For the last 13 years, I have had the privilege of participating in the Irma Black Award process. Every year, I have read piles and piles of picture books to help create a “short” list of about 100 titles. I have had joyful, frustrating, exuberant meetings with graduate faculty, reviewers, teacher/librarians, public librarians and colleagues, arguing and advocating about what makes the best picture book of the year, illustrations AND words.
Then the letting go… leading conversations about these books but also trusting that 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds can make the choice of the four finalists. That they internalize these questions…do the pictures tell more than the words? Show me. Is the story clear? Age appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders? Do you want to hear the story again? Why? Do you want to share this book with someone else? Does the art reflect the mood and tone of the story?
And they do… whew! They select the best read-aloud books of the year. Those of you looking to boost your read-aloud collection need look no further than the past winners. This list of winners and honor books is a fine collection of backlist books that are a joy to share with children.
Previously only twelve cooperating schools’ students were invited to participate. This year, in conjunction with School Library Journal, we invite you, your librarians and your communities’ children to revel in the best picture books of the year and vote.
Think of it as a pop-up program. Do you have school visits with 1st and 2nd graders? After school programs? Are you pressured to show that your programming is tied in to state standards?
To join us, please register on the SLJ site. Then, read aloud and discuss the four finalists with 1st and 2nd graders, several times over four weeks. Ask the kids to vote on their favorites, through the links we send once you have registered (more information is available here, under the FAQ). Help us make our goal of 10,000 kids voting.
The Four Finalist for the 2010 Irma Black Award