Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Mock Caldecott 2015, 2016

This will be the third year I have had the privilege of participating in a Mock Caldecott activity with Katherine Sokolowski, an educator in Monticello, Illinois.  Katherine blogs at Read, Write, Reflect.  It usually takes us several email exchanges to decide on a list of books to discuss with our students.  This year we decided to go over the twenty book limit extending it to twenty-five titles.  We both laughingly remarked how it would be difficult for either of us to serve on this committee.

During the course of the next four to five weeks we will discuss the illustrations, the style and mediums used by the illustrators, and how the pictures work with the text or sometimes without text.  We look for details.  We try to understand what the author and illustrator are conveying to readers.  We talk about our initial reaction to each book and how we feel about it after closer examination.

At the conclusion of these weeks, Katherine's classes and those students I am working with at our elementary school, vote on our top three choices.  We pick a winner and two honor titles.  When the votes are tallied we schedule Skype visits to talk about the chosen books.

This connection with students in another school in another state has been and continues to be invaluable.  Sometimes our scheduled chats don't work out due to the time difference or snow days but we have always managed to join forces.  This year with the ALA Youth Media Awards announcement on February 2, 2105 we feel more comfortable with our allotted framework.

I have uploaded the worksheet I developed for my students to Google Docs.  Most students in our school have their own devices.  I will also be printing some off if they prefer to have hard copies rather than or in addition to their virtual ones.

Mock Caldecott 2015

Mock Caldecott 2016

Please feel free to use our list.  We would appreciate any comments. Every year this is one of the most exciting things we do with our students.  This year's books will be announced on January 11, 2016 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibition during the ALA Youth Media Awards held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Update:  October 29, 2015  I have created an Animoto of types of medium used in past Caldecott medal and honor winners.  I usually created a display attaching these to the entire book or placing them next to the book.

Update:  December 20, 2014

Our votes have been tallied.  We buy small manila envelopes writing the book titles on the outside of each one.  Students put slips of paper with either a 1, 2 or 3 on them to vote.  The books with the highest scores become our Mock Caldecott choices.

Katherine's classes and ours Skyped this week sharing three honor books and one winner.  I enjoyed listening to her student comments about each of their selections which can be viewed here.  I continue to be amazed at the remarks of our students during the discussions before and after voting.  In one of the fifth grade classes a student noticed the reflection of the sun in a pail of water in Blue on Blue.  After that I noticed dandelions lining the fence nearby; a connection to the sun's reflection.  I was completely blown away by the third grade student(s) who noticed the cash register total in Blizzard.  It is the year of the storm.  I completely missed that even after multiple readings.  The attention to detail done by illustrators continues to amaze me as does students' eyes who learn to look.

Here are our results:
First fifth grade class
Shooting at the Stars: the Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix
Draw! by Raul Colon
The Scraps Book by Lois Ehlert
Sparky (a tie) written by Jenny Offill illustrations by Chris Appelhans
Sam & Dave Dig A Hole written by Mac Barnett illustrations by Jon Klassen

Second fifth grade class
Sam & Dave Dig A Hole 
Blue on Blue written by Dianne White illustrations by Beth Krommes
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Blizzard by John Rocco

Third grade class
Sam & Dave Dig A Hole 
Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems written by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian illustrations by Jeremy Holmes

Now begins the waiting for the announcement in February.  We can't wait and are thankful it will be live-streamed so we can share it with many others around the world.

Update:  January 9, 2016
The American Library Association Youth Media Award announcements are less than two days away.  The excitement is building on social media and in classrooms and school libraries everywhere.  After Skyping with Katherine Sokolowski's students prior to winter break, all the winners were revealed.  The link for the live stream is here.  

Our results are:
First fourth grade 
Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrations by Sophie Blackall
Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins with illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky
Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

Second fourth grade
By Mouse & Frog by Deborah Freedman
Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul with illustrations by Jason Chin
Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

Third fourth grade
Toys Meet Snow
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman with illustrations by Zachariah OHora


  1. I love this idea so much. What a great way to give students a stake in their library and book choices.


    1. It's been a fantastic learning experience for all of us.