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Themes

Although you may want to focus on particular Caldecott artists or books, there are lots of other ways to engage young people in Caldecott award winning books. Consider using a thematic approach. This may include reading a series of books, participating in literature circles, or completing Think! Pair! Share! assignments.

Caldecott Books

videoLet's start with ideas for sharing your passion for books. Think of ways to engage learners in reading Caldecott books.

Promote Caldecott Books. Begin by showing videos as a way to promote reading. Encourage students to create their own productions. Keep in mind that the copyright law does not allow young people to reproduce and share the images from books. However it's okay to create your own adapted version or retell the story. It's fine to share book covers and any other individual images that the publisher has made available for book promotion.

First the EggEggs Theme

There are many fables, folk tales, and stories about eggs. Check out Caldecott winnter The First Egg by Laura Seeger. Eggs are easy to draw, so they're great for illustration projects for young kids. They're particularly fun on the computer because they're easy to duplicate. Try having some fun with software such asthe open source TuxPaint. The Caldecott honor book The Talking Eggs by Robert D. Check out the The Talking Eggs Discussion Guide from Scholastic and the Egg & Chick Theme page.

San Souici with illustrations by Jerry Pinkey explores southern folktales about eggs. A Reading Rainbow episode on the topic of eggs could incorporates the books Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco and Stefan & Olga by Betsy Day. Consider adding An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long. Use 42explore: eggs for background information on eggs.

Music Theme

Duke EllingtonThe illustrations in the Caldecott winner Duke Ellington bring the time period and work of Duke Ellington to life. However the addition of background music available in the CD and video version may be help young readers understand the emotion of Jazz music.

Get students involved in reflecting on the book using a tool such as Inspiration. Use the biography template to get students started. Or, use BioCube from ReadWriteThink

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin was featured as a Reading Rainbow episode. They also featured the books The Maestro Plays by Bill Martin Jr., Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney, and Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes. Combine these books with a center focusing on Music Interactive websites.

Ask students to read a Caldecott book. The, select or write a theme song for the book. For instance, read The Stray Dog and adapt the song BINGO.

Journeys Theme

From a camera's journey across the ocean in Flotsam to an immigrant's experience in Grandfather's Journey, many Caldecott books have themes that focused on journeys. Use Google Earth the visualize the journey. Then determine the miles. Create your own map with distance information and drawing.

Check out I'm new Here, Halmoni and the Picnic by Sook Nyui Choi, and The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland to explore how traditions are shared from generation to generation. Study immigrants and their experiences coming to live in a new country. Check out the Reading Rainbow episode.

Try the Global Trek activity from Scholastic to take virtual journeys around the world. Write a story about this experience.

How has travel changed since the the 1930s-1940s? If you were going to travel what mode would you use? Where would you go? Use the Transportation PowerPoint (PPT) starter to think about how travel has changed.

Mirette on the High WireBalancing, Daredevils, and Tightrope Walking

Young people love books about daredevils. Mirette on the High Wire can be paired with other books about tightrope walking such as The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Study the science of tightrope walking. Conduct your own experiments in balance, gravity, and motion. Also read The Balancing Girl by Berniece Rabe about a girl who balances objects while in her wheelchair.

Write a story about your own daredevil experience. Start with a photo of the place you'd like to start such as the Grand Canyon or a natural arch.

 

Urban Life

Read books about urban life including Make Way for Ducklings, Tar Beach, Harlem, and Smoky Nights. If you live in the city, compare your urban life with that in the books. If not, write your own book about living in a small town or rural area. Compare city and country life using a Venn Diagram. Also look for other children's books about city and country like such as Jan Brett's Town Mouse, Country Mouse.

Alphabet Books

Gone Wild, The Graphic Alphabet, and Alphabet City are three Caldecott alphabet books. Compare the approaches and create your own. Ask each student to add a page. Use Tuxpaint and draw your images or use a digital camera and create images of letters in the "real world" that can be placed in PowerPoint.

Explore alphabet books online:

Architecture and Building

Sector 7 and Castle are two of the Caldecott books focusing on architecture and buildings. Write your own book about some aspect of building or construction. For instance, Design your own castle. Use the photographs from inspiration. Write a story about the castle.

Shared Content

There are endless possibilities for themes. Be creative. Look for books with the same animal or props. For instance, The Three Pigs and My Friend Rabbit both contain airplanes. In the story, The Three Pigs the pigs flew in a paper airplane. Imagine another story with pigs using a different type of transportation. Also, explore other stories where animals ride in vehicles such as Sheep in a Jeep.

 


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