Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Newbery Award & Mock Award Discussion Resources

Yesterday evening, I spoke to a group of school librarians at their monthly Library Media Specialist Academy meeting. My 2014 Mock Newbery school library co-facilitator arranged for me to speak on two specific points: the Newbery and my experience on the committee; and mock award programs in the library. I want to share here the variety of resources we discussed in the course of the presentation. Get mocking!

The Newbery Award

  • Gather your kids. My 2014 Mock Newbery involved a group of around 3 dozen fourth- and fifth-graders, all of whom had been selected by their teachers and school librarian due to their past success at reading lots of state award nominees. You can also arrange a Mock Newbery with individual classrooms, or entire grade levels.
  • Choose your books. Great sources for choosing eligible books include Betsy Bird's Newbery/Caldecott predictions; the For Those About to Mock blog; the Heavy Medal blog; the Goodreads shelf of books tagged "newbery-2015" (or whatever award year you're looking for); and starred reviews from different journals.
  • Procure some books. This could be all library copies, special non-catalogued copies, copies donated by Friends of the Library groups, or a combination.
  • Explain Newbery criteria to the kids. I put together a simple sheet with terms pulled from the Newbery manual.
  • Create a scorecard to help participants keep track of their reading. (Mine is based off of one shared on the ALSC Blog by Sarah Abercrombie.)
  • Meet regularly for discussion. My school librarian Mock Newbery partner arranged for me to visit her school library once a month from September through December. Each hour-long meeting opening with some introductory material by me--usually reminders of criteria. Then we'd discuss, with emphasis on comparing our mock titles to one another. We usually wrapped up with some time for question.
  • Arrange a voting party. Our voting party took place on a Saturday afternoon in January at my library--a great way to bring new faces into the public library. We had pizza; discussed books using the CCBC's Book Discussion Guidelines; and used a balloting sheet to vote for our winner and honor books.
  • Celebrate your winners AND the real winners! Share your mock medalist and honorees with the school, at the public library, etc. Then make sure to tune in for the YMA announcement and report back to your Mock Newbery group.

Additional Mock Award Resources

These are the resources I discussed during the course of my talk. Do you have additional resources that you think I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments and I'll edit them in!

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