Books were an enormous part of my childhood. In our house there was an embargo on television. My siblings and I didn't grow up with it. It was instilled in us to 'create our own fun' and to amuse ourselves with the time that was ours.
This often meant we had our noses in books. And from a young age we could be found lolling on the carpet, sofa or bed with one open in front of us, engrossed in far away lands, deep imaginings and absorbing illustrations.
Many of the children's books I read as a child, or were read to me, happened to be Caldecott winners. I have particularly fond memories of reading Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal,
marvelling over Paul Goble's The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses,
overcome with giggling at Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's The Stinky Cheese Man and going back in time with Donald Hall and Barbara Cooney's Ox-cart Man.
Now, with children of my own, I so enjoy the countless stories we read together swaying in the hammock in fine summer weather, cosied by the fire on wintery afternoons, reading several before naps and bed.
Similar to my own childhood, many of these picture books are Caldecott Medal winners featuring outstanding illustrators. There's a wonderful sense of nostalgia and excitement in finding copies of these books I used to know, bringing them home and sharing them with my children. Discovering new Caldecott books, and older ones I was previously unfamiliar with are welcome surprises.
When you come across a Caldecott book, it's something special. Inside you're going to find exceptional illustrations and displays of different artistic ideas.
It occurred to me a few weeks ago that it would be quite interesting to see the distribution of Caldecott Medal and Honor winning illustrators, where they lived across the United States. I was curious to know whether there were distinctive areas that were hot spots for these artists. As it turns out - there are.
Aside from noticing the interesting geographic patterns of Caldecott Medal winning illustrators, many other patterns emerged in doing the research for this map. The result is a map showing the States with the highest number of Caldecott Medal winners and all the cities and towns where the illustrators live(d).
A breakdown of Honor and Caldecott Medal wins by gender and many other interesting facts are also shown.
The aim in creating this map was to show information about these remarkable illustrators in context that's rarely examined.
(click to view larger version)