Caldecott Club: Session #2

Posted & filed under Blog, Uncategorized, Youth & Teen.

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 second session on Thursday, October 17 and selected two more books to send to our Voting Party. To refresh your memory, the Caldecott Award is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. We talked about the Caldecott Award, spotting titles we’ve enjoyed from the Baker & Taylor poster and considering what makes a good picture book. We were also joined by our friend Beekle, star of the 2015 Caldecott Award winning book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. 

I shared how grown-up committee members have boxes of books delivered at their doorsteps when they receive submissions for the award. So I taped a box up a box of our books & had two of our Caldecott Club members help us open it up and then distribute the books. 

The books we discussed in session 2 were:

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Another by Christian Robinson

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Picture Walk

Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. Our participants were especially eager to help out with reading each book aloud, so we worked out a system to take turns. For the picture walk, we discussed each book’s visual features to examine the techniques the artists used and how they worked. Often I would prompt the group by asking them: How well does this book do what it’s trying to do? What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? I also found it very helpful to remind our group not to skip ahead in their copies of the book because we want to experience the page turns in the picture walk together. 

One thing that I failed to do this session was use our timer to ensure we gave each book equal time – and keep us on track to complete this program on time. When you’re focused on discussing a book, time seems to stand still, but using a timer ensures that we temper our enthusiasm with reality.

Ms. Ann was instrumental in ensuring our program today ran smoothly so I want to make sure to share a huge thank you to her! 

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

We began our picture walk by making predictions based on the cover, which is pretty mysterious and also a wonderful #bookface opportunity. E. shared that “maybe the bear was sad… and something came along and and cheered him up.” B. added his prediction that “he lost his family and another animal pack, say a wolf, and that was his family.” Their predictions bore out in the story. We then turned our attention to the endpapers, to which E. revealed to us that “it was grey and black and then there’s this blue,” noticing the subdued color palette in the beginning of the book. We used our close reading skills to notice how the log next to the bear was cracking and set our expectations for bear’s dramatic fall into the river. Bear’s travails in the river led our group to talk about safety while camping by rivers and how to deal with getting sucked away by the current. Each page turn in this book IS a dramatic page turn and we had the best time amplifying that drama. When it was revealed that Froggy was looking for a friend, B. proudly proclaimed, “I was right! He’s finding his people.”

R. got super excited when he noticed the frog in the bushes way before he appears to Bear. The kids excitedly started noticing a pattern where the upcoming animal is in the prior spread, looking deeply at each page for the reveal. B. got very excited when he found turtles on the endpages, proclaiming, “if you don’t like turtles, don’t talk to me.” As we noticed the colors in the story, B. predicted, “every page you turn, another color will show up.” E. added to the analysis, sharing, “every time an animal joins in, it’s a different color [added to the page].” We talked about how perspective shifts throughout the story, from a bird’s eye view to a close-up of all the animals to a very zoomed out view of their entire trip. E. was able to read the animal’s body language and expressions to share how each animal was feeling. Our group automatically made the same faces as the animals, which is part of what makes this book storytime gold!

I relate deeply to the turtles throughout this book.

Ms. Ann noticed how the places they’ve been have a lot of color but the places they haven’t been don’t.  E. added to this insight, saying, “You get more colorful, the more adventures you make.” We experienced the switch in the physical orientation of the book when they’re falling down the waterfall as an effective way to show change. Our group was excited to see the other animals in the final scene who are drawn into this adventure. They also noticed how the final endpapers are so colorful, contrasting with the beginning muted endpapers. I shared selections from the author’s note from Richard T. Morris: “Sometimes the hardest thing is to embrace the other, when the other is so different. But it is through this connection that we truly discover our best selves – our strengths, our weaknesses, our fears, our courage.” I also shared the artist’s note from LeUyen Pham: “While painting this book, I spent a lot of time thinking about why people become divided from one another and forget that they all live on the same earth. It takes a small thing, like animals in a forest falling in a river, to realize this. We sink or swim together.. And sometimes we take a tumble and things turn out right…. A small metaphor that reminds us that the things that bind us are greater than things that divide us, and that while we are each distinct from one another, with quirks that make us so unique, we’re all journeying down the same river together.” 

Finally, I shared the case cover secret with our community of new friends having a great time together. 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

We began our picture walk by exploring the endpapers, making connections between the textured image to sidewalks, granite, flooring, and other stone. We looked at the cover page and encouraging the group to watch for the snail. The group noticed cracks on the side of the stone, which I had never noticed before. B. had some ideas about a creature, perhaps a snail, coming out from inside the stone. E. predicted that the bird was using his voice to wake the snail, which is part of why the stone was loud – and then when the stone was quiet, she suggested that the snail was frightened by the snake, so much that “he couldn’t even speak.” When the stone is rough, E. suggested that it was the snail who was taking off his shell. When the stone was soft, B. shared how porcupines could be soft, which helped us think more critically about how we view porcupines. Y. revealed how in the color spread represents the stone in different seasons. E. noticed a woodland creature underneath the moose hiding away, which just shows her attention to detail. I made sure to share this instagram video that shows Brendan Wenzel’s process to create the moose.

We talked about the theme of the stone being a home to all of these animals. We slowed down to notice how the stone becomes an island and is submerged underwater. We also pointed out how the spread without the stone is completely wordless and what that might mean. When we talked about the animals that are no longer there, E. shared that “they abandoned their habitat.” B. added “because they would die if they were there.” I deliberately tried to draw out the kids’ ideas about what is happening to the rock based on this interview with Brendan Wenzel who said, “The rock in the book is exposed at low tide, and the tide does rise. So it could be tidal movement. I’m leaving the source of the water rising a little ambiguous so that readers are free to wonder and to build their own story. That space is really important to build into books.” B. pointed out that the owl was still there, flying above the water, which is such a lovely insight. The spread about “have you ever known such a place?” provoked us to consider how we’d like to find places like this stone. We then revealed the case cover secret with the snail’s travels across the book, to which E. declared, “it’s kind of like a maze.” 

Another by Christian Robinson

We had to begin our journey to dimensions unknown with Christian Robinson’s gorgeous endpapers and predict what this book is about. E. shared it’s about space or having a dream about space. I directed them to look at the jacket copy at the back and front, showing the cats going in and out of the portals. 

When we saw the dramatic change between the quiet sleeping scene to the portal cat appearing, R. made a text-to-text connection, declaring it a “flip-o-rama,” a wonderful storytelling experience from Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants and Dog Man books. And then the group, of course, had to flip-o-rama these two pages! R. and B. then wanted to name the cats, which is, of course, what this book inspires kids to do! The kids got super excited when making predictions about the blue cat (portal cat) taking the toy and stealing away into the portal. Y. predicted that when the cat goes through the portal, the girl will join it. 

What would you name the cats?

When she goes into the portal, the orientation of the book shifts, so we physically turned the book upside down to follow her. It’s a bit confusing to move forward the opposite way, but it just takes practice to explore mirror worlds – and this process is what play is all about. (This New York Times Books Live video with Christian Robinson was instrumental to learning how to share this book and is just a wonderful viewing experience!)

Our group basically ooh and aahed throughout our picture walk. They noticed that the girl used her blanket to climb down into the portal. We continually changed the orientation, this time vertically as she climbs the stairs, as we moved forward in the story. E. shared that previously the cat was sad, but now it’s happy, playing with the other cat. Y. shared how the mirror cat is playing with them and leading them away. We thought critically about the rules of gravity in this world but also accepted that gravity was everywhere so you wouldn’t fall off the conveyor belt. Our group noticed the mirror pairs in the crowd scene, as well as ones that didn’t have pairs until the following spreads. We talked about how everyone is finding their people in these spreads. In my research for this book, I found this quote from Christian Robinson’s BookRiot interview explaining his process for creating Another: “Children seeing themselves reflected on the page was the spark that motivated the story. The thought that followed was well, what if a child literally saw themselves in a story? Perhaps a version of themselves from some parallel universe. As a child, I loved stories in which characters go on some magical adventure to a world where anything is possible. Often, those characters didn’t look like me or come from a community that reflected my own. I want kids today to have a different experience.”

Y. noticed how the girl has a red planet on her outfit like her cat’s collar and the mirror twin has a blue planet like her cat’s collar. We talked about the dramatic crossing of the gutter when the mouse is returned to our hero. When she returns home and is happily asleep, the kids noticed that there’s now a blue mouse on her floor, beckoning another future adventure. Y. declared that she liked this book. We also made sure to check out the case cover secret, which the kids thought looked like the ball pit scene. 

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

I began this book by talking about how this book is quieter, a book about an introvert – made by introverts. I shared Erin Stead’s process for creating the art, showing how it was all hand-drawn and painted. (There’s tons of resources below that reveal her incredible artistic process! I really would love to see how her art is made in real life to truly understand it.) We made some connections between this story and Where the Wild Things Are, talking about the power of imagination, not to mention the white space. We made connections between Another related to being  problem solvers when Hank gets a ladder to help Mister Moon.

I made sure the group looked back to pay attention to her stuffed bear and walrus to help them connect to her adventures to help Mister Moon. Hank is all about helping the moon fulfill his wishes. We noticed the double-page spreads and the impact of these scenes. I pointed out the spot colors on each of the characters who Hank visits to help return Mister Moon to the sky. We made sure to do a dramatic page turn when Mister Moon, with the help of the entire community, is returned to the sky. I also made sure to point out the super subtle, gentle case cover secret, which so fits this lovely, shy book. 

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices. M. helped with the math to make sure it was accurate. The top 2 books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9. We also had a raffle where we gave away two Another pins and everyone got a pin to add to their lanyard and a Caldecott poster. 

And the Session 2 Winners Are…

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Another by Christian Robinson

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, November 7 from 3:30-5:00pm! And don’t forget to bring your fancy lanyards! (And if you didn’t get one, make sure to join us so you can rock our Caldecott Club merch!) While our registration list is full online, PLEASE contact me to get put on the list. I’d love to have you join us.

Since you’ve spent all this time reading this post, I’ll even let you know which books we’ll be discussing:

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukof, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre 

Thanks for sticking all the way through this post… hope to see you next time!

 – Eti

Resources

A librarian always provides their sources – here are a series of resources I found while preparing for this program that you may want to check out:

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Illustrator’s Website

Review from Librarian’s Quest 

Storytime with Bill – Read Aloud Video 

Horn Book Review (Julie Danielson) 

Book Chat: LeUyen Pham on Bear Came Along (Betsy Bird) 

Book Chat with the Illustrator: LeUyen Pham: Bear Came Along Video 

Publisher’s page

Bear Came Along Storytime Kit

LeUyen Pham Interview on The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Author’s Website

Q & A with Brendan Wenzel by Antonia Saxon (Publisher’s Weekly) 

The Story Behind A Stone Sat Still (Video) 

Book Trailer (Video)

Publisher’s Page 

Ponder Perspectives and the Passage of Time with Brenden Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still by Erika Thulin Dawes (School Library Journal’s Classroom Bookshelf) 

Instagram Process Video 

Ronnie’s Awesome List Podcast Interview with Brendan Wenzel 

Bothin Marsh StoryWalk – A Stone Sat Still

StoryWalk Article (Floating Times)

Another by Christian Robinson

Author’s Website 

New York Times Books: Live Illustration with Christian Robinson 

Publisher’s Page 

Educator’s Guide and Activities 

An Interview with Award-Winning Children’s Book Illustrator Christian Robinson by Jen Sherman (Book Riot) 

Book Trailer 

PBS Brief but Spectacular: Christian Robinson

The Bookshelf: Inside Illustrator Christian Robinson’s Sacramento Studio

Kirkus Review 

Christian Robinson’s Another (Julie Danielson) 

100 Scope Notes Review 

The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Publisher’s Page 

Behind the Scenes: ‘Music for Mister Moon’

Music for Mister Moon Website 

Music for Mister Moon (Julie Danielson) 

BookPage: Imaginative adventure stories perfect for bedtime reading (Julie Danielson) 

Kirkus Review 

Shelf Awareness Interview