Monday, November 16, 2015

Making Mock Caldecotts

Our Mock Caldecott project is in full swing.
 Oh, the yummy books!

So far, we've discussed the Caldecott award,
the workings of a Caldecott committee,
and what to look for in our very own sessions.
Children's librarian Martha Ashenfelter and I created ballots with four voting categories.
I thought it might be fun to share how we're teaching our committee to vote.

1. Excellence

We examine each book - its design, how the pages feel,
the endpapers, the copyright page.

We try to figure out the art medium used,
whether fancy research was done,
if the art is consistent, stunning, unique.
"In a Village By the Sea" by Muon Van, illustrated by April Chu
We noticed the book "A Fine Dessert" by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall, a book about blackberry dessert, is partly painted with blackberry juice. That's a pretty tasty detail.

Nikki McClure's book "In" is made from paper cuts.

Vincent X. Kirsch's illustrations in "Gingerbread for Liberty" are made to look like gingerbread. More deliciousness.
In - by Nikki McClure

2. Appropriateness

We consider how well the art and the text work together to fill up the story.
Is there a tone or mood to the words,
and do the pictures complement it?

We look at layers -
we ask ourselves what that story is really about,
and then, what else is it about?
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich - by Julia Sarcone-Roach

3. Importance

By "reading" the book first without words,
we figure out if the illustrations give us clues, if they tell some of the story.

Then we read it a second time with words, scrutinize how the text is represented,
if the pictures and words are perfectly matched,
or if they give too much away.

We look for details, hints, clues within the story and pictures
that might add to the wow of the book.
If You Plant a Seed - Kadir Nelson

4. Appeal

And then we ask if we'd want to pick the book up,
if we think it would appeal to kids. 
How much do we love that particular book?
Voters score books from 1-5 in each category,
and slip their ballot in its book envelope.
I have my favorites, but I have to keep mum.  
Here is the library's Caldecottmobile. 

Each of our nominees will be displayed in the library and available for voting 
until January, when our top finalists will be announced.

At that time, our committee will debate for favorites, 
vote on the final few, and, drumroll....

Awards Party!
Letters to Authors and Illustrators! 

Some of our nominees:

Finding Winnie: the true story of the world's most famous bear
    - by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith
It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee
Water is Water by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason ChinIn by Nikki McClure
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
Gingerbread for Liberty by Maria Rockcliff, illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch
The Night World by Mordecai Gerstein
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach


Victoria Lindstrom said...

I absolutely love this post! What a wonderful way to teach children to be intelligent readers. Bravo!

Rebecca Gomez said...

That looks like so much fun! Picture book art is the best when it adds to the story rather than simply illustrating the text. To me, that is more important than the style or medium (though I do have my favorites, of course).

Dawn Simon said...

This is such an excellent post! I think many of the complex and amazing things great picture books accomplish are lost on lots of people--adults in particular. To teach children to appreciate and look for these things: wow! Go, Faith!

Faith Pray said...

Thank you, Victoria. It's so much fun to watch small readers go deep into books!

Faith Pray said...

Rebecca, I agree; picture books cook best in a nice, light balance that blends pictures and words without going eggy and spelling it all out. I love it when authors and illustrators trust the cleverness in their kid readers.

Faith Pray said...

Thank you, Dawn!
I love watching the kids discover tiny clues and themes that might not catch a grown-up eye. I've heard that our visual literacy can ebb as our book literacy grows. I hope this is a way to encourage both kid readers and adults to take time to go deep as they read.


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