Cathy Mere of Reflect & Refine: Building A Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning are hosting the 5th August's Picture Book 10 for 10 event. This is my third year participating in this event and I can't wait to check out everyone's posts.
Recently, I was speaking with a principal friend, and talking about the importance of picking the right read alouds for the first few days of school. I was able to share how a read aloud can set a tone and support a classroom in the direction that they have agreed is the right one. Additionally, I like to give out books at the beginning of the year to principals or teachers and work hard to select ones that will have meaning to the a particular administrator or instructional coach or teacher.
As a result, I began to think about books that I would use to with classes (regardless of the age group) and here are my top 10 (well if you count the covers there may be 11, but I won't tell if you don't) in no particular order.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson; Illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Nancy Paulsen Books, October 2012) - Every time I have read this book, I am struck by the fact that you can indeed be too late in responding with kindness. However, I do hope that students, like Chloe, will chose kindness and friendship every day.
Oliver by Birgitta Sif (Candlewick Press, October 2012) - Oliver is a little different. He does not quite fit in, but there is a friend out there for everyone. I love Oliver and children like Oliver need to be supported in celebrating their differences but also in making connections to others.
Enemy Pie by (Chronicle Book, September 2002) - Every year children have classmates that they have trouble friending or even being in the same class with. Enemy Pie deals with this issue in a fun but thoughtful way. It remind others about how to treat other people and how to make new friends.
New Girl...and Me by Jacqui Robbins; Illustrated Matt Phelan (Atheneum, July 2006) - This is the first of several that I discovered through Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That. This book looks at the ups and downs of of learning how to make a new friends, especially with the new student in the class.
The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman (Viking Juvenile, June 2013) - This story by author/illustrator Deborah Freedman is about friendship but more so about courage and taking risks needed to learn.
Bluebird by Bob Staake (Schwartz & Wade, April 2013) - Though this is wordless, there is so much that students can discuss about what does it mean to care and be kind to one again.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig; Illustrated by Patrice Barton (Alfred A. Knopf, October 2013)- The perfect story to talk about how some children are very shy and even at times feel invisible; however, I enjoyed when Brian pairs up with Justin to collaborate on a project and how that provides success and a lesson for others.
Inside My Imagination by Marta Arteaga; Illustrated by Zuzanna Celej (Cuento de Luz, April 2013) - This is another recommendation from Carrie Gelson. In a time, when we talk about creativity as a critical part of learning, we still don't always know what to do with it when children's thinking goes outside the box. Great book for discussing imagination and creativity.
This year, I specifically was looking for books that would embrace the characteristics of 21st Century Learning. The three books listed below will be books that I try to get into the hands of many teachers and administrators this year.
What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada; Illustrated by Mae Besom (Compendium, February 2014) - What happens when you attend to and feed your idea? This is a lovely book about nurturing an idea and watching it take wings.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press, April 2014) - Probably one of my absolute favorites on this list. It looks at creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking and also gives us some lessons on how to deal with our own frustration during times of great creativity.
Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, March 2014) - Peter Reynolds joined by his identical twin in writing a story about critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration. Below is an animated video celebrating those traits.
Hopefully with posts like this we will be able to encourage more and more teachers to use picture books with older students and to also think about what books we select and how they set the tone for our year of learning.