VIP Caldecott Medal Red Carpet Event

First things first – have you noticed our new look? The Learning Leopard Library blog got a makeover this week. In order to meet the needs of our growing group of readers, comprised mostly of parents, teachers, and adult community members, the blog has evolved to a more streamlined and clear theme. All of our features, pages, tabs, and past posts are still here, just in a new place. Check out the bright blue bar on the left to learn more about our library, our policies, surf student book reviews, contact me, or get a preview of our brand new Birthday Book Club. Scrolling down even farther, you can catch a snippet of our most recent posts, or learn about the different categories of posts that appear on the Learning Leopard Library blog. All blog posts are still available on the right, so don’t worry – your favorite Friday Photos, student book reviews, and weekly roundups are still here!

This week, the Johnson library was transformed into a Hollywood party, complete with a red carpet. The cold and snow may have still been raging outside, but inside things were hot, hot, hot! Students had a chance to enter our V.I.P. event through our special occasion sparkle curtain and then walk the red carpet to their seats. So, why the celebration? Every year in January, the American Library  Association announces the winners of their prestigious Youth Media Awards, including the Coretta Scott King, Printz, and Newbery book awards. But this year, we were all about one very special award – the Caldecott Medal.

Red Carpet Sign

Red Carpet

According to the American Library Association, the Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Since 1938, a committe of dedicated librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, and other professionals have come together to select the winner of this incredible honor. Past winners include infamous names like Maurice Sendak, Ezra Jack Keats, Robert McCloskey, Mo Willems, Jerry Pinkey, David Wiesner, Jon Klassen, and Brian Selznick. This year, Johnson Elementary School students got in on the action by forming their own committee to determine the Johnson Elementary School Caldecott Champion.

Red Carpet InteriorWith the help of School Library Journal, six beloved books were chosen as finalists for our personalized Caldecott award. Our finalists were:

Inside Outside, by Lizi Boyd
Flora and the Flamingo, by Molly Idle
Building our House, by Jonathan Bean
Journey, by Aaron Becker
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown
How to Train a Train, written by Jason Carter Eaton, illustrated by John Rocco

Together, we discussed each book and its illustrations – how do these pictures make you feel? What does this picture tell us about the story? Why do you think the illustrator chose to use this kind of artwork? Older classes discussed shape, line, and color in relation to the emotion and theme of the story. While some classes created “commercials” arguing why their book should be the champion, delved deeply into artwork and its relationship to literature.

After carefully studying each book, we turned to our Who Will win the 2014 Caldecott? chart. Each student was given one sticker, and placed their vote in the corresponding square of their chosen champion. The book with the most votes at the end of the week wins the title of the Johnson Elementary School 2014 Caldecott Champion, and just like the real Caldecott winner, gets a very special Learning Leopard medal on its front cover. The competition has been heated; can you tell which book was the students’ favorite at the point that this picture was taken?

Who Will Win? ChartWe still have students and teachers left waiting to vote, so I can’t announce the winner yet. The top secret counting and awarding process will begin with second grade library helpers this afternoon! Once our winner is crowned, the 2014 Johnson Elementary School Caldecott Champion will be revealed during the morning announcements so that our entire Caldecott Committee can share in the exciting news.

I had a blast celebrating beautiful artwork and illustrations with your students this week. I was so impressed with the conversations taking place in the Learning Leopard Library, and the seriousness with which so many students took their committee voting responsibility! Many studnets have requested that we celebrate the Newbery Award together next year….let the planning commence!

The Caldecott Medal Red Carpet Event wasn’t the only milestone to occur in our library this week. The 2013-2014 Learning Leopard Library Birthday Book Club has officially opened its doors! A flier was sent home with students on Thursday about this exciting opportunity, which gives students the chance to celebrate their birthday by having a book from the Johnson collection permanently dedicated to them. To launch the new Club, I also added a page to the Learning Leopard Library Blog called Birthday Book Club, with all of the details. Find out more by following the Birthday Book Club link or checking out today’s Friday Photo.

Have a wonderful weekend!

– Miss Messham

2 thoughts on “VIP Caldecott Medal Red Carpet Event

    1. Thank you very much, Mr. Eaton! We had a blast all week, and How to Train a Train was a huge favorite – it came in second place! If you are ever up for a Skype interview with some serious book and train-loving students, please let me know, because you have some very dedicated fans at Johnson Elementary School.


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