End of the Year: Favorite Picture Books of 2011 Part I

During 2011, I managed to read around 900 plus picture books.  It was an exciting journey.  Some were good.  Some were just okay.  And some were truly stand outs.  With so many picture books, I could not narrow it down to just 10.  I have decided to do two posts.  Part 1 will include some picture books that are memorable to me and that I would highly recommend.  There are books on friendship, books with humor, books without words, non-fiction books, and books that have special meaning for me.  Part 2 will include my absolute favorites from the year. 

Here goes - Part I (in no particular order):

You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown - This one inspired my kindergarten teachers to dress as Lucille Beatrice Bear for Halloween.  It is that good.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers - Is there anyone who doesn't love an Oliver Jeffers' book? 

Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat by Philip C. Stead - Wonderful text and beautifully illustrated. 

Over and Under by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal - Messner had a banner year and this was one of my favorites.  A beautiful look at the world in the wintertime.

Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage - A wordless picture book that will have children searching for the walrus who has escaped from the zoo.

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld - A sweet story about a little cloud who learns that she can make a big difference. 

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen - I couldn't leave this one off my list.  It inspired great discussion and much fun.  #teambear for me

A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt De La Pena, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson - De La Pena and Nelson need I say more. 

A Dog is A Dog by Stephen Shaskan - One of those fun books that makes you giggle or smile as you read it and the concept is well executed.  A dog is a dog, yes?  Turn the pages to see.

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid - This is one of those "makes me smile" books.  Petunia wants a pet. Yes, a pet skunk.  Or does she?!
Just a Second by Steve Jenkins - Love the way that Jenkins leads the reader through the concept of time in this non-fiction picture book. 

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio, Illustrated by Scott Campbell - There was no way I could leave this one off my list.  I love Mortimer and Mildred. 

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidham, Illustrated by Beth Krommes - Poems, nature, and amazing illustrations.  Definitely a gift book. 

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown, Illustrated by Julie Paschkis - This one holds a special place in my memories from this past year.  I paired this up with The Dreamer by Pamela Munoz Ryan.  Students loved it.

Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women's Hoops on the Map  by Sue Macy, Illustrated by Matt Collins - This book made me feel like I was transported back in time and had a chance to witness the first women's college basketball game. 

Stay tune for Favorite Picture Books of 2011, Part II - The 10 that are my must haves. 

*Many thanks to Alethea (@frootjoos) for designing the image for the post.