Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Setting the record straight

Which illustrator holds the record for the most Caldecott Medals?

David Wiesner, right? When he won a third Caldecott Medal last year for Flotsam, there was a lot of talk about the record he had set. Three Caldecotts! Amazing! No one has ever done that before.

And yes, it is amazing... but every time I heard the comment (or even made it myself) something didn't sit quite right with me. I was sure that Wiesner wasn't the first to win three medals, but I couldn't remember who the mystery author had been.

A few days ago, I was browsing at a local academic library that has a wonderful collection of all the Caldecott and Newbery medal books. And finally, I saw the proof that Wiesner didn't set the record for the most Caldecott medals... he tied it.

Who else has three Caldecotts to their name? Marcia Brown. Take a look at her winning trifecta:

1983: Shadow
1962: Once a Mouse
1955: Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper

But wait, there's more. Look at all of Marcia Brown's books that received Caldecott honors:

1954: The Steadfast Tin Soldier
1953: Puss in Boots
1952: Skipper John's Cook
1951: Dick Whittington and His Cat
1950: Henry Fisherman
1948: Stone Soup

Study those years carefully. Over an eight year period, Marcia Brown received a Caldecott honor or a medal SEVEN times. That's nothing short of amazing.

In addition to all her Caldecotts, she recieved the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1992. For more about Marcia Brown (and for an archive of her papers) see the DeGrummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Now, we just need someone to win four Caldecott Medals. That would be amazing.


  1. The only one I've actually read of hers is the Cinderella one, and I have to say that the illustrations are beautiful. I should hunt down the rest.

    So, do you think Wiesner could win four?

  2. Another one who is racking up honors is Mo Willems. You might enjoy these links:



  3. Melissa- Oh, definitely do hunt down Marcia Brown's books! I should read more of them myself.

    I think Wiesner could win four... if he keeps surpassing himself and stretching the boundaries of the picture book the way he has.

    Pirate Ninja Mommy- You're right... Mo Willems has been really racking up the honors lately, too. He's got three Caldecott honors, a Geisel medal, a Carnegie (for best video- for Knuffle Bunny) and six Emmys from his work on Sesame Street. Pretty amazing.

    I LOVED the story you linked too. Thanks so much!