Introducing a Mock Caldecott Unit to Third Graders

Go around the circle and tell the group your favorite picture book if you have one (or your favorite from when you were little).

We are going to begin a mock Caldecott unit.

Has anyone heard of the Caldecott award?  How about the Newbery Medal?


Named after the British artist and illustrator, Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886), the Caldecott is given each year to a children’s book illustrator.

This is considered the highest award a children’s book illustrator can receive.

Each year, a committee is elected to select the Caldecott winner.

How might a committee vote on the best children’s book illustrations of the year?  What makes a picture book the best of its year?

Read criteria. “The Medal shall be awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year.”

What does “most distinguished” mean?

What does “criteria” mean?

In order to select a Caldecott winner, the committee must consider the following:

  1. Do these illustrations demonstrate excellence in the artistic technique (such as painting, drawing, photography, or woodcuts) used?
  1. Do the pictures do an excellent job of interpreting or describing the story, theme, or concept of the book?
  1. Does the style of illustration appropriately match the story, theme, or concept?
  1. Do the pictures precisely describe or portray the plot, theme, characters, setting, mood, or information?
  1. Does the presentation of the book appeal specifically to children?


What is a Caldecott “honor”?


Read the first 4-5 pages from some of the honors and the winner from 2015.

Lauren-Castillo-Nana-City-17-winner-2015 viva frida noisy paint box jon-klassen-sam-dave-dig-a-hole Beekle

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, The Noisy Paint Box, Viva Frida, Nana in the City


Can you guess which book won?

Let’s take a vote.

Reveal the winner.

Surprised?  Do you agree with the committee’s choice?



Begin to look at Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson.  This is a contender for this year’s Caldecott.  You will be studying this book and a selection of other contenders in depth.  I will read some of the book aloud and then pass it around.

Based on our criteria, do you think Last Stop should win the Caldecott?