retelling of an Australian aboriginal creation
myth with oil paintings, which add drama and an eerie quality to the
text through the use of colour and motion, and focus the reader on the
vastness of the Australian landscape.
1977: No award given
1978: Wagner, Jenny. John Brown, Rose, and the Midnight Cat.
Illustrated by Ron Brooks. London: Kestrel, 1977.
Wagner uses beautiful, rhythmic language to tell an animal story about
acceptance of others. Brooks’ detailed watercolour and pen-and-ink
illustrations add emotional depth and a strong sense of home to the
1979: Trezise, Percy. The Quinkins. Illustrated by Dick
Roughsey. Sydney: Collins, 1978.
This is an adventure story based on elements of aboriginal folklore
about a pair of abducted children. Trezise tells it with a tense and
dramatic style, and makes use of repeating elements to emphasise the
folklore themes. Roughsey’s dramatic illustrations draw on traditional
aboriginal art and add a strong sense of the Cape York landscape to the
1980: Pavey, Peter. One Dragon’s Dream. Illustrated by author.
West Melbourne, Vic.: Nelson, 1978.
Pavey uses imaginative rhyming text in this surreal counting concept
book. His watercolour and pen-and-ink illustrations are highly
detailed. Each picture contains hide-and-seek elements that echo the
content of the story. Both illustrations and text show Australian
content, depicting animals, maps, signs, and plants.
1981: No award given.
1982: Ormerod, Jan. Sunshine. Illustrated by author.
Harmondsworth: Kestrel, 1981.
In this wordless picturebook, Ormerod uses progressive cells to
describe a family’s morning activities from a child’s perspective. Her
illustrations are loving and closely attentive to details important to
1983: Allen, Pamela. Who Sank the Boat? Illustrated by author.
Melbourne: Nelson, 1982.
Allen uses bright and whimsical watercolour, pen-and-ink, and crayon
illustrations in this participatory animal story. Her humourous text
uses repetition and rhythm to good effect.
1984: Allen, Pamela. Bertie and the Bear. Illustrated by
author. Melbourne: Nelson, 1983.
In this participatory noise book, Allen uses crayon and watercolour
illustrations to bring the sounds to startling life on the page. She
also effectively incorporates the noises into the rhyming text.
1985: No award given.
1986: Denton, Terry. Felix and Alexander. Illustrated by
author. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1985.
In this stuffed animal story, the title characters go on a nighttime
journey. Denton narrates the story with growing suspense, balanced by
the warmth of friendship. His cartoon-style watercolours add humour,
emphasise the friendship among the characters, and creatively
illustrate the final rescue from fear of the dark.
1987: Smith, Helen. Kojuro and the Bears. Illustrated by Junko
Morimoto. Adapted from the book by Kenji Miyazawa. Sydney: Collins,1986.
Morimoto’s beautiful mixed media illustrations reflect the Japanese
origin and setting of this story. A tale of the human relationship with
cycles of nature, it is told with traditional voice and illustration of
1988: Graham, Bob. Crusher is Coming! Illustrated by author.
Melbourne: Lothian, 1987.
Graham’s comic mixed media illustrations extend this story, which
highlights the difference between expectations and reality. He narrates
the story in a conversational style.
1989: Baillie, Allan. Drac and the Gremlin. Illustrated by
Jane Tanner. [London?]: Viking Kestrel, 1988.
This playful and adventurous story is a chronicle of imaginative play.
dynamic pastel crayon illustrations provide a realistic garden setting
to the character’s heroic quest.
1990: Wild, Margaret. The Very Best of Friends. Illustrated by
Julie Vivas. Sydney: Margaret Hamilton, 1989.
Wild tells this story of death and grieving from the perspective of a
family pet. Her simple text uses detail and repetition to add to the
emotion of the story. Hamilton provides strong characterisation with
her bright, clean watercolours.
1991: Graham, Bob. Greetings From Sandy Beach. Illustrated by
author. Melbourne: Lothian, 1990.
Graham uses an authentic and hilarious child’s voice to tell this beach
vacation story, in which the holidaying family learns about getting
along with others. His playful watercolour illustrations add detail and
tell their own small stories alongside the text.
1992: Baker, Jeannie. Window. New York: Greenwillow Books,
This wordless story shows urban expansion into a wilderness area over
time. Australian plants and animals are depicted throughout the highly
detailed mixed media collages.
1993: Graham, Bob. Rose Meets Mr. Wintergarten. Illustrated by
author. Ringwood, Vic.: Viking, 1992.
Graham uses exaggeration and gross-out humour to great effect in this
story of neighbourliness. His use of cartoon-style imagery adds detail
to the story and provides a strong illustration of the contrast between
the bright and happy family on one side of the fence and the grey,
lonely old man on the other.
1994: Crew, Gary. First Light. Illustrated by Peter
Gouldthorpe. Melbourne: Lothian, 1993.
Crew gives an authentic depiction of the moods and isolation of
adolescence through his beautiful and often eerie language.
Gouldthorpe’s unusual framings and realistic pencil crayon
illustrations add to this family story.
1995: Crew, Gary. The Watertower. Illustrated by Steven
Woolman. Flinders Park, S.A.: Era Publications, 1994.
Crew tells this mystery of a small-town watertower with sinister prose.
Woolman’s inventive layout, vivid colours and repetition of strange
images add a sense of horror to the story. Of interest to reluctant
readers and young adults.
1996: Oliver, Narelle. The Hunt. Illustrated by author. Port
Melbourne, Vic.: Lothian, 1995.
This non-fiction work depicts animal camouflage in a seek-and-find
design. Oliver’s simple language keeps readers focused on the
interactive aspect of the book, and his hand-coloured linocuts add
difficulty to the task. Includes finding guides and information on the
different camouflage techniques used by animals. The animals and
landscape are Australian.
1997: Honey, Elizabeth. Not a Nibble! Illustrated by author.
St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1996.
In this family vacation story, Honey uses textual repetition and an
authentic voice to show her character’s frustration at the difficulty
she has fishing, and her joy at the unexpected ending. Her bright and
fun use of watercolour adds to the character’s emotion and draws the
reader into the story.
1998: Morimoto, Junko. The Two Bullies. Illustrated by author.
Translated from a story by Isao Morimoto. Milsons Point, N.S.W.: Random
House Australia, 1997.
Morimoto adds a postmodern twist to this literary folktale with unusual
layout, visual references to traditional Japanese woodblock prints, and
interesting incorporations of text. The story of a competition between
two giants is told with humour and irony.
1999: Marsden, John. The Rabbits. Illustrated by Shaun Tan.
Port Melbourne, Vic.: Lothian, 1998.
Marsden tells this allegory of British colonisation of Australia in a
simple oral style that is emotional and deeply effective. Tan’s rich
surrealist illustrations engage readers on an emotional level.
2000: Wild, Margaret. Jenny Angel. Illustrated by Anne
Spudvilas. Ringwood, Vic.: Viking, 1999.
This story of the death of a younger brother is told with beautifully
simple and emotional language, which verges on magic realism at times.
Spudvilas’ realistic watercolours are emotionally expressive and
strongly reflect the mood of each scene.
2001: Wild, Margaret. Fox. Illustrated by Ron Brooks. St.
Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2000.
In this dark animal fable of loyalty and betrayal, a dystopian world is
created in which a mutually dependent one-eyed dog and one-winged
magpie live together in the Australian wilds. Their special bond is
threatened by the jealous and cruel fox, the archetypal trickster. The illustrations are expressionistic. Mixed
media and collage art, thick impasto paint in shades of burnt umber and
tan, scraped intaglio lines, hand-lettered text and postmodern design
combine to create a powerful sense of a harsh, perilous world.
2002: Gleeson, Libby. An Ordinary Day. Illustrated by Armin
Greder. NSW: Scholastic Australia, 2001.
Jack’s journey to school is grey and predictable until his imagination
transforms the world and brings colour into his life. As imagination
pushes the grey aside, an ordinary day is transformed into an
2003: Jorgenson, Norman. In Flanders Fields. Illustrated by
Brian Harrison-Lever. Fremantle: Sandcastle Books, 2002.
A poignant reminder that humanity can survive, even in the tragic
battlefields of the Great War. Sombre and realistic, the watercolour
and pen and ink drawings capture the barren anguish of both the
war-ravaged landscape and the spirits of the young Australian soldiers.
Miraculously on this killing field, a robin trapped in barbed wire
opens the hearts of battle-weary soldiers and allows both sides a
Christmas respite from the war. The robin’s red breast shines as an
image of hope in the darkness.
2004: Grant, Joan. Cat and Fish. Illustrated by Neil Curtis.
Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 2003.
In this fantastic tale, an unlikely friendship between a cat and a fish
is forged one moonlit night. Rendered in pen and ink, the stylized
black and white drawings play with design, pattern and shape as the
oddly matched friends share their sharply opposite worlds. They agree
to live together where their relationship can continue – that limnal
place between land and ocean, the seashore.
2005: Lester, Alison. Are We There Yet? A Journey Around Australia.
Illustrated by author. Melbourne, Australia: Penguin Books Australia, 2004.
Informative and visually appealing, this narrative follows a family’s road
trip around Australia. The subtle design layout of maps, vignette spot
illustrations, and interspersed text guide the reader across the double-paged
spreads of richly detailed imagery. Stylized cartoons bring Australia’s intriguing
landscape, flora, and fauna to life. Eight-year-old Grace ably describes the scenery
and her family’s adventures, while her little brother, Billy, regularly reiterates
the familiar plaint, “Are we there, yet?”
2006: Thompson, Colin, and Amy Lissiat.
The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley.
Illustrated by authors. Melbourne: Lothian Books, 2005.
A humourous contrast of a bowler-hatted “everyman” representing a life of human greed and
dissatisfaction with the contentment and simplicity of the life of Riley, a rat low on expectations and high on happiness. The artwork, printed full-bleed throughout, is a unique combination of digitally altered photographs superimposed with hand-drawn sketches of cartoon-like characters possessing Monty Python-esque comic qualities.
2007: Tan, Shaun.
Illustrated by author. Melbourne: Lothian Books, 2006.
This wordless, nuanced and moving graphic novel is the story of a man’s immigrant experience as he leaves his homeland and builds a life for himself and his family in a new land. The story is deeply symbolic, with often bizarre and disorienting images, which convey the confusion and sense of anomie faced by immigrants, balanced with the non-verbal narrative of encountering compassion and understanding. The artwork melds realism and surrealism. Overlying sepia tones suggest a sense of timelessness, and intermittent photo-album presentation lends a personal, intimate feel to the book.
2008: Ottley, Matt.
Requiem for a Beast.
Illustrated by author. Sydney: Lothian Children’s Books, 2007.
Combing art, text, and music, this powerful story is a crossover psychological novel with graphic novel elements, intended for young adults and adults. Parallel narratives told in both first and third person involve a young Australian man reaching maturity as he confronts past demons, represented by a rogue Brahmin bull, and the oppression of Australian aboriginal people, represented by narratives of abuse and dispossession and fantastical and mythical creatures in dreamlike segments. The interwoven stories are set against the physical and emotional harshness of an Australian outback cattle station. The artwork, presented in graphic novel panels and full-page, full-bleed plates, is a combination of oil on canvas, oil on paper, and coloured pencil, and offers a striking variety of styles ranging from surrealism to realism.
Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award
This award is given by the Canadian Association of Children's
Librarians, a division of the Canadian Library Association, for the
best illustrated book for children published in Canada. The illustrator
must be a citizen or resident of Canada. While it is awarded for
illustrations, the text of the book is also given consideration. This
award has been given to illustrated novels and story collections, as
well as to picturebooks. For more information on this award, visit the
CLA's web site: http://www.cla.ca or
the Children's Literature Web Guide: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/
1970: No award given.
1971: Downie, M.A. and Barbara Robertson, comps. The Wind Has
Wings: Poems From Canada. Illustrated by Elizabeth Cleaver. Toronto:
Oxford University Press, 1968.
Cleaver has illustrated this collection of Canadian children’s poetry
with colourful and playful paper collage, showing strong influence from
First Nations art.
1972: Takashima, Shizuye. A Child in Prison Camp. Illustrated
by author. Montreal: Tundra Books, 1971.
This memoir of Japanese-Canadians’ experiences in internment camps
during World War II is illustrated with loose watercolours. The tone
and formatting make the story less accessible to younger readers.
1973: Roussan, Jacques de. Au-delà du soleil / Beyond
the sun. Illustrated by author. Montreal: Tundra Books, 1972.
Roussan illustrates this concept book of astronomy with high contrast
collage, making use of bright colours and clean edges for dramatic
visual appeal. The text is in French and English.
1974: Kurelek, William. A Prairie Boy’s Winter. Illustrated by
author. Montreal: Tundra Books, 1973.
In this childhood memoir of rural prairie life, Kurelek makes use of a
strong rural voice. His folk-art style oil paintings give a strong
sense of landscape and space; Kurelek’s style appears to have been
influenced by Northern Renaissance artists like Bruegel.
1975: Italiano, Carlo. The Sleighs of My Childhood / Les
Traîneaux de Mon Enfance. Illustrated by author. Translated into
French by René Chicoine. Montréal: Tundra Books, 1974.
This memoir chronicles 1930s Montreal by describing the sleighs used
for delivery and transportation. The engaging text, in French and
English, is heavy and more suitable for older readers and adults. The
illustrations are Rockwell-style watercolours and playful pen-and-ink
drawings, which convey a strong sense of period and nostalgia.
1976: Kurelek, William. A Prairie Boy’s Summer. Illustrated by
author. Montréal: Tundra Books, 1975.
This companion book to A Prairie Boy’s Winter makes use of the same
rural voice and folk-art style oil paintings, with a strong emphasis on
figures in the Canadian prairie landscape.
1977: Pittman, Al. Down by Jim Long’s Stage: Rhymes for
Children and Young Fish. Illustrated by Pam Hall. Portugal Cove, Nfld.:
Breakwater Books, 1976.
Hall’s realistic pen-and-ink line drawings give emphasis to Pittman’s
silly rhymes in this nonsensical book of sea life.
1978: Toye, William. The Loon’s Necklace. Illustrated by
Elizabeth Cleaver. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1977.
In this literary folktale based on First Nations folktale themes, Toye
recounts how the loon got his laugh. Cleaver’s hand-coloured paper
collage and printing techniques show strong First Nations art
1979: Waterton, Betty. A Salmon for Simon. Illustrated by Ann
Blades. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1978.
This daily life story shows a young First Nations boy in a regional
West coast setting. Waterton develops the character’s personality
through his words and thoughts and makes good use of alliteration.
Blades illustrates the story with strongly regional watercolours.
1980: Lunn, Janet. The Twelve Dancing Princesses: A Fairy
Story. Illustrated by Laszlo Gal. Toronto: Methuen, 1979.
Lunn has adapted this European folk tale with a stronger
characterisation than tradition gives it. Gal’s illustrations are
romantic and have a Pre-Raphaelite influence.
1981: Harris, Christie. The Trouble with Princesses.
Illustrated by Douglas Tait. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1980.
This is a collection of literary folk tales based on traditional
stories of Pacific-Northwest First Nations peoples. Tait’s pen-and-ink
illustrations are very detailed with realistic depictions of First
Nations art. These images convey a strong sense of mood.
1982: Hewitt, Garnet. Ytek and the Arctic Orchid: An Inuit
Legend. Illustrated by Heather Woodall. Vancouver: Douglas &
Hewitt retells this Inuit coming-of-age story with vigour and
interesting detail. Woodall’s watercolour illustrations are pure in
colour, and show excellent balance and design.
1983: Climo, Lindee. Chester’s Barn. Illustrated by author.
Montreal: Tundra Books, 1982.
This regional Prince Edward Island book is a fictionalised telling of
the details of winter farm life. Climo has illustrated the text with
beautifully stylised oil paintings of the animals.
1984: Wynne-Jones, Tim. Zoom at Sea. Illustrated by Ken Nutt.
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1983.
This is an adventure story of sea exploration with a marvelously
engaging main character. Nutt’s pencil illustrations highlight the
magical realism of the tale through realistic images of frozen moments.
1985: Wallace, Ian. Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance.
Illustrated by author. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1984.
This holiday story of B.C. Chinese-Canadians is strongly
intergenerational and told with warmth towards the characters. Wallace
has illustrated it with richly coloured, detailed, and realistic
1986: Wynne-Jones, Tim. Zoom Away. Illustrated by Ken Nutt.
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1985.
This story expands the magic realism of Zoom at Sea by bringing the
Arctic into the mysterious house of Maria. Nutt’s illustrations balance
the adventure of the story with realistic details of the house and the
characters’ progress on their journey.
1987: Gay, Marie-Louise. Moonbeam on a Cat’s Ear. Illustrated
by author. Toronto: Stoddart, 1986.
This is a funny and imaginative dream-adventure. Gay extends the story
with amusing details in bright cartoon-style watercolours.
1988: Gay, Marie-Louise. Rainy Day Magic. Illustrated by
author. Toronto: Stoddart, 1987.
Gay uses whimsically detailed cartoons to illustrate this rhyming story
of imaginative play. She shows a child's perspective through use of
first person narration and through the ways the children view their
1989: Lunn, Janet. Amos's Sweater. Illustrations by Kim
LaFave. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1988.
Lunn uses repetition and some folklore patterns to tell this story.
Amos is a delightfully cranky sheep; this characterisation is aided by
LaFave's funny loose watercolours.
1990: Booth, David, ed. 'Til All the Stars Have Fallen:
Canadian Poems for Children. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1989.
This collection of Canadian children’s poetry ranges from nonsense to
regional to First Nations poetry. The illustrations are a combination
of black-and-white pen-and-ink, watercolour, and oil crayon, all of
which are done in a loose cartoon style.
1991: Mollel, Tololwa. The Orphan Boy. Illustrated by Paul
Morin. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1990.
This is an engaging expansion of a traditional Maasai story of trust
and betrayal, told in a lyrical folklore style. The heavily textured
oil paintings convey a strong sense of place and mood.
1992: McFarlane, Sheryl. Waiting for the Whales. Illustrated
by Ron Lightburn. Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Publishers, 1991.
McFarlane combines a story of rural daily life with a tale of death and
grieving through a cycles of nature theme. Lightburn’s soft pencil
crayon illustrations add to the characterisation and mood of the story
through dramatic use of shading and a strong depiction of emotion.
1993: Lawson, Julie. The Dragon’s Pearl. Illustrated by Paul
Morin. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Lawson retells this Chinese folktale with drama, emphasizing contrast
and transformation. Morin’s illustrations are a combination of textured
oil painting and mixed media collage. They add a rich visual depiction
of the landscape and characters.
1994: Yerxa, Leo. Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall.
Illustrated by author. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1993.
This beautiful poem explores the transition from autumn to winter.
Yerxa illustrates it with dyed tissue paper collage and watercolour
paintings. The dynamic layout emphasises different landscapes, views,
and objects and adds to the tone of the poem.
1995: Bogart, Jo Ellen. Gifts. Illustrated by Barbara Reid.
Richmond Hill, Ont.: North Winds Press, 1994.
This is a travel and family story told in nursery rhyme-like rhythms.
Reid illustrates it with sculpted plasticine, using rich, bright colour
and strong texture.
1996: Manson, Ainslie. Just Like New. Illustrated by Karen
Reczuch. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1995.
This is an historical account of the beginnings of a friendship between
a Canadian and a British girl during World War II, told with great
affection for the characters. Reczuch’s realistic watercolour and ink
paintings give a strong sense of the period and location, using
transitions between black-and-white and colour to distinguish between
1997: Yee, Paul. Ghost Train. Illustrated by Harvey Chan.
Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1996.
Yee combines a story of Canadian immigrant experience with a theme of
death and grieving, using folklore themes and beautiful, emotional
language. Chan’s oil paintings further the emotional tone through a
strong sense of colour and realistic depiction of the characters.
1998: Reid, Barbara. The Party. Illustrated by author.
Richmond Hill, Ont.: North Winds Press, 1997.
Reid illustrates this rhyming party story using humourous plasticine
sculpture. She employs a variety of perspectives and strong detail,
expanding the playfulness of the story. Her text gives a strong sense
of the moods of the children and includes many nice details.
1999: Denton, Kady MacDonald. A Child’s Treasury of Nursery
Rhymes. Illustrated by author. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1998.
Denton has selected a variety of traditional and modern nursery rhymes,
schoolyard chants, and lullabies, incorporating many multicultural
rhymes. Her watercolour and pencil illustrations show strong influences
from Caldecott, Greenaway, Sendak and DePaola. Her illustrations are
emotionally expressive and dynamic.
2000: Bouchard, David. The Dragon New Year: A Chinese Legend.
Illustrated by Zhong-Yang Huang. Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 1998.
Huang illustrates this expansion of a Chinese legend with bright,
realistic oil paintings, showing strong action and lending drama to the
story. Her text has an adventurous tone and makes strong use of
2001: Reynolds, Marilynn. The Magnificent Piano Recital.
Illustrated by Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson. Victoria, B.C.: Orca
Book Publishers, 2000.
Fernandez and Jacobson’s oil paintings add a strong sense of period and
contribute to the mood of this story about moving and becoming
accepted. The illustrations feature lovely colour and strong use of
light. Reynold’s text conveys the mood and frustrations of a new child
2002: Wolfe, Frances. Where I Live. Illustrated by author.
Toronto: Tundra Books, 2001.
With strong, rich maritime colours and simple text Wolfe conveys a
powerful and intimate sense of place – a young girl’s seaside home in
Atlantic Canada. The text, embedded with a riddle, implores the reader
to guess where the narrator lives. The hyper-realist paintings, in oil
on Masonite, reveal an almost magical, if not mythical realm of land
and water, a much-loved refuge and an exploration of nature’s beauty.
2003: Vande Griek, Susan, The Art Room. Illustrated by Pascal
Milelli. Toronto: Groundwood Books/Douglas and McIntyre, 2002.
This historical story tells of the West Coast early twentieth-century
artist Emily Carr, who as an art teacher in Vancouver for a time,
taught her young students that being an artist requires not only
technical skill, but also the ability to truly see the world. Oil
paintings on canvas in tones of earth browns and greens capture the
essence, without copying the style, of Emily Carr’s art.
2004: Bailey, Linda. Stanley’s Party. Illustrated by Bill
Slavin. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2003.
A humourous romp explores a canine’s discovery that when the owners are
away, the dog will play. Stanley first explores the family couch and
then other household delights such as the family fridge. Being a
sociable dog, Stanley shares his new found pleasures with the
neighborhood mutts. Too soon he learns a lesson in responsibility.
Working in arcrylic on gessoed paper and comic ebullient drawings,
Slavin captures Stanley’s world in hues of turquoise, browns, and
2005: Edwards, Wallace. Monkey Business. Illustrated by author.
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2004.
Eccentric and intriguingly clever concepts bless the pages of this puzzle book,
which includes a monkey hidden on every page. The images are richly coloured,
highly detailed and as witty as the text. Edward’s imaginative illustrations are
a mélange of settings and eras, but are mainly reminiscent of Victorian-style house
and garden prints with a surrealistic component. The typeface simulates the script
of the monkey-author’s antique typewriter. Created as a playful approach to teaching
linguistic idioms, this will appeal to both adults and children.
2006: Watts, Leslie Elizabeth. The Baabaasheep Quartet. Illustrated
by author. Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited, 2005.
In this parable about outsiders patiently striving to fit in, a quartet of
anthropomorphized sheep are equated with country folk who move to the city
and encounter sophisticated art and culture. Delightfully amusing stylized
egg tempera illustrations embellish the tale, and the characters’ facial
expressions particularly convey emotions and plot development. The sheep
are not mere followers, and their optimistic, determined attitude helps
them to fit into city life perfectly at last.
2007: Watt, Mélanie. Scaredy Squirrel. Illustrated by author. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2006.
In this comic character study, Watt creates an endearing anthropomorphised squirrel, as charming as he is neurotic. He has many fears and is burdened with so many safety precautions that his life becomes routine and boring. An encounter with one of his fears, a “killer” bee, leads to panic and the discovery that he is actually a flying squirrel, which opens up a new world for him. Scaredy is brought to life through Watt’s simple, thick-lined cartoon-like illustrations, rendered in charcoal pencil and acrylic.
2008: Watt, Mélanie. Chester. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2007.
Chester the cat is larger than life, and gloriously self-centered. His impishness is evident right from the cover page, as the impertinent cat, armed with a red marker, attempts to wrest both authorship and subject of the book away from the author in a satirical creative war of expression between Watt, who is trying to write about a mouse, and Chester, who is writing about himself. The illustrations, partly “Chester’s” and mostly Watt’s, are rendered in pencil and watercolour and assembled digitally.
Kate Greenaway Medal:
This award is given annually by the Youth Libraries Group, a
special interest group of the Chartered Institute of Library and
Information Professionals, for "outstanding illustration in a
children's book." Picturebooks, illustrated books and collections of
short stories have been recognised in the past. It is awarded for books
published in the United Kingdom. For more information on this award,
visit CILIP's web page:
or the Children's Literature Web Guide: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown
Before 2007, the year of the Kate Greenaway Medal refers to the year when the book was published rather than the year when the medal was awarded – i.e., the 2005 winner was announced and the medal presented in July 2005. There is, therefore, no 2006 Medal listed; the change in dating was implemented in 2007.
1970: Burningham, John. Mr. Gumpy’s Outing. Illustrated by
author. London: Cape, 1970.
This is a participatory progressive story, told in a brief
conversational style. Burningham gives Mr. Gumpy a strong colloquial
voice. The sketchy watercolour and pen-and-ink illustrations add
personality to the characters.
1971: Aiken, Joan. The Kingdom Under the Sea and Other
Stories. Illustrated by Jan Pienkowski. London: Cape, 1971.
Aiken retells traditional Balkan tales and creates her own folktales in
elegant, literary folktale prose. Pienkowski’s detailed black and white
silhouettes add an ornate quality to the stories.
1972: Turska, Krystyna. The Woodcutter’s Duck. Illustrated by
author. London: Hamilton, 1972.
This is a simple retelling of a Polish folktale, where kindness to an
animal in distress gains the hero a magical gift. Turska’s beautiful,
detailed watercolour and pen-and-ink illustrations are heavily
influenced by medieval woodcut prints, featuring flat planes and
repetition of similar figures. Historic dress and housing are clearly
1973: Briggs, Raymond. Father Christmas. Illustrated by
author. London: Hamilton, 1973.
This is a slyly humourous Christmas story using a comic book layout.
The details of Father Christmas’ hardest day are two-layered, with some
of great appeal to children and some intended to amuse adults.
1974: Hutchins, Pat. The Wind Blew. Illustrated by author.
London: Bodley Head, 1974.
Hutchins uses rhyming and rhythmic text in this cumulative,
participatory tale of the wind’s chaotic progress through a town. The
gouache illustrations are heavily patterned and show British landscape.
1975: Ambrus, Victor. Horses in Battle. Illustrated by author.
London: Oxford University Press, 1975.
This nonfiction work gives a brief history of the use of horses in
warfare from a strongly Anglocentric perspective. The pen-and-ink
illustrations are highly detailed with a loose overall appearance.
Ambrus, Victor. Mishka. Illustrated by author. London: Oxford
University Press, 1975.
This humourous story tells of a young boy’s rise to the top in a
circus. Ambrus makes particular use of elements of exaggeration and
nonsense humour and gives the villain a fitting downfall. The cartoon
illustrations use bright and vivid colours.
1976: Haley, Gail E. The Post Office Cat. Illustrated by
author. London: Bodley Head, 1976.
This is an historical account of the hiring of cats to work as mousers
in London post offices. The text is lengthy but effective. The
watercolour illustrations use beautiful line and patterning to depict
1977: Hughes, Shirley. Dogger. Illustrated by author. London:
Bodley Head, 1977.
This story of the loss of a stuffed animal is told with close attention
to a child’s perspective, with many moods and elements from everyday
life. The pen-and-ink and watercolour illustrations are realistic and
friendly, and show great affection for the characters.
1978: Ahlberg, Allen. Each Peach Pear Plum. Illustrated by
Janet Ahlberg. Harmondsworth: Kestrel, 1978.
This participatory I-spy book uses catchy nursery rhyme-style text to
keep the child’s attention. The watercolour and pen-and-ink
illustrations have an old-fashioned look and are very appealing, with
soft, bright colours.
1979: Pienkowski, Jan. Haunted House. Illustrated by author.
London: Heinemann, 1979.
This pop-up book uses minimal text. The illustrations are done in
gouache and pen-and-ink; they are quite detailed for a pop-up book.
1980: Blake, Quentin. Mr. Magnolia. Illustrated by author.
London: Cape, 1980.
This interactive counting story is told with whimsical humour. The
illustrations are sketchy and brightly coloured. Many counting details
are incorporated into the story through the illustrations, which
expands the sense of absurdity.
1981: Noyes, Alfred. The Highwayman. Illustrated by Charles
Keeping. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Keeping’ illustrations are executed with pen and brush in brown ink,
beautifully conveying the tone of this tragic ballad. He foreshadows
the conclusion by depicting the figures with a quality of transparency
and by highlighting bone structure. The first images are repeated as
photo-negatives at the end, adding to the ghostly effect of his
1982: Piers, Helen. Long Neck and Thunder Foot. Illustrated by
Michael Foreman. Harmondsworth, Eng.: Kestrel, 1982.
Piers tells this animal story of friendship and understanding using
loose, conversational prose. Foreman’s pencil crayon and watercolour
illustrations highlight the humour in the story.
Carter, Angela, comp. and trans. Sleeping Beauty & Other Favourite
Fairy Tales. Illustrated by Michael Foreman. London: Gollancz, 1982.
Foreman illustrates these translations of French folk tales with
bright, cartoon-style watercolour, pen-and-ink, and pencil crayon
1983: Browne, Anthony. Gorilla. Illustrated by author. London:
Julia MacRae, 1983.
Browne uses gentle, loving prose to tell this magical realism story of
a lonely girl trying to connect with her father. His realistic and
sometimes surreal gouache and pen-and-ink illustrations juxtapose the
kind, affectionate gorilla against the busy and distant father.
1984: Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hiawatha’s Childhood.
Illustrated by Errol Le Cain. London: Faber, 1984.
Le Cain illustrates this American poem with highly decorative and
detailed watercolours, which draw strongly on Native American imagery.
1985: Hastings, Selina. Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady.
Illustrated by Juan Wijngaard. London: Walker, 1985.
Hastings retells this Arthurian legend in slightly modernised courtly
prose. Wijngaard’s detailed watercolours add to the legendary setting
through his depiction of costume and setting. The paintings are
surrounded with frames that show the influence of medieval manuscript
1986: French, Fiona. Snow White in New York. Illustrated by
author. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
French sets Snow White in jazz-age New York in this retelling. She
incorporates slang of the era into her modern storytelling voice. Her
mixed media illustrations use an art deco style to depict the costumes
and architecture of New York in the 1920s.
1987: Mwenye Hadithi. Crafty Chameleon. Illustrated by
Adrienne Kennaway. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1987.
This trickster tale is told with humour and action, and the text lends
itself naturally to reading aloud. Kennaway’s watercolours provide a
casual, playful effect to the story.
1988: Waddell, Martin. Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?
Illustrated by Barbara Firth. London: Walker, 1988.
Waddell’s bedtime story is told in simple, gentle prose. Firth’s
watercolour and pencil illustrations add a humourous touch by showing
Little Bear’s playful antics. Her use of pure, soft colours and white
space, as well as her depiction of the bears, maintains the tone of the
1989: Foreman, Michael. War Boy: A Country Childhood.
Illustrated by author. London: Pavilion, 1989.
Foreman’s memoir of his British boyhood shows daily life during World
War II. His sensitive illustrations depict many interesting details,
including clippings from the time, and show a sensitive, child’s
perspective of the landscape and war.
1990: Sheldon, Dyan. The Whales’ Song. Illustrated by Gary
Blythe. London: Hutchinson, 1990.
Sheldon plays romance against cranky realism in this story of a young
girl who wants to hear the whales sing. Blythe’s realistic oil
paintings focus on the child, showing her and her grandmother with
1991: Ahlberg, Allan. The Jolly Christmas Postman. Illustrated
by Janet Ahlberg. London: Heinemann, 1991.
In this extremely effective toy book, the Ahlbergs run allusions to
numerous nursery rhymes, children’s songs, games, and fairy tales
through the postman’s deliveries. The detailed watercolour and
pen-and-ink illustrations are humourous and add to the allusions.
1992: Browne, Anthony. Zoo. Illustrated by author. London:
Browne tells this story of adults behaving badly using an authentic
child’s voice. His illustrations of caged animals are lovingly
realistic; these images are contrasted with the portrayal of
misbehaving humans with animal features.
1993: Sutcliff, Rosemary. Black Ships Before Troy: The Story
of the Iliad. Illustrated by Alan Lee. London: Frances Lincoln, 1993.
This is a chapter book retelling of Homer’s Iliad. Sutcliff writes it
with great attention to historical detail and uses an involved prose
style with many archaic structures, giving a sense of history.
Lincoln’s watercolour illustrations are similarly detailed and
researched, and the layout of text and picture encourages readers to
1994: Hathorn, Libby. Way Home. Illustrated by Gregory Rogers.
London: Andersen, 1994.
Hathorn tells this daily life story of a homeless boy with poetic
rhythms and a strong sense of adventure. Her character’s voice is
strong and his personality well developed in relatively brief text.
Roger’s conte crayon illustrations are set on black paper, highlighting
the darker tones of the story. His use of different frames, torn edge
effects and the objects he draws in the illustrations allow the reader
to gradually discover the realities of the boy’s life.
1995: Wojciechowski, Susan. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan
Toomey. Illustrated by P.J. Lynch. Dublin: Walker, 1995.
This Christmas story explores the transformation of a lonely man
through his work creating a nativity scene for a widow and her child.
The text is lyrical and has a folktale-like progression. Lynch’s large
watercolour illustrations give a strong sense of period and location
and provide a gentle depiction of the characters.
1996: Cooper, Helen. The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed.
Illustrated by author. London: Doubleday, 1996.
This magical realism bedtime story is told in a colloquial style with
an adventurous tone. Cooper’s dynamic watercolours add a marvelous
dreamscape to the story.
1997: Hest, Amy. When Jessie Came Across the Sea. Illustrated
by P.J. Lynch. London: Walker, 1997.
This Jewish immigrant story is set in a central European shtetel and
1900s Manhattan. It is told in a simple, lyrical style with a focus on
the relationships between the characters. Lynch’s panoramic
watercolours give a strong sense of period and setting, as well as
adding to the characterisations through his realistic facial
1998: Cooper, Helen. Pumpkin Soup. Illustrated by author.
London: Doubleday, 1998.
Cooper tells this friendship story with humour and a rhythmic,
song-like text. Her conte crayon illustrations are arranged in a
dynamic layout; they feature rich colour and provide an affectionate
portrayal of the characters.
1999: Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. ondon: Walker, 1999.
Oxenbury has illustrated Lewis’ classic nonsense fantasy with fresh
watercolour and pencil illustrations. Her Alice is young and innocent
and sweeter than Tenniel’s, making her illustrations more accessible to
a younger audience. Her composition is influenced by Tenniel’s
illustrations, but she depicts Alice as a real child.
2000: Child, Lauren. I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato:
Featuring Charlie and Lola. Illustrated by author. London: Orchard,
This is a humourous and inventive story about Lola, a very picky eater.
Child has created a well-drawn and winning character. The mixed media
collage illustrations are sketchy and dynamic, with a fresh look and
2001: Platt, Richard. Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake
Carpenter. Illustrated by Chris Riddell. London: Walker Books, 2001.
Historical fiction melds with non-fiction in this sophisticated,
illustrated story for older readers. The diary of nine-year-old Jack
Carpenter recounts in authentic detail early eighteenth-century naval
life, including the age of the pirate. Over 50 pages long and with
“Notes for the Reader” documenting pirate culture and history, this
book is elegantly illustrated in stylized ink and watercolour drawings,
archival maps, and historical details of Jake’s life with a pirate
crew. A table of contents, glossary and index add to the educational
content, but the tone is one of compelling history and rollicking
2002: Graham, Bob. Jethro Byrde – Fairy Child. Illustrated by
author. London: Walker Books, 2002.
Miniature Jethro Byrde is a Fairy Child, but for young Anabelle, he is
also a symbol of the imaginative realm that can exist within her world
of cement, weeds, and urban greyness. Sculpted cartoon images in pen
and watercolour portray a real-world cityscape in which a small
backyard plot of grey fences and straggly weeds welcomes the magical,
humorous visit from a fairy family stopping by for an afternoon tea
before leaving again in their airborn ice cream truck. This paean to
the imagination is charming and gentle.
2003: Hughes, Shirley. Ella’s Big Chance: A Fairy Tale Retold.
Illustrated by author. London: Bodley Head, 2003.
Hughes retells the age-old classic, Cinderella. This time around the
motherless heroine is just plain Ella, a 1920s girl who is a talented
dressmaker, smart, warm, and friendly, and a very real, plump girl with
wild, red hair. True to the story, Ella has to endure an evil
stepmother, docile father, mean stepsisters and an amorous Duke. This
Ella, however, chooses the shop delivery boy over the Duke and bicycles
off into the sunset. Hughes’ gouache and pen and ink drawings mirror
the sprightliness of Ella’s character. The art also evokes the Jazz
Age, complete with Astaire dance sequences for the ball scene and
flapper dresses designed by Hughes, but inspired by French couturiers
of the era.
2004: Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver, retold by Martin Jenkins and
illustrated by Chris Riddell. London: Walker Books, 2004.
This rollicking retelling of Jonathan Swift’s eighteenth-century tale
Gulliver’s Travels is enhanced by Chris Riddell’s brilliantly grotesque
and vivid artwork. Full colour and black-and-white images are as absurdist
as the storyline. The political satire is not lost in this abridgement and
is paralleled by the visual caricatures. This is a 144-page illustrated
novel for mature readers.
2005: Gravett, Emily. Wolves. Illustrated by author.
London: Macmillan Children’s Books, 2005.
In this engaging experimental narrative, Rabbit borrows and reads a library
book about wolves while he is simultaneously and unwittingly stalked by one of
those very ominous rabbit-eaters. Several ingenious three-dimensional graphic
devices add depth to the simply drawn images. There is a book-within-a-book theme,
as well as “real” letters, library cards, and other library borrowing paraphernalia.
The intertextual play with the concepts of artifice and illusion bring to mind the
Jolly Postman books by Janet and Allan Ahlberg and Nick Bantock’s beautiful Griffin
and Sabine stories. Gravett has created fictitious publishing information and
critical reviews to suit the story, and has playfully included both a nasty
and a happy ending.
For 2006, see note on dating in Greenaway Medal description.
2007: Grey, Mini. The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon. Illustrated by author. London: Jonathan
In the tradition of Caldecott’s 19th century extension of the traditional “Hey Diddle Diddle” nursery rhyme, this whimsical narrative follows the rhyme’s Dish and Spoon from elopement, career in vaudeville and life of crime, 20-year separation, and emotional reunion. The story’s spare text parodies cinematic-style romance, melodrama and pop-culture early twentieth-century references. The mixed media, variety of page layout and panels, add to the rich comic visual humour.
2008: Gravett, Emily. Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. Illustrated by author. London: Macmillan, 2007.
With fears presented in their Latin names as well as English, this cleverly constructed interactive catalogue of gently-presented anxiety and phobia is presented as a journal of the wide variety of objects, insects, and life experiences of which an endearing little mouse is afraid. Readers follow little mouse’s nervous account, observing his pencil increasingly chewed from page to page, and ending with the discovery that even big people are afraid of some things, such as mice. The book design includes nibbled pages and fold outs. The minimal text of mouse’s journal entries is hand-lettered. Mixed media illustrations are rendered in oil-based pencil and watercolour, with innovative foldouts and cut-outs, and three dimensional collage.
The Caldecott medal is awarded annually by a committee of the
Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American
Library Association. It is awarded “to the artist of the most
distinguished American picturebook for children.” Consideration is
also given to the text and format of the book. The author must be a
citizen or resident of the United States. For more information on this
award, visit the ALSC's Caldecott page:
1970: Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.
Illustrated by author. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969.
Steig uses simple but beautiful language to tell this animal story
about a missing child. His whimsical humour, in both text and
illustration, keep the story light, and his expressive illustrations
add an extra layer of emotion and personality to his characters.
1971: Haley, Gail E. A Story – A Story: An African Tale.
Illustrated by author. New York: Atheneum, 1970.
Haley makes strong use of African storytelling patterns in this
engaging trickster story. Her woodcut illustrations are heavily
influenced by African art in colour, design, patterning, and the
depiction of traditional art and costume.
1972: Hogrogian, Nonny. One Fine Day. Illustrated by author.
New York: Macmillan, 1971.
This is a retelling of a traditional Armenian folk tale. The tale is
cumulative, focusing on a fox who must find a series of gifts for
different people and animals to get his tail back. Horgrogian’s gouache
illustrations are painterly and use rich colour to emphasise the
1973: Mosel, Arlene. The Funny Little Woman. Illustrated by
Blair Lent. New York: Dutton, 1972.
This is a retelling of a literary folktale set in Japan. Mosel uses
simple language and much repetition to maintain a folktale effect. Lent
uses watercolour and pen-and-ink illustrations, making a distinction
between colour and black-and-white to keep a focus on the space of the
story while still illustrating other happenings and the passing of time.
1974: Zemach, Harve. Duffy and the Devil: A Cornish Tale
Retold. Illustrated by Margot Zemach. New York: Farrar, Straus, and
Harve Zemach retells this Cornish Rumpelstiltskin story with close
attention to the rhythms and patterns of spoken language, drawing on a
strong connection to the oral tradition and connecting to Cornish
dialect. The sketchy watercolour illustrations give a strong sense of
time and place, and add many British details, as well as expanding on
the humour of the story.
1975: McDermott, Gerald. Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian
Tale. Illustrated by author. New York: Viking, 1974.
McDermott retells this tale with minimal text, using gouache and ink
illustrations to tell much of the story. His paintings show a strong
influence of traditional art, particularly in colour and shape. His
text uses folklore themes and is told in a traditional mythical style.
1976: Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A
West African Tale. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Dial,
This retelling makes use of many traditional African storytelling
patterns. The Dillons’ illustrations show strong influences from West
African art in shape, colour, and pattern; they add a sly sense of
humour and exaggeration to the story.
1977: Musgrove, Margaret. Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions.
Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Dial, 1976.
This nonfiction work illustrates the daily life, families, ceremonies
and customs of 26 different groups of African peoples. The very
detailed decorative illustrations give the reader a sense of the
different landscapes of Africa and focus on the portrayal of different
individuals. A map is included in the back.
1978: Spier, Peter, illus. Noah’s Ark. New York: Doubleday,
This nearly wordless picturebook begins with a translation of the poem
by Jacob Revius. Spier’s watercolour, pen-and-ink, and pencil crayon
illustrations are laid out in cells, which help the reader tell the
passage of time and the progression of the story. The details tell a
number of different stories, showing humour, sadness, and exhaustion.
The complete effect is one of reverence, demonstrating respect for the
animals in the story and for the tradition of the story itself.
1979: Goble, Paul. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. Illustrated
by author. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978.
This literary folktale is told with an emphasis on the plot. The
bright, patterned illustrations add a sense of regionalism to the story
through the depiction of plants, animals, clothing, and buildings.
Goble uses a traditional illustration style in his work.
1980: Hall, Donald. Ox-cart Man. Illustrated by Barbara
Cooney. New York: Viking, 1979.
Hall tells this traditional New England story with beautiful economy of
language and close attention to natural speech rhythms. Cooney’s
gouache illustrations are done in a folk-art style, warmly depicting
the period and landscape.
1981: Lobel, Arnold. Fables. Illustrated by author. New York:
Harper & Row, 1980.
Lobel has created a series of humourous and often absurd fables with an
appropriate moral given at the end of each. Each illustration depicts a
scene from a fable; the cartoon-like style and sketchiness of line add
a whimsical touch to the animals.
1982: Van Allsburg, Chris. Jumanji. Illustrated by author.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.
Van Allsburg tells this magical realism adventure with growing
suspense. His black-and-white pencil drawings draw the viewer into the
story through interesting use of depth and perspective. A freeze-frame
style adds to the magic of the story by focusing the reader on the
chaos of jungle animals in an otherwise ordinary home.
1983: Cendrars, Blaise. Shadow. Illustrated and translated by
Marcia Brown. New York: Scribner’s, 1982.
Brown illustrates this eerie and beautiful poem with a collage of
silhouettes against richly coloured and illustrated backgrounds. The
colours and shapes are influenced by African art; they add to the mood
of the poem, as well as providing a strong setting.
1984: Provensen, Alice and Martin. The Glorious Flight: Across
the Channel With Louis Bleriot, July 25, 1909. Illustrated by authors.
New York: Viking, 1983.
This non-fiction biographical story is told in the present tense,
drawing readers into another time. The watercolour illustrations are
done in a folk art style, with close attention paid to costume and
1985: Hodges, Margaret. Saint George and the Dragon: A Golden
Legend. Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Boston: Little, Brown, 1984.
Hodges retells this story from The Fairie Queene with modified epic
language, setting the hero quest in a medieval tone. Hyman’s ornate
illustrations add to this sense, making strong use of stained glass
effects and framing. She adds personality to the characters through her
attention to facial expression and posture.
1986: Van Allsburg, Chris. The Polar Express. Illustrated by
author. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
This is a magical realism Christmas story, told with a slightly
nostalgic tone. Van Allsburg uses soft colour and deep perspective in
his coloured conte crayon illustrations to convey mood and give a sense
of midnight magic.
1987: Yorinks, Arthur. Hey, Al. Illustrated by Richard
Egielski. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986.
Yorinks tells this fantasy adventure with dry humour and a strong New
York voice. Egielski’s watercolour illustrations mirror the mood of
characters through the use of colour and give a strong sense of space
1988: Yolen, Jane. Owl Moon. Illustrated by John Schoenherr.
New York: Philomel, 1987.
Yolen uses a strong child’s voice in this nighttime outdoor story.
Schoenherr’s illustrations give a definite setting and add to the mood
of the story through the use of white space and colour.
1989: Ackerman, Karen. Song and Dance Man. Illustrated by
Stephen Gammell. New York: A. Knopf, 1988.
In this upbeat family story, a grandfather recounts his vaudeville days
to his grandchildren. Ackerman provides strong sensory details
throughout, giving the reader a connection to an unusual pastime.
Gammell’s cartoon-style pencil crayon illustrations make excellent use
of colour and convey the love and joy of the characters through their
1990: Young, Ed. Lon Po Po: a Red-Riding Hood Story From
China. Illustrated by author. New York: Philomel, 1989.
This retelling of a Chinese folktale is told with traditional elements
and style, and gives a hint of mischief in the characters. Young’s soft
conte crayon illustrations focus on form and convey the darker side of
1991: Macaulay, David. Black and White. Illustrated by author.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.
This postmodern picturebook tells four stories in different frames and
challenges the reader to figure out how they connect. The illustration
for each story is done in a separate style, with overlapping elements.
The effect is humourous and absorbing.
1992: Wiesner, David. Tuesday. Illustrated by author. New
York: Clarion Books, 1991.
This is a nearly wordless surreal story. Wiesner’s expressive
watercolours make strong use of form, light and shadow, and depth.
Elements of film noir blocking and the humourous expressions of the
frogs heighten the magic.
1993: McCully, Emily Arnold. Mirette on the High Wire.
Illustrated by author. New York: Putnam’s, 1992.
McCully tells an historical story of a boarding house for performers in
nineteenth-century Paris. The characters are fully developed; Mirette’s
moods are particularly well conveyed. The conte crayon and watercolour
illustration give a definite period and physical setting to the story.
1994: Say, Allen. Grandfather’s Journey. Illustrated by
author. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Say tells this story of his grandfather’s life and influence on his own
in simple, loving prose. His watercolours use photographic composition,
and clearly show his love for American and Japanese landscapes.
1995: Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night. Illustrated by David Diaz.
San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1994.
Bunting tells this story of the Los Angeles riots with a strong child’s
voice, showing the boy’s innocence and fear through his concern for his
cat, lost in an apartment building fire. Diaz illustrates the story
with collage and acrylic paintings, highlighting the mood and
expressions of the characters.
1996: Rathmann, Peggy. Officer Buckle and Gloria. Illustrated
by author. New York: Putnam’s, 1995.
Rathmann illustrates this humorous pet and friendship story with bright
cartoon-style watercolours. The illustrations are playful and funny and
add a chaotic feel to the story. Rathmann strongly integrates text and
1997: Wisniewski, David. Golem. Illustrated by author. New
York: Clarion, 1996.
Wisniewski retells a story of the Jewish ghetto in sixteenth-century
Prague with careful prose and a clear sense of the fear and dangers of
life in the ghetto. His text has an historical, almost epic style. His
beautiful papercut collage shows Prague and the ghetto realistically;
its dramatic perspective and colour expand the tone of the story.
1998: Zelinsky, Paul O. Rapunzel. Illustrated by author. New
York: Dutton, 1997.
This is a retelling of the European folktale with elements taken from
many variants. Zelinsky’s oil paintings highlight the Italian aspects
through his depiction of Italian landscape and architecture, and the
strong renaissance style of the illustrations.
1999: Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Snowflake Bentley.
Illustrated by Mary Azarian. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.
Martin tells this biographical story with simple language, which evokes
the passion Bentley felt for his vocation. Framed sidebars give
additional information about his work. Azarian illustrates the story
with hand-coloured woodcuts done in a folk-art style that show the
period and rural setting.
2000: Taback, Simms. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. Illustrated
by author. New York: Viking, 1999.
Taback sets this Yiddish folksong into prose with brevity and rhythmic
repetition. His die-cut collage and oil crayon illustrations are
cartoonlike, colourful and playful. He incorporates Yiddish text and
traditional costume, religious objects, and photographs of Eastern
European Jews and American Jewish immigrants into the illustrations.
2001: St. George, Judith. So You Want to Be President?
Illustrated by David Small. New York: Philomel, 2000.
This nonfiction book gives an interesting history of the American
presidency, using mostly unusual and entertaining details, but also
giving some basic information on each president and his role in office.
Small’s playful caricatures perfectly illustrate the comic aspects of
the text, and add personality and interest.
2002: David Wiesner. The Three Pigs. Illustrated by author.
New York: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
In a post-modern deconstruction of well-known fairytales and nursery
rhymes, this fractured retelling propels three pigs, a cat and a
fiddle, and an endangered dragon in and out of stories, through visual
spatial planes, across askew perspectives, and transforming
illustrative styles. Wiesner playfully redefines the structures of
traditional narrative genres, liberating characters and expectations
alike. Metafictive and referential, this experimental work pushes the
boundaries of the picturebook. The artwork literally lifts the
characters out of the story and off of the page, all the while
challenging the reader’s imagination.
2003: Rohmann, Eric. My Friend Rabbit. Illustrated by author.
Brookfield, Conn.: Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press, 2002.
In this endearing and surprising animal friendship fable, little Mouse
always seems to get into trouble whenever his friend, Rabbit, is
around. Rabbit pushes his small friend too far, and in an attempt to
retrieve Mouse’s airplane, Rabbit’s big plans tumble down almost on top
of him. The warm cartoon images in dramatic woodcuts of flat planes of
colour dramatize the absurd image of a tower of wobbly animals toppling
to earth. The light-hearted drawings convey no matter what comic
catastrophes befall them, the two will always remain friends.
2004: Gerstein, Mordicai. The Man Who Walked Between the
Towers. Illustrated by author. Brookfield, Conn.: Roaring Brook
Press/Millbrook Press, 2003.
This true story, set at the time when New York World Trade Center twin
towers were under construction, recounts, with an almost mythic
sensibility, the story of Philippe Petit, who in 1974 executed a
high-wire early morning walk between the towers, rooftop to rooftop.
This dramatic and courageous act is documented in concrete and specific
detail in wash and ink drawings. Colour shifts from dark night to early
dawn and perspective is manipulated with vertical lines, horizontal
panels, and surprising fold-outs, accentuating the towers’ magnificent
height and, sadly, their vulnerability.
2005: Henkes, Kevin. Kitten’s First Full Moon. Illustrated by
author. New York: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, 2004.
On the night of her first full moon, little Kitten thinks that she sees
a bowl of milk just waiting for her in the darkened sky. But as much as
she tries to reach the bowl-like moon, it remains just out of reach.
Kitten’s search is coloured in black and white with many shades of grey
that capture the little cat’s range of emotions as she tries, fails,
and eventually succeeds in the search for that elusive bowl of milk.
The gouache and coloured pencil cartoon drawings employ strip panels
and double-page spreads to ingeniously follow the endearing kitten’s
2006: Juster, Norton. The Hello, Goodbye Window. Illustrated by Chris Raschka.
New York: Michael di Capua Books, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children, 2005.
This uplifting picturebook narrates how a little girl views the stimulating
everyday experiences she enjoys while visiting her grandparents. Chris
Raschka’s vibrant illustrations resemble children’s art, perfectly complementing
the child’s perspective on life. Fluid designs in mixed media are joyous and richly
intricate, with apparent layers of paint, pastel and crayon. The naïve cartoons are
full of warmth and humour, as they convey the strong emotional bond between the
child and her Nana and Poppy.
2007: Wiesner, David.
Flotsam. Illustrated by author. New York: Clarion Books, 2006.
A wordless story, told in watercolour images, follows a boy’s explorations in an afternoon at the beach, moving from realistic serenity to mystery and surrealistic exploration of infinite regression and the fantasy of a world beneath the sea. When an underwater camera (a Melville camera, referencing Herman Melville’s mysterious sea sagas) washes up on the beach, the developed film reveals fantastical scenes from the deep. The boy ponders the reality of infinite regression as one photograph offers a visual timeline of the children, from the present to the turn of the century, who had discovered the camera before him. Illustrations shift between double-page spreads, single-page frames, graphic novel panels, and photo-album sequences that support a dynamic story pace.
2008: Selznick, Brian.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Illustrated by author. New York: Scholastic Press,
Set in 1930s Paris, this is the story of an orphan boy living as a clock keeper and thief in a train station. Hoping to reconnect with his dead father by repairing the automaton robotic figure which had been his obsession, the boy becomes involved with an emotionally troubled toymaker, a girl in the toymaker’s care, and a complex interwoven web of secrets. The narrative climaxes in the toymaker’s reconnection with his former life as a magician and pioneer filmmaker and the boy’s adoption into the toymaker’s family and embarkation on a new life and career. A lengthy work of over 500 pages, it alternates between text, photographic frames from early films, and pencil drawings on textured watercolour paper, resembling in their depth of shadow and modelling, the silent film images intertextually part of the narrative. The figure of the filmmaker is based on an important, historical film.
2009: Swanson, Susan Marie.
The House in the Night. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.
Adapted from a traditional, cumulative nursery rhyme, the text, in a dreamlike sequence, follows several reassuring objects that make a house a home at bedtime – a key, a house, a light, a bed – and a book that takes the child character/reader on a night flight on the wings of a bird. The story’s rhythmic and repetitive text has a bedtime ritualistic quality. The artwork blends detailed black and white scratchboard and watercolour highlights of glowing yellow.