This is my second time writing for the August 10 for 10 Picture books one cannot live without. It’s a terrific place to find new books you haven’t discovered or that you might know, but find a new way to use it in the classroom. Since I am now working with teachers who teach ages 4-14, I know I’ll find many new books this year for a good list to share. Please be sure to check all the links to read what others have put on their lists. Go to Cathy’s blog Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community or Mandy’s at Enjoy And Embrace Learning to find the lists, or to link up with your own. Thanks for this, Cathy and Mandy!
I’ve put some of mine into categories. Some old favorites are not here because I shared them last year, but that’s okay, because I have ten others that also can be on the list, and struggled with sharing only ten. Many of these are old favorites, but a few are recent.
First, books that my three year old granddaughter loves, but I believe one could use them for early primary too. They are classic stories with beautifully detailed illustrations. If you don’t know them, please check them out!
Millions of Cats written and illustrated by Wanda Gág. Published in 1928, a Newbery Honor Book in 1929. How wonderful that this book, 84 years old, is still giving so much pleasure to young children. The repetition is just right.
Red Light, Green Light by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard – Simplicity of story is Margaret Wise Brown’s forte, and this story, taking the life of a community with people and animals from waking up to going to sleep is simply told, and holds all the details a young child wants to know: Where do people and animals sleep, how do they travel, when should they stop, when go? It’s terrific.
Bears by Ruth Krauss illustrated by Maurice Sendak – If you aren’t familiar with this fun story, you should find it. It’s a little rhyme with lots of repeating of the word bears, and they are everywhere, with the character Max appearing from Where The Wild Things Are interacting with all those bears.
Seadogs, an epic Ocean Operetta by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Mark Siegel. This is a picture book that my ten year old grandson loves, almost a graphic story, set up like a comic book with sea chanteys that tell the tale from start to finish. It is hilarious, about pirates with the usual conflicts, villains, etc. It begins with the song, Sea Fever: Old Seadog howls/a lonesome cry,/a homesick howl/for surf/and sky.
I cannot resist the illustrations of Peter Parnall, who did most of Byrd Baylor’s books, but this one is by Miska Miles, titled Annie and the Old One. It tells a story of a young Navajo girl who learns she cannot hold back time, even when it means she must say goodbye to her beloved grandmother. It’s a Newbery Honor book.
some things you should know about my dog –written and illustrated by Muriel Batherman. (an old book, but still can be found used)
A friend discovered this simple story about a boy who tells about his dog and shared it with me. It is an excellent mentor text for writing in this form, 'things I know about...' It has some words that can be challenging, both adjectives and verbs. I'm glad she loaned it to me.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble written and illustrated by William Steig. I have to include at least one of the Steig books. This is another good story, can be used for theme. It’s a Caldecott winner, has the theme of family love in a magical way.
Frédérick written and illustrated by Leo Leonni – I cannot omit a book that’s about poetry and this is one of the best. It tells the story of the little mouse Frederick who doesn’t seem to be doing any work to help his community survive a harsh winter, but he does, oh yes, he does very beautifully.
Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Barbara Cooney (two authors whose books should be on everyone’s shelves) I recently found this in boxes of books purchased from a retired teacher for everyone at our school to add to our collections. It tells of towns destroyed because of the damming of the Swift River for a reservoir fort he city of Boston. There are descriptions of life before it happened and then the poignant saying goodbye as the cemetery is moved, the homes are moved or bulldozed. Yolen's storytelling is always wonderful and this is a story of change and the effects on people's lives told through a young girl's eyes. Beautiful!
And a new favorite: Me, Jane by Patrick McDonnell - I will use this book again and again for its inspiration. I loved how the book shows the beginnings of Jane's love of animals and nature, even showing some pictures of her journal pages. Among others I wish I could have shared, it’s my new favorite picture book!
I hope you've discovered a book that you'd like to add to your own collection of favorites above, but don't forget to check all the other lists shared on this special day! Happy PB reading everyone.