I mentioned in a previous blog post that I was going to embark on a Coretta Scott King illustrator award study with my students. I am lucky enough to be fully in charge of my own curriculum, so what I decided to do was to swap out the Caldecott study I had done in the past.
So far we have read 5 honor and winning titles including Beautiful Blackbird, Mirandy and Brother Wind, Uptown, Ellington Was Not A Street, and Jazz on a Saturday Night. We will continue reading until winter break. After break we will work on our ballot and vote for our favorite of the titles that we have read. Luckily, one of these classes has library during the award announcements and we will be watching the live stream.
The discussions about the art work have been rich and informed (“I think it’s collage”- “Wow…those pictures look so realistic!” -“Blackbird has brighter colors. Ellington Was Not A Street has quieter colors.”) What has been more telling to me are the discussions about the content. While I cannot recall ever hearing a student notice “all the characters are white”, they have been noticing “all of the characters are African American.” These comments are the ones that let me know that I need to be making an even more conscious effort to diversify my book choices across the board.