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Monday Morning Ready01.28.2016
Jumpstart Your Week!

Matt de la Pena's and Christian Robinson's "Last Stop on Market Street" nearly made history twice Jan. 18. The illustrated exploration of race and class through the eyes of a boy and his grandmother won the Newbery Medal. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What is your favorite book? Why do you like it so much?

Grade 5-6

Several of this year's award winners dealt with race, culture and class. Do you think children's books are a good place to discuss these issues? Why or why not?

Grade 7-8

The Coretta Scott King Award is presented to a black writer. The Belpre award goes to the best Latino/Latina book. Why do you think awards like these were created? Do you think they're necessary?

Grade 9-10

If you had a teenage son, what would you write in an open letter to him about racism and police violence?

LESSON PLAN
Create a Book Award

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, collect several examples of award-winning children's books. Be sure to have at least one winner of the Caldecott Medal and one winner of the Newbery Medal.
  2. Invite students to think about an awards show they've seen. Point out that all of these ceremonies—whether they deal with television, movies, music or something else—have one important thing in common. Awards are presented for many different types of work. 
  3. Explain that books are no different. This article, for example, mentions different awards presented for children's literature. Each award is unique. And to be eligible for any of these awards, books must meet a specific set of criteria. 
  4. Display examples of award-winning books. Encourage students to examine the seal on each book's cover.
  5. Tell students to imagine that they are in charge of creating a new award for books. Instruct them to compile a list of criteria for the award. Then have them design a seal that would go on the book's cover. Challenge students to identify a book they've read that could be a potential winner of this award.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their criteria and award design with the class. Instruct them to explain why the book they chose could win the new award. Encourage classmates to identify other books that also meet the criteria. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:  

Grades 3-4:
Have students complete the project in small groups. Instruct them to list at least five different requirements in their list of criteria for the award. Encourage students to draw both a front and back view of their awards.

Grades 5-6:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct them to list at least seven different requirements in their list of criteria for the award. Challenge them to draw both front and back views of their medals for the top prize and honorable mention.

Grades 7-8:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct them to list at least seven different requirements in their list of criteria for the award. Challenge them to draw both front and back views of their medals for the top prize and honorable mention. Encourage students to brainstorm ideas for books competing for their award. Then have them write a short biography of the award winner and three books that received honorable mention.

Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct them to list at least 10 different requirements in their list of criteria for the award. Challenge them to draw both front and back views of their medals for the top prize and honorable mention. Encourage students to brainstorm ideas for books competing for their award. Have them write a short biography of the award winner and three books that received honorable mention. Tell students to incorporate this information into a press release announcing the winners.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Best Children's Books of 2014
This Air & Space Magazine article highlights some of the best aviation and space-themed books from the year 2014.

These Are the American Library Association's Picks for Best Children's Literature
This Smithsonian article highlights the 2016 winners of the Caldecott Medal, the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Book Award among others. The article also includes video trailers of the winners.

Role Model Medal
This lesson encourages children to recognize a female role model in their lives by creating a special symbolic pin. It is part of the resource “Winning the Vote for Women.” This activity includes a discussion on women’s suffrage and guidance on choosing effective symbols for the pin.

Hey diddle diddle and Baby bunting
View the artwork of 19th century children’s illustrator Randolph Caldecott, for whom the Caldecott Medal was named.

Our Story—American History Stories and Activities You Can Do Together
Use the resources on this site to explore history through children’s literature, everyday objects and hands-on activities. Examine the “Find Books” tab to identify activities based on award-winning books.
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