Saturday, August 10, 2019

It's August - Meaning #PB10for10

      It's PictureBook10for10 (#PB10for10) where many share ten picture books that are Must-HavesCathy Mere of Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning host this wonderful tradition. You can find everyone's posts shared on Cathy's blog this year, HERE.

This is a most fun day of the summer. After teaching, I began volunteering at a used bookstore (run entirely by volunteers) and among other duties, am in charge of our children's section. I also review books for various memes and on Goodreads. My TBR list grows. Thanks, Cathy and Mandy, this is a tradition I look forward to every year! Each year it seems that more marvelous books are published. We are fortunate indeed to have the books available.

Here are my previous posts for   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015    2016     2017     2018

This year I thought I'd see if I could share favorite books for a school year's beginnings, for the themes we think of in a classroom, no matter the age. In reality, each book will serve in varied ways. I taught middle school 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade gifted students and read picture books with them often. I cut most of my Goodreads reviews. If you want to know more please visit Goodreads to see my or other reviews.


In a big city, a little boy, among hundreds of people ignoring it, sees a bird that’s fallen with a broken wing. Nearly wordless, the illustrations beautifully tell the tale of loving parents helping their boy take the bird home to care for it, and with time and hope, helping it to heal, and fly again. This could be discussed as a metaphor for an act of kindness that can happen anywhere if only we notice when it’s needed.

             It’s Pet Club Day, and a young boy takes his good friend and pet, an elephant to participate. Sadly there is a sign on the door: Strictly No Elephants! On the way home, he meets a girl with a pet skunk, but she knows “they” don’t want her and her pet to play either. Fortunately, a new group forms, one that allows anyone in. And this group paints a new sign: All Are Welcome. Conversations about inclusion can happen after reading this book to a young audience, perhaps four to nine years old. It’s a wise little story that shows differences are okay, in kids and in pets! Yoo’s illustrations include all kinds of children too, of different cultures, those who wear glasses, girls and boys who dress in what must be their favorite way of dressing. I enjoyed it very much.


            Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. Yasmin is confused when one day he gives her a book that's an old folktale about a flock of doves trapped in a hunter's net. They realize that if they all flap wings together, they can lift the net and fly away to be safe. She knows Book Uncle often tells her that he selects just the right book for the right time, and when she discovers that he has received written notice that unless he has a special permit, he can no longer lend books, she is devastated. She does learn that her actions can help, especially when she has others working beside her. I like that Uma Krishnaswami has include bits of Yasmin's home life, too, from meals to parent challenges, from learning about apartment neighbors to market stall sellers. It is a story to love about community.


            I re-visit this beautiful book every single year in my classroom as a mentor text for writing. Rylant reminds us of the beauty of November. We noticed the repetition of the phrase "In November", sensory details, and figurative language. Don't miss finding and reading if you haven't already.


              This is a wonderful addition, for creating and for enjoying and writing poetry. Amy defines what a maker is in the first poem, "Maker": he or she "is a tinkerer, a maker will explore./A maker creates/something new/that/never/was/before" and adds many poems about the wide varieties of making like painting, knitting, glitter pictures and creating with clay. Readers can use each page as inspiration OR read the poems and re-visit what is most loved and "make something". 
Will you make "Leaf Pictures" where the "leaves look like stained glass" or bake "Cookies" and "resemble/clouds of flour"? The poem forms vary from rhyme to free-verse, list and shape poems. 
            Amy, too, is a maker but of poems, and this book is her sharing of what can be! Everyone should have a copy, old or young, in school or out. I believe Amy wants us all to MAKE something!


         It is important to help students look long when outside, to see the beautiful details we often miss, yet learn to notice people, too.

If you wish to see loneliness "uncorked" in a beautiful story of kindness and also generosity, this is the story. This uncorker of ocean bottles lives on a lonely hill by the ocean, spends much time looking for the glint of glass in order to discover a message in a bottle, and deliver it to whom it should go. The time is chronicled by Erin Stead's lovely drawings, of determination through all kinds of weather and happiness from those who receive their messages. This man holds a tiny wish, that he might receive a message some day. The ending develops his wish in a different way, but you will think it's even better.  

         "The world is filled with wonders, no matter where we go." This grandfather takes his granddaughter out walking, looking and finding, the girl tells her mother upon returning home: "A leaf, a snail, a cat, some crows." In brief rhyming text, M.H. Clark takes us along on this journey, hopefully inspiring other adults to take their own walks with children in their lives. Madeline Kloepper wonderfully illustrates the discoveries of these tiny, perfect things as she shows this pair looking down (at a leaf) up high (at a snail on a gate and crows in a tree). They notice interesting things with people, too, like a man with a feather in his hat. A surprise is added at the end with a double page spread where readers are invited to discover their own 'tiny, perfect things'.  


          I know a little about coding and now I know some more and in a clever and fun way, per Josh Funk's book. I'm late to read it, but know that this would be a wonderful way to begin teaching beginning students, perhaps no matter the age, how to code,! Everyone knows the steps for building a sandcastle. Now Josh Funk takes those steps and with a clever girl and her robot helper working in the midst of other kids, dogs and parents on the shore, shows how to code, this time, command a robot to build. Illustrations show a sunny day at the beach with those usual wonderful things, people sunbathing, a lifeguard, moms with babies, parents watching, a seagull or two and a crab. It's a beach, just a little different with a robot doing that sandcastle work. It's a fun book that includes tech science learning.

Social Studies

This helps celebrate the power of a story, people part of history. It is told from the point of view of a story. From cave people sharing stories around a fire to scribes "illuminating" their works and actors telling stories on-stage. It continues with the printing press bringing books to people previously not able to own one to the modern-day tech tablets, all Dan Vaccarino showing - page after page - people in love with stories. There is a powerful double-page spread that shows the conflicts through history when stories have been "censored, banned, and burned, but did not die." Another page includes the amazing ways people are able to access books, from those who carry them via donkeys or camels, bookmobiles and little free libraries. Through each page, a small red bird flies, I believe to show the thread of story that has never broken. The end papers in blocks of sketches include all the ways stories are told, from scrolls to radio to television to tablets.  

I love books that are both celebrations of the past, though sad, and show how people live in spite of hard things. This is the way Bao Phi has told this story of rising very early with his father to go to a pond to catch dinner. One line shows the family’s need, something I’ve never experienced. The boy in the story, Bao’s dad says “Got one.” then a little later, Bao shares, “Dad smiles. . . and he knows we will eat tonight.” In such a few words, the reader knows so much. One comment is made about the teasing for Bao’s father and the way he speaks English. Both parents work and the dad has just taken a second job, so now they must rise even earlier to get to the pond. And once there, eating a breakfast of bologna sandwiches, Bao’s dad tells of another pond long ago in Vietnam, when he and his brother fished. There is a little bit about the war and we know that the brother must have been killed. Mostly dark scenes painted by Thi Bui evoke the quiet night, the early cold, the tiny fire Bao has learned to make. There are other details to look for, to relish, like Bao’s expressions, the moon and trees, Bao and his dad reflected in the pond, and a homeless man on the street as they arrive home in the early dawn. It’s a story to love and to appreciate of someone’s memory both like and unlike ours.

          I hope readers find a new book to read and cherish. There are many to share and I'm looking forward to reading what others share.


  1. Great titles. Thanks for sharing this list!

  2. I love that we took a similar inspiration (beginning of the year) but with different takes. Great books, as always, Linda!

  3. Linda, what a delightful collection. Your post reminded me of the importance of taking some time to notice in those first weeks together. What a great idea to collect a few books to help slow down our communities to notice. I love Strictly No Elephants, A Different Pond, and I Am a Story - okay, I love them all. I had to request Tiny, Perfect Things. It was new to me.

    Thank you for adding your previous collections links to your post today. How fun to go back to see past collections! Having lost everything with Jog the Web and Google Plus, I am glad to see so many keeping past posts linked to their newest collection.

    Thank you for always joining the conversation. I always look forward to your collections.


  4. Linda, a lovely post with some of my favorites - How to Heal a Broken Wing, In November, Tiny, Perfect Things, and The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. And of course, some new-to-me titles too - Book Uncle and Me & How to Code a Sandcastle. I love seeing my holds shelf at the library fill with picture books. Thanks for your recommendations and reminders of titles I love too.

  5. These are such great choices for 10 for 10. I've read and loved so many, but will be looking for In November and Strictly No Elephants. And don't you just love Book Uncle and Me?


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