Blogger Stacy Dillon

Changing up the Curriculum

CSK Seal
CSK Seal

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.


  1. Robin Smith

    Thank you so much for this! I love gentle reminders to read widely. There are so many treasures on the CSK list. I am especially fond of some of the older ones.

  2. Diane Foote

    What a fun project! The CSK books represent an amazing array of different styles of illustration and writing, and subject matter. Your students are so fortunate that you have such control over your own curriculum, and that you have chosen the CSK books as your focus! Please let us know more about their reactions to this literature. How eye-opening that they have noted the ethnicity of the characters, when they don’t normally notice that in the books they read/view. Just goes to show how vitally important the CSK awards are, especially when introduced to young people along with all the other award-winning titles. Not to mention how vitally important it is for students to be able to benefit from a well-informed school librarian!

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