Posted on 08/28/2015 at 01:24 PM by Blog Experts

The Orbis Pictus Award is presented every year by the National Council of Teachers of English to the author of the best-written nonfiction or informational book from the previous year.  The name Orbis Pictus, comes from a title written by Johannes Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures. This book was published in 1657 and is considered to be the first book actually planned for children. Although only one title is singled out for the award each year, up to five Honor Books are also recognized. Eight additional recommended books can be named (http://www.ncte.org/awards/orbispictus).

The educational community may recommend titles for the Orbis Pictus Award. Nominations must be received by November 1, 2015 for this year. Recommended books must have been published or distributed during the 2015 calendar year. A criterion for recommendation is that the primary purpose of the book is the sharing of information. Books are analyzed for accuracy, organization, design, and style.

So what does this have to do with fine arts? Orbis Pictus books can be used across the content areas—including the arts. This PDF lists all of the winners, honor books, and recommended books that deal with the arts: http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/About/Awards/OPBooks-TheArts.pdf. A book titled, A splash of red: The life and art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet was the 2014 winner. Diane Stanley was the winner in 1997 with her biography of Leonardo da Vinci, and her biography of Michelangelo was named an Honor Book in 2001.  

Students could be introduced to the Orbis Pictus books that deal with aspects of art. They could then search for other books that promote information about the arts and make recommendations for these books to receive the award. This is a great opportunity for students to apply many of the Iowa Core ELA standards if they are looking through multiple sources to determine accuracy, study the visual design of the book, examine the text structure, and justify a particular book for this award, citing evidence from the actual text.

 

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