Friday, February 14, 2014

Caldecott Medalist Brian Floca

Laura Given (AKA LibLaura5) is a magnificent school librarian in Minnesota. She always does a great job preparing her students for author visits. Earlier in the school year, she hosted author-illustrator Brian Floca. I invited her on Watch. Connect. Read. to chat with me about his visit. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Laura!



We prepared for Brian Floca’s visit to my school library very quickly! His visit was on the 8th day of school last September. We had enjoyed learning about Brian the spring before when Moonshot was one of our State Award books, so in a way we had prepared for his visit even before we knew he was coming. It was a fabulous way to kick off the school year.




Brian’s presentation was unforgettable!


Here are a few things some of my students said they would always remember:


“Once he finishes his book he never reads it because he will want to change things and he can’t anymore.”


“He made a lot of practice books before the final one.”


“He really liked to draw pictures when he was a kid”


“When he was a kid his favorite book from the library was about dinosaurs.”


He showed us old pictures of trains that looked 3D” (stereoscopic images like this one)


“When he was a kid he made his own stories about dinosaurs and spiderman.”


“How he drew comics for his school newspaper in high school.”


“He did a lot of research for Locomotive!”


“He traveled where the train track was to learn for writing his book.”


“The step by step pictures of how he made the Rickety Bridge picture in the book”


“He showed us a real picture of the 1000 mile tree with a person at the top of the tree.”

“He took a picture of himself with a mop as a model for the person ‘feeding’ the train.”




When I told my students that Locomotive won the 2014 Caldecott Medal there were gasps and cheers and requests for ALA Caldecott stickers for students to put on their own copies of Locomotive.




Brian Floca’s nonfiction books are visually stunning, well researched and engage readers through a narrative of information.


And they always fill the reader in on the most important piece of information
how did people go to the bathroom?!?!




The Marty McGuire series was a great connection students made for Brian’s visit.

Students loved that Brian also illustrated Avi’s Dimwood Forest series and the graphic novel City of Light, City of Dark.





Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about Brian’s hilarious sound check with a few of my students. It was a little bit haunted house and a little bit Darth Vader.


Also all the great “online extras” on Brian’s site:



My students loved decorating the wall outside the library the first week of school with coloring pages from Brian’s website.





Thank you, Laura! 











I am giving away one copy of Locomotive. 


Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 2/14 to 11:59 p.m. on 2/15. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

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