HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Randolph Caldecott Medal Award-Winning Kids’ Books 2021
We Are Water Protectors Caldecott Medal Award-Winning Kids’ Books 2021

Randolph Caldecott Medal Award-Winning Kids’ Books 2021

Randolph Caldecott Medal 2021 Award Winners
The Children’s Book Review

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) announces the Randolph Caldecott Medal, the award given to the most distinguished American picture book for children. Here is the list of 2021 award winners:

The Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner

We Are Water Protectors

Written by Carole Lindstrom

Illustrated by Michaela Goade

Ages 3-6 | 40 Pages

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | ISBN-13: 978-1250203557

Publisher’s Synopsis: Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption―a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

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The Randolph Caldecott Honor Books

A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart

Written by Zetta Elliott

Illustrated by Noa Denmon

Ages 4-8 | 32 Pages

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | ISBN-13: 978-0374307417

Publisher’s Synopsis: In this powerful, affirming poem by award-winning author Zetta Elliott, a Black child explores his shifting emotions throughout the year.

There is a place inside of me
a space deep down inside of me
where all my feelings hide.

Summertime is filled with joy―skateboarding and playing basketball―until his community is deeply wounded by a police shooting. As fall turns to winter and then spring, fear grows into anger, then pride and peace.

In her stunning debut, illustrator Noa Denmon articulates the depth and nuances of a child’s experiences following a police shooting―through grief and protests, healing and community―with washes of color as vibrant as his words.

Here is a groundbreaking narrative that can help all readers―children and adults alike―talk about the feelings hiding deep inside each of us.

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The Cat Man of Aleppo

Written by Karim Shamsi-Basha and Irene Latham

Illustrated by Yuko Shimizu

Ages 4-8 | 40 Pages

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | ISBN-13: 978-1984813787

Publisher’s Synopsis: The courageous and true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who in the midst of the Syrian Civil War offered safe haven to Aleppo’s abandoned cats.

Aleppo’s city center no longer echoes with the rich, exciting sounds of copper-pot pounding and traditional sword sharpening. His neighborhood is empty–except for the many cats left behind.

Alaa loves Aleppo, but when war comes his neighbors flee to safety, leaving their many pets behind. Alaa decides to stay–he can make a difference by driving an ambulance, carrying the sick and wounded to safety. One day he hears hungry cats calling out to him on his way home. They are lonely and scared, just like him. He feeds and pets them to let them know they are loved. The next day more cats come, and then even more! There are too many for Alaa to take care of on his own. Alaa has a big heart, but he will need help from others if he wants to keep all of his new friends safe.

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Me & Mama

Written and Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Ages 4-8 | 40 Pages

Publisher: Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | ISBN-13: 978-1534454217

Publisher’s Synopsis: Mama’s love is brighter than the sun, even on the rainiest of days. This celebration of a mother-daughter relationship is perfect for sharing with little ones!

On a rainy day when the house smells like cinnamon and Papa and Luca are still asleep, when the clouds are wearing shadows and the wind paints the window with beads of water, I want to be everywhere Mama is.

With lyrical prose and a tender touch, Mama and Me is an ode to the strength of the bond between a mother and a daughter as they spend a rainy day together.

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Outside In

Written by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Cindy Derby

Ages 4-7 | 40 Pages

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | ISBN-13: 978-1328866820

Publisher’s Synopsis: From the New York Times best-selling author behind The Quiet Book comes a mindful contemplation on the many ways nature affects our everyday lives, even when we’re stuck inside. Perfect for fans of Joyce Sidman and Julie Fogliano, Outside In reminds emerging readers of the ways nature creates and touches our lives in homes, apartments, and cars, and is the perfect homeschooling tool to reflect on the world’s connectedness.

Outside is waiting, the most patient playmate of all. The most generous friend. The most miraculous inventor. This thought-provoking picture book poetically underscores our powerful and enduring connection with nature, not so easily obscured by lives spent indoors.
Rhythmic, powerful language shows us how our world is made and the many ways Outside comes in to help and heal us, and reminds us that we are all part of a much greater universe. Emotive illustrations evoke the beauty, simplicity, and wonder that await us all . . . outside.

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Randolph Caldecott Medal Award-Winning Kids’ Books 2021: Follow along with our articles and reviews tagged with award-winners, to discover more great titles just like these ones.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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