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Our 2020 Mock Caldecott Program

Soon it will be November. Around these parts of the school library world, November means Mock Caldecott.

I’ve talked about it in the past, but it seems like every year we’re tweaking things. Here’s a quick summary of how we’re Mock Caldecotting this year at my K-3 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 grade, Beekle with 2nd and Officer Buckle and Gloria with 3rd grade. When finished, I ask students why they think it won. Discussions about art ensue.
  • We watch the most recent (2019) 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 27, 2020. I show the 2020 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 on Goodreads, the discussion list at Calling Caldecott, 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. Erika Victor says:

    Just those 6 books? I really should have a shorter list (especially since books are so expensive here!). You are inspiring me to trim my wish list, after all, it is not likely I will have the winner in my pile and that really isn’t the point after all!

    • Travis Jonker says:

      Hi Erika! Yes, just 6. We’ve done as many as 12-14 in the past, but it just ended up taking too long. So the last couple years we’ve really tried to keep it to 6. Have a great Mock Caldecott

  2. Go, Vroom, go!

  3. Travis, I am curious as to whether you have read The Undefeated to Kindergarten yet and how it went? I don’t think the kids at my school would understand it but of course the pictures are marvelous. I’m torn about including it in my Mock Caldecott this year.

  4. Danielle Larca says:

    How did you decide on those 6 in particular?

    • Travis Jonker says:

      A whole bunch of factors went into it, but mostly it’s books I think have the best shot

  5. Amanda McCoy says:

    Thanks for sharing, Travis! I always look forward to your list. I love Mock Caldecott season!!!