If you’re like me, when you think of picture books, you probably think of storybooks for very young children. That’s probably because in the library picture books have a call number (JPB) and a location where titles for the littlest ones can be found. But picture book is actually a format that can be any type of book from a preschool storybook to nonfiction for older readers, as the newest Caldecott winner shows.

locomotiveThe Caldecott Medal is given every year by the American Library Association’s children’s division to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” This year’s winner is Locomotive by Brian Floca. Journey through its pages with a family as they ride the transcontinental railroad from Omaha, Nebraska—across the Great Plains, the Forty-Mile Desert, and the Sierra Nevada mountains—to Sacramento, California. Stunning illustrations and poetic text bring to life the sights and sounds of a steam train, from the clang-clang-clang of the bell to the chug-chug of the engine. Learn about the laying of tracks, the crew and their jobs, and the traveling conditions of the passengers.

A celebration of the steam train and its impact on transportation, viewed through the eyes of one American family, Locomotive is a beautiful picture book to share with school-age childen in your family.

Parent Patter is a blog series for parents about early literacy, books, and children’s programs at the Dublin Library.