The American Library Association announced this year’s winners for the Caldecott (illustrator) and Newbery (author) awards for children’s literature. The book A Sick Day for Amos McGee which I posted about last week, won the Caldecott. Sometimes books can be simple and sweet without the harsher realities of the world and offer children a nice escape into a world where everyone is kind to one another. If you follow this blog, you know I really enjoyed it, but I thought David Weisner’s Art and Max was a little better. Of course, Weisner has already won 3 Caldecott Medals, so maybe they decided to skip him this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him again soon. What was a pleasant surprise was the Laura Ingalls Wilder award. The Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children, and this year’s winner was Tomie dePaola; it’s a fine coincidence that second grade is currently involved in a dePaola author study. It’s often quite exciting to observe children when they have a close connection to current events. Below are a few of dePaola’s better known titles. Another author/illustrator known for simple and sweet. I haven’t read this year’s Newbery winner Moon Over Manifest, but it sounds good, and perhaps I should grab a copy. Hopefully it’s as good as the last two winners.
I have to add this book to my top 10 of 2010 list. I don’t know which book I’d bump out, but this one would definitely make my top 10 … A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Stead/Stead). Simple and sweet with illustrations that evoke picture books of the past. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in creating caring classroom climates (I apologize for that alliteration. It was completely accidental).
A while back I posted about an article I read in the New York Times about parents pushing their children out of picture books sooner. Trying to make homework more engaging this year, I read part of the article to the children and then asked them to read a picture book for homework and whether or not they agreed or disagreed with the parent who was quoted as saying, “My kid doesn’t need books with pictures anymore,” and why or why not?
Well the children (at least in my class) have spoken, and they unanimously disagreed with that parent. Then in groups of three to four they shared what they learned from those picture books, why they could be challenging, and whether or not they enjoyed the story. I included picture books that were fiction, non-fiction, as well as a few wordless books as well. It was a great experiment and one where their conversations about books this morning was great to observe.
One of my colleagues had a birthday today, and as part of a little treat I left for her, included was a picture book: David Weisner’s new one – Art and Max. If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and take a peek. He may end up being the first person to win the Caldecott 4 times. We’ll just have to wait and see.