Reading for the Mock Caldecott this week has been harder than the weeks up until now because we are forced to read all the titles suggested and try to see what the nominator saw in the book. That means revisiting some books we didn’t care much for at first glance. It means occasionally changing our minds.
I’m starting to see that one of the beauties of looking at books in this way is this process. Some books I eliminated from my top choices early on. While I liked them, they did not seem to be as strong as others. Bringing these books back again I am looking at them all over again. In doing so I am really trying to open my eyes and step away from myself, my preferences and my short sightedness. I am seeing new things and getting confused. I am also seeing new things and finding that it is clearer than I had thought it would be. Well, it is clearer to me. I am finding it easier and easier to step away from personal preferences and story lines that speak to me and really look at whether the illustrations are successful. Separating the books I love, the stories with messages I can relate to, books which have strong curricular applications and those which show a strong visual showing is becoming second nature to me. This is something many of my colleagues not only find difficult, but express a lack of comfort with.
I wonder how it will be when we meet next Monday with the twenty-one titles that were nominated. Will we have eliminated several books unanimously or will someone still be hanging onto each of those favorites?