In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
1. I love seeing what books others choose when creating top 10 picture book lists. There’s a certain warm feeling I have when I realize I’m not alone in my love and passion for picture books when I see brilliant people’s connections and explanations.
2. I love challenges, this was a great one… to pick a top 10 picture book topic list and also narrow down to 10 books? Great one!
Since I moved a year ago to a new school in a new country, I thought I’d write on something I had thought about a year ago and reflect on how my selection has changed in the past year. So, I decided to have the topic: Top 10 Books I’d Pick to Bring to a New School. To bring my top 10 books to a school? First, I’d assume that I’m moving to that school at the beginning of the year- that would influence me… Second, I think about the books I’ve adored sharing with my new students this past year. Here we go, top 10 picture books I’d move with:
1. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein – Here is one of my favorite read alouds. I shared it at the beginning of the year and then through the year my students continued to borrow, read aloud, and even act out other versions of the story they created. I love that it helped me connect children to the fairy tale collection, both the adapted versions and the classics. Goodreads Summary: “It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story —and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is HANSEL AND GRETEL or LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD or even CHICKEN LITTLE, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters from doing some dangerous or silly thing. Now it’s the little red chicken’s turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting? Energetically illustrated with glowing colors —and offering humorous story-within-a-story views —this all-too-familiar tale is sure to amuse (and hold the attention of ) spirited little chicks.”
2. Pete the Cat (and all the rest of the books- breaking the rules I know) by Eric Litwin and James Dean. – I absolutely love sharing Pete the Cat stories and for months, my students would come to the library still singing “I love my blue shoes…” My assistant and I had a blast dressing up as Pete the Cat together for our school’s Book Character Day. Goodreads Summary: “Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as we steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are are, Pete keeps movin’ and groovin’ and singing his song…because it’s all good.”
3. The Runaway Tortilla by Eric Kimmel (and I’d probably sneak in all of his Anansi stories as well!) Honestly, I cannot get through a school year without sharing a few Eric Kimmel books. I really hope my favorite book of his, The Runaway Tortilla, is turned into an eBook, such a fantastic read aloud that is quite difficult to get our hands on… I originally began reading The Runaway Tortilla with my Kindergarten students long ago because they always went on a gingerbread man search through the school and I enjoyed having the comparison discussion with them between the classic Gingerbread Man story and The Runaway Tortilla. Goodreads Summary: “In Texas, Tia Lupe and Tio Jose make the best tortillas — so light that the cowboys say they just might jump right off the griddle. One day, a tortilla does just that. The tortilla runs through the desert pursued by two horned toads, three donkeys, four jackrabbits, five rattlesnakes, and six buckaroos. She is finally outwitted by Senor Coyote in this Lone Star twist on the classic Gingerbread Man tale.”
4. Carmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet – I really do love adapted fairy tales. I especially love this one with the alphabet integrated in. I don’t tire of reading this aloud! Goodreads Summary: “And, as Carmine takes off on her bicycle with Rufus, that is just what she intends to do. But Carmine is a dreamy painter, always in search of capturing just the right hue in her drawings, and this drawing—the one she begins in a lovely forest clearing just off the path to Granny’s—must be her best yet.”
5.Elephant and Piggie Series by Mo Willems – First off, do you see it?! A NEW Elephant and Piggie book- I’m a Frog! Can’t wait… Can’t wait… Can’t wait!! Well, I love sharing all of the Elephant & Piggie books, but I shared my favorites. If I had to only select one? We Are in a Book! Such a fantastic book that I quickly partner with The Three Pigs by David Weisner when I share it… with the characters talking to the reader, I just can’t resist! We Are in a Book! Goodreads Summary: “Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In We Are in a Book! Gerald and Piggie discover the joy of being read. But what will happen when the book ends?”
6. My Secret Bully and other books by Trudy Ludwig – I can’t get through a school year without sharing Trudy’s books with a parent, a class, a specific student… they’re simply, poignant. I really appreciate all of her titles and the messages she shares. I’m so excited that she has a new book coming out soon- The Invisible Boy! This past year, I shared My Secret Bully and Confessions of a Former Bully with my Year 6 students and had really thoughtful discussions with my students. Goodreads Summary for My Secret Bully: “Here is the all-too-familiar story of Monica. She and Katie have been friends since kindergarten. Monica loves being around her when she’s nice. But there are times when Katie can be just plain mean. And Monica doesn’t understand why. Monica is a target of relational aggression, emotionaly bullying among friends who will use name-calling and manipulation to humiliate and exclude. But with a little help from a supportive adult—her mother—Monica learns to cope and thrive by facing her fears and reclaiming power from her bully.”
7. Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson – I have always loved sharing Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book with students. It is one of those perfect books for launching so many discussions… Especially when you talk about different genres and fractured fairy tales. This year I’ve been exposed to so many books by Julia Donaldson that are other treasures. I’ve always loved The Gruffalo, but I’m quite excited to learn about more! Goodreads Summary: “Charlie Cook has a favorite book. It’s about a pirate, who also has a favorite book . . . about Goldilocks, who also has a favorite book . . . about a knight, who also has a favorite book . . . . This hilarious pattern continues throughout the story, right to the satisfying and surprising end.”
8. I Want My Hat Back and other books written and illustrated by Jon Klassen – I enjoy sharing these books, pausing at those opportune moments, and then completing the read… waiting for the gasps, wide eyes, and quick questions. I just adore them. Such fun, dark, humorous books! Goodread Summary: “A bear almost gives up his search for his missing hat until he remembers something important.”
9. My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss – This book is a treasure. So beautiful to enjoy the discussion on feelings, choice on color vs. mood, and also see students sit back, then jump, hop, bounce, drag, and other actions as we act out the book together. Students often don’t believe that this is a Dr. Seuss book and I have a fun time discussion how Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher were the illustrators, especially how there can be an author/illustrator who doesn’t always illustrate their work. Goodreads Summary: “Accompanying a manuscript Dr. Seuss wrote in 1973, was a letter outlining his hopes of finding “a great color artist who will not be dominated by me.” The late Dr. Seuss saw his original text about feelings and moods as part of the “first book ever to be based on beautiful illustrations and sensational color.” The quest for an artist finally ended—after the manuscript languished for more than two decades—at the paint brushes of husband-and-wife team Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher whose stunning, expressive paintings reveal such striking images as a bright red horse kicking its heels, a cool and quiet green fish, a sad and lonely purple dinosaur, and an angrily howling black wolf.”
10. Press Here by Herve Tulliet – It takes enthusiasm, energy, and excitement to share this book! I just love sharing this book with a whole class, it creates quite the special experience. Goodreads Summary: “Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next!”
Phew, that was challenging!
So… what came to my mind in regret after I wrote this list?
I thought of another list to write! I wanted to create a brand new list on the spot! Or perhaps three! The main one I wanted to create was on books that help children’s world awareness. I have so many favorite books I could put on this list… but that’s for another day. I have a new book order for my library that I’m certain will provide me with new world awareness titles, so shall just celebrate the list I created.
Madlenka by Peter Sis, one of my absolute favorite read alouds and illustrated books. Perfect for introducing cultures around the world in one city block! I used to have a globe and have students point out where we’re traveling next with Madlenka and her neighborhood friends. I adore all books by Peter Sis… Goodreads Summary: “Peeking out through a die-cut window on the jacket, Madlenka invites the reader to enter her world. And what a world it is! On the surface, it looks like an ordinary city block, but as we meet Madlenka’s neighbors — the French baker, the Indian news vendor, the Italian ice-cream man, the Latin American grocer, a retired opera singer from Germany, an African American school friend, and the Asian shopkeeper — and look through die-cut windows to the images and memories they have carried from old country to new, we can see that Madlenka’s block is as richly varied as its inhabitants. And why is Madlenka going around the block, jumping for joy? Her tooth is loose, and she wants everyone to know!”
Book Trailer for Madlenka Soccer Star:
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley, Carol Heyer, and Scott Goto – This is another absolute favorite read aloud. I was thrilled to find two copies in my new library when I moved in. I’ve had numerous students want to recreate, rewrite, and act out this hilarious book after I’ve read it aloud… I love using different voices throughout, so fun! Goodreads Summary: “Once upon a time there was … a princess who loved all her beautiful ponies, a cool muscle dude who rode an awesome motorcycle. But a giant came and started stealing them! The dude came to fight the ugly, smelly giant with his mighty sword. She turned gold into thread while she cried for Buttercup, her favorite pony. And he took the princess’s gold thread for payment The end! Wait a minute! That’s not how it ends! Oh no? Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who had to tell a fairy tale to the class, but they couldn’t agree on the story. Will everyone live happily ever after?”
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst – this book was my favorite for the longest time. It was the first book I shared in front of classmates in college and really helped me realize how much I love reading aloud with groups.
All of Nina Laden‘s books. One of my favorites authors!! Do you see it? Her new book cover!! Illustrated by Renata Liwska – a fantastic illustrator! I just cannot wait until this book is released! I have all of Nina’s books autographed, even Button Nose and have gifted Button Nose to over 10 friends who have new little ones! Here’s the Goodreads Summary for Once Upon a Memory, just can’t wait!! “Does a feather remember it once was a bird? Does a book remember it once was a word? When a feather drifts through a child’s window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals, where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. From the cake that once was grain to the ocean that once was rain, whimsical “before” and “after” scenes offer readers a peek at the world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, ultimately asking the question, “What will you remember?” Nina Laden’s poetic and cleverly woven text is perfectly paired with bestselling artist Renata Liwska’s captivating illustrations. Together they create a story that will keep readers enchanted long after the journey has ended.”
All of my favorite non-fiction picture books- whether they are by Margriet Ruurs, Barbara Kerley, or another amazing author, I didn’t include them… another year’s list!