Are you ready for your Mock Caldecott 2024? A fun activity to do each year is to do some Mock Caldecott activities in which you determine which book your class, grade level or school thinks is should win the Caldecott Medal and Caldecott Honors. More so than the Newbery Medal, a Mock Caldecott Medal competition is great for both upper and primary elementary students as each book must be a picture book. Books can be read in short periods of time and allow for many books to be considered. The Newbery Medal, however, includes both picture books and middle grade novels and makes considering possible winners more difficult to do due to the time constraints of reading novels. Check out below some background information about the medal and the picture books I believe stand the best chance of winning the Caldecott Medal this year!
Previous Mock Caldecott Competitions
For 2021 Caldecott Medal Competition, I correctly guessed the Caldecott Medal winner as well as a few other award winners and honorees.
Hopefully I can continue my streak this year, so you can have that joy of having read the winning books with your students when the award winners are announced at the Youth Media Awards.
Each year the American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards honors books and other media for children at the end of January. Named for the 19th century English children’s book illustrator Randolph Caldecott. The scene depicted on the medal is from a book he illustrated titled “The Diverting Story of John Gilpin.”
The Randolph Caldecott Medal is given to the most distinguished artist of an American picture book. The artist must be an American citizen or resident.
Books may only be considered if they were published in the United States in English first or at the same time as being published in another country or in another language.
A single medal winner is chosen each year and the selection committee may choose one or a few runners-up called Caldecott Honor books.
Caldecott Medal Selection Criteria
A 15 person selection committee comprised of librarians chooses the winner and honor books based on the following criteria:
- Excellence of execution in the artistic technique
- Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.
- Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story,
theme or concept.
- Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or
information through the pictures.
- Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child
If you’d like to read the full Caldecott Committee Manual, you can do so here.
I also have a great blog post detailing some of my favorite Caldecott Medal winners here.
Mock Caldecott 2024 Activities
- Introduce the Caldecott Medal
- Read previous medal winners and honorees
- Present the selection criteria
- Read potential winners
- Vote for which is the best based on the criteria
- Decide how many honor books to select
- Watch the awards live or the recording to see which books won and were honored (usually 30-60 minutes into the awards banquet)
Mock Caldecott 2024 Potential Winners
See below for the books in my mock Caldecott predictions 2024 that I think stand the best chance of winning or being honored to include in your Mock Caldecott 2024 competition. Books are not listed in any order nor does the order reflect which are most or least likely to win.
Check back frequently as I will be updating this list throughout the year!
The Skull by Jon Klassen
Years ago, Jon Klassen had a post on his Instagram about reading an obscure folktale in a remote Alaskan library, forgetting the title of the book, and emailing the librarian with a vague description of the story. Within a few hours, the librarian had found the book and sent him scans of the whole story. THIS is his retelling of the story. It’s creepy, it’s hilarious, it’s heart-warming, and it’s nothing like any book any Caldecott Committee has ever chosen. HOWEVER, this is the book that my four year-old has constantly asked me to reread despite its length. Oh yeah, and it’s Jon Klassen. The way that he creates such technical, descriptive artwork with so little in his trademark understated, less-is-more style is simply stunning. Everyone who I have talked to who has read it has something to say about it, and that’s important.
The Tree and the River by Aaron Becker
Aaron Becker received a Caldecott Honor back in 2014 for Journey, but maybe it’s time he finally wins the medal for this one? The Tree and the River tells the tale of how ephemeral people are in the grand scheme of things using a single setting: a tree and a river. While people change everything around nature, people eventually destroy themselves leaving the tree and the river ready to continue on and start anew. In Becker’s trademark style, much is left to be discovered in each illustration.
Stickler Loves the World by Lane Smith
2 time Caldecott Honoree Lane Smith has come out with what very well might win him the medal in Stickler. The mixture of techniques and media he appears to use in the story are incredible and oftentimes play with the words. On top of the illustrations that every committee must consider, it’s a book that kids and adults would love to read. Stickler is hilarious and yet endearing and thoughtful. And yet it has a message that would get adults wanting to pick it up to read.
How to Write a Poem by Kwame Alexander and Melissa Sweet
This book is showing up on a lot of Caldecott hopeful lists, but I’m torn. Do I love the book? Yes! Are the illustrations amazing? It’s Melissa Sweet. Of course! Do I think it will be the one to win Melissa Sweet the medal? I don’t think so. This is the sequel to How to Read a Book, and that book was not given an honor. Does this book break new ground that the other didn’t? Maybe. Is it enough to distinguish it from its predecessor? Maybe. The quality is worthy of Caldecott buzz at the very least.
Caldecott Predictions 2024
Conclusion: Mock Caldecott 2024 Activities
Be sure to have a fun Mock Caldecott competition at your school! Which books do you think have a chance of winning? Did I miss any that you think really have a good chance? Also, School Library Journal has lists of predictions throughout the year if you are looking for more ideas!
Get THE ENTIRE MOCK CALDECOTT 2024 UNIT ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES