Each year, the Washington Library Association book award committees read dozens of books to select nominees for upcoming book award announcements: the Sasquatch, the Towner, the WCCPBA, and the OTTER.
And each year, I spend countless hours reading said nominees and thinking of how I’ll be utilizing them in my elementary library. THIS year, though, the lovely folk at PSESD allowed me to share this at their summer learning institute for new teacher-librarians and library para-educators.
Before I go off on a tangent, know that I’ve read all the WCCPBA books. I wrote critical thinking / analysis questions for all of them. This work is all mine, and I share it freely with you. It should be noted that the WCCPBA committee does create an activity packet, though I find creating my own resource to be more beneficial.
The 2018-2019 WCCPBA nominees:
And the 2018-2019 WCCPB Awards slides from my PSESD presentation in August 2018:
The WCCPBA took up a bit of the presentation. Why? Because there are 20 nominees that can take up 20 weeks of library time. Now when I was a rookie librarian this sounded GREAT. But as a veteran, I do things differently. Unit studies work better for me/my students, so looking at the books with a thematic lens is more successful. This allows for classroom learning, school events, and research opportunities to be incorporated into meaningful, 2-4 week mini-units.
Before I can create any unit, though, I must read each title, think about the nominees as a whole, pull together resources, and create critical thinking questions. Because there are a lot of books and, really, very little time…especially if you celebrate other reading moments like Dot Day, Global Read Aloud, Star Wars Reads, World Read Aloud Day, etc. And I do 🙂
There are tabs on each book, denoting what type of unit I’d likely place it in.
Some books have videos. Some have Skype opportunities. Some have makerspace extensions. And some I won’t choose to read aloud. Because Rule 1 in reading aloud is that I must like the book…and there are some here that aren’t my cup of tea.
Hopefully these resources will help you plan for the year, WA librarian friends.
Cheers, y’all! –arika