Caldecott Connections Part 2: Visual Storytelling across the Curriculum

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Caldecott Award winning picture books and other highly illustrated books provide wonderful examples of visual storytelling. Get your students involved with using photographs line drawings, paintings, and other images in storytelling across the curriculum.


Begin by showing videos as a way to promote reading. For instance, watch the winner of the Picture Book Video award from Houghton Mifflin at www.houghtonmifflinbooks. com/booksellers/press_release/wiesner/#video.

Encourage students to create their own video productions based on their favorite Caldecott books. Keep in mind that the copyright law does not allow young people to reproduce and share the images from books outside the classroom. However it's okay to create your own adapted version or rewrite the story from a different perspective. It's also fine to share book covers and any other individual images that the publisher has made available for book publicity.


Photos, interviews, and experiences as well as a lively imagination can all be used as inspiration for illustrations.

Visualize People, Places, and Events. Read John Henry, by Julius Lester. There are many paintings and sculptures of this legendary character. Do a Googie Images search for examples. Which do you think best represent John Henry? Be sure to examine artwork such as the John Henry Painting

Each illustrator imagines something different when he or she thinks of Noah's Ark. Compare the images at Wiki Commons commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/Category:Noah%27s_Ark with those found in picture books such as Jerry Pinkney's Noah'sArk.

Events. Many historical events have been retold through picture books. Compare photos of actual events with the picture book illustrations. Compare images of Philippe Petit with the book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein.

Do Christopher Bing's illustrations in Casey at the Bat actually reflect early baseball in America? Do the images of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Martin's Big Words accurately show the life and times of this civil rights leader?

Rather than asking students to write a report on a historical event, use a picture book to start a conversation about how we view history. This inquiry may lead to the creation of a blog posting, wiki page, or other non-traditional way for young people to share their understandings.

Places. Read Tibet by Peter Sis. Explore photos at Wikimedia Commons: Tibet and compare them with the images in the book. Create your own photo journal of another country using photos from Wikimedia Commons. Use Microsoft PowerPoint as a tool for your photo journal. The slide can be used for images and fictional log entries. The speaker notes can be used for background information and citations.

People. Picture books can bring scientists and other historical figures alive. Compare photos of the real Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley and his snowflake science, the picture book titled Snowflake Bentley.

Learn about portraits at the George Washington Interactive Portrait www. and the Portrait Detectives Create your own illustration inspired by a famous person. Try PixelFace zone/pixelface.htm from the National Gallery of Art.

Read Bill Peat: An Autobiography. What images would you use in your own life stow? Use the digital camera to record a day in your life.

Documents. Explore primary source documents and visuals related to books. Read Castle and Cathedral by David Macaulay. Then, examine architectural drawings of buildings.

Explore the materials at Galileo from Wikimedia Commons commons.wikimedia. …