The following was submitted to Dedham Patch by Meghan Nels, a librarian at the Oakdale Elementary School in Dedham.
All 1,100 students at the four public elementary schools in Dedham recently participated in a Mock Caldecott Election. The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished picture book for children published in America.
The four elementary library media specialists selected five picture books that they researched, reviewed and considered possible Caldecott contenders. With a generous grant from the Dedham Education Foundation (DEF), they purchased the following five books:
- "Journey" by Aaron Becker
- "On a Beam of Light" by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunksy
- "Mr. Tiger Goes Wild" by Peter Brown
- "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
- "The Story of Fish and Snail" by Deborah Freedman
All students reviewed previous years’ winners to gain an understanding of what qualities a picture book needs to be deemed a winner.
All elementary school students reviewed the five chosen picture books during their regularly scheduled library times. They were encouraged to consider the following questions:
- What made the books interesting to look at?
- How did the illustrations aid in the telling of the story?
Once all schools and students voted the results from grade levels district wide were shared with classes. This year’s Mock Caldecott Winner for the district was "The Day the Crayons Quit." This book won the most Mock Caldecott votes at Avery, Riverdale, and Greenlodge. At Oakdale the Mock Caldecott winner was "Journey" with "The Day the Crayons Quit" a close second.
In the end, "Locomotive" by Brian Floca was awarded the Caldecott Medal. The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished picture book for children. Every year at least one Caldecott Honor and as many as five Caldecott Honors are awarded. One of the books we selected for the Mock Caldecott Election, "Journey," was awarded a Caldecott Honor.
By participating in the Mock Caldecott Election students were able to not only learn about the Caldecott Medal but also other awards given to books annually.
Students were given the opportunity to take a critical look at books using multiple perspectives. They learned to examine not only the words, but also how the illustrations work in conjunction with the text to tell the story. By participating in the Mock Election, students had the opportunity to voice their opinions.
Once the Mock Caldecott Election was completed, each school library was able to add at least 13 distinguished picture books and award winning books to their collections thanks to the generous grant from the DEF. Not only were the Caldecott Medal and Honor books from 2014 added but also Newbery Medal and Honor books, Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal and Honor books as well as many, many others! In the end, 53 books were added to the elementary school libraries!