Thank you Mandy and Cathy for doing this for the 5th year!
I tried to think of a theme to share, and then I tried to do only certain kinds of books, but I checked the past lists, and I was repeating too much. Today I'll share some old favorites, a few recent ones that "perhaps" you haven't read, and one that hasn't even been published yet, but I know it'll be great. Here's my list, and the ways I use them, or will use them.
Also, except for the final one, I'm not going to comment on the illustrations. Each book in its own way has been illustrated beautifully, and that art is an integral part of what makes the books we choose shine.
For use in writing workshop: Sometimes it's good to choose a topic, to show students that writing about a common topic can show the diversity of our opinions, and we learn so much about each other. Bookspeak, Poems About Books is a great mentor text for celebrating point of view. Laura Purdie Salas shares her lovely poems in both different structures and different kinds of ways to look at writing. A favorite is her poem about the sadness of being the book's "middle" instead of being "first" or "last".
I've also used Eureka, Poems About Inventors by Joyce Sidman for a poetry lesson, this time to illustrate to students how they can use research to write poems. It's a book filled with interesting poems about inventors and their creations.
You Have To Write by Janet S. Wong is full of tips for the writing process, and she tells the story straight to the reader, giving ideas and hope for budding, and feeling stuck, writers.
Recently published, Inside My Imagination by Marta Arteaga, offers ideas to inspire. I haven't used it yet, but have already loaned it to a colleague, and I know I'll love it for writing lessons this year. A favorite line tells how imagination works in writing: “like a sea of thoughts that float and glide over each other”.
In Three Hens and a Peacock, Lester Laminack writes about three hens whose jealousy increases as a peacock appears to be so successful in bringing business to a farm stand. Each takes a turn being the "main attraction", yet also discovers that the job coveted didn't fit well at all. It was time to celebrate one's own best qualities!
Well, the title, Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox, really says it all. It doesn't matter if homes, schools, or lands are different, everyone has the same smiles, hurts, and joys. It works so well when sharing with young students. They love to tell how they are the same or different.
There are two books I've used for both younger students and older ones, All In A Day by Cynthia Rylant, and The Way To Start A Day by Byrd Baylor. Both are poetically written, and show positive ways to think of the day, to start well, have fun, notice beauty, laugh with friends, and on. Many times I've read the books, and sometimes we've written responses, sometimes we just talked in our group.
I actually might have shared more than one Elephant & Piggie book. Each holds a story full of laughter and along the way, there is something serious to discuss. In A Big Guy Took My Ball, a conflict is solved in such a manner that they make it look easy. But we all know that compromise is not easy, and we can learn a lot by examining how others do it. It's a terrific book.
And the one I haven't read, but can't wait until it arrives. By Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus just has to be a great biography about Peter Roget, a boy who wrote lists. This fits so well with the support of those who do things that others believe is a little odd, and I wonder if it also wouldn't be great for some important writers notebook entries. The illustrations look wonderful, and you can read about Melissa Sweet's process here.
That's my ten. I can't wait to see what you share!