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

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Hallo, who's there?
Hallo, who?
Hallowhoot, and have a happy hoot!



Little Owl Lost - Chris Haughton
A Book of Sleep - Il Sung Na
Little Owl's Night - Divya Srinivasan
Peek-a-Who  by Nina Laden
Owl Moon - Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr
Owl Babies - Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson
Owl at Home - Arnold Lobel

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Caldecott Soup

In November's gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail
and spout hot soup.
I'll be a whale!
Spouting once, spouting twice,
spouting chicken soup with rice.
- Chicken Soup With Rice, A Book of Months, by Maurice Sendak
It may not be spouting hot soup, but good news is easy to slurp about:
I get to help run Kids' Mock Caldecotts at the library!

And what a library! They've ordered heaps of new books,
which the spectacular librarian Martha Ashenfelter and I
deliberated and drooled over for hours
before whittling our selection to a mere 32 book beauties.

On the first three Thursdays in November,
our library kids will form a Caldecott Committee,
evaluate, debate, and vote for their favorite books of 2015.
In January, we'll hold a final vote,
followed by an awards party.

Doesn't it sound fantastic?

If you are a local friend who knows of some book-loving kids,
bring them in on November Thursdays!

I'll try to post about our delicious book picks and the Caldecott sessions
along the way.

 Doesn't it make you want to pick up a stack of picture books and start reading?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Flight of the Birdy

And now we come to our smallest wildebeest.

I remember those tiny, newborn fists curling out of a green blanket.
I made it five summers ago out of fabric so soft it felt like clouds, 
with the hope it could keep out the world's roughness as long as possible.

Ergo, in the nature of a true youngest child,
Birdy scrambles up trees and leaps from the highest branches,
tumbles headfirst into high winds,
and rakes up her knees better than all the others.
She is so ready for this.

Always looking to make art,
I decided to make flashcards - heaps of them. 

I think I'll do a weekly series of the collection on my art blog.
They're for learning sight words, one of the ways to catch on to reading.

I guess this is my gift to her, like the green cloud blanket.
A way to say:
"When you want me, if you want help, I'm here. I love you."
Maybe it's proof. 
And maybe every parent offering,
every bowl of oatmeal we cook up,
every lunch we pack, every book read aloud,
every tuck-in at night
is us, saying:
  "You precious small people, you are loved."

   "Even though we got grouchy about the muddy footprints,
     or the scrabbly big mess in your rooms,
     you are loved." 

And maybe, it is proof for us as well.
Maybe these offerings to our small ones are gifts we keep close
as our birds wing the nest,
as our hair grays and our skin weathers,
knowing that in all our human roughness,
we have loved.

Friends, may you find love all around you,
and gifts in the giving.



I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard - Jennifer Mann
Orange Pear Apple Bear - Emily Gravett
Owl Babies - Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson

18490544A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2)

Bo at Iditarod Creek - Kirkpatrick Hill
The Mighty Miss Malone - Christopher Paul Curtis
The War That Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
A Year Down Yonder - Richard Peck


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