Here’s how it works.
Students in grades 3-8 read the nonfiction picture books on your 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 good discussions, and can be used as mentor texts in writing workshop. They reinforce the research techniques and craft moves included in most State ELA standards.
Adventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World by Miranda and Baptiste Paul, illustrated by Isabel Muñoz
All that Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff by Meghan McCarthy
Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Look at Me! How to Attract Attention in the Animal World by Steve Jenkins
Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Katherine Roy
Stretch to the Sun: From a Tiny Sprout to the Tallest Tree on Earth by Carrie Pearson, illustrated by Susan Swan
Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World by Christy Hale
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Will some of these books be named on Monday, January 28, 2019, when the Sibert Medal committee announces its winner and honor titles at the ALA Youth Media Awards ceremony? Who knows, but I do have a pretty good track record.
You may also want to consider titles on the Mock Sibert list created by Alyson Beecher or the narrative and expository Mock Orbis Pictus lists created by Michele Knott. Anderson’s Bookshop has also created a Mock Sibert list that includes picture books as well as middle grade titles.
After reading your Mock Sibert titles, students choose their two favorites and use this worksheet, which you can download from my website, to evaluate and compare the books before they vote. The worksheet features a kid-friendly version of the criteria used by the real Sibert committee.
I also suggest using the guidelines developed by former Sibert judge Melody Allen. They are available here, here, and here.
I’d also recommend reading this post, which describes how some educators have modified or enhanced the Sibert Smackdown! in the past. It’s so important to create learning experiences that are perfect for your particular students.
I’d love to hear how your students are progressing, and so would other participating teachers and librarians. Please use the Twitter hashtag #SibertSmackdown to share what you are doing.