Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mock Caldecott Contenders 2017, part 2

Last week, I shared the first half of my favorite picks for this year's Caldecott Award. Today I'll finish up my picks, and by the end of December I hope to have the finalized ballot put together for our school's Mock Caldecott discussion and voting.

(Click the 'Caldecott' tag to see previous ballots and winners. Our students have a great track record over the last two years, having previous picked winner/honor books like Finding Winnie, Waiting, and Beekle.)

Mock Caldecott 2017 Contenders, part 2 

The Princess and the Warrior: a tale of two volcanoes illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh. This classic legend from ancient Mexico has roots in the Aztec and Tlaxcalan cultures, and Duncan has also included a connection to the Mixtec codices which inspired his signature artistic style. The artwork is incredible, and the story reads like a Shakespearean tragedy. This is a wonderful addition to any classroom or library. For more about Duncan Tonatiuh, please read Featured Illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh, part 1: fictional stories and part 2: biographies. I expect this one to rate highly in our school's Mock Caldecott voting, as Duncan will be visiting our school next month!

Return (2016) by Aaron Becker. It's here, it's here! The glorious and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy begun with Journey [a Caldecott Honor book] and continued with Quest. Return brings a new character into the fold - the girl's father, who begins the story by ignoring her kite-flying pleas. I was so pleased with how this story ties the whole series together, and I cannot wait to reread all three of them and analyze the hints and connections within them. (A review copy of the book was provided by the Candlewick Best in Class mailing. All thoughts are my own.)

Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White (2016) by Melissa Sweet. I need to write an ode about how much I love Melissa Sweet. Her scrapbooky style of artwork is always so inspiring, and she did an amazing job incorporating so many actual photographs and ephemera from the White family. This biography seems like an instant classic for anyone who loves and appreciates the stories of E. B. White. As a teacher, one of my favorite insights was the inclusion of multiple (wildly different) drafts of the opening page of Charlotte's Web. A mini-lesson in the making.

Follow the Moon Home: a tale of one idea, twenty kids, and a hundred sea turtles illustrated by Meilo So and written by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson. Inspired by true events, this picture book tells the story of a classroom of activists who use their observational skills to identify a problem in their sea-side town: baby sea turtles mistaking house lights for the moon and dying before making it to the ocean. This is a great one for teachers to inspire their own activists - and their own towns! Adding this to my list of wonderful books illustrated by Meilo So.

Ada's Violin: the story of the recycled orchestra of Paraguay, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport and written by Susan Hood. This book is based on the inspiring true story of the origins of the "recycled orchestra" and its impact on the lives of the kids in it. The illustrations do a fascinating job of using mixed media to tell the visual side of the story, and the backmatter provides more details and photographs of the actual orchestra.

Child of Books written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. This one is a fabulous meta-journey about the power of books and being a book reader. The illustrations incorporate lines and pages from famous "classic" books, whose titles and authors appear in the endpapers. My one nitpick with this book is the lack of diversity (both in the books chosen and in the fact that the same books are used repeatedly). Why not branch out?

Are We There Yet? written and illustrated by Dan Santat. This story is a visual delight - our poor main character is stuck on a never-ending car ride to his grandmothers, which forces him to get ... creative. Kids will enjoy the interesting twists and turns of this book (literally). And have a phone with a QR code reader handy, just sayin'.

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions illustrated by Dan Tate and written by Chris Barton. I love this new nonfiction biography of Lonnie Johnson, and I wish it had been published before my students started their Passion Projects this spring. The book does a great job of connecting Lonnie's interests as a kid to his future plans, as well as showing the ups and downs of a real career. Definitely a book I will use with kids in the future!

A Hungry Lion or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals illustrated and written by Lucy Ruth Cummings. Sarcastic irreverent picture books have almost become a genre in themselves (I Want My Hat BackThis is Not My HatCarnivores, and more). This book plays on that idea, as the title sets you up immediately, but perhaps this book is not what you are expecting. Or is it? (This one is a bit of a wildcard pick but one that I think will appeal to my middle schoolers.)

Stay tuned for the final ballot and the results of our school's Mock Caldecott. (Click the 'Caldecott' tag to see previous ballots and winners.) Which books are your favorites? Share in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. I loved "Return"! Looking forward to reading some of the others as well. Thanks for sharing!


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