Three previous winners of the Caldecott Medal — given annually by the American Library Association to the best-illustrated children’s book — have published new books this year.
Here’s a look at these new literary gems for young readers:
With her long blond hair, Yuriko doesn’t fit the stereotype of a Japanese girl, and her classmates sometimes make fun of her. But her father is Japanese and Yuriko understands that her father’s heritage is something she should take pride in.
In “The Favorite Daughter” (Scholastic, $17.99, ages 5-8), author/illustrator Allen Say reveals a slice of his life as father to his daughter Yuriko, as she struggles with her desire to fit in with her classmates but still be herself.
Chris Raschka has twice won the Caldecott Medal: in 2006 for “The Hello, Goodbye Window” and again just last year for “A Ball for Daisy.” Still, Raschka never seems to run out of inspiration as shown in his latest book, “Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle” (Schwartz & Wade, Random House, $16.99, ages 4-8).
The story is a universal — perhaps even an overly traveled — one: a child wants desperately to learn to ride a bike, the child has trouble learning to balance on a bike, the child is ready to give up but tries one more time, and — voila! — he/she can suddenly ride a bike.
Erin Stead, who won the 2011 Caldecott Medal for “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” takes what, at first glance, looks like a minimalist approach to illustration in her picture books.
Stead is a master of using seemingly understated illustrations to both bring the reader into the story and expand the world of the tale being told.
Such is the case with her latest book, “If You Want to See a Whale” (Roaring Brook, $16.99, ages 3-7). As in the 2012 best-selling picture book “And Then It’s Spring,” Stead has paired up with author Julie Fogliano to tell a quiet, thoughtful story that will inspire young readers to use their imaginations.
Stead’s illustrations, done using linoleum printing techniques and pencil, portray a young boy and his devoted hound enjoying a series of adventures while hoping for a whale sighting.