Booklist: Reading Month 2017

By Maureen Schlosser | BookLists

Celebrate Reading Month with award-winning books and activities everyone will love! Start by introducing the 2017 winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, the John Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King awards, and the Theodor Seuss Geisel award.

2017 Caldecott Medal Winner

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe was awarded the Randolph Caldecott Medal; a medal that recognizes notable picture books for children. Basquiat’s talent for painting and drawing with different mediums inspired the author/illustrator, Javaka Steptoe, to do the same. Scraps of wood, colorful paint, chalk drawings, newspaper clippings, photographs, and pencil drawings fill the pages with intriguing illustrations. Children will appreciate reading the biography of an artist with a relentless passion for creating art with no limitations.

Take a Closer Look at Caldecott Medal Winners

Encourage your students to become art experts by looking closely at the illustrations of Caldecott Medal winners. Ask students to discuss what they notice about the illustrations. Next, spend some time helping students determine the kind of art they find most appealing. You might even involve your school's art teacher to help your students identify the mediums used across the different medal winning books.

BookPagez offers more extension activities for use with the following Caldecott Medal winners:

Owl Moon

Snowflake Bentley

So You Want to be President

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

The Polar Express

The Snowy Day

Where the Wild Things Are

2017 John Newbery Medal

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill was awarded the John Newbery Medal for being the most notable children’s book published in 2016. You'll want to put this book in the hands of the child who love stories of wondrous magic, good witches, humorous dragons and gentle monsters. The story begins with a good-natured witch who finds a baby girl alone in the forest. The witch is instantly enamored with the baby and takes her home to meet her friends; a dragon and a monster. The reader quickly learns there is something magical about the baby who seems to gather her power from the moon.

Pair this book with The BFG by Roald Dahl and study the strong plot lines; a criterion for the John Newbery Award. Although The BFG was never a consideration for the Newbery Award because Roald Dahl was not an American author, children may argue that the plot line is worthy of the award. Try using this set of lesson plans and Book Club activities with The BFG to focus on the figurative language used in the book.

Take a Closer Look at Newberry Medal Winners

John Newbery Award winning books have strong plots. Spend some time discussing the qualities of a strong plot by reading other award-winning books. For example, you might use the Sarah, Plain and Tall Super Pack to focus on the ways characters are developed across text to confirm the book was worthy of the 1986 John Newbery Award.

2017 Coretta Scott King Award

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Coretta Scott King Award recognizes important literature by African American writers and illustrators. This year, the illustrator award went to “Radiant Child” by Javaka Steptoe. The author award went to “March: Book Three” by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin.

Take a Closer Look at Coretta Scott King Winners

March: Book Three is a graphic novel that will inform your students about the relentless fight for basic human rights during the Civil Rights Movement. Readers will find themselves asking questions about the events in the book, curious to learn more about what took place not too long ago. Pair this book with Brown Girl Dreaming, another Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner. Then use the Research and Write templates from BookPagez to guide students as they ask questions about the Civil Rights Movement. You can further explore the movement with the Brown Girl Dreaming Super Pack, and support readers by checking for understanding with supplied conversation prompts.

2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

We Are Growing

We Are Growing by Laurie Keller and Mo Willems won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. This award recognizes remarkable books for beginning readers. Fans of the Elephant and Piggie series will be overjoyed to see their favorite characters introduce this engaging story that personifies blades of grass. Large speech bubbles throughout the story are full of silly sounds the grass makes as it grows.

Take a Closer Look at Theodor Seuss Geisel Winners

There is a surprise ending in this story that delivers an interesting message for children to consider, much like I Want My Hat Back, a 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book. Give children the opportunity to reread these funny books that will surely make them laugh. Both books are perfect for practicing retelling and summarizing. For detailed lessons, please visit the I Want My Hat Back Super Pack by BookPagez.