Teaching About the Caldecott Medal - Part Two

What is a Mock Caldecott?

One popular activity that many libraries do around this time of year is a mock Caldecott election. A mock Caldecott is simply where students read and vote on which book they think should receive the Caldecott Medal.

There are many ways to do a mock Caldecott from simple to complex. I am going to explain two ways I have done it in the past just to give you an idea. I am also going to give you two different book lists. The first is a list of the books that I think are excellent contenders for the 2019 award. The next list is books that I feel would do well to use as part of a mock Caldecott. 

This second list has both new and older titles. I chose books that I thought might be part of most school library collections and ones that I feel meet the requirements of earning a Caldecott. This is just a guideline of course. You can use whatever books you would like.

Holding a Mock Caldecott in your library

1. Choose the dates that you want to hold the mock Caldecott. This depends on how many books you want to use and how you want to run the election. I generally take about 2-3 weeks.
2. Choose the grade levels you want to do this with (2nd and 3rd work well). Before you begin make sure to remind students that they are not choosing a book that is their favorite or that has the coolest pictures. They are choosing a book whose illustrations does the best job of telling the story.
3. Once you decide on the books you want to use for your mock Caldecott you will need to print off the ballots. The way I do this is print off blank copies of the Caldecott ballot (the same one that is in my Caldecott Resource Pack). Then as the students read the books (or after I have read the books to them) they will fill out the ballot. They will fill out a ballot for each book. 

Caldecott Medal and Caldecott Honor books

4. Once the books have been read and the students have filled out their ballots, they will record the results on their tally sheet. Then you will review the tally sheets and find out which book the class chose as their favorite. This book is the winner of the Mock Caldecott Medal. The books that came in second and third place are the Honor Books.

5. Once the winner is decided you can have the students fill out the graphic announcer "Introducing the Winner". I like to put these up on display and show the books that were used for the mock Caldecott election.


  • Try to collaborate with the art teacher (if you have one in your school). Ask the art teacher to review some of the different illustrating techniques that are frequently used in picture books. 
  • Show students a video of a past announcement of the Caldecott winners.
  • Have students vote using books that you have read to them that school year. This way they are already familiar with the books and it will save time (sometimes when there are a lot of snow days this can be very helpful.)
  • Send letters home to parents explaining the Caldecott Medal and the mock Caldecott election. You can also hold an assembly to announce the winners or if that's not possible to announce the winners on the morning announcements.

Alternative Idea

  • Choose the books you want to use for the mock Caldecott.
  • Create a ballot with the names of the books that you are using for the election. Place the books around the library. Number each book with a sign. Make sure the numbers on the signs match the numbers on the ballots. 
  • Then have students rotate around the library and look at the books. If you chose only a few books you might be able to get this done in one class period. The fewer students you can have in each group the better. It's more difficult if you have five or six students trying to look at one book at the same time.
  • Use a timer so students have to move on to the next book when time is up. 
  • When students get to the last station they will fill out their ballots. They will simply number the books with 1 being their favorite, 2 their second favorite etc.
  • Tally up the results. You can do this as a class or you can collect the ballots and present the winners to the class the next time you see them.
  • You can have students fill out the graphic organizer or create a poster showcasing the winning book from each class.
If you would like to check out my Caldecott Medal PowerPoint and Activities you can find it on my website or in my TpT store.

Children's literature school librarian resources

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