Everyone has a favorite children’s book. When I read certain books to my grandkids, I usually get the excited shouts of “Again, Grandma. Read it again.” You know how it goes. We have memorized these irresistible books because of the many times reading them again and again and again and again. 🙂
A few weeks ago during my Children’s Literature class, which consists mostly of sophomores in college, I taught them about the two most prestigious book awards that are given out in January. These two awards are the Newbery Award winners and the Caldecott Award winners. If you aren’t sure what these two awards entail, below are simple explanations:
The Newbery Award is chosen for its content or as Stoodt-Hill (2009) stated in her book “the committee is to make its decision primarily on the text” (p. 9). An example of this award is the 2013 Newbery winner The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate. This book epitomizes courage, and is a book you won’t want to put down until you have read every last one of its’ 336 pages (it’s a children’s book…easy read).
The Caldecott Award is a picture book chosen for its illustrations. “The committee is to make its decision primarily on the illustrations, but other components of a book are to be considered” (Stoodt-Hill, 2009, p. 9). A favorite Caldecott of mine that I enjoy reading to my grandkids again and again is the beautifully illustrated 1986 Caldecott winner The Polar Express written by Chris Van Allsburg.
Well, here’s a fun fact that I shared with my teacher candidates. In January 2016, a picture book was chosen as the winner of the Newbery Award. That’s right…a PICTURE book!! This book also won the Caldecott Honor Award AND a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award. Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña is a loving and inspiring story of a young boy and his nana appreciating all that life has to offer while putting others first. Nana points out to her grandson all the positives hidden in the negatives. When I finish reading this book to my grandchildren, it’s my turn to say, “Again, grandchildren. Let’s read it again.” I adore this story. I want my grandkids to remember me as their Grandma Wendy who was always seeking out the positives hidden in the negatives.
Have you had that one person tell you to “look on the bright side” when life gets a little harsh? We tend to get extremely annoyed with that person for saying those words don’t we? Is it because we want him or her to jump on the pity bus with us? Think about it, though. Those five words are truth! As Joel Scrivner commented in his blog post, “let’s start to identify positive aspects in our negative situations.” In other words, let’s look on the bright side of life.
Just like Nana did with CJ in The Last Stop on Market Street, let’s seek out the hidden positives in our negatives! Let’s start bathing in the positives and it will cleanse our souls. Change our mindset, change our life.