This year is Year 3 for me of doing a Mock Caldecott unit with my class. Every year I have worked with a different grade. I taught a Grade 3 & 4 class in 2014/2015, a Grade 2 & 3 class in 2015/2016 and this year I have a Grade 4 & 5 class. So each year I have had to switch things up a little bit. Tomorrow we begin our unit and will be deep in reading and discussion for the next 2 weeks. On January 23rd, the actual Caldecott awards (honor and medal) will be announced!
I read a LOT of picture books each year and start selecting Mock Caldecott possibilities early on. In making this list, I do pay attention to Caldecott buzz but I also think about a few other things in compiling the ideal list for my students. I try to choose a collection of titles where there will be some nonfiction as well as fiction. I want the stories we share to be entertaining and inspiring. I want students to encounter illustration styles they might not have seen before. I hope that we will continue to be able to talk about genre – so this list contains a fantasy story, a biography, narrative nonfiction, poetry and a wordless book. First, yes, I have to have been impressed by the illustrations but I usually narrow a list of 20 plus titles down to 10 to 12 so I can also think of these other things in making my choices.
I am very excited about this list of twelve titles on our Mock Caldecott 2017 list.
Listed alphabetically by illustrator.
Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer
Return by Aaron Becker
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
A Hungry Lion or a dwindling assortment of animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
The Night Gardener by the Fan brothers
The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell with illustrations by Rafael López
Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh
The Storyteller by Evan Turk
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
In thinking about how I would do this unit with an older class, I was thrilled to come across Jess Lif‘s blog post about her Mock Caldecott unit. Jess is one of the most inspirational, insightful and generous educators I know. The work Jess did with her students is helping me think about how I am going to work with my students this year in terms of discussion, analysis and the voting aspects of the unit.
For the first few days we will be talking all things Caldecott and exploring some of the previous winners. Within a few days, we will be diving headfirst into all of these books! Can’t wait! Stay tuned!