You may want to inquire about your library's collection of Caldecott winners. Our library has many of them for checkout, but has a special collection that you can only read at the library. I would be scandalized if your library didn't carry them, even if it is a small library.
Also; I know what you mean about not having read anything until kids. I rather enjoy discovering all these books that I'd either never read or had forgotten.
My homeschool philosophy is this: I'm not protesting against any school or teacher; I'm creating a culture in our home where I can best impart my values. I've probably read the books we own a hundred times each, and year after year, though we always find new titles to check out from the library, I try to include the tried and true titles. The books are like old friends. There are many times when a child will sigh over a familiar book cover and say, "Oh, I love this book!"
So, it's not the worst thing that your library doesn't have an ample collection, and a small price to pay for living in a rural area.
Here are some of my favorites. I enjoy the works of most of these illustrators. In some cases, I enjoy other titles by the same illustrator more than the title that won him/her the Caldecott medal.
2005 Kevin Henkes. Kitten's First Full Moon.
1996 Peggy Rathmann. Officer Buckle and Gloria.
1994 Allen Say. Grandfather's Journey.
1993 Emily Arnold McCully. Mirette on the High Wire.
1988 John Schoenherr (illus.) Owl Moon. written by Jane Yolen.
1985 Trina Schart Hyman. Saint George and the Dragon: A Golden Legend.
1981 Arnold Lobel. Fables.
1980 Barbara Cooney (illus.) Ox-Cart Man. written by Donald Hall.
1976 Leo & Diane Dillon (Illus.) Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale.
1975 Gerald McDermott. Arrow to the Sun. Viking Press.
1969 Uri Shulevitz (Illus.) The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. retold by Arthur Ransome.
1968 Ed Emberley (Illus.) Drummer Hoff. adapted by Barbara Emberley. Prentice-Hall.
1965 Beni Montresor (Illus.) May I Bring a Friend? written by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers.
1964 Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are.
1963 Ezra Jack Keats. The Snowy Day. Viking Press.
1959 Barbara Cooney (Illus.) Chanticleer and the Fox; adapted from the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer. written by Thomas Y. Crowell.
1958 Robert McCloskey. Time of Wonder.
1957 Marc Simont (Illus.) A Tree Is Nice. written by Janice Udry.
1956 Feodor Rojankovsky (Illus.) Frog Went a-Courtin'. written by John Langstaff.
1955 Marcia Brown. Cinderella; written by Charles Perrault. trans. & illus. by Marcia Brown.
1954 Ludwig Bemelmans. Madeline's Rescue. .
1953 Lynd Ward. The Biggest Bear.
1950 Leo Politi. Song of the Swallows.
1949 Berta & Elmer Hader. The Big Snow.
1948 Roger Duvoisin (Illus.) White Snow, Bright Snow. written by Alvin Tresselt.
1945 Elizabeth Orton Jones (Illus.) A Prayer for a Child. written by Rachel Lyman Field.
1944 Louis Slobodkin (Illus.) Many Moons. written by James Thurber.
1943 Virginia Lee Burton. The Little House.
1942 Robert McCloskey. Make Way for Ducklings.
1941 Robert Lawson. They Were Strong and Good.
1940 Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire. Abraham Lincoln.
1938 Dorothy Lathrop. Animals of the Bible.
Hope this helps!