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Our 2019 Mock Caldecott Program

Mock Caldecott 2019

Once November hits I feel the need. The need for Mock Caldecott.

I’m just hoping my new prop arrives in time.

I’ve talked about it in the past, but it seems like every year we’re tweaking things. Here’s how we’re doing things this year at my K-4 elementary school.

Week 1

  • I introduce the Caldecott. I show the honor and the medal. I explain it’s given for the best illustrations. I talk about how it’s chosen. I explain that soon we’ll be reading books that might win and our school will be choosing our favorite.
  • We read a past winner. I’m reading Kitten’s First Full Moon with kindergarten, This is Not My Hat with 1st and 2nd grade, and Beekle with 3rd and 4th grade. When finished, I ask students why they think it won. Discussions about art ensue.
  • We watch the most recent Caldecott announcements to get a feel for what it’s like.

2018 YMAs

Weeks 2-4

  • We read two books back to back. After we finish each one, I ask students if anything stood out to them about the illustrations. Discussions about art ensue.
  • After reading the two books, students pick the one they thought had the best illustrations. For K-2 it’s a show of hands, for 3-4 we are going to try voting via a google form – this is just an informal “Which of the two had the strongest illustrations?” vote. The official vote comes in week 5.

Week 5

  • We review all the books. I remind students that the Caldecott Medal is an award for the illustrations. K students get a ballot with pictures of each book on it. They circle their top pick. 1-4th grade students vote via a google form


  • I add up the votes. Most votes gets the medal, the next closest batch of vote getters receive honors. I announce the winners to students!
  • Fast forward to Monday, January 28, 2019. I show the 2019 Youth Media Awards video to students. Did any of our Mock Caldecott picks get awards?

Here are the books we’re reading this year (be sure to check out the Mock Caldecott list at Watch Connect Read and the Caldecott predictions at A Fuse #8 Production for more ideas):

How do you Mock Caldecott? Leave advice in the comments.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Laura Ginsberg says:

    I’m trying something new this year, too.

    Week 1: Nomination Week
    I introduce the concept and explain how the real Caldecott is chosen. We look at a former winner and discuss the criteria (in child-friendly language). The students walk around the room and look at many (about 40) possible winners and select the 5 they think are the strongest. I tally up the votes to determine which books we will read in each class.

    Weeks 2-5: Evaluation
    Each student is getting a Caldecott folder, with a form to fill out for every book that we read. They grade each book on each of the criteria and have room for comments. We will read and discuss how well each book meets the criteria.

    Week 6: Voting
    I’m planning to let the students have a preliminary vote, then team up with others who voted the same as they did to try to convince others why that book is the best one. There will be a final, secret ballot that I will tally up and announce the winners.

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