Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians and I’m back with another recap of our latest Caldecott Club session. We had our 6th session on Thursday, December 19th, which was a special additional session to focus more on what the kids wanted to do. From the beginning they have been fascinated by the grown-up committee and what they do to select the most distinguished picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. So I reach out to my colleague, librarian Sarah Bean Thompson, a member of the 2016 Caldecott Committee, who graciously agreed to Skype with our group. Last session I had the kids share questions they had for her and then Sarah did her best to answer all of their pressing questions. Well, the questions that she could answer. D. was pretty fascinated with the fact that secrets were being shared – but Sarah was clear about what she could tell him – and what she couldn’t…
Sarah shared her fascinating process of serving on the 2016 Caldecott committee. She shared the meeting process for the Caldecott Committee, with a practice discussion in June 2015. She then told us how they submit 3 sets of nominations with a total of 7 nominations each (like book reports) from the around 800 picture books they read. They then met in a room in January 2016 for three days pretty much nonstop discussing the books they had nominated. Sarah showed us the boxes that publishers sent to her, like the box we open at the beginning of each session. She shared how she had books everywhere in her house. Sarah shared how it was a lot of work – but also a lot of fun. She talked about how the committee was very respectful and kind and listened to each other to choose all of the books together. Once they chose the book, they had to keep the secret until they made the call to the illustrators on the Monday of the press conference. She showed us a video of the committee making the call and cheering. She also showed us a video from Sophie Blackall reacting to the news and spotlighting other Caldecott clubs.
We could feel Sarah’s passion and enthusiasm for this experience, as she said, “It was an amazing – one of the coolest things I’ve ever done as a librarian.” Our kids were very curious about Sarah would take on this huge responsibility. She explained, “When you are a librarian and love books as much as you do, being on the committee is one of the top things you can do, a once in a lifetime opportunity, to give back to the world of children’s books and make a lasting impression.” Sarah also validated the fantastic work we’ve been doing in our program. She told us that she’s read the kids’ comments in our blog posts, and our discussions are just like the grown-up committee – as we find a book that rises to the top. She told us that one of the cool things about the Caldecott committee was that many of the people had Caldecott clubs and take the feedback from the kids and share what they said. Sarah encouraged us to share our feedback with people on the committee now. After all, “It’s all about what the kids want.” Sarah then turned the questions on our group, asking them what books stand out to them. Mi. declared her support for Hair Love. M. told us she loved The Little Guys. Al. told us she liked Carl and the Meaning of Life. Ya. praised The Undefeated. D. shared a whole list of books. Our challenge will truly be to determine which of our 11 fabulous books is the one that we think is the best picture book of 2019. Thankfully, with Sarah’s insights and knowledge in our minds, we will certainly come to consensus together. We are all so grateful to Sarah for joining our program and sharing her experiences with us. It was truly wonderful to learn more about the behind-the-scenes process of book evaluation!
Since this session was all about what the kids wanted to do, we then turned our attention from evaluating art to making art. From the beginning, they have expressed an interest in making their own pieces inspired by the styles in the books we studied. I set up several stations with materials based on the books, with directions to use them to create their own versions of the book covers. I had colored paper, painted paper, discarded books, and textured paper at stations inspired by Saturday by Oge Mora and Another by Christian Robinson. I provided yarn, glue and watercolors for a station inspired by At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell and Weshoyot Alvitre. I provided watercolors, colored pencils and crayons for a station inspired by When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita. (While this book was done digitally, it feels like watercolors….) Interestingly, all of the kids were eager to play and explore using watercolors, moving around the different tables and using the materials to create their own art. The kids made this activity their own, which is what this is all about! While we made the art, we finally watched the Hair Love short film.
Here’s some of the wonderful art they made:
We ended our program by making short video trailers for each of the books. If you’re interested in helping make our Caldecott party video, feel free to contact me!
We actually did not have time to review all of the books going to the party. So, if anyone missed a session or wants to refresh their memory of the books we’ve discussed, you can visit our Caldecott Club display in the library and explore the books. They are reference only but you can put any of the books on hold here.
The books going to the party are:
The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman
Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Another by Christian Robinson
When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukof, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Saturday by Oge Mora
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Please join us on January 9 from 3:30-5:00 for our Caldecott Club Voting Party where we select the best picture book of 2019. Snacks – and Caldecookies – will be provided!
Did you miss any of our sessions? Curious what happens in Caldecott Club? Want to know the brilliant things our kids said? Check out our recaps of each of the previous sessions!