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2013 GradeReading.NET Summer Reading Lists
Keep your students reading all summer! The lists for 2nd, 3rd and 4th, include 10 recommended fiction titles and 10 recommended nonfiction titles. Printed double-sided, these one-page flyers are perfect to hand out to students, teachers, or parents. Great for PTA meetings, have on hand in the library, or to send home with students for the summer. FREE Pdf or infographic jpeg.
See the Summer Lists Now!
What are kids–your audience–reading today?
“The Accelerated Reader Real Time database includes book-reading records for more than 8.6 million students from 27,240 schools nationwide who read more than 283 million books during the 2011-2012 school year.”
Renaissance Learning, the folks who do the Accelerated Reader program and testing, has just issued the 2013 report, “What Kids are Reading: The Book-Reading Habits of Students in American Schools.” It uses the data collected from millions of AR-reading tests to report on what kids have actually read this past year. Of course, the caveat is that these are also books they tested on, and therefore may not give the clearest picture of leisure reading. An AR-test must exist and a school must have it available for a student to test on the book; students often read books that they don’t test on.
Classics. Overwhelmingly, classics rule (think Dr. Seuss), followed by high-profile books, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid. One interesting dataset lists the Caldecott and Newberry winners and shows their ranking among 1-5 graders. The Caldecott winners languish, with only three titles breaking into the top 100: Officer Buckle and Gloria at #17; Where the Wild Things Are at #20; The Polar Express at #50; and, The Snowy Day at #62.
For the Newbery Award winners, nothing before 1960 made it into the top 100 list for 6th-8th graders. However, they fared better, with twelve Newbery titles on the list: The Giver at #11; Number the Stars at #14; Holes at #17; Maniac Magee at #41; Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry at #40; Bud, Not Buddy at #43; Bridge to Terabithia at #47; Island of Blue Dolphins at #63; The Westing Game at #65; Walk Two Moons at #72; Out of the Dust at #95; and, A Wrinkle in Time at #96.
Overall, books that receive national exposure by being made into a movie were hits: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, rising from #210th most popular to #28 this year for third graders; The Help by Kathryn Stockett, from #1273 last year to #24 among high schoolers; and, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which had done well in high school and middle school in previous years, but this year jumped from #1478 to #24 in fourth grade and from #92 to #4 in fifth grade.
Text complexity in early 20th century for required reading in high school was about 9.0 ATOS, but has dropped to about 6.0 ATOS.
CCSS Exemplar texts were popular. The report states “. . .examining the popularity of the CCSS exemplars revealed that, although not intended to be used as a curriculum, almost all of the Informational Texts and Stories Exemplars were read by a slightly greater proportion of students in 2011-12 than the prior school year, suggesting the new standards may be influencing both curricular choices and less formal recommendations.”
These are fascinating pieces of data. The information is broken into favorites by grade and gender. You can also download these reports:
Here’s an infographic from RenLearing.
Click to see full size. R-Click to save.
It would also be an interesting project to cross-reference this material with Scholastic’s 2013 Kids and Family Reading Report, which analyzes data from a survey of families about what kids are reading.
How Does the Top 100 List Affect Your Writing?
Backlist is your real competition. First, realize that your real competition for kids’ attention isn’t today’s books, but the backlist. In schools, it takes time for teachers to fall in love with your book, develop lesson plans and incorporate it into the culture. If you can write a book that passes that gauntlet, you’re likely to have real staying power. Winning a major award might help, but the majority of award winners, have fallen off the charts.
Humor rules. Really. If you read over the list of top 100 books for the younger grades, it’s humor all the way. From Dr. Seuss to Laura Numeroff, kids like funny books. Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey combined capture ten of the top 20 for fourth grade. You may not win the Newbery for a funny book, but you might find your place in the classroom.
Trade Books rule. And lest you think that means you should look to educational publishers, look again. Most of these titles are from trade publishers.
Teen Books. Write on a teen level. In 8th grade, The Outsiders still ranks #3. Maybe that’s because it gets assigned by teachers, but it’s still popular with kids.
Nonfiction Popular Books
Also available is the Top 100 list of nonfiction titles. Accelerated Reader’s strength isn’t nonfiction, but it’s still interesting to see what titles turned up.
Grades 1-3. Nature/animal books, biographies and titles related to English Language Arts (such as #12, Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective? by Brian P. Cleary) were most popular. For example, Penguin Chick was #1, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle was #2, How Much is a Million? by David M. Schwartz was #3, and Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr by Doreen Rappaport was #4.
Grades 4-5. Biography and history edges out nature/animal books. For example, Finding the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard is #4, and Nights of the Pufflingsby Bruce McMillan is #9.
Grades 6-9. Biographies (including tales of faith)and history compete well at this level. Nature/animals lose traction, except for a few true tales or a few books on predators. Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo is at #2 and Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton is #3. Seymour Simon’s book, Sharks is #18.
Grades 9-12. History dominates the top 100 list here. It’s true that Snakes by Kelly L. Barth is #2, but it’s the only nature/animal book listed until Snake by Chris Mattison at #86. At #3 is An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy, followed by the #4 title, 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War, by Phillip Caputo.
This is Not My Hat
by Jon Klassen
Reading level: 3 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press (October 9, 2012)
I first encountered this book while doing some browsing at shop at The Eric Carle Picture Book Museum this past fall, and was instantly charmed by the ingenuity of its design and storytelling smartness. Though Jon Klassen's preceding book, I Want My Hat Back, is also funny/smart in a strikingly similar fashion, This is Not My Hat far outshines its predecessor in design, concept, and attitude. It's Jon Klassen 2.0. Here's why:
In I Want My Hat Back, the hat thief is a mystery for most of the story and the hat-hunting Bear the innocent victim. But This is Not My Hat is told from the point of view of the hat thief himself---a little fish with a BIG attitude. Self-assured and cocky, Little Fish justifies his immoral swiping of Big Fish's hat for the logical reason that it's far too small for the big fish anyway. He's certain that he's committed the perfect crime and will never be found out...
Each sentence (few as there are) does exactly what it needs to do in pushing the story along. But where the simplistic and restrained writing truly soars is that he is able to give Little Fish such a snarky voice in so few words. The beauty of the writing is that Klassen says what should be said, and shows what should be shown. It results in one of the best rhythmically syncopated picture books to emerge in recent memory. It's picture book mastery at its best.
Stylistically the images are a bit dark for my personal taste--I'm not a huge fan of the muted color palette or flat back background. The flat black basically says "death" from page one and I just don't know if this was the only solution that could have worked. However I do love the texture and traditional collage-like feel achieved with digital media. Regardless of how I feel about this look, I give Klassen credit for being daring and for appropriately setting the tone of this darkly comic caper. It would not have worked as well if it were set in a typically colored ocean scene. The dark, muted colors definitely enhance the ominous atmosphere.
I love the flat matte paper Candlewick has chosen as well as the long shape of the pages. Klassen uses the page turn like a slow motion flip book where at times nothing differs from one image to the next besides the reactive eye of the big fish and an occasional gesture of secondary character. This makes it feel especially animated and demonstrates an enviable efficiency that many illustrators could learn from. It's super smart.
I reiterate that what Jon Klassen has done with the storytelling here is admirable. He's created the perfect marriage of text and image where both serve the story in the best possible combination.
Winning the Caldecott Medal proves many people acknowledge its merit as a significant contribution to children's literature. But I'm surprised by those who who jump to give it a poor review simply because its main character is an unapologetic criminal. They've missed their chance to read between the lines (kids are often better at that than adults). At its heart, this IS a morality tale. It doesn't encourage stealing, it supports the idea that doing the wrong thing just because you can is still wrong---and there will be inescapable consequences. Little Fish is not a bully, he just takes what he wants because he thinks it won't be missed. To me, it reminds me of the very same little-kid logic I myself once had--even if I ultimately never indulged myself into thieving anything... In a humorous, smart, and engaging way this book speaks to kids because it relates to the way they think. The harsh reminder about consequences of immoral actions is also a good one, for kids and adults alike.
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The news is now far and wide, but we want to officially say– yahoo! This past weekend in Seattle at the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association, six of our titles were honored by awards committees and we are beyond bowled over with excitement and pride. Congratulations to all– to the authors, editors, fans, and champions of these books. Every Midwinter we are so grateful to be reminded that the community we book-people live and work within is vibrant, supportive, and very, very much alive and kicking. We are all in it together.
All of our award-winning books living together in harmony.
Newbery Committee member Susannah Richards placing IVAN’s shiny sticker!
EXTRA YARN co-editor (VP and co-publisher of Balzer + Bray) Alessandra Balzer doing the honors!
Printz Committee friends giving DODGER their love.
Schneider committee and A DOG CALLED HOMELESS editor Sarah Shumway celebrating.
And Amelia Bedeila (did you celebrate AMELIA BEDELIA DAY?) wanted in on the fun, too!
Congratulations to all authors and illustrators honored with 2013 awards, and the biggest and humblest of thank you’s to the awards committees for their hard work, dedication, and the countless hours they spent this past year reading and discussing books. Now we wish we could fast-forward to June and our official ALA celebrations!
In case you missed them, the 2013 ALA Awards (Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, etc.) have been announced!
Celebrate great children’s book writing and illustration by checking out this year’s winners and honor books here: 2013 ALA Award Winners
I know that no one is breathlessly awaiting my post on the winners when the news is all over the Kidlitosphere, but for my own sake of fulfillment I'll cover the Newbery and Caldecott Awards - the "biggies" of the ALA Youth Media Awards.
The John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature went to The One and Only Ivan, written by Katherine Applegate. I loved the book and thought it had a good chance at a medal. Unfortunately, I haven't read any of the three honor books Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, or Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. Of them, the last is first on my list to read as it was also named in other nonfiction awards. I was surprised that Wonder was not on the list, but am thinking that it may have peaked too early in the Newbery season.
The winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book was This Is Not My Hat, illustrated and written by Jon Klassen. I thought it was too similar to the first book to win, but what do I know. Two of the Caldecott Honor books were also Cybils finalists, Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds and Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett. Among my personal favorites of last year was One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small and written by Toni Buzzeo. I have never understood the buzz about Green, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, but figured it would be honored. I actually don't know Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, but since I love the illustrator Pamela Zagarenski, I'm looking forward to the book. I was disappointed that Chloe and the Lion didn't appear on the list, especially with so many selections named this year. When it was announced that there would be five honor books, there was an obvious murmur from the ALA audience, and I'm glad to see a bigger list than last year.
What are your thoughts on the Newbery and Caldecott awards this year? Did they get it right?
Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.
Franki and I had a little email conversation late last week. It went something like this:
She: "Are we ignoring the Newbery this year?"
Me: "Kinda. I'll do a 'Newbery Surprises' post on Tuesday because all the winners will be new to me.
And then the biggest surprise of all:
I've read it three times (self, aloud to fourth graders, aloud to fifth graders).
And right there on my picture book shelf were the Caldecott and several honor books!
There's a Coretta Scott King Author Honor book on my chalktray...
...and we just confirmed the Coretta Scott King Illustrator, Bryan Collier for the 2014 Dublin Literacy Conference.
I listened to the Odyssey Award winning audio book.
This Stonewall honor book is being passed through my two fifth grade classes like wildfire...
...and this one needs to be read by every high school and college student.
Pete the Cat, with his attitude ("Did he cry? Goodness NO!") and his Zen-like reminder that "Buttons come and buttons go," made the Geisel Honor list.
So the biggest surprise that came with this year's ALA Youth Media Awards? How many I know, and own, and love!
For all the winners, check out ALA's Official Press Release
Post ALA youth media awards scuttlebutt is ever and always the same - as are my reactions.
People swoon. People go nuclear. People swear and threaten (they clearly have had bad days for other reasons). People cheer. People go bat-shit crazy ("I knew it all along and finally everyone agrees with my superior book sense". Yeah, right...let me run and get you that mirror, oh self-regarding one). People sincerely thank the committee members. People bemoan a favorite frozen out. People question books they haven't heard of or haven't purchased. People dance. People have 20-20 hindsight or claim prescience. People insist the committee members are uncaring; nuts or craven. People sigh over how unpopular the winners or honorees will be with kids. People glow in agreement.
I'm going to tell you all what I think and know and how I react...my ten truths as it were.
1. The committee people work carefully, hard, diligently and conscienctiously.
2. There is never a moment during the year they serve that they don't take their charge extremely seriously.
3. No matter how widely and much you've read, you have NOT- and I repeat - NOT read the books like committee members have.
4. No matter how much you've discussed, tweeted or blogged about these books, you have NOT - and I repeat - NOT discussed them in the depth and defended and advocated them at the level the award committees have.
4.5 (Ok, Ok I was so hot on this topic I lost count. Dyslexia strikes again)
These awards are not for mad or even mild popularity - they are for quality literature for youth. Believe me, without awards like these we'd mostly have Barbie, fart and Star Wars books. Period.
5. Book creators truly care about being recognized for quality work. Here is Tammy Pierce's reaction
. Here is Peter Brown's
. I still keep in touch with a couple of book creators from my award committee years and each has said how much the honor or award changed their life and career. These.awards.matter.
6. If a book is honored that comes out of left field, by the goddesses, I am happy to find it, buy it for the public, read it and promote it. What is better than discovering something new and amazing?
7. I am proud of ALA and all the youth divisions for celebrating quality literature for youth. It makes my job easier and opens up the possibilities for kids and teens of having an amazing read.
8. I want everyone to have an award committee experience. It is amazing. But you must join ALA and one of the youth divisions - plus it would be great if you served on many committees and not just award committees. Share your talents.
9. I am inordinately proud of every award committee member and thankful to their families and libraries for supporting them during a very busy, very tough year.
10. They done good.
I seldom refer so quickly again to a post but I will re-point you again to Monica Edinger's post
in the Nerdy Book Club in which she helps readers understand the enormity of what committee members do. Read it again and some of these Marge-truths will make sense.
Image: 'Sad' http://www.flickr.com/photos/8830697@N08/5601369995 Found on flickrcc.net
The Oscars of the KidLit world, the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced today in Seattle. Here in snowy PA, I had to be content with watching them on webcast. Like all fancy award shows, the big ticket items were saved for the end.
The Caldecott went to This Is Not My Hat
by Jon Klassen.
I was surprised, since I hadn't realized it was in the running and the reviews I'd read didn't rate it as highly as his previous book, I Want My Hat Back
(which I loved).
For lovers of picture books, there were five, count 'em five, honor books: Extra Yarn
(written by Mac Barnett and again illustrated by Klassen), Creepy Carrots
(Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown), Green
(Laura Vaccaro Seeger), One Cool Friend
(Toni Buzzeo and David Small), and Sleep Like a Tiger
(Mary Logue and Pamela Zagarenski).
Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan
snagged the Newbery. I haven't read it yet (I have a hold on it), but I love the backstory. The novel is based on a silverback gorilla who spent 27 long years along in a cage, an attraction in a mall, before finally being moved to a zoo. The real Ivan died last year at the ripe old age (for a gorilla) of 50.
The honor books are Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
(Steve Sheinkin), Splendors and Gloom
(Laura Amy Schlitz) and Three Times Lucky
The Theodore Seuss Geisel Award is given to the most distinguished beginning reader, so naturally I gripped the edge of my seat when it was announced. The winner is Up, Tall, and High
, a picture book by Ethan Long. Another title that slipped through my radar, I will read it pronto and report back. The honor books are: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
(Eric Litwin), Let's Go for a Drive
(Mo Willems), and Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover
(Cece Bell). You can read my reviews for Let's Go for a Drive here
and for Rabbit & Robot here
Congrats to all the winners! Click here to see a full list.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Caldecott Medal Winner
Published by Candlewick Press
Caldecott Honor Books
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Published by by Roaring Brook Press
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Newbery Medal Winner
Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Newbery Honor Books
Published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin
Special thanks to the American Library Association (ALA
) for the live webcast
. What a fun way to hear the results over my morning cup of coffee! Be sure to follow this link
to see the complete list of all the winners in all of the categories. Congratulations again to everyone!
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By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: January 23, 2012
“The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” ~ALSC
©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.
We tend to think all of our books are winners and if we could sticker them all we would. But in some special cases, our books get shiny gold and silver medals given by people OTHER THAN US. Today, the ALA announced the 2012 Youth Media Awards, and our books showed up for the occasion! Below is a list of the books, authors, illustrators, and their accolades. Enjoy!
John Newbery Medal: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
John Newbery Honor: Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin
Randolph Caldecott Honor: Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award: Underground by Shane Evans
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin
Pura Belpre Honor: Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engel
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By Nicki Richesin, The Children’s Book Review
Published: January 30, 2012
Marla Frazee is the award-winning author and illustrator of many celebrated bestselling books including The Seven Silly Eaters, Stars, The Boss Baby, Roller Coaster, and the Clementine series. Her acclaimed books All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever received the Caldecott Honor Award. She lives in southern California with her husband and three sons, where she works in a backyard studio under an avocado tree. I’m willing to bet she makes some crazy delicious guacamole.
Nicki Richesin: You knew from a very young age that you wanted to become a children’s book illustrator. It must have felt incredibly gratifying when A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever won the Caldecott Honor Award. How does it feel now looking back on your youth and realizing your single-minded determination and drive has helped you achieve your goal?
Marla Frazee: You mean aside from making me feel old? Well, I guess I had determination and drive to some extent, but when I compare my growing up years to my children’s growing up years, I honestly feel like I was a slacker! I just loved children’s books, and I loved drawing and reading and writing stuff, and I never stopped loving all of that. I did get very serious in college – I attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and the program was so grueling that I hardly retain any memories of that time because I was so sleep-deprived.
NR: Your latest book Stars is a gorgeous, magical book about stars and all their practical applications, but it’s also about wishing. Could you tell us a bit about working on this project?
MF: When I first read Mary Lyn Ray’s manuscript, it reminded me of A Hole is to Dig with its seemingly random, childlike sentences and it’s high-wire act of how-is-she-gonna-pull-this-off, oh-my-god-she-just-did! I thought it would be impossible to illustrate, which is why it was so intriguing. I spent many months just thinking about it before I started sketching. It is always fascinating when a book begins to take form, be
Caldecott-winning illustrator Erin E. Stead and debut author Julie Fogliano will be on the road at the end of this month to promote their first collaboration and new book, And Then It's Spring
Here are the dates and times so far:
February 23 at 10:30 AM at Politics & Prose
February 25 at 1:00 PM at Bank Street Books
If life brings you to DC or NYC on those dates, please stop by to meet these talented women!
By: Roger Sutton
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After winning the 2011 Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by her husband, Philip, Erin E. Stead returns with a second picture book, this one about waiting and planning and hope. And Then It’s Spring (5–8 years) grows out of a long friendship; see below.
1. What about Julie Fogliano’s (glorious) text helped you decide to illustrate it?
Erin E. Stead: Julie is a friend of mine who, like me, is quite shy about her work. I met Julie almost ten years ago when we both worked in a bookstore in New York (she was my assistant manager). For the majority of those years, I knew Julie was a writer but never saw a thing she wrote. Since I was the same way, I never put any pressure on her. Then one day, out of the blue, she emailed me a poem. I loved it. I know her, so I knew it was her voice, but I also thought it had the lightness and the seriousness that I (or my six-year-old self) could relate to. She told me she had received some advice to push the text into a more traditional story. I suddenly felt very protective of the original poem. Obviously, the next step was to send it (without telling her) to my editor, Neal Porter.
Neal wrote: “This is lovely. Would you be interested in illustrating?”
So I did. I’ve been able to work with two writers (my husband, Philip, and Julie) with whom I am very close, which has really worked for me. They both give me plenty of say and plenty of space. Julie’s books (I am wrapping up the second book now) are so interesting to work on. The texts are abstract, which allows me to make a lot of decisions about how I’d like to pull the reader through the story. It’s a lot of freedom for an illustrator. Most of the time that is wonderful, but there are always moments where I am lying on the floor of my studio in despair. I want to do her delicate texts justice. It’s a great challenge.
2. What picture book text from the past do you most wish you could have illustrated?
EES: Tough question for an illustrator. There are many books I would love to have illustrated, but I wouldn’t be able to do as good a job as the illustrator whose name is already on the book. James Thurber’s Many Moons is probably one of my top picks, although I am no Louis Slobodkin — let alone Marc Simont.
3. My favorite spring song is “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” What’s yours?
EES: I haven’t been able to think of anything that tops Mel Brooks’s “Springtime for Hitler.”
4. You’re a signatory to the Picture Book Proclamation. Which of its sixteen “We Believes?” means the most to you?
EES: Tough question #2. I am not positive my answer would be the same every time you asked me. Four out of five times though, I would probably answer: “We should know our history.”
I don’t necessarily mean the books that have become part of the canon (although that is an excellent place to start). A lot of good books ca
We're feeling especially Spring-y today here in NYC, so we thought we'd share the AND THEN IT'S SPRING video with all of you!
By: Roger Sutton
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“If this book doesn’t win the Caldecott Medal I’m going to kill myself.” I heard that from Zena Sutherland, quoting Ursula Nordstrom, while Zena and I were at Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum in 1982, viewing an exhibition of the complete original art for the book in question, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
That book did of course win the 1964 Medal, a very nice cherry on top of Sendak’s five previous Caldecott Honors (which would be joined by two more in later years). For Sendak, the best part of Where the Wild Things Are’s success was the financial security it brought (“It bought me my house,” he told me) and the freedom to do the projects he liked: “I took good advantage of [its] popularity to illustrate books that I passionately wanted to do without having to worry if they were commercial or not.” While the publishing economy of today might have encouraged Where the Wild Things Went and Where the Wild Things Went Next, Sendak mostly left the (considerable) spinning-off to others in order to to do what he wanted in a career that would include big books and small books, color and black-and-white, books by himself and books by others, opera and ballet design. Most Caldecott Medalists can’t afford to rest on their laurels; Sendak could, and didn’t.
When I look through the roster of Caldecott winners (seventy-five as of this year), I see dozens of fine books, but only three classics: Make Way for Ducklings, The Snowy Day, and Where the Wild Things Are. And of those, only the third has made the leap from the children’s bookshelf to become, as well, a touchstone of twentieth-century American art and culture. Maurice would sometimes complain about his other work being overshadowed, but come on, I would say, that’s huge. If sometimes he knew this and sometimes he forgot, what matters most is that it didn’t make one bit of difference either way to his work.
When I was speaking at the Eric Carle Museum recently, someone asked me if I thought Where the Wild Things Are could be published today. It’s an impossible question, because that book gave artists and publishers and librarians and children a new way to read. Its belief in an audience that could compose its own music for three wordless spreads and draw its own picture on the final page was generous. Its messages—that you can imagine without restraint, yell your head off, and still be altogether worthy of love—remain.
I always appreciate it when Roger Sutton writes about Maurice Sendak. His appreciation, respect and friendship always shines through. In a recent Horn Book post
, Roger writes about what winning the Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are
meant to Maurice.
In the course of his ruminations, he mentions that in his opinion, though many Caldecotts have been awarded, only three books are ones he would truly consider "classic": Make Way for Ducklings
, The Snowy Day
and Where the Wild Things Are
. At first I was like, "Wait! What about the winner the year I served on the committee; or the year this colleague served or that colleague...?" But then I stopped and thought.
The three books mentioned are truly touchstones. When I served on the Caldecott, I used Make Way for Duckling
s to train kids and adults on how to help your eye see excellence. The warm brown lines on creamy paper were the only color, yet those illustrations were so powerful and told the story so well, the text was barely needed to convey the plot, emotions and story. This book is the quintessential Caldecott winner for me.
Re-thinking and re-reading Roger's post and going over the list of seventy-five Caldecotts draws me to the much the same conclusion as Roger. I might quibble here and there. But he has named true touchstones of children's literature. What do YOU think?
Check out this great trailer for the upcoming Bear Has a Story to Tell by Phil Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead, the team behind the A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal!
Learn more about Bear Has a Story to Tell...
By: Hazel Mitchell,
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, ala anaheim
, children's books
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I got to tell you, ALA was cracking! It was my first visit to a BIG library conference and it was so much more than I expected. I expected to see a LOT of librarians, a LOT of BOOKS and SOME amazingly awesome people. What I didn't expect was to feel totally at home, surrounded by thousands of people who love books, LOVE them I tell you! If you have never attended ALA, summer or midwinter conference (and you can afford it) ... go! Just for the experience. If you're an illustrator, a writer or a reader I say GO! Get involved. Meet the librarians ... meet the publishers ... meet the famous writers and artists! (And the not so famous!) Go to panels and readings and presentations. Buy a ticket to the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet or the Coretta Scott King Awards. You won't regret it.
OK .. so my trip was fat ... got to Anaheim, CA Friday night (from Maine), back on the redeye, Sunday. My lovely roomie from last year's SCBWI summer conference (and LA resident) Charlene Ellen (MG author in waiting) collected me at the airport. (Thanks Charlene!). We stayed at the Hilton Anaheim ... excellently situated right next to the conference centre, so you could nip back and forth to the hotel during the day.
Here's our 'Disney view' room ... watched the fireworks in the evening. Here's the view:
We got upgraded after first being put in an occupied room. You know that feeling when you open the door .. and oops, there they are on the bed!! JUST KIDDING!!! But the room WAS occupied ;-)
And there's the swimming pool that the kid pooped in just after I got in. Yuk!!!! No, really, it was a great hotel. Despite the toilet blockage. (I blame Charlene).
Pretty nice to get an exhibitor's badge too! Felt like a pony at a show. (No comments from the cheap seats, thank you). I had a book signing with Kane Miller and also with Charlesbridge on Saturday .. pretty overwhelming for a first timer.
4 Comments on ALA ... just what I got up to last weekend., last added: 7/5/2012
Just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, real appreciation of a picture book depends on more than a first taste, or a first look; truer evaluation becomes possible only after savoring every nuance. At first glance, illustrations may delight us with their beauty — their drafting, palette, forms, composition; with how they embody emotion, or childhood itself. One artist charms with humor, well-paced action, or visual harmony. Another captures the imagination with a beloved character or a story distilled to its irreducible essence.
But to seek a year’s “most distinguished” illustrations — to choose a Caldecott winner — is to look again: to tune in to rhythms, consider trajectories, discover details and connections; and to hope that such particulars will offer the kind of epiphany E. E. Cummings called “everything / which is natural which is infinite which is yes.” A detailed study of some of 2011’s best picture books, medaled and not, made me both more critical and more appreciative. It revealed limitations, missed on first reading, of some appealing titles; contrariwise, in the best ones, I now perceived finer crafting, richer meaning.
Here, then, are some books that seemed to merit serious consideration for the award, or that helped illuminate issues involved in a final choice. Several of these arrest the eye with their extraordinary simplicity. One such, I Want My Hat Back, was frequently mentioned as a Caldecott contender. In Jon Klassen’s neatly balanced compositions, a bear — still as a statue through much of the book — meets other near-immobile creatures in minimal settings. Only the animals’ alert, stylized eyes suggest the drama that will finally erupt on a revelatory solid-red page and set up the story’s sly conclusion. Klassen’s digitally created illustrations are austere. It’s those eyes that focus attention on what’s seen (and unseen) until memory triggers the bear’s retrospective vision — a clever scenario, elegantly rendered.
Patricia Intriago’s Dot, composed as it is of simple shapes and lines, is even more spare. Yet this able graphic designer telegraphs a lot with her graphic forms, using small additions and alterations in size, conformation, or color to convey motion and emotion, sound, taste, and more, including the night sky. Another virtuoso performance is Michael Hall’s exploration of the transformative possibilities of collages improvised, like tangrams, from squares. Like Dot, Hall’s Perfect Square is an exercise in graphic possibility, but Hall brings more ingenuity and a sense of story to the process. He tears, snips, or otherwise divides each square, then reassembles it in a simple scene, with a new color each weekday. On Sunday, the square — cleverly escaping its shape’s constraints — becomes a window through which the earlier scenes are recapped in a rainbow finale.
Lois Ehlert’s art, too, is rooted in graphic design. In RRRalph, she composes a dog from amusingly recognizable objects like buttons, a pop-top, and a zipper. Ralph, a character of buoyant, spread-dominating energy,enacts such pun-ready sounds as wolf, rough, and bark. Printed in handsome boldface, Ralph’s “words” and the large-type commentary by his unseen human are as intrinsic to the striking design as Ralph himself. These minimalist titles may not have the singular quality that evokes that rare sense of Cummings’s “Yes”; still, they’re entirely worthy, fine just as they are.
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Today's Picture Book Roundup features older winners of the Caldecott Medal.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
I recently completed a class, "The Caldecott Medal: Understanding Distinguished Art in Picture Books,"
offered by the Association for Library Service to Children
(ALSC), and taught by K.T. Horning.
In addition to learning much that I didn't know about art, I had the opportunity to encounter or revisit some Caldecott Medal
winners that predate my career as a librarian. I have been working in a library since 2005, and received my masters degree and first professional librarian position in 2007. The Caldecott Medal has been awarded since 1938. Clearly, I had a lot of catching up to do.
Though I did not read them all, I did read many older winners. Here are some of my favorites from the years prior to 1990:(In order by publication date - award dates are the January following the publication year)
- Langstaff, John. 1955. Frog Went A-Courtin'. New York: Harcourt Brace. Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky.
Richly detailed and expressive animals illustrate this favorite old folk song. (If you don't know the song, Frog Went A-Courtin',
Burl Ives' rendition was a classic) This is my favorite of all the older Caldecotts.
- Mosel, Arlene. 1972. The Funny Little Woman. New York: Dutton. Illustrated by Blair Lent.
Humorous, with inventive illustrations, the funny little woman travels to a world beneath her simple home in Japan.
- Yorinks, Arthur. 1986. Hey. Al. New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux. Illustrated by Richard Egielski.
Generally disliked by most of my classmates, this quirky, surreal story about a man and his dog really grows on you.
- Yolen, Jane. 1987. Owl Moon. New York: Philomel. Illustrated by John Schoenherr.
I have been fortunate enough to hear
owls in the night many times, though the only ones I have been able to spot are the low-flying burrowing owls. In Owl Moon
, the thrill of a night-time owling expedition is captured brilliantly in both illustration and prose.
- Young, Ed. 1989. Lon Po Po:A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. New York: Philomel.
A masterpiece of danger, suspense and courage - a classic folktale. The only one of my picks written and illustrated by the same person, it's no surprise that it's a pitch-perfect pairing of text and art.A complete list of Caldecott Medal winners 1938-present, may be found here.
I've left off many other wonderful old medal winners, I know. Feel free to chime in with your favorite Caldecott winners from the 1930s-1980s.
By: Gail Maki Wilson
Blog: Through the Studio Door
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100 Scope Notes
, John Rocco
, Horn Book
, Publishers Weekly
, Fuse #8
, Brian Selznick
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With all the Newbery and Caldecott
talk and predictions out there I thought it would be nice to take a look at not only what may be the next winner, but what has won in the past. If you have a favorite title you are rooting for post it in a comment. I would love to hear about it! Next week I will post my favorite book of the year that I think is Caldecott deserving in every facet of picture book brilliance.
From Publishers Weekly, with great interviews of winners from the past 5 years.The Call That Changes Everything- or Not.
From The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC
) a look at the past.Newbery Honor and Medal Books, 1922- PresentCaldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present2012 Newbery-Caldecott Awards Banquet
From Through the Studio door, an interesting look at what PW dubbed in 1963 "...a pointless and confusing story." Before They Were Classics
For predictions for this years award winners check out:ShelfTalkerA Fuse #8 Production100 Scope NotesThe Horn Book- Calling Caldecott Country Bookshelf Random Acts of Reading
|75th Anniversary Logo by Brian Selznick|
Mark your calendar for the Caldecott Medal 75th Anniversary!
all the awards at 8 a.m. PT
on Jan. 28 from the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The awards include the esteemed John Newbery Medal, Randolph Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Book Awards and Michael L. Printz Award.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC
that John Rocco
will participate in a Caldecott 75th Anniversary Facebook Forum at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Rocco won a Caldecott Honor in 2012 for his picture book Blackout
Want to learn more about the logo 2008 Caldecott Medal winner Brian Selznick
created especially for the 75th Anniversary celebration and the characters in it? Just click here
And for a little more fun, read Brian's acceptance speech for The Invention of Hugo Cabret here
and watch the illustrated sequence that played on huge video screens during the speech here
It's time to VOTE! The 2013 Mock Caldecott polls are open.
Head over to The Horn Book blog before January 22nd and get your vote in. They have a link to the Calling Caldecott Ballot. It's easy! Just takes a minute. But remember, the polls close at 9am tomorrow.
Vote for Your All-time Favorite Caldecott Winner.
In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott head over to @ Your Library and vote! Your name could be drawn to
receive a copy of the 2013 winning Caldecott title and a $25 Amazon gift card! Contest will remain open until 2:00 p.m. Central time, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
If you need help remembering your favorite Caldecott Medal-winning title, just follow these links from @ Your Library
, and you will find book covers, grouped by decades, of all the past award winners.
Today's tour will be all about links. So sit back, click, and follow some fun. In honor of the upcoming Caldecott Award announcement on Monday, I'm putting in my vote for favorite picture of 2012. It is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce.
Take a tour studio office space and the creative team Joyce has put together at:Moonbot Studios
You'll find more Morris Lessmore here:morrislessmore.com
Here you'll find an interview
about the app.
You can read about the Academy Award winning short film version, and even watch the film's trailer here
Follow this link
to see a few thumbnails and the creators of this story.
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I served on the 1995 Newbery and 2002 Caldecott committees. These remain two special moments in my career. Like dessert, it was sweet. But I can't have that diet all the time - that's why I love the meat and potatoes of the many "process" committees I serve on. I wish the experience of being on an award committee to each and every ALSC and YALSA member at least once in their careers and I hope that each member, having served once or twice on a prestigious award committee, makes room for others who wish to have the experience.
It's the night before the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards announcements. By now the discussion, the deliberation, the voting and the annotations are done. The frisson of excitement within each committee as the top honored book, recording or film has been determined is palpable. The committee members are as proud as new parents at their award titles and honorees. But it's still secret.
Roommates teasingly pry; spouses look for hints; colleagues wonder and give an extra squeeze to hands and shoulders of committee members, knowing the intense work of the past year. The committee members, though excited, appear serene. The decision that will echo through youth literature down through the ensuing years is done. It's finished. Often committee members spend some time together after the final meeting just to have people to talk with. Hearts are very full.
The ALA Public Information Office has kicked into high gear. They are reaching out to obtain phone numbers; writing press releases and press conference scripts; determining if there are immediate media opportunities for winners; scheduling committees for their Monday morning phone calls - yes, the honorees are called by the committee chairs backed by their committees prior to the press conference. In Seattle, it will be at a blessedly decent time - when at an east coast ALA midwinter, west coasters often get the call pre-dawn.
There is a little note of trepidation in many a committee person's heart on this night. How will the crowd of 500 librarians, publishers and booksellers present at the press conference and the audience of teachers, librarians, book creators, and makers and sellers around the world react to their committee's choice - with screams of approbation or the gasp of in-taken breath? I have heard both. That moment when the committee stands to face the dais, back to the audience, and have their choices announced is nerve-wracking.
But that's tomorrow. Tonight, there is the sweet feeling of a job well done; a challenge met and and the camaraderie of a group of people who have read, pored over, reflected and discussed books together in a rarefied atmosphere to winnow and seek that golden best. And that is enough.
For more insights on the award process, stop at this Nerdy Book Club post
and read Monica Edinger's outstanding post myth-busting the Newbery Committee process Image: 'Poesia' http://www.flickr.com/photos/58929717@N00/93235624 Found on flickrcc.net