This week I’ve read a series of articles by Matthew C. Winner about creating a Mock Caldecott Contest.
What is a Mock Caldecott Contest?
Essentially, a Mock Caldecott Contest is a chance to have students vote for their favorite picture book of the year. However, this can’t just be any old book. Nope, students must use the American Library Association’s Caldecott criteria.
What Mr. Winner has done is have his students put the Caldecott criteria into kid-friendly words. They then read all of his chosen selections, rating the books for themselves. Mr. Winner then compiled the results to determine their winner.
He also had the students name and design their own medal that paid homage to both the ALA Caldecott and to their process and criteria. If I say so myself, they did an amazing job! Check out all three stages of their contest on Mr. Winner’s blog.
Would I create my own Mock Caldecott Contest? The short answer: YES!!
The longer answer: I think a Mock Caldecott Contest would be an amazing way to discuss text evaluation and critique with my future middle school students. I know that middle school is a bit old for picture books, but they love them!
I would follow Mr. Winner’s lead and teach them about the Caldecott medal, its origins, and the criteria. I would then have them put the criteria into their own words. I would have a large selection of potential winners and follow Mr. Winner’s process for voting.
What problems and challenges might crop up?
It would certainly be a challenge to get some of my middle grades students to admit they like to read picture books. They often feel like they are “too cool” and want to read huge novels.
Also, buying a couple of copies of each of 20 books will cost a bit and might not be within my classroom budget. This would mean that I would buy them myself – which is fine with me! Cost will be a factor in my ability to pull off this challenge every year.
Are these insurmountable? No. Just things to think about.
How would I choose my nominees?
Here’s where another of my favorite KidLit bloggers, Mr. Schu, comes in. Each year he pulls together a list of possible Caldecott nominees. He has had a lot of experience in doing this and seems to always include the award winners on his list!
This Year’s Nominees
Mr. Schu has pulled together a list of his 2016 Mock Caldecott nominees. There are a few of those books that I will have to read this year. They are…..
Float, by Daniel Miyares
I would choose to read this based on the interview clip Mr. Schu posted. The author just took an one image idea, sketched what came before and what came after, and created this book I cannot wait to read it!
By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman
Corny, puntastic humor. Cool illustrations. Many recommendations. A must read for me!
Wait by Antoinette Portis
I’d pick this book because I like the premise. Little ones like to explore the world. They like to stop and explore. They often ask us to “wait” for a moment. I think we, as adults, need to remember to slow down, look at the world around us, and wait.
Well, what do you think? Would you hold a Mock Caldecott? Have you read any of my top three new picture books to read? Let’s talk below….