Search form

Kudos by Kiddos

Map Lessons

Return to By the Book -- Activities for Book Week!

Subjects Arts & Humanities

  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12
  • Advanced

Brief Description

Celebrate Book Week by having students design new "medals" for children's books!


  • design a new award for a children's book.
  • select a book to receive the award.
  • create a "medal" for the book jacket.
  • write an explanation of the award and why the book has earned it.


medal, book, writing, art, author, Book Week, library, Caldecott, Newbery

Materials Needed

  • paper
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • aluminum foil
  • toothpicks

Lesson Plan

Even a kindergartner will suspect a book that features a bronze or silver medal on its cover is something special! In this activity, students create their own awards for books, select an appropriate recipient, and design a silver "medal" for the book's cover.

Introduce students to or review with them the Web pages of the Randolph Caldecott Medal and John Newbery Medal. Both medals are awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, part of the American Library Association. The Caldecott Medal goes to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book, and the Newbery Medal is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Share with students the titles of some Caldecott or Newbery winners with which they are familiar; you might read aloud some other medal winners and talk about why those books might have been so honored.

Ask students to consider what makes an excellent book. Have them brainstorm qualities they look for in children's books and discuss their ideas. Instruct them to focus on one or a few aspects of a quality book that they have identified and create an award that represents these excellent characteristics. Have the students create a title and description of the medal and draw it on paper.

Next, distribute squares of aluminum foil of about 4 inches on each side. A three-inch circle is a good size for students to work with, but you may choose to allow your students to use any shape that is about three inches in diameter. A small size is preferable to keep the medal from overwhelming the book! Have the students cut the foil into their chosen shape. Also distribute a toothpick to each student. Blunt pencils, pens, or skewers may also be used. (Best is a narrow tool that is not too sharp.) Students should place paper under the foil as they work and draw (engrave) their medal design into the foil with a toothpick.

When the students have finished their medals, they should choose exemplary books that meet the criteria they have set for their awards. Have the students lightly tape their medals to the front of their books and write an explanation that includes the title of the award, an explanation of the award, the characteristics that the award represents, the title of the award-winning book and its author, a description of the book, and how the book meets the award's criteria. Students may present their awards with their honored books and share their original medal creations.


Collect written work and display with the award-winning books. Evaluate composition according to grade-level writing standards.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Cara Bafile

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts

  • GRADES K - 4

  • NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
  • GRADES 5 - 8

  • NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
  • GRADES 9 - 12

  • NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

Click to return to this weeks Lesson Planning article, By the Book -- Activities for Book Week!

See additional Book Week ideas from our Celebrate Childrens Book Week archive.

Originally published 11/15/2002
Last updated 03/17/2009