Mock Caldecotts: A How-To Guide

So hard to believe that our SECOND annual Mock Caldecott award season is over, but it’s time to reflect and think about what we can do next year to make it even better. Today, I’m going to walk you through what we did in our class.

You probably know that any book published in 2012 by a US illustrator is eligible for the 2013 Caldecott. That means you can start reading potential Caldecott books RIGHT NOW! Yay! One of our bulletin boards is dedicated to recording all the Caldecott-eligible books we enjoy as a class. By the end of the year, the list looks something like this:

Between January and June, I usually include a few new books in our daily CAFE strategy read alouds. I record the books we read, and I keep them on the list after students leave and come back in the fall. This can get a bit tricky if you don’t loop with your students. This year, I only kept three of my students, so at the beginning of the school year, I created a bucket of books with all the eligible books we’d read last school year so everyone could be caught up.

In September and October, we continue this pattern of reading a few potential books in class. Whenever I check out new books from the Seattle Public Library, I point out during our morning class meeting which ones are eligible.

November is National Picture Book Month, so I read eligible books every morning during class meeting. Then in December, I continue that morning routine under the title of “Mock Caldecott Preparation.” :) I haven’t had any complaints from students or admins yet.

By the time January rolls around, we’ve read about two dozen books. The first full week in January, I check out any books that I’ve overlooked (using other Mock Caldecott lists and best-of lists as a guide). At the end of the second week in January, we create our short list. Here’s the video I put together to refresh students’ memories on all the books we’d read. Everything’s listed alphabetically.

Students pick their top five books, and I rank order their choices. This year, I also allowed write-in candidates, as the only titles I put on the ballot are ones we’ve read as a whole class. That’s how Sidekicks made it onto the list this year.

The Friday before the ALA Midwinter Conference, we use our short list to vote for students’ top three titles. We release our list the Friday before the official decisions, so our votes aren’t swayed by the “real” votes. This schedule got a bit botched this year due to SnOMG, so we weren’t able to watch the live webcast of the awards on Monday. Normally, students come in early for snacks and beverages (because we’re on the West Coast, we almost always have to arrive at school early).

This poster was a huge help in explaining the other book awards — this year we also read the Geisel honor, the Schneider Family award winner, and the Sibert award winner.

Can’t wait for next year!