Stacked in Our Favor

Thoughts about libraries, education, children's literature, writing, art and being connected

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mock Caldecott Focus Group Voting

On Monday, December 20th the Mock Caldecott Focus Group met to cast their votes. This is the one for adults. There was a bit of nervousness on my part. I had some ideas of how we would start this process, but the rest would have to emerge somewhat organically. People were popping in throughout the day to check books they had not seen or re-familiarize themselves with titles they hadn’t seen in a while.

As soon as my last class had finished I put the books out on display so that they would be easy for everyone to see. The meeting was scheduled for half an hour later, but people started coming, reviewing and discussing almost immediately.

I decided that voting using the method I developed for the student elections would work out well for our adults as well.  Using the Mock Caldecott Medals we made as ballots for the students to vote with we could get a quick assessment of the level of agreement of our members. Originally, I had intended to open it up to discussion and debate before casting the first votes. However, the demands of the holiday, as well as flu, season had people an edge. They came early and discussed generally. When we were all assembled there was an eagerness to get down to business and vote.

I decided to give each member 2 medals. This way we could gather general opinion and equalize some of the quirks each of us harbors. We then removed any book that had received only one vote. This left us with five books to narrow down. Happily, this was the maximum number we could have. All we had to do was vote again to decide which would be the Medal winner and which would remain to be classified as Honor books. Once again each member received 2 medals and were cautioned that they needed to use them for different books. The clear winner was City Dog, Country Frog. This had been a favorite from the beginning. It didn’t loose its charm. In fact, it was one chosen to be in the selection for our student Mock Caldecott. Even reading it 20 times in a week and a half couldn’t sour it. That is the mark of a book that holds together.

Our selections were:

Medal Winner
City Dog, Country Frog
Jon Muth
Mo Willems
In the Wild
Holly Meade
David Elliot

The Boy in the Garden
Allen Say
Allen Say

Henry Aaron’s Dream
Matt Tavares
Matt Tavares

Art and Max
David Wiesner
David Wiesner

Upon reflection, I realized that we had engaged in the discussion before we voted. It’s just that we had been discussing these books all week. Unlike the real Caldecott Committee members, we work together every day. Our thoughts about books are shared pretty much immediately. I hear comments about a book I have just reviewed as I walk down the hall on the way to bus duty. I share a thumbs up with a teacher who drops their class off for library. Students tell me that their teacher has read one of those books to them and that they all love it. I shoot back with my own thoughts and watch as they are absorbed, debated and shot back to remind me about the criteria. It’s kind of like the twitter version of the committee. 


Focus Group said...

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purple glasses club said...

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