Caldecott Award Study
5 Must Read Books for Kindergarten Through 2nd Grade
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend is an amazing story about a land where imaginary friends are created. As the imaginary friends are thought up, they leave the land and become united with their new best friend. Beekle is a friend who has not yet been imagined. He watches all of his friends leave as they become imagined and eventually he gets tired of waiting. Beekle decides that if someone won't imagine him, he must find his friend himself. Beekle travels far and wide to find his match. He travels over oceans and encounters many strange and scary things. Eventually Beekle, who isn't really named yet, reaches the real world. He searches high and low for his best friend and can't find anyone. As Beekle is sitting all alone in a tree, he hears a young girl call out to him. He climbed down to greet the stranger, who quite frankly felt very familiar to him. They stared at each other for a little bit, unsure of what to do. Eventually the girl introduced herself. As Beekle went to introduce himself he realized that he didn't have name. The girl shouted out Beekle, and they immediately became the best of friends.
I particularly love this book for many reasons. The illustrations are breathtaking because they are absolutely amazing. I love the story because I can remember being so attached to my imaginary friend when I was growing up. I got in trouble with my mom one time because I did something bad and then told her that my imaginary friend's parents let her do it so I should be able to as well. Having imaginary friends is a key part of childhood. This story has a great message of perseverance and working hard for something you want. I would use this book in my class during morning meeting or to end the day. I would also use this book to demonstrate the caldecott award and how amazing illustrations in a story can be. Illustrations tell a story of their own.
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett illustrated by Jon Klassen
I love this book because the illustrations tell just as much, if not more, than the words in the book. This book would be great to use with students for inferencing and context clues. I would love to see students look at the pictures in this book and add on to the story. This is a great book for making predictions about what will happen next and making inferences. The book ends in a very surprising way and I would love to see kids' reactions and thoughts to the end. At first I found the ending really confusing because they started in a hole and ended up back on normal ground. It would be interesting to see how kids react to that kind of ending.
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
I love this story because it describes seeing something for the very first time. When something new is discovered there is a process that occurs. The new discovery is strange and exciting and often times a lot of things happen to try and figure out what it is. I love that this process is described from an animal's perspective. I never thought of the full moon looking like a bowl of milk, especially to a young kitten. I would love to use this in my classroom because I love not just the story but that the illustrations are in black and white. I feel like most books are illustrated in color and that it's important for students to see that books can be just as wonderfully illustrated in black and white. I also would love to hear my students' experiences with discovering something for the very first time.
The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock illustrated by Mary Grandpre
Not only does this book have outstanding illustrations, it also contains an important lesson; never give up on your dreams. Vasya was repeatedly told to be like everyone else. No one understood his art but Vasya never gave up. His perseverance created an entirely new art form which is widely accepted today. This is a great book to read to students when talking about hard work and perseverance. It's important for students to know that your goals can be accomplished if you never give up. I also love the illustrations in this book. Mary Grandpre did a wonderful job creating elaborate, colorful, eye catching illustrations that truly brought this story to life.
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
This book is such an amazing book because the illustrates are so great that you know exactly what the story is without having to read words. I would love to use this in my classroom for storytelling. I think it would be great to have my students look at the pictures as a class and then write their own stories to go along with the pictures. I believe it's important to view picture books with no words so that students can have an understanding of just how powerful illustrations can be.