“The Night World,” a children’s book written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein that celebrates the secrets of nighttime and the beauty of sunrise, was selected as the mock Caldecott Award winner by Mazza Museum docents during an enrichment event featuring an annual Caldecott Contenders session.
Mazza’s docents receive monthly training on six consecutive Tuesdays at the beginning of each school year so that they can learn about the new artwork that is hung in the museum each summer. A December date is chosen for the mock Caldecott voting prior to the American Library Association’s (ALA) actual award announcement in January.
According to Terry Olthouse, the Mazza Museum’s education coordinator, there are mock Caldecott activities conducted all over the United States, usually by librarians, teachers and picture book enthusiast.
“My first experience of this kind was with Mr. Floyd Dickman who did them around the state and especially for the Mazza docents each year,” said Olthouse. Because of his death earlier this year, the museum invited Melissa Cain, Ph.D., a UF College of Education professor who also writes picture book reviews for The Blade, to speak. This year’s other guest was Kathy East, a retired Wood County librarian and chair of a past Caldecott committee.
The actual Caldecott Award is given to the most distinguished children’s picture book of the year. Only one book is selected to receive the annual award, which is named after Randolph Caldecott, a British citizen who made significant contributions to children’s literature. The runners up are given the Caldecott honor. For more details, visit the ALA’s website.
A total of 36 docents participated in this year’s mock Caldecott Contenders session. They split into groups and reviewed six books based on Caldecott criteria.
The honor books selected by docents include “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear,” written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall; “Stick and Stone,” written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; and “The Whisper,” written and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. All of the docents’ honor book selections are sold at the Mazza Museum Gift Shop, which is open weekly on Wednesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.