Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mock Caldecott - school-wide results are in!

The results of our Mock Caldecott are in! Students have spent their library periods over the last few weeks pouring over potential Caldecott books and discussing the criteria used by the Caldecott committee. You can see our ballots and book choices in this earlier post.

Mock Caldecott Results by Grade Level

Gaston (2014) by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Our librarian read this book aloud to my students on Friday, and they really enjoyed the story and the artwork. Several took it upon themselves the give the book a closer inspection afterwards as well. I really appreciated the message of this book - accepting that who you are depends on who you are on the inside and not on the outside. Though this strong message of self-acceptance and self-actualization is cloaked in dog form, I think it is an important one for students to internalize.

Three Bears in a Boat (2014) by David Soman. This little story of three naughty bears did not do much for me, but struck a chord with the first graders. (Though it was also the last Caldecott honoree they read before voting.) Some older students pointed out similarities in the plot line and illustrations of this book to other previously published works.

The Adventures of Beekle: the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. Beekle was also a close runner-up among my third graders, and the absolutely sweetness of this book has stuck with me. I really like it as a potential jumping off point for discussions about friendship, stereotypes, and preconceived ideas.

Shh! We Have a Plan (2014) by Chris Haughton. While this simplistic picture book did not do a lot for me, my kids have really enjoyed it. This is another one that they have enjoyed reading aloud to each other repeatedly. In fact, it was one of my students who drew my attention to the differences between the opening and closing end papers. You definitely need to read this book aloud with kids to get the full appeal.

(Our fourth graders did not have time to cast their ballots this week.)

The Farmer and the Clown (2014) by Marla Frazee. This wordless picture book will doubtless be part of many Caldecott conversations this year, and the expressions of emotions is powerful. This was one of those books were I was completely drawn into the story while reading it, but after stepping outside of that moment. the whole thing seemed a bit random and odd. I'm interested to see the discussions around this one.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (2014) by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klasen. This book did not do a lot for me on my first personal reading, but this one has lit up my classroom. Students were interrupting conversations and insisting that others read this book (or insisting that they read the book aloud to friends). They cackled hysterically over the illustrations and found the ending intriguing rather than random. (Many immediately went back to compare the beginnings and endings.)

My Top Caldecott Choices

Not sure how many picture books published in 2014 I read this year, but I am quite excited to see how close the kids get to the actual choices. As for me, these are my top Caldecott potentials.

Bad Bye, Good Bye (2014) by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Jonathan Bean. This charming and wrenching picture book has stayed at the top of my Caldecott list. With sparse language and incredibly detailed illustrations, this book draws out the pain, process, and eventual acceptance that comes with moving. I think children and adults will be drawn to this book and its powerful message.

The Adventures of Beekle: the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. Definitely on my short list too.

Neighborhood Sharks: hunting with the great whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy. Just wow. The artwork and level of detail in this book is stunning, and it is a great mix of draw-you-in story, nonfiction information, and details about the scientists who study sharks. I had to share this book with a former student who loves sharks, and she sat down and immediately devoured the whole thing.

Which picture books are your favorites to win this year's Caldecott?


  1. I bet your 2nd graders are feeling pretty proud of themselves right now! I had quite a few 5th graders who chose BEEKLE, but our official winner was SAM AND DAVE.

    1. Cool. Yeah, the 2nd graders were excited, and even my 3rd graders were pretty pumped, since Beekle was their 2nd place choice. The K kids got a nice tweet back from Kelly DiPucchio for choosing Gaston as their choice, which was pretty neat too. So fun to get kids excited about books!


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