Children's Literature Alive! Foundation became a 501(c)(3) organization in April 2001. Shortly thereafter, individuals made contributions and
two major gifts were given by private foundations at the end of 2001.
Beginning in October, Marian Creamer, Director, worked with Irvington Elementary School in northeast Portland. This Portland Public School had little or no
funds to purchase new picture books for the school library. After the initial meeting with four teachers and the school librarian, training and activities
were scheduled for the staff and approximately one hundred second grade students. The teachers participated in a two-hour training to understand the
Caldecott Award and the process for selecting the most distinguished picture books published during the year. The Mock Caldecott Project, for which we are
seeking funding, is modeled after the process the actual Caldecott Committee uses to select the most distinguished picture book published during the preceding
year. Marian Creamer then worked with each of the four classes for approximately one hour, while the classroom teachers observed the methods for studying and
discussing picture books. Students become passionately involved with high quality, recently published literature, using critical thinking skills to analyze,
discuss, nominate, and articulate their reasons for selecting what they think is the best picture book.
Teachers were given information describing the process for selecting the Caldecott winner and Honor books and they in turn imparted the information to their
students. Students read, discussed and evaluated approximately sixteen picture books published in 2001 for approximately three months. Jane Corry, Multnomah
County Library, youth librarian, also met with students and assisted in the location and checkout of books that were eligible for this award. Ms. Corry writes:
"I regularly visit the second grade classes at Irvington Elementary to read and discuss picture books. Last year they participated in Children's Literature
Alive! and were very enthusiastic participants. They held their own Caldecott election. I watched as their sophistication and enthusiasm in looking at and
discussing picture books grew. The teachers were so enthused that they decided to follow the same format and do it on their own this year. Each month I look
forward to visiting them, to reading Caldecott winners and honor books to them and finding the best new books to discuss. The enthusiasm and knowledge of the
children led me to attend the Oregon Library Association Mock Caldecott workshop. It was a wonderful opportunity not only to discuss and learn how to discuss
picture books, but also to refine my own ability to look and appreciate."
Marian Creamer returned in January to discuss her experience as a member of the 2002 Caldecott Committee. She discussed the winning titles with the students,
and presented them with approximately $250 worth of books. A second gift of approximately $315. worth of picture books (19 titles) published the next year
were presented to Irvington School library in January 2003. The teachers who participated in 2001 decided that the project was worthy of continued study for
a second year.
The Mock Caldecott election is a cross-curricular unit including elements of information skills, mathematics, social studies, and art literacy. This
authentic learning experience will increase students' literacy and self-esteem. Students are familiar with the titles that are donated to the library and
are anxious to reread, checkout and share with their families. The project benefits children, teachers, and entire school communities. Approximately 100
second-grade children were directly involved. School. Teachers benefited from the teacher training that were integrated into the project. The entire school
community benefited because thirty-four books used in the project were donated to the school library.