2018 Mock Caldecott | 5th Graders Pick Winner!

On November 1, Mr. Schu and I announced our 2018 Mock Caldecott list. I shared it with my students that day, and let them know that we’d be coming back to the list in the New Year. In the past I have done our Mock Caldecott unit in November, but it just felt too long before the winners were announced. I’m really glad I waited. Having our final vote at a time where the Caldecott Committee was in Denver to decide the actual winner, added a little more excitement to the event.

Our list consisted of 20 books. We read most of the books aloud in January, so that we would be ready to dig deeper in early February. We spent this week reread the 20 books over and over and over. Students worked in groups of 2 or 3. These small groups helped them have some rich and lively discussions. During our final day of the unit we, spent a solid 75 minutes rereading the books. Once the kids were ready, they voted for their top 5.

I tallied the votes, and the kids gathered on the carpet. Announcing the 5 finalists was a lot of fun. Emotions were all over the place. Some kids were excited to have 3 of their favorites on the list, and other kids were devastated that their favorite book didn’t make it to the next round. With our five books on display, kids took turns giving arguments about which books they felt were most distinguished. The conversation got a little heated when one kid called one of the finalist garbage. His evidence was impressive, but the kids that loved the “garbage book” really rallied together to defend the book.


Here are the top 5 books in both my morning class (left) and my afternoon class (right).

After every student had the opportunity to share their opinion, I passed out another ballet. This time kids were allowed to pick up to two books. Once we had our two finalist (below), students once again constructed arguments. Things got even more intense this round.

Morning Class Finalists

Afternoon Class Finalists

For the final vote, students just wrote the title they felt was most distinguished on a piece of paper. I collected the papers, and we tallied the votes live. It was so much fun watching them sit on the edge of their seats as each vote came in. In the end, The Antlered Ship was named most distinguished by my morning class.


My afternoon class went with Windows.


On Monday morning, we will stream the announcement live. I’m guessing that some of the books that the kids loved will be selected. I’m also thinking that we’ll be surprised by a few awards, and we’ll all add at least one title to our to-read list.

For more information on watching the announcement live check out this post on Mr. Schu’s blog.

Throughout the whole process, I kept my opinions about what I hope wins the Caldecott Medal to myself. If you are interested in knowing which books I picked, watch the video below.


The Creativity Project drops next month! A huge thank you to everyone that has preordered a copy. It means the world to me.

If you’d like to preorder a copy you can click on this affiliate link to purchase it on Amazon, or click on the image below to purchase a signed copy from Bookbug.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 3.51.56 PM


One thought on “2018 Mock Caldecott | 5th Graders Pick Winner!

  1. What a great activity, Colby! Not only were the kids exposed to all of these great books, they worked collabrately to choose their favorite and to develop their arguments as they campaigned for their books. I hope lots of teachers adopt this lesson in their classroom or library. -Susan


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