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Crazy for Caldecott? Join the Mock Caldecott Awards!

2008 Caldecott Medal Winner Brian Selznick designed the logo celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Award

This year celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal for illustration of a children’s book. The winner for 2012 will be announced on Monday, January 28th.

The Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1938. An annual award presented by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), it is given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children during the previous year. Any picture book by a citizen or resident of the USA and published in the United States is eligible, but only one picture book receives the award each year.

So what exactly is a Mock Caldecott? I looked for that answer on line and found much more.

The Mock Caldecott is a fun way to predict which picture books will be given the award for 2012 on Monday. It’s your chance to recognize outstanding artistic merit in a children's book. Here are some other benefits to participating:

• Learn about the history, terms, and definitions of the Caldecott Medal
• Participate in book discussions
• Look at the evolving nature in children's picture books and its impact on the Caldecott selection process
• Become familiar with how the medal impacts librarians, authors, publishers and children
• Develop skills in holding mock Caldecott discussions with children and other programming ideas
• Form the skills to look at picture book art more critically

The Mock Caldecott follows the same selection process that is used by the Caldecott committee. But with so many children’s picture books published each year, what makes picture book illustration distinguished? You might be surprised to see that the criteria used focuses on both illustration and writing in a picture book!

A picture book has a collective unity between text and pictures. Narrative elements include character, plot, theme, setting and information. Art elements include medium, style, composition, color, line, space and shape. When considering their selections, committee members need to consider all of this through the pictures. Sounds a little harder than I imagined!

Some questions to consider when evaluating a picture book for the Mock Caldecott award are these:

Does the story appeal to kids?
Is this an outstanding use of the artistic medium?
Is the artwork critical to the story being told?
Can the story stand alone without the support of additional media?
Is there an appropriate balance of text and illustration?

There are some wonderful websites that I visited while doing my research.

Visit Matthew C. Winner’s blog, The Busy Librarian at http://www.busylibrarian.com/2012/12/mock-caldecott-stage-1.html to find a mock Caldecott evaluation chart.

Find a Mock Elections Toolkit slide show on Steven Engelfried’s site at http://www.slideshare.net/stevene/mock-caldecott-criteria-power-point

Or check out the authors blog, Books Around the Table, for a discussion on the Caldecott selection process, and see the different art forms used in picture books being considered for the award at
http://booksaroundthetable.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/the-word-distinguished-a-mock-caldecott-discussion/

Learn about the 75th anniversary logo and its many characters at the official ALSC site at http://www.ala.org/alsc/Caldecott75#preconference. Scroll down to the bottom. Can you name all of the characters?

The 2013 Caldecot Medal announcement will be made on Monday, January 28th at 7:45 am. You can watch a free live webcast of the award presentation from the link at the American Library Association (ALA) website at http://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/presskits/youthmediaawards/alayouthmediaawards.

Congratulations to all illustrators being considered, for the official Caldecott and the Mock Caldecott as well!  Read More 
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New Year’s resolutions still intact?


It’s been said that most New Year’s resolutions are broken by mid January. So how are you doing with yours so far? If you’re getting discouraged already, rather than giving up, this might be the time to re-evaluate and make some revisions to those resolutions. Are your goals within reach? Have you set up a reward system for taking baby steps toward reaching those goals? Give yourself some slack, and remember that each day is a chance to begin again.

In regard to my writing, I decided to focus on just a couple of things this year and really try to follow through. I picked reading and marketing.

Reading is two-fold. First I need to keep up with what kids are reading. I also want to know what books are already out there on the topics that I’m writing. Second, I need to read books for the grown-up in me. For pleasure. And for direction. As I read, my mind picks up clues on how the writing draws me into the book, what it is that keeps me reading, and makes me not want to stop.

Marketing is my second major goal. I have poems and stories that are completed, or nearly completed, that should be out looking for a home instead of sitting in my file cabinet. I need to take time to decide the best course for those manuscripts and get them on their way! I also need to finish, or revise, those that are oh, so close, to being ready to send out.

So far this year I think I’m doing okay. I've given myself a month by month schedule. I’m close to reaching my goal for January. But if I fall short during the year, I’ll just start over again the next month.

A friend sent me the following quote which I’d like to share with you. I hope it reminds you of your accomplishments in the past year, and encourages you to celebrate every step that you take toward your goals in 2013!

Time for—

This is a time for reflection as well as celebration.

As you look back on the past year and all that has taken place in your life,
remember each experience for the good that has come of it
and for the knowledge you have gained.

Remember the efforts you have made and the goals you have reached.

Remember the love you have shared and the happiness you have brought.

Remember the laughter, the joy, the hard work, and the tears.

And as you reflect on the past year, also be thinking of the new one to come,
because most importantly, this is a time of new beginnings
and the celebration of life.

—Taylor Addison
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