Each year, students in 1st through 4th grades explore different book awards in the Lower School Library. Readers learn how committees work together toward a common goal, how to analyze literature with a critical eye and how the voting process works. Award units culminate in the Latin Book Awards assembly where winners are announced to the entire Lower School. View the 2023 mock book awards list.
First graders studied the Monarch Book Award, Illinois’ readers' choice award for students in grades K-3. The Monarch butterfly was chosen to “symbolize the growth, change and freedom that becoming a reader brings.” We read many selected books, challenging students to think critically and familiarize themselves with a variety of books and their creators, ultimately voting on the book they like the best. This year, we had a tie with Friday Night Wrestlefest by J.F. Fox and Micah Player and Lift by Minh Lê and Dan Santat both taking the award!
Second grade explored the Caldecott Award, given annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. We read six contenders for the 2023 Caldecott Award and discussed ways in which the books are excellent in quality, distinct in their design, and a singular achievement by the artists to create a complete “Oh wow!” contribution to our bookshelves. Readers flex their critical muscles as they look beyond the surface, choosing not only the book they like the best but one that meets the parameters of the award most fully. This year students chose Knight Owl by Christopher Denise as their Caldecott winner!
Third grade celebrated the Coretta Scott King Award, presented to authors and illustrators of African American descent whose works promote an understanding and appreciation of the "true worth and value of all beings." We read 6 distinct fiction and/or nonfiction picture books highlighting African American culture or history looking for excellence, information and inspiration as our criteria for “Oh wow!” CSK Award winners. After reading, discussing, and debating, the Third Grade Committee chose Bessie the Motorcycle Queen by Charles R. Smith, Jr. and Charlot Kristensen as the winner of the Latin CSK Award.
Fourth grade dove deep into nonfiction books for the Sibert Award. Students read 6 books featuring distinguished writing and illustration with a clear and accurate presentation in both text and illustration. Readers look closely at the informational contenders and vote using criteria that make them say, “Oh wow!” Ultimately, the Fourth Grade Committee chose Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and Daniel Minter as the winner.
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