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Mock Caldecott 2015

Our K-4 Mock Caldecott programs are like snowflakes – no two years are alike.

Last year I was on the Caldecott committee and wanted to read a lot of books to gauge how they worked with kids. It was good for students (lots of great books) and good for me (the experience was invaluable in my evaluation process).

But one problem was that it took a long time to find our winners. Also, winter break was in the middle of things, which I think stalled enthusiasm.

So this year, we focused on a much smaller group of books, for a couple of reasons:

  1. The evaluation can be more in-depth, since we aren’t looking at as many books.
  2. Enthusiasm stays high, since the program will take place over three weeks in January.

I don’t feel bad about the smaller batch of books, since I’ve already shared a lot of “Caldecott buzz” titles with students – either last spring or earlier this school year. So even if none of our “finalists” end up winning the Caldecott Medal or Honors, there’s a decent chance we’ve read the books that will win.

Here’s how it broke down:

Week 1: I reintroduced students to the Caldecott Medal. We talked (in kid language) about the criteria. I showed Caldecott winners in our library, and we watched the Caldecott announcement from last year

Week 2: We read and discussed two books: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole and Draw! (and we had to go outside of the criteria for a bit to talk about the ending of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole).

Week 3: We read and discussed two more books (The Farmer and the Clown and Bad Bye, Good Bye) and reviewed all four. Then students voted.

A couple years back we had a big Bad Kitty vs. Babymouse election, and the husband of one of our teachers made this pretty serious voting booth, so it was fun to pull that out again.

We tried streamlining the voting process this year, going with a simple “pick the strongest book” instead of a points system.

Here’s how the voting came out:

Mock Caldecott Medal:

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen

Mock Caldecott Honors (in descending order based on number of votes):

Draw! by Raul Colon

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Jonathan Bean

This week I’ll announce the winner to each class, and the following week we’ll watch the announcement online!

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. Thanks for sharing and explaining your Mock Caldecott process again! Great ideas!

  2. Pretty slick voting booth.

  3. Alyson Whatcott says

    My class picked the same winner! Our honors were Quest, by Aaron Becker, and My Teacher is not a Monster, by Peter Brown. So fun!

  4. This is great!
    My school chose Blizzard! with honor books Maple, Otis and the Tractor, and Poem-Mobiles.

    Will you watch the announcement with each class throughout the week? Will there be a video posted when the announcements are done, or do you find a way to record them?

    Thanks for your great work!