Grade: Elementary
Subject: other

#1360. Learning About Caldecott Winners

other, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Oct 24 20:28:54 PDT 1999 by Jerilyn Thornton (
East Side Elementary, Brownsville, TN USA
Materials Required: Caldecott Award winning books; a blank book entitled "A Book About Me"
Activity Time: Three 40 minute sessions
Concepts Taught: Caldecott Award; illustrators & illustrations

BEFORE THE LESSONS - A brief history of the Caldecott Medal, a picture of it, award terms and criteria can be found at A list of Caldecott Award winning books should be printed from the ALA website ( Laminate it and place it in a binder for student use. Caldecott books should be pulled from the shelves and displayed on top of the bookcases. A worksheet must be prepared for each student. (See Class Session 2.) A "book" must be prepared for each student. (See Class Session 3.)

CLASS SESSION 1 - Hold up a Caldecott Award winning book. Show the pictures and ask the class what the person who created the pictures is called. If none of the children know, define the word "illustrator" as "a person who produces the pictures for a book." Define illustrations as "the pictures in a book."
Show a Caldecott Award sticker on the front of a book. Tell the children that the sticker represents a very special medal that is given to only one illustrator each year for creating a children's book with the most outstanding illustrations. Tell them the award was named for Randolph J. Caldecott, an early illustrator of children's books. Tell them that this award has been given since 1938. Show them the laminated list of winners and tell them where you will be keeping it for their future use.
Use an opaque projector to show the children what the Caldecott Medal looks like, how to locate the illustrator's name on the title page, and what medium was used in each work. (Choose a nice variety including watercolors, collage, pen and ink, etc.) Discuss colors used and why the book might have been chosen for the Caldecott medal.

SESSION 2 - Each child chooses a Caldecott book from the display and completes a worksheet on it. Worksheet questions are:
1. What is the title of your book?
2. Who illustrated your book?
3. In what year was this book awarded the Caldecott Medal? (The child may need to consult the laminated list of winners.)
4. What medium did the illustrator use?
5. Are the colors bright and bold or pastel and quiet?
6. What colors does the illustrator seem to prefer?
7. Do you think the illustrations go well with the story?
8. On what page is your favorite illustration?
Why is this your favorite?

Each child shares the information from their worksheet with the class, showing their favorite picture to everyone.

SESSION 3 - Each student is given "A Book About Me!" which is blank except for one statement on each page to be competed by the student. The statements are as follows:
1. My hero is
2. My favorite subject in school is
3. My favorite food is
4. My favorite sport is
5. My favorite book was about
6. In my spare time I like to
7. When I grow up, I might like to be a

The children are told that each of them is to be the author and illustrator of their book. They are to make a title page for their book based on prior lessons on title pages. Then they fill in the blanks on each page of their book. Finally, they create an appropriate illustration for each page. using crayons, markers, colored pencils, black pens, scraps of paper or a combination of these materials.
Each child reads his/her "book" to the class, showing their illustrations and each one receives a "Caldecott Award" for their efforts--a small gold sticker on the cover of their book. (The sharing may require an additional class session.)