Our 2018 Picture Book Smackdown was a Success!

The 2018 Picture Book Smackdown was held on November 29, 2018.  This has been a yearly tradition since November became Picture Book Month.  During a smackdown, we hold a Youtube Live event where students and authors in multiple states book talk as many picture books as possible across 45-60 minutes.

This year’s smackdown featured students in 4 different grades in 3 different states, which included:

Andy Plemmons and students at David C. Barrow Elementary in Athens, GA

Donna MacDonald and students at Orchard School in South Burlington, VT

Julee Murphy and students at Early Childhood Development Center in Corpus Christi, TX

Ahead of the event, students selected a picture book to share, read the book, prepared a script, and practiced.  I also communicated with all the librarians at each site to make sure we all knew our roles during the hangout.

I made a Smore for us to advertise our event, and it’s really fun to see where people are viewing the smackdown from.

Donna MacDonald reached out to author Saadia Faruqi who agreed to kickoff our smackdown. She shared her Yasmin books as well as 3 favorite picture books featuring Muslim characters and stories.  We can’t thank her enough for speaking to our students. I know many of my students want to read all of the Yasmin books now.

During the smackdown, we had 5 students from each school step to the microphone, share their name, and tell about their book. We kept this rotation going until we ran out of students or time.

It was amazing to see that every student chose a different book, even though we didn’t plan that. We kept a list of all of our books so we could remember them for our own libraries and to share with all of you.

Saadia Faruqi closed out our hangout by encouraging students to continue to read picture books and create their own stories. She found it so encouraging to see so many students reading and also enjoying the books that she created herself.

You can watch the full smackdown here.

I encourage you to host your own, even if it’s just in your own school.  We are even thinking about doing a smackdown with other formats of books like graphic novels or chapter books.  Thank you to everyone who participated and watched.  We’ll see you next year for the 2019 Picture Book Smackdown.

A Picture Book Smackdown is Coming!

Picture Book Smackdown! - SmoreI am so excited about a Picture Book Month event that I have planned on Thursday.  From 10-11:00AM EST, 6 schools in 5 different states and 2 authors in 2 different states will come together in a Google Hangout on Air to share favorite picture books as well as why picture books are for everyone.  The hangout will broadcast live on Youtube, but it will also be recorded.

How did this come about?

prep (7)November is National Picture Book Month.  It’s a month where I ask students, teachers, and families to read as many picture books as possible and to think about the importance of picture books in our world.  It’s also a month where a lot of educators make connections with one another to celebrate and explore together.  At the beginning of the month, Laura D’Elia, school librarian in Massachusetts, organized a Google Doc for librarians across the country to make connections with one another by having access to one another’s schedules.  The Doc also became a space for brainstorming  other ways to celebrate.

I suggested that we hold a picture book Google Hangout and share favorite picture books among schools.  This immediately started some focused brainstorming on Thursday’s event.  Several schools were on board and we pledged to meet together in Hartford, CT face to face at the American Association of School Librarians Conference.  Even before we arrived there, we had started our plan of how to advertise the event, how to structure it, how to involve students, and how to bring in authors.  Our Smore page began to populate with our ideas as they came together.  Each one of us had additional connections with other schools and authors, so we each invited others to join our hangout.  Cathy Potter invited Ame Dyckman, author, to join us.  I invited Laurel Snyder, author, to join us.  We are so excited that they will both be able to attend.

prep (6)In advance, students at each of our schools are preparing in different ways for the event.  My students filled out a short script to help them remember what to say.  They basically had to remember things like the title, what the book was about, why they liked it, and why picture books are for everyone.  They also practiced sitting in front of the camera and reading their script.  Their books are waiting in a stack for our hangout.  prep (1)

We’ve read.  We’ve recruited.  We’ve prepared.  We’ve organized.  Now, we are ready to connect and have a full hour of sharing as many picture books as we can.  It’s a smackdown!  We hope that you will join us by visiting the Smore page at 10:00AM EST on Thursday November 21st.  Just click on the video feed that will appear on the page at that time and enjoy.  You can also tweet about our smackdown using #pbsmkdwn as the hashtag.  If you can’t watch live, consider visiting the page and watching the archive of our hangout.  You’ll also find a post on my blog later this week detailing how much fun we had during our connection.

prep (5)This was so much fun to organize, and it really wasn’t extremely difficult.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Visit Our Smore Page for More Information!