"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On choosing a Mock Caldecott List

It's hard choosing a Mock Caldecott list. It's even harder if you are trying to do two things: expose students to a diverse group of illustrators and illustration styles and choose books that might have a chance of being recognized by one of the ALA Youth Media Awards.

In early November, my LibraryPals partner, Laura Given, and I created a loooong list of titlesOver a three week period we adjusted this list, relying on each other's reactions to a book if we hadn't had a chance to read it ourselves. We needed to come up with a final list of six titles because we knew we had four weeks to run the unit. Our plan was to pair two books each week and then vote on the fourth week. 

Here's what we wanted on our list:

**books illustrated by women

**books illustrated by people of color

**books representing the pluralistic society in which we live

**books illustrated with different media

**books that are fiction and nonfiction

We ended up with a good balance: Mock Caldecott 2015 List (Beekle, Draw, Sam & Dave, Right Word, Josephine**, and Viva Frida).  Not to read too much into it, but I was pleased to see that our six books were on yesterday's Horn Book's Calling Caldecott second ballot!

We ended up with a good balance...or so I thought.

My third graders registered their first round votes last Tuesday. 
My second graders voted yesterday. Their votes mirrored the third graders, but with more definitive results:
Not a woman was among the top three books. There was a flaw in our choices: all the women illustrated nonfiction books. We should have ensured that we had male and female illustrators of both the fiction and nonfiction.  

I also wonder if next year, we should choose only fiction books...OR...since, the three women illustrators, whose nonfiction books are fabulous, will likely win another award. Maybe next year, we should run a Sibert and a Caldecott? 

*pondering pondering pondering*

**There was a book change that needed to happen - Josephine was just too long for this process and would have required too much conversation, which we thought would take away from the focus on illustrations. It's a fabulous book, but not good for this unit.  We replaced it with Scraps by Lois Ehlert - wanting a nonfiction book and a book illustrated by a woman.

**We decided to not include titles by illustrators that we explored during the Mock Caldecott unit last year in an attempt to give the students a broader experience.

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