This is the time of year when speculation on which books might take the win for our Youth Media Awards begins. My first encounter with a mock anything took place my first December working as a children’s librarian when my library system hosted a mock Caldecott and Newbery during a day long training for all youth services staff. Ever since then I have been hooked. I love hearing other people’s opinions on the books we look over using the lens of the different awards’ criteria.
Three years ago I decided that I wanted to try a “Predicting the Caldecott Winner” program for the families at my public library. I’ve done one every year since with a few changes each year as I see what works and what doesn’t. Opening up these types of programs to the public has been very rewarding. Parents and caregivers get a chance to look over fantastic books that might not have made it into their check out stacks before. Children get a chance to express what they like about the artwork and find out what materials were used to create them. Adults and children both love hearing about the work the committee does and how the books are selected.
While it may seem daunting to select which titles to include when conducting a mock for the public or other professionals, there are plenty of online resources that can help you in your search. Jen J’s Booksheets is a great place to start. This website keeps track of all the starred reviews books get each year, and her spreadsheet puts them in order of most to least starred reviews earned. If you are using this list for a mock Caldecott or Newbery you will have to do some light research to see if the author or illustrator is eligible for the award by being a United States citizen or living in the United States when the book was created. Calling Caldecott and Heavy Medal are other great resources for finding ideas about which books to include in your lists. If you would like to try a mock Corretta Scott King, The Brown Bookshelf is a great website to find authors, illustrators, and titles that would qualify for that award. If you would like to try a mock Pura Belpre, then Latinxs in Kid Lit is a wonderful place to start.
During your mocks you will want the committee guidelines handy to help steer the conversations. Here are some links to help:
Once your mock is completed don’t forget to submit your results on the ALSC blog here so everyone can see what your co-workers or community members selected! Be sure to look at all the other mock results here.
This post addresses the ALSC Core Competencies III. Programming Skills and IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials.
Melissa Sokol is a Children’s Services Librarian for Dayton Metro Libraries and is posting on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee. You can email her at email@example.com.