Last year was my first year to host a Mock Caldecott during January. It was such a successful unit, that I decided to do it again this year!! January is the perfect time as the highly anticipated Caldecott Award announcement is just around the bend!! (along with other prestigious awards - Newbery, ALA Youth Media Awards, Printz and Coretta Scott King Book Awards) January 27th is the big day!!
The candidates for this award are kept secret until the announcement, but that doesn't keep librarians and media specialists around the nation for speculating! Not unlike all the Hollywood Film Awards, speculation and "buzz" is everywhere!! Who will win and who will be wearing the best dress?? (Just kidding about the dress!)
This year I spent the last few weeks reading blogs and online journals trying to choose a possible "short list" of candidates. Most of the "hopefuls" for the Caldecott seemed to come up again and again on prediction websites & blogs. So I used these potentials to compile a lesson for my students. Again, we really can't know until the announcement is made, but it is fun to speculate!
First we will read and discuss the criteria used by the Caldecott committee!! The criteria language can be intimidating for students, but it seems to become clearer once we discuss it.
Caldecott Criteria1. In identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider:
- Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;
- Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept;
- Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept;
- Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;
- Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.
2. The only limitation to graphic form is that the form must be one which may be used in a picture book. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound, film or computer program) for its enjoyment.
3. Each book is to be considered as a picture book. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the illustration, but other components of a book are to be considered especially when they make a book less effective as a children’s picture book. Such other components might include the written text, the overall design of the book, etc.
Then, we will read, evaluate and discuss each book! I am including the book trailers for our short list of potential winners, just in case any of you want to participate in our vote. (But be prepared, the book trailers YouTube playlist lasts 23 minutes!!) Though nothing replaces reading the actual book, these trailers do a great job of giving the viewer a flavor of the illustrations and content of each book.
After we have finished our evaluation of each book, students will be voting for their choice using a Google Form. If you are reading this, you are welcome to vote too.