Each year I eagerly await the announcement of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books, and this year’s list does not disappoint! Now, we all know the Caldecott award is the gold standard for picture book illustration, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the kid lit world for other opinions. (Although some of the Caldecott winners and honor books have appeared on the NYT list as well.)
One of the things that especially delighted me this year is that I know two of the three judges on the NYT panel. Well, I don’t know them personally, but I know who they are, which is not always the case.
- The king of pop-up books, Robert Sabuda. I have a collection of his books that I use during library storytime, and I am always just as fascinated as the children are by the clever engineering of each intricate page. Let him show you how to make your own simple pop-ups with step-by-step instructions and printouts.
- Children’s librarian, book reviewer, blogger, and author Betsy Bird. If you aren’t reading Betsy’s blog, A Fuse #8 Production, then you are missing out on all the best scoop in the world of children’s literature!
- Novelist David Barringer. I’ve never heard of him until now, but here’s a link to his website.
Now that you’ve met the judges, go take a look at the books!
And if you’re curious, here’s the link to the 2009 List, the 2008 List, and the 2007 List. (If you’re listening NYT, I like the format of the 2007 and 2008 slide show best!)
I am currently introducing my first grade library classes to the Caldecott award, given annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” I was hoping to find some introductory material online to use with the students to explain the background, purpose, and criteria for the award. After all, we’ve been teaching kids about Caldecott books ever since the award was first given in 1938; surely there are some 21st century resources on the Internet somewhere!
Unfortunately, a preliminary search turned up a surprisingly small list of useful sites. There is no shortage of lists of books that have been awarded the medal, which seems utterly redundant since they are all listed at the official Caldecott site. You can also find tons of lesson plans for many of the individual winners and honor books, some of which are quite creative.
But where are the sites that explain the award in an engaging way for young children? As comprehensive as the ALSC pages are, they are unquestionably intended for an adult audience. As good as the lesson plan websites are, they are just step-by-step instructions for teachers. So for an award given to books written, illustrated, and published for children, where are the web resources for children?
Please, if you know of any, share them in the comments!