Do-It-Yourself Program Ideas: Caldecott Medal Celebration!

CaldecottThis year is the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, awarded to the illustrator for the best artwork in a children’s book: . This is a perfect opportunity to have a fun Caldecott Celebration at your library!  You can hold this event anytime – National Children’s Book Week, anytime during the summer, or next January when the new Caldecott winner is announced.

ALSC presented a wonderful webinar conducted by librarian Gene Nelson, who has been a member of the Caldecott committee.  The webinar was free to all ALSC (Association of Library Service to Children) members, and is available as an archive if you would like to view it: .  Some of the ideas listed below were inspired by Gene Nelson’s comments.

A Caldecott Celebration can be a large, fun event for families, or a simple ongoing “passive” program with a new craft displayed each week for a parent and child to do together. The larger programs can be held inside or outside the library, with a table set up for each activity.  Have two high school volunteers at each activity to help refill craft supplies, monitor the games and give out prizes, and to serve refreshments. For ideas, check out teacher’s guides online, or the illustrators’ websites for activities relating to specific books.

Listed below are several “stations” that can be set-up for this event:


Begin by reading a few Caldecott Medal books, and have a display of the winners and Honor books for folks to check out of the library.  You can also do a flannel board of a Caldecott medal book, such as Simms Taback’s Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (2000 winner).


Since the medal is focused on the artwork in a book, have some fun “free” art activities (those without a set example or outcome), such as collages, finger painting, etc. Just put out the materials and let the kids explore their creativity.

Crafts Relating to Specific Books

Hat Making:  Make some fun hats to celebrate Jon Klassen’s 2013 winner, This Is Not My Hat. Check out some ideas here: .

Paper bag puppets: Make paper bag puppets of favorite Caldecott characters, including the kitten from Kevin Henkes’ Kitten’s First Full Moon (2005), Daisy the dog from Chris Raschka’s A Ball for Daisy (2012), the pig from David Wiesner’s Three Pigs (2002), or the lion from Jerry Pinkney’s Lion & the Mouse (2010). .

Paper airplanes:  Make paper airplanes to celebrate Eric Rohmann’s My Friend Rabbit (2003), using yellow paper to resemble the airplane on the book’s cover.  Here are some instructions: .

Carp Windsocks: Make these fun but easy fish windsocks to celebrate David Wiesner’s Flotsam (2007): .

Snowflakes: In honor of Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (1999), make simple cut paper snowflakes.

Games Relating to Specific Books

Chris Raschka’s A Ball for Daisy (2012) Bowling Game:  Be sure to use a red ball like the one in the book!  Give player three red rubber balls. Roll each at some toy bowling pins that are 6 feet away; give prize based on how many pins are knocked down.

Tightrope Walking Game: Using bright colored masking tape, tape a “tightrope” line on the ground. Players race to see who can make it from one end of their tightrope to the other end, without stepping off. This is fun to play with three players; have judges watch one player each to make sure they don’t step off their “tightropes.” This game celebrates two Caldecott medal books, Mordicai Gerstein’s The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2004) or Emily Arnold McCully’s Mirette on the High Wire (1993).

Officer Buckle and Gloria Office Chair Race: This game is for two players.  Set up two lanes, by putting bright colored masking tape on the ground in lanes 3 feet wide, and 15 feet long.  Each player must stay seated in the rolling desk chair, and must stay in his own lane (for safety reasons).  Starting at one end of the lanes, yell “Go” and see who makes it to the other end of the lane first, without going outside the taped lines on the sides of the lane.

Button Toss:  In celebration of Simms Taback’s Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (2000), have a button toss game.  Give player 5 buttons.  Toss the buttons at empty jam, pickle, or other glass jars. Prizes awarded based on how many buttons you can get into the jars.

Frog Toss:  Make 3 lily pads out of cardstock.  Give player 3 rubber frogs, and have player stand approximately 6 feet from the lily pads. Toss frogs at lily pads; prizes awarded based on how many frogs get onto a lily pad. This game celebrates David Wiesner’s Tuesday (1992) 

Ring a Wild Thing:  Using stuffed toy versions of Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, or cardboard cutouts taped to a soda bottle filled with sand, set the Wild Things on the ground as targets. Have player stand approximately 6 feet away.  Player tosses large embroidery hoops at the targets, trying to Ring a Wild Thing.  Prizes awarded based on how many Wild Things are rung, giving the player three chances.  This game celebrates Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (1964). 

movie_nightMovie Showing

If you would like this program to be an all-day celebration, conclude with a movie showing!  Show one of the films listed below, which are based on Caldecott Medal or Honor books.  Be sure to serve refreshments and give out door prizes to add to the fun – copies of Caldecott books!

“Hugo,” based on Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2008) – .

“Jumanji,” based on Chris Van Allsburg’s Jumanji (1982) - .

“Polar Express,” based on Chris Van Allsburg’s Polar Express (1986) - .

“Where the Wild Things Are,” based on Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (1964) – .

“Caldecott Favorites Featuring The Snowy Day,” based on several Caldecott winners. This three DVD collection has 23 short films, including adaptations of The Snowy Day, Make Way for Ducklings, and many others. - .

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1 Response to Do-It-Yourself Program Ideas: Caldecott Medal Celebration!

  1. Ruth I. Gordon says:

    Years and years ago, LAP and I thought there should be chocolate medals. Big sellers, great p.r. -Big Grandma

    Sent from my iPad

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