Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slice of Life - Youth Media Awards Excitement

I've been participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers. I love the challenge of composing a piece of writing at least once a week about life or teaching.
The day all children's nerdy book lovers look forward to all year happened yesterday: 

I say I look forward to it all year because my Mock Newbery Club starts meeting early - in February, and we start reading new books right away, talk about the characteristics of award winners, and begin making predictions.  We meet over the summer at our local library to continue the conversations, and reconvene in the fall.  In December we make our predictions and talk about our favorites.  Then we anxiously await the announcements.  I usually do a short Mock Caldecott unit, also, in November or December.  My students know I love picture books, and they do, too, so we choose our favorites for that.  They knew that Journey was my pick for the Caldecott. 
Mock Newbery Club  Favorite
Mock Newbery Club's Honor Picks
Other Mock Newbery Club Favorites
   The Water Castle Doll Bones
 Paperboy The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp The Boy On The Porch
  PRINTZ HONOR                                                                           HONOR YALSA
Favorites for Caldecott
                                      HONOR               HONOR
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Journey Flora and the Flamingo Hank Finds an Egg The Story of Fish and Snail The Day the Crayons Quit
Favorites for Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
              HONOR       HONOR FOR
                                 SIBERT, CALDECOTT
Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard Locomotive Paul Thurlby's Wildlife Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest--and Most Surprising--Animals on Earth
Favorite for YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America's First Black Paratroopers
We did pretty well predicting!!  We started talking as soon as school started!  I have 5th grade locker bay duty, so kids gathered around at 8:30 am and excitedly chatted about the awards and what might win.  (One student also told me she had had a dream about me Sunday night that I was married to Justin Bieber!  Ha!)  Then the big moment was revealed, and I tried to get it all on video.  Of course, my iPhone filled up and the recording was cut off in one class, but I got some good moments (one class watched it live, but the other class watched a recording):
Such excitement!  There were a few disappointments for some kids, though, because your heart gets so set on your favorite that when it doesn't win, there's a moment of sadness.  But that's okay because it just shows how much books mean to these kids!  I had that moment when Journey didn't win the top prize, but Locomotive is absolutely deserved of it, and I was happy for Brian Floca.  I was very happy for Aaron Becker that Journey won an Honor, though, and I know the committee does the best job possible!  Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is such a sweet book.  Interesting that two of the Honors books were wordless.  I loved that my students and I had read so many of the winners!  Lots of us loved Flora and Ulysses, and how perfect was it that our new Ambassador of Children's Literature, Kate DiCamillo won the top award!!  Lots of us loved Doll Bones by Holly Black and Paperboy by Vince Vawter, too!  I'll write more about the Sibert winners tomorrow on my Nonfiction Wednesday post.  I wrote about Flora and Ulysses on a Celebration Saturday post not too long ago:
We celebrated Kate DiCamillo at our Mock Newbery Club meeting this week because I finished Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures and LOVED it!  After book talking it, we watched this video and all enjoyed it:
I also wrote about it in a It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  post:
"Holy bagumba!" I loved this book! Kate DiCamillo is a magician with words and stories. I love how she combines fantasy, friendship, and quirkiness in all her books to make unforgettable characters. This one involves a squirrel who gains superhero powers after being sucked into the Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner (weird, I know, but somehow this story element works) and captures the heart of Flora who names him Ulysses, of course. He is a poet and valiant friend, keeping Flora company in her self-professed cynical world. Flora's mother is a romance writer who seems more attached to her tacky lamp than Flora, and William Spiver is the temporarily blinded nephew of the lovable neighbor, Tootie. Flora's parents are divorced, thus her cynicism, but she still believes in superheroes and becomes Ulysses's mentor, giving him his "wings." Even though this book seems suitable for younger elementary kids, it is not for the faint of heart - lots of incredibly challenging vocabulary words are imbedded into life philosophies and sophisticated themes. Here's a smattering of some of the words: malfeasance, vanquish, eradicate, obfuscation, nefarious, euphemism, unremitting - see what I mean? I loved the ending and can't wait to share this with my Mock Newbery Club. Will they like it? I hope so! I feel about Kate's books the way Flora feels about Ulysses when he flies: "It was as if some small peace descended.  The world became dreamy, beautiful, slow."
And yes, my Mock Newbery Club loved it! :-)
I hung up my personalized "The Journey Never Ends" print in my classroom, but first I snapped a picture:
 I am blessed to live out my passion for books and writing in my chosen vocation every day with these kiddos who share my passion.  Congratulations to all the award winners!  Thank you for doing what you do. 
Here's to 2013 books! 
Now for 2014.  Let the reading begin!  Our 2015 Mock Newbery Club meets for the first time on February 3rd.  The journey never ends!!
There was an NPR segment today on the winners:
Full list of Award Winners:


  1. Oh, I can feel the excitement all the way over the ocean. I hope that many of the books will be translated into Estonian soon. I wish the wordless books will find their way over here even sooner.

  2. This is great - I love seeing kids this excited about books! That was such a fun morning!

    1. It was awesome. I'm excited for 2014 now!

  3. Loved the clips from your classroom, Holly. These are book loving kids!

    1. They really are. It's so fun to read with them! :-)

  4. love love that I got to be home for this....I'm so excited that Kate won for Flora! I'm also so glad that Katherine Paterson won the Laura Ignalls Wilder. I'm so happy that you are doing such awesome things with your students around books. xo

    1. Katherine Paterson is so wonderful. She could win every award! :-)

  5. Love seeing the pictures and the excitement-we had such fun yesterday, too! I wish I could be there sometime! Thanks Holly!

  6. Awesome post. Thanks for combing all of these wonder parts to celebrate these amazing books.

  7. You DID do pretty well predicting. Yea!

  8. Oh, I want to do something like this with my students!! I'm inspired. Thanks so much Holly! (By the way, I love the peek into your classroom! Love the tables and books everywhere. Made me smile!!!)