Announcing and Reviewing the 2017 Caldecott Medal Book and Honor Books!

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Background Information

The Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1937 "to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year. The award shall go to the artist, who must be a citizen or resident of the United States, whether or not he be the author of the text.."

The award is named after Randolph Caldecott who worked as a children's book illustrator in England.  The actual medal contains an illustration from one of Caldecott's own picture books!

The 2017 Caldecott Winning Book is...

                                                (Click on each book to read more at Amazon.)

This book is exquisite ~ I loved every page, every word and every illustration.  The young artist, Jean-Michel grew up determined to become a famous artist, and he absolutely fulfilled his hopes and dreams.  His youth was filled with difficult experiences such as being in a car accident as well as having a mentally ill mother who needed to live in a facility.  Through all his hardship, Jean-Michel kept pursuing his dream.

The themes in this book are timeless.  The illustrations done by Javaka Steptoe are detailed and similar to the ones created by Jean-Michel.  This is a book that all children and even adults would enjoy looking at over and over.

The Caldecott Honor Books:

Both kids and the adults in their lives will absolutely LOVE this animated story.  After all, everyone has had that "leave me alone!" feeling.

In this book, a grandmother cannot get any peace and quiet so she can knit sweaters for her grandchildren.  Her solution:  leave the premises.  Her journey takes her to the forest where she meets  bears; the mountains where she meets goats; the moon where she meets moon-men; and eventually to a wormhole where she finds the alone time she needs to knit her sweaters.

Check out this illustration:

The only other book I've read with a samovar was Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco!

Congo Square is a real place in New Orleans.  Today it's part of Louis Armstrong Park, but in the story all the characters look forward to going to Congo Square on Sunday which was their day off ~ their short taste of freedom and acceptance.  Every day the people allude to how it's one day closer to Congo Square, but they never specify what's so special about this place.  It's a fine conclusion when realizing what a place of joy Congo Square is.

I enjoyed this book because the author's notes are full of historical information about Louisiana's state history and the way this state treated their slaves and other free African American people.  The book is full of hope and vibrant illustrations.

I read this book on my own, and I was not enjoying the invented language.  I'm going to read it to my students to see their reaction to the book.

Well, I read this book to my third graders, and they LOVED it!  They loved figuring out what the language meant and figuring out the story from the picture.  They all agreed that they would want to pick this book up again ~ which is one of the considerations for the Caldecott Medal!  They thought the words were funny.  In addition, they had to use those inferring skills the whole time to figure out the story line so I loved that part.  I do think that elementary students would enjoy this book the most.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything about this book ~ the simple story and the whimsical illustrations!  This is such a fun and colorful book that explores point of view and perspective in a playful way.  The illustrations are perfect!

Each of these characters sees the same cat; the cat even sees himself in a body of water.  I love how there are so many levels of understanding so this book is appropriate for all elementary students.

I'd love to hear which one of these book you've read and liked the best.  Please share in the comments!

by Susan K.

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