Friday, December 8, 2017

Sibert Smackdown! 2017/2018

The Sibert Smackdown is an activity intended to build enthusiasm for the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, which is given each year as part of the American Library Association’s annual Youth Media Awards. It focuses on picture books because they are more manageable to read in a school setting.

Here’s how it works.
First, students in grades 3-5 select two nonfiction picture books from class’s Mock Sibert list. You can use the list I’ve compiled below or you can create your own list. My list includes titles that have strong kid appeal, will promote for good discussions, and can be used as mentor texts, reinforcing the research techniques and craft moves included in your curriculum.
 

You may also want to consider titles on the lists created by Alyson Beecher, Michele Knott, Melanie Roy, and the folks at Anderson’s Bookstore. (The list created by Anderson’s also features long-form nonfiction titles.)

 
Balderdash!:John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books by Michelle Markel and Nancy Carpenter

 
Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton


Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler

 
One Proud Penny by Randy Siegel


 

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson
 
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Enlarge After reading the two titles they've selected, students evaluate and compare the books, recording their thinking on a worksheet like this one, which is a kid-friendly version of the real Sibert criteria (actual criteria are availabAfter reading the two titles they've selected, students evaluate and compare the books, recording their thinking on a worksheet like this one (shown below), which is a kid-friendly version of the real Sibert criteria (actual criteria are available here):
 
When students are done, they can share their responses with classmates. If time permits, students can do multiple rounds of this activity to select classroom, whole-grade, or multi-grade favorites. The Sibert Award committee will announce its winner and honor titles on Monday, February 12, 2018, at the ALA Youth Media Awards ceremony.

I’d also recommend reading this post, which describes how some educators modified or enhanced the Sibert Smackdown! It’s so important to create learning experiences that are perfect for your particular students.
 
Have fun!

8 comments:

  1. I only have to buy Give Bees a Chance! I have all of the others.

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  2. Ooh my gosh! This is going to be so cool and exciting!! I can't wait to see the results!

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  3. Great titles, Melissa!! I think my favorite here is How to Be an Elephant, but I'm also partial to the bees book--so funny. And Grand Canyon is my favorite title of Chin's thus far. Aadvark should be here too! I haven't yet read the Penny or Cookie books since our library doesn't have them. Time to request them! Looking forward to following it!

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  4. Hi Melissa-

    I just read One Proud Penny and found it overwhelmingly white. The only person of color seems to be Patti LaBelle, who has darker skin, but no one else does. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Am I reading this incorrectly?

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    1. That's an interesting comment. I was so focused on the pennies in the art that I didn't pay attention to the people. I'll have to go back and take a look at them. This would be a great observation to share with young readers.

      I put that book on the list to prompt discussion of first person point of view, and whether a talking penny should be considered nonfiction. But I love that you're noting something else worth talking about.

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  5. Hi Melissa,
    Are you planning on selecting Sibert Smackdown contenders for the the 2018-2019 school year? I would love to do this this year!--Laura

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    1. Yes, my list will come out Nov. 30. It would be great if you participated. Watch for updates on Twitter #SibertSmackdown

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