Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Mock Orbis Pictus, part 1 10.17.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

For the past several years I have done some version of the Sibert Smackdown/Mock Sibert.  I followed along with what Melissa Stewart had set up and made some changes to fit what I was doing with my students.  Every year it looked a little different.  The first two years I did it with a small group of reading intervention students.  Then I brought it into a classroom I was working in.  Last year was my biggest year with two classes - not only did we read books, the students had their own critique books where they looked heavily into criteria and noted what authors and illustrators did to make the information stand out.

Another part of this is last year I started doing classroombookaday in two classrooms.  The students heard a lot more nonfiction than ever before as classroom read alouds.  Our district has six cycles throughout the school year - 3 literature cycles and 3 informational.  During the informational cycles, almost all of our read alouds were nonfiction.  I surveyed students after two cycles to see how their opinions of nonfiction picture books had changed or not changed.  Almost all students who said they did not like nonfiction before had changed their minds.  

Luckily, Mock Sibert falls during a nonfiction cycle so everything fit together nicely.  I was able to use Mock Sibert titles and students were critiquing and using nonfiction standards and using critical thinking for both.  Perfect!

But.... at the same time these students were also reading and critiquing Mock Caldecott titles.  Almost all of our fourth grade students were also in our Mock Newbery Club.  I was helping organize Mock Caldecott, Newbery, Geisel and I was adding Mock Sibert to more classrooms.  It became overwhelming for everyone!

Then this year I heard NCTE was starting their own Mock events, one of them being the Orbis Pictus, which honors nonfiction.  The other is the Charlotte Huck Award which honors literature.  I am familiar with both awards since I have been attending the NCTE Children's Luncheon which happens on the Saturday of the conference.  2017 honored Don Brown for his graphic novel Drowned City.  2018 will have us listening to Jason Chin talk about his award winning book, Grand Canyon.  Since the actual Orbis Pictus Awards will be announced at NCTE in November, that means a Mock Orbis Pictus would have to happen earlier in the school year.  

I decided to make the switch and I am so excited because I have 5 classrooms participating this year!  In this first nonfiction cycle, they are reading books that go along with their content and also mixing in books that are on our Mock Orbis Pictus list.  Since I am doing this with 3rd and 4th grade classrooms and it is their classroombookaday, we are focusing on picture books, not the longer middle grade nonfiction.  Students are critiquing and thinking more about the books that are on our Mock Orbis Pictus list.  Right before I leave for NCTE, we'll be having a vote.  I can't wait to share with them the list of the 2019 NCTE Orbis Pictus recommended, honor and award books!

Here are 5 books on our Mock list:

Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World
Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World
by Christy Hale

Adventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World
Adventures to School: Real Life Journeys of Students from Around the World
written by Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul
illustrated by Isabel Muñoz

If Polar Bears Disappeared
If Polar Bears Disappeared
by Lily Williams

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs
written by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Stephanie Laberis

Terrific Tongues!
Terrific Tongues!
written by Maria Gianferrari
illustrated by Jia Liu

To read more about NCTE's Mock Awards, read this post.

Stop by next week and I'll share the rest of our titles as well as the criteria students are using to critique their reading.

Image result for orbis pictus award


  1. You are a busy teacher! Trying to manage all of that does seem overwhelming, but so fun for the kids, too. My 4th grade granddaughter's class doesn't seem to be doing much reading aloud & I am sorry for that. It gives such a breadth to readers about what's available. Thanks for sharing, Michele. I loved Water Land, so clever.

  2. I have never heard of the Mock Orbis! I'm so excited to find something new to help introduce children to great nonfiction.

  3. I am so excited to see Terrific Tongues here, Michele--thank you for including it on your Mock Orbus Pictus list among some of my other favorite NF titles this year!!

    I'm also excited to be attending NCTE for the first time as well as the awards luncheon. Can't wait to hear the speeches & meet you :)!!