It’s that time of year again! Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community are hosting the fourth 10 for 10 event. Picture book enthusiasts scour their shelves with one thought on their mind. If I could only have ten picture books for the entire year, what would I choose? Personally I think this borders on cruel and unusual punishment. I know I don’t have to whine too much because I know that if you are reading this, you have probably gone through the same pain selecting your favorites.
This is a wonderful opportunity to share favorites you have in your class but also learn titles new to you. So let the book party begin! I still love the books I listed last year, so here are ten more titles. Maybe if I do this long enough all the books I love will have a moment in the spotlight. My ten picks for 2013 are (in alphabetical order by author):
Dear Peter Rabbit by Alma Flor Ada: The story unfolds through letters between fairy tale characters. Students will make inferences naturally as the characters come to life through the letters. Did you know Goldilocks last name is McGregor? Perhaps you were unaware that the wolf in Red Riding Hood and the wolf from the three pigs are cousins. These are a few of the connections you learn throughout the book. This continues in Yours Truly, Goldilocks, With Love, Little Red Hen, and Extra! Extra! Fairy-Tale News. Also, the letters are great models for letter writing.
My Mom by Anthony Browne: It starts out saying, “She’s nice, my mom.” But then the word choice is amped up as the narrator gives specific reasons why mom is nice. “My mom’s as beautiful as a butterfly, and as comfy as an armchair.” I can see returning to this text multiple times.
Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon: Thank you Abby for writing this story! There are lots of Ralph’s lurking in classrooms who think they have nothing to write about. This book can show them they have many stories in their lives.
Silver Seeds by Paul Paolilli and Dan Brewer: It is a book of nature poems, but they are all acrostics. I like to show students several poems and see if they can discover the poetry style. Here’s an example:
In a row,
Postcards from Camp by Simms Taback: Another book told through written communication. Mike does not want to go away to camp, but he is at camp writing his father to come and rescue him from this horrible experience. This is a great text for persuasion and demonstrating how a character changes over time.
It’s All About Me-ow by Hudson Talbott: I spotted this book at the book fair last year. As soon as I opened the book and thumbed through a few pages, I knew this book would go home with me. It is jam packed with all sorts of text features, such as a timeline, diagrams, labels, close-ups, and more. It is a how-to manual for kittens to train their humans told through the voice of a wise cat. If you’ve ever had cats, you will recognize the training you went through.
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems: This book is such a departure from his usual style. I have shared this with teachers from kindergarten to eighth grade and the response is always the same. “Where can I get this book?” It seems like a simple book, but there is complexity within the words and illustrations. One of my most favorite books of all times.
Nothing to Do by Douglas Wood: What would you do if there was absolutely nothing on your calendar? This book explores many options but also incorporates shapes from nature in the illustrations. There are artist’s and author’s notes which enhance the understanding of what you see in this book. I particularly loved the P.S. of Douglas Wood: “There is a reason, after all, that we’re called human beings and not human doings.” You might want to check out two other books by Douglas Wood: A Quiet Place and No One But You. (Who knows they may appear on next year’s list.)
Melanie Watt Chester: The struggle between Chester and Melanie will keep you laughing throughout the book. I have used this to talk about voice and develop characters through their actions.
Now I am off to read and make my own list of books from everyone else’s 10 for 10. Thanks Mandy and Cathy for hosting this (costly) event every August.