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

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is about two boys, Sam and Dave, who begin digging a hole with their dog in search of something amazing. Sam and Dave dig and dig but can never seem to find anything. They dig in one direction and right as they are about to discover a diamond, they get tired and change directions. Each time they do this, their dog is always facing in the direction they would need to go to reach the diamond. They continue this pattern of almost reaching it and then changing directions until they have completely dug around the diamond. Eventually Sam and Dave discover something quite amazing, however it isn't what you would expect it to be. Sam and Dave are so tired from digging that they fall asleep in their hole. Suddenly, Sam, Dave, and their dog begin to fall for a very long time. When they finally landed, all three characters are sitting on the ground in front of their house. They didn't find anything amazing when they were digging, but they did experience something spectacular.

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.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole - Official Book Trailer

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Kitten's First Full Moon is a wonderfully illustrated book about the first time a young kitten saw a full moon. The kitten thinks that the moon is a big bowl of milk. Kitten tries to do everything she can to get to this bowl of milk. She jumps for it, chases it, and even climbs a tree for it! No matter what she does kitten just can't seem to reach this bowl of milk. Then, sitting in the tree, kitten looks down at the pond and sees an even bigger bowl of milk. She climbs down the tree and jumps towards the milk, just find herself sitting in a pond. The kitten was very unhappy. She was wet, cold, and hungry. Defeated, kitten slowly walked back home. When kitten reached home she found a real bowl of milk waiting for her on the porch. The sad defeated kitten became a happy and lucky kitten.

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.

Kitten's First Full Moon Book Trailer

The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock illustrated by Mary Grandpre

The Noisy Paint Box is an amazing story about how Vasya Kandinsky created abstract art. Before Vasya was introduced to art he was a proper Russian boy who worked on his studies, practiced the piano, and listened to grown ups talk. One day his aunt came to visit and gave him a paint box. As Vasya began to use the paint box he heard whispers and noises. The more he began to paint the more noises he heard that sounded like a symphony. He painted the sound of the colors until there was no more noise. Vasya was so excited about his paintings but no one else understood his art. Vasya was forced to go to art class and become just like everyone else. Eventually he stopped painting, focused on his studies, and became a layer. He could shake the noises in his head so Vasya began to paint again. Once again he learned from professionals who once again told him to be just like everyone else, painting houses, flowers, and people. His fellow art friends understood Vasya. They too heard the music in their painting. Unlike Vasya, his friends weren't sure how to actually paint what they were feeling, so Vasya showed them. Vasya named his paintings after music that he deeply loved and thus created abstract art.

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.

The Noisy Paint Box

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

A Ball for Daisy is an amazing picture book without words. The illustrations tell a story about a dog named Daisy who loves her red ball. Daisy loves this ball so much that she plays with it all day and then when she's done playing she sleeps with the ball right next to her. One day Daisy goes to the park with her owner and takes her red ball. Daisy spends a lot of time chasing after the ball and having a blast. Daisy is having so much fun that another dog decides to join in. This makes Daisy very nervous. She doesn't really like someone else playing with her red ball, after all it is her favorite. Suddenly the other dog pops Daisy's ball. Daisy begins to cry and howl. As her owner tries to leave, Daisy becomes even more sad. They leave the ball behind at the park and go home. Daisy cries and cries. Her owner tries to comfort her but it doesn't help. The next day Daisy and her owner went to the park. When they got there they were greeted by the dog who popped the ball and the dog's owner. The other dog had a new blue ball for Daisy. This made Daisy very happy! The two dogs played with the blue ball for a very long time. At the end of the day Daisy got to happily go home with her new blue ball.

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.

A Ball for Daisy | Book Trailer