Our 5th annual Picture Book Smackdown was held on November 30th. This year’s smackdown featured students in 3 states along with author & illustrator Deborah Freedman.
Every year we love to close out Picture Book Month with an hour-long Google Hangout where we book talk as many picture books as possible across one hour.
In Georgia, I had students in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades who shared their favorite picture books and why picture books matter. In Vermont, Donna MacDonald had 1st graders and 4th graders who were reading buddies. Each pair of students shared a favorite picture book. In Texas, Julee Murphy had 6th graders who shared favorite picture books and some 3rd graders who came in to watch.
We kicked off our Google Hangout by dedicating our time to the late Dianne de las Casas, founder of Picture Book Month. Her enthusiastic spirit was definitely with us and we missed having her with us in person this year.
Deborah Freedman shared a whole range of books in all shapes, sizes, and emotions before book talking Many Moons by James Thurber & Louis Slobodkin. She then turned the smackdown over to students and several students in each state took turns sharing.
We were able to come back to author Deborah Freedman two more times for some more book talks and closing thoughts.
One of the things I always love about the smackdown is how many new books we see that we haven’t read yet. We also love seeing students and authors pick books that are also our own favorites. It gives us a connection to one another.
I also love hearing students take a stand for picture books. Their reasons range from picture books being for all readers to the necessity of picture books for people who are learning to read.
As we shared our books, I did my best to write down as many of the titles and put them into a Google doc for our reference. We’ll be cleaning up this document in the coming days and trying to make sure all books are represented.
I loved seeing pictures from different perspectives. Many thanks to Donna MacDonald for capturing some great moments at each school.
Since we broadcast our hangout through Youtube, it was fun to know that other people were watching with classes.
Even if you didn’t watch live, you can still experience our smackdown via Youtube and consider hosting your own smackdown whether it’s with picture books, novels, poetry, or something else.
We already look forward to next year. I thank Donna MacDonald, Julee Murphy, and their students for sharing their time with us. I also thank Deborah Freedman for time and enthusiasm as well.