BLOGS  >  FEBRUARY 8, 2019

Let Your Students Choose the Winners (1 of 3)


Enter my very good friend, Kristen Picone (@kpteach5 on Twitter). She tweeted about something called #MockCaldecott and, as much as I loved all things reading, I had only a brief brush with national book awards and honors such as the Caldecott, Newbery, King and Sibert.
I met Kristen in person at NerdCamp Long Island, and she shared with me all she knew about #MockCaldecott: students hold their own Caldecott Award selection, mimicking what the American Library Association committees do at their annual winter meetings. Kristen said to do some research, which meant checking out what the Caldecott actually is, and following the #MockCaldecott hashtag on Twitter to see what book selections teachers were making for their students.
I was hooked. As I researched, it turned out I had read many of the books teachers had selected for their #MockCaldecott units already. I contacted Kristen, telling her how excited I was to get started, and she helped me with some organization tips for the kids. I started by choosing 13 books that I thought could be possibilities to win or receive an honor. Wolf in the Snow, the winner, was one of our 13!

This year, a little older and wiser, with a #MockCaldecott unit under my belt and #classroombookaday going strong, I thought I’d spread the word and see if my fifth grade colleagues wanted to participate. They do, and they are as excited as I am to get started. I have selected 13 picture books that I think have the potential to be honored, using the Caldecott criteria from the ALA website:
“In identifying a ‘distinguished American picture book for children,’ defined as illustration, committee members need to consider:

1. Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;
2. Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept;
3. Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept;
4. Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;
5. Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.”

Starting after winter break, over 100 fifth grade students will break into groups and take turns analyzing the illustrations of 13 picture books, all of which will have been previously read aloud to them by their teachers, some as part of #classroombookaday, others as part of a natural read-aloud.

One book will be used by the teachers to model what illustration analysis looks like and sounds like, with particular focus on illustration vocabulary and the Caldecott criteria. Step one is simply choose the books. (Simple? Ha! It was an exercise in hemming, hawing and hand-wringing to get the list down to the final 13.) Here are our selections, in no particular order:

1. Drawn Together by Lê/Santat
2. The Day You Begin by Woodson/López
3. The Brilliant Deep by Messner/Forsythe
4. Dreamers by Morales (this is my pick for winning the Caldecott Award!)
5. Let the Children March by Clark-Robinson/Morrison
6. Alma and How She Got Her Name by Martinez-Neal
7. Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Campbell/Luyken
8. Blue by Seeger
9. Mixed by Chung
10. Seeing Into Tomorrow by Wright/Crews
11. What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? by Barton/Holmes
12. Imagine by Herrera/Castillo
13. What If…? by Berger/Curato

I am GIDDY with anticipation. I shared with the kids that some of our #classroombookaday books were going to be voted on in our class’ #MockCaldecott, and they started going over to the board, thinking and talking about which books they thought were worthy of a distinguished illustration honor. So far, we’ve read all but two for #classroombookaday, and I’m looking forward to sharing those with the students prior to winter break. Then, the fun will begin!
In my next post, I’ll share how my #classroombookaday read-aloud shifts slightly to focus on Caldecott terms and illustrative vocabulary, so the kids are ready when they begin their analysis!

Fifth Grade Teacher, Lisle IL

Lorie Barber is a fifth grade elementary educator who highlights cultural identity, empathy, and compassion in her classroom. Lorie has been an educator for nine years, the last six of which have been with her fifth grade students in Lisle, IL.  Lorie’s main goal is always to help her students cultivate a lifelong love of reading. This is her second year implementing Jillian Heise’s #classroombookaday after experiencing an overwhelmingly positive response from her students the previous year. Lorie is a voracious reader, a proud member of #bookexpedition, and has blogged for Nerdy Book Club. She tweets from @barberchicago and writes at

Read my three-part series on #MockCaldecott as part of #classroombookaday 
1. Let Your Students Choose the Winners
2. Shifting to Illustrations and Prepping for #MockCaldecott
3. Students Rank #classroombookaday Titles

Visit #Classroombookaday blogs on Follett Community to see all of the articles written by our contributing classroom teachers. 

And be sure to follow Follett Learning's Pinterest board for great resources on the titles featured.

To view the full #classroombookaday book list on Titlewave, click here.

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