It is not like me to put something off. I like to get things done as soon as possible because if I do procrastinate, it will be ugly. I’ll think about it, and think about it, and think about it – giving far more time to the thing I have to do than if I had just sat down and done it. That being said, trying to pick ten picture books to share on August 10th for #pb10for10 is tough. Knowing these are supposed to be ten picture books I couldn’t live without, impossible.
I thought about this list a few ways. I thought I could go with a theme – 10 funny books, 10 new books, 10 books my students loved last year, 10 books that I use in mini-lessons. None of it seemed right. When it really came down to it, I wondered – what ten picture books do I simply have to have in my fifth grade classroom? This was my list.
What You Know First by Patricia MacLachlan
My love for this book is pretty well documented. I love using it on the first day. I’m able to show the student what it looks like to “know” background info on an author, to have a favorite author, and what it’s like to love a “quiet” book. I also use it on the first day to talk about what we bring with us from the years past in school. (Some good, some bad.) For that reason, I also read this book on the last day of school to talk about what they are taking with them as they move on from me.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
I will share this while wearing the red hat that Jen Vincent sent me so long ago. I will use this book to talk about text complexity when it seems so simple and also about community. I will share with them the conversations my friends and I have had around this book and the teams that developed as a result. With this one book I think they will be able to see how books factor into my life.
Bluebird by Bob Staake
I shared this book for the first time last year and was unbelievably moved. I will never forget sharing it with my son, Liam. He was seven. When I pointed out a page towards the end and said how sad the mean kids looked and maybe this was too sad to share with kids, Liam said “Sometimes you can’t take what you did back.” We talked about how sorry can’t fix everything. This book shows the power of story – without words.
It’s a Book by Lane Smith
I’ve shared this book every year since it came out because of one simple word – jackass. I remember when I got the book; not knowing that one of the characters was indeed a jackass and was called that in the book. At first I wasn’t sure whether I should share it or not. The book is hilarious and the two different ways the word is used would be fascinating to study. J The power of a word – exemplified in this picture book.
The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
I share this book when I want to talk about dreams and purpose. I read this book for the first time as a second grader. When talking to my former first grade teacher, Jan Tuck, she invited me to her classroom to read it to her new students. I remember seeing those kids sitting in front of me, waiting. I remember being nervous. I remember trying hard to put inflection in my voice. And I remember the first laugh, and more, and more, until they were begging me to read it again. I remember vividly leaving that room and knowing I must be able to read to kids daily. A powerful memory.
Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee
I love using this one to explain what I mean by craft choice. The kids often enjoy this book, asking it to be read again and again. I also point out how much “fun” it is to read and we discuss how to make our own writing that way. I simply love Marla’s books and this is one way to introduce her to my students.
My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston
This book is another that I use at the end of the year. In my tiny town, I do get to watch my students grow up, move on, and come back. We talk about our year together and our dreams down the road. We also talk about the choices we make and how they will determine whether our dreams become reality. I use this book as a way to say goodbye to my students.
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
I have several books by Rylant I enjoy sharing, but this one is at the top. The words she uses in this book are just brilliant. We talk about the concept of show, not tell, here. For example, the kids always point out the crowded house and how instead of saying it’s crowded she says it’s hard to sleep with all of that breathing. Brilliant.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
I would say I use this book most years – but not every. This year I absolutely will be because I want to talk about assumptions and changing our point of view of another person. Both are lessons that I know my new class needs and I think will inspire rich discussion.
Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett
I love Mac’s books and this one is no different. Sometimes you just need to have fun, and this one will have them rolling. Seeing as it was recently released, I’ve never used this book with a class. Both of my boys read it immediately when it arrived at our house and both gave glowing reviews. I cannot wait to try this one out with my fifth graders.
There you have it! Ten books I love. Considering I have three hundred picture books in my classroom, this was extremely difficult. Check out the other posts in the #pb10for10 group – and get ready to feel your wallet cry. J Thanks for hosting this group Cathy and Mandy!