The results are in!
St. Philip’s students have spent the past month voting for the Mock Caldecott. You can read about the books they read and critiqued here. All in all I’d say we had a lot of fun. This is the second year we have held a Mock Caldecott and I am starting to get a very clear idea of the type of books our students enjoy. They like short books. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are being read to or doing the reading themselves, if the book is long they start to lose interest and end up giving the book lower scores. I’ve also noticed that they like funny, quirky books. There is a reason Mo Willems and Jon Klassen are popular author/illustrators and Dr. Seuss continues to charm children. The books are fun to read! Lastly, the students seem to like books that aren’t too detailed. They much prefer the illustrations in The Farmer and the Clown because they are soft and simple. I suspect it is because they are easy to understand. Overall, I’d say it comes down to one word, simple. Children, or at least our children, seem to love the books that are uncomplicated. That being said, there are the students that appreciate more involved books with illustrations they have to study to understand and language that is detailed and involved. All of the books in the Mock Caldecott received a variety of scores with even the most loved books getting a few low scores.
The students always ask me what my favorite book is but I refrain from telling them while they are still voting. Before I announce the St. Philip’s pick I would like to say my favorites. The first is a book that grew on me slowly. I didn’t notice it at first but after reading it to a few classes I started to appreciate it. I then sat down by myself and read it and that is when it stole my heart. I love Remy and Lulu by Kevin Hawkes and Hannah Harrison. I think it’s pretty genius to tell a story about personal asthetics and taste by using two illustrators. I really enjoy looking at the differences in art work and talking to the children about why some people like a certain type of art over another. It really is a charming book.
Another favorite of mine was a VERY controversial book for my students. Some of them hated the book, condemning it for its perceived violence. Other’s fiercely defended the book saying it was natural and pretty awesome. If you don’t know, I am talking about Neighborhood Sharks by Lauren Castillo. While I didn’t have such extreme feelings toward the book I did like it an appreciate Lauren’s talent. The illustrations are beautiful, if you can call an illustration of a great white shark eating a seal beautiful. Can you? I think you can. Some of my students asked me if I thought it was appropriate. I told them I would rather see and illustration than the real thing. I also explained that I didn’t think the book was meant for young children. In fact our Kinder and 1st graders did not even vote on the book. But, I do think it is an incredibly well done Non-Fiction picture book.
Those were the two books that really stood out to me. Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson was beautiful, Quest by Aaron Becker was just as amazing as it’s predecessor, Journey. Sparky by Jenny Offill & Chris Applehans was adorable as was The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee. The fact is I could say something positive about each and every book in our Mock Caldecott. It is after all why they were chosen.
BUT WHAT DID THE STUDENT’S PICK?!?!
Our winning books are (in order of highest points)….
The real Caldecott winning books will be announce Monday as part of the very large Youth Media Awards at the ALA’s Midwinter Meeting. You can find out more and watch them announce it live at the American Library Associations website. Now we can all wonder if any of the books St. Philip choose will be Caldecott winning books!