By: Lori Pringle, District Library Media Specialist, East Holmes Local Schools
One of the ways we can encourage our students to develop a love of reading is to give them an opportunity to read some of the best, newly-published books and to get them talking and writing about them. Each fall, excitement builds at East Holmes for the annual Mock Caldecott program in which students read some of the best children’s books published that year, post reviews online, and eventually vote for their favorites.
You can find our East Holmes Mock Caldecott website at: https://sites.google.com/a/eastholmesschools.org/mockcaldecott/. The Mock Caldecott website includes some of the best picture books published each year. At our website, you will discover student reviews, past winners, and more.
Across our district, elementary library paraprofessionals partner with the Holmes County District Public Library to provide copies of the mock contenders for display within each of our libraries during November and December. The paraprofessionals share the picture books with the students during their weekly library visits through booktalks and read alouds. Students learn the ALA selection criteria during library lessons. After the students and staff experience the Mock Caldecott contenders, they are invited to submit a brief review, reflecting their reaction to the book using an embedded Google Form. Reviews are monitored and posted on the Mock Caldecott website under the corresponding book.
In January, East Holmes patrons revisit our website to cast their vote for their favorite Mock Caldecott using another embedded Google Form. Our East Holmes Mock Caldecott winner and honor books are announced just before the official Caldecott awards are presented by the American Library Association mid-January of each year.
For the past three years, I have been fortunate to collaborate with Mr. Dan McKey, Winesburg and Mt. Hope Elementary principal. Mr. McKey’s love of children’s literature is the heart of our Mock Caldecott and his grant writing expertise made it a reality. Each year, Mr. McKey scours blogs, book reviews, and websites to prepare our list of book contenders, while I maintain the website. Although Mr. McKey is retiring at the end of this school year, the Mock Caldecott will continue in his honor. I look forward to collaborating with our teachers and library paraprofessionals to select the contenders for our 2017 Mock Caldecott.