Week 2/Book 2 of the Caldecott Medal Unit brought us to the opposite end of the spectrum from "Trombone Shorty." Whereas the first book was throbbing to the trombone beat, "Waiting," by Kevin Henkes, was as one class put it, "calm, quiet and relaxing." We began our class by focusing our eyes on five characters placed on the windowsill of our read aloud area. Then we turned our attention to the book and noticed the connection.
Page by page passed by as we watched the characters, Pig, Bear, Dog, Owl and Rabbit, waiting. As the children allowed their minds to blend with the story and illustrations, and with the use of their "Caldecott glasses," they noticed many things actually happened in the book.The seasons passed by. The weather changed. Gifts appeared. Friends came and left. We ended our story by walking over to the library windows and for exactly 62 seconds we stood quietly waiting and noticing what we could see.
There wasn't a peep.
Usually I don't write about the Caldecott Unit at the Lower School until after it's over and the children have voted for the book that they believe deserves the gold Caldecott Medal. But this year the children are all abuzz with the Caldecott books and Week 1/Book 1 brought a lot of excitement to the library. Before I tell you about Book 1, let me briefly explain about the Caldecott Medal. Each year, since 1937, this award has been given by the American Library Association to the best illustrated picture book of the preceding year. In the Aaron Kushner Library we have been doing this unit for over 24 years. The children symbolically don their "Caldecott Glasses" and focus on the countless details that one can see while looking at the picture books. We look at style, placement, size, color, font and much more. We look for the books where the illustrations match the text like a glove closely fits on your hand during the winter time. Then we vote.
The first book of this unit for this school year was, Trombone Shorty written by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and illustrated by Bryan Collier. It opens up with a proper New Orleans greeting of hello, "Where y'at?" And from the time that I asked the kids to repeat this after me, we were in the swing of the book. Music pops out everywhere in this book from the title page where the letters of the title move up and down just like notes, to the transparent waves of music floating through the air to the cobble stoned streets which mark each beat of music. The children saw all of this while I read the story and then at the end we listened to a pounding video of Trombone Shorty playing in concert several years back. Take a look at one of the classes listening to the video...
...and then take a listen, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yRhacGLGEs
Class ended with the words, "But remember, don't make your mind up yet because we have three more books to look at!"
How much will his stories cost? "Whatever you think," said Rufus. "Surprise me." Rufus writes and illustrates four stories that are included in this book: Orange is the best color, The Wallet and the cat, Annie and the dancing teapot, Button, buttons, buttons. Here's a book that tells you how to imagine, read, write and illustrate. A perfect introduction to the joys of being a child author and illustrator.
My students call me "Lori the Librarian." For the past 25 years I have had the best job as School Librarian in the Aaron Kushner Library for grades K-3 at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston.