Monday, January 19, 2015


It’s that time of year when librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators and picture book lovers feel the excitement building for the “Oscars” of the children’s book world; the announcement of the winners of this year’s many prestigious children’s book awards from the American LibraryAssociation:

For the following classroom activity, we’ll focus on the Caldecott medal, awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children, although a similar activity could be done for any/all of the medals awarded. The Randolph Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott, and awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children.

One way to engage your students in the excitement of book award season is to host a mock Caldecott award contest in the classroom. Depending on time, resources, and the age level of your students, pick 5-20 picture book titles that were released in 2014 to read with the class. Some of the top contenders for the award this year, (but by no means an all-inclusive list):

  • The Farmer and the Clown
  • Nana in the City
  • Mama Built a Little Nest
  • Emily's Blue Period
  • Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
  • Iridescence of Birds
  • Dance Like Starlight
  • The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
  • Have You Seen My Dragon?
  • Bad Bye, Good Bye

Specific judging criteria used by the ALA committee can be found on the ALA website:

To simplify the judging criteria for students, discuss the illustrations in each of the chosen books focusing on the illustration style, medium used, how the pictures work with the text (or don’t), and the overall reaction to each picture book. What makes the art unique from other picture books? Students can be placed into committees to discuss titles and cast mock votes, or each individual student can cast their own. Pick one winner and two-three honorable mentions. Prior to the announcements, reveal the winner of the class vote. If possible for your time zone and start of the school day, you can then tune in to the official announcement via the ALA website.

The announcement of the 2015 Youth Media Awards will take place at 8:00 a.m. Central time on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition in Chicago.
Join us for a live webcast of the press conference or follow I Love Libraries on Twitter and Facebook to be among the first to know the 2015 winners. The official hashtag for the 2015 Youth Media Awards is  #ALAyma

If possible, host a small celebration in the class with refreshments to conclude the award announcements, presenting a handmade Caldecott medal to the group or individual coming closest with their predictions. Who will this year’s winners be?

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