Every year, 3rd grade students study art in picture books and put their knowledge to work as they decide which of five books has the most distinguished illustrations, in Pike’s time-honored tradition, the Mock Caldecott Award.
Choosing the five books is one of the most fun parts of the job, but sharing them with students is even better! Here’s a look at three of our contenders, and our students’ reactions.
Our first book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, was shared at an all-school Thanksgiving assembly, and students were eager to take a closer look at the vibrant art by Frané Lessac, which enhances the lyrical informational text by Traci Sorell. Our students said:
- I like how the color tones are based on the season.
- The repeating little details jump out at you.
- I like how there are always curves.
- Everything is connected and comes full circle.
- On the last page, it’s all the seasons… I love it!
A Big Mooncake for Little Star, written and illustrated by Grace Lin, is on a bunch of “best of” lists for 2018, with good reason. The lush, limited palette illustrations gradually reveal Little Star’s shenanigans, while keeping the suspense until the last endpaper. Our 3rd graders discussed the art in this story with enthusiasm, saying:
- I like the details and the dark colors!
- Perfect for a child audience.
- The crumbs and stuffy show the way like a suspect.
- Perfectly sequenced.
- The endpapers and the title page have lots of details.
One of our goals is to provide contrasting artistic styles for students to examine, and the delicate colored pencil drawings in Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal were a big change from our first two choices. Students commented on the strong textual and visual patterns, showing their growing familiarity with many artistic terms.
- I like how Alma is the most colorful, and the small details like the red string.
- The hidden patterns pop out, and you can see the different textures.
- I like how there is very little background so you focus on the characters.
- The aunt’s background is nice and mythical.
- I like how the endpaper’s stripes match Alma’s clothes.
- “This book warms me up!”
In our next post, we’ll share the final two contenders, and go behind the scenes for a look at the voting process – stay tuned!