Saturday, September 1, 2012

Celebrating the Year of Picture Books

Candlewick is celebrating picture books this year and kicked off their celebration with one of the best videos I’ve seen in a long while. Go check out Travis Jonker and Elizabeth Bird’s hilarious video communicating with picture book titles and then come back. (VIDEO)

I love picture books. And at the start of the school year I share A LOT of them. I think they are perfect for the classroom. A quick story I can read and incorporate into a mini-lesson and discussion. These are just a few of the picture books I’ve shared in the first nine days of school.

What You Know First by Patricia MacLachlan. I always begin the school year with this book. I end the school year with this book. I’m not sure what it is that makes it so magical for me, but I love it. The kids and I talk about having a favorite author. We talk about using quiet words but making an impact. There’s so much I treasure about this. I think the main reason I use this one year after year is I want my students to see on the first day, and the last day, that their teacher treasures words and books.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. I’ve used this one on and off for the last few years. Love watching students reactions to it and the awesome discussion that results. This is perennially a student favorite.

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman. This was a new one for me this year and the kids cracked up. Watching fifth graders hooting over the robot putting oil in the boy’s ear, hearing them reply to each other, “Affirmative” over the next few days, I’m sad for the classrooms where picture books are considered too young for my age group. And when I told my students that I’ve Skyped with Ame before? Holy smokes! They will string me up if I don’t get her in my classroom soon. J


The Library by Sarah Stewart and The Gentleman Bug by Julian Hector were both books I purchased after reading about them on Mr. Schu’s blog. Both celebrate books and reading. I enjoyed sharing them with my students because they immediately assumed I bought them due to my love of reading. Love that these picture books can show my priorities so quickly.

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack allowed me to share a bit about myself. I told the students that one of the characters resembled my attitude about life and one resembled my husband’s attitude. The kids and I practiced some inferring as we read and at the end I asked them to guess which character I was like. 100% of them shouted out “The Rabbit!” – awesome how well they know me in one week.

And finally, I shared I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. We discussed the illustrations, the actions of the characters, and which “team” my students would be on. (Overwhelmingly they chose “Team Bear” – sorry, Jen. We did have a “team armadillo” again.)

I still love sharing picture books with my own children and my students as well. Many of them are already debating which books in my collection should be contendors for the Caldecott this year. After sharing The Dirty Cowboy with a few kids and telling them it was banned in a school in Pennsylvania, kids read it together lamenting that children a few states away wouldn’t have the opportunity to laugh over the hilarious story from Amy Timberlake’s family. (And they were in love with Adam Rex’s illustrations.) Picture books allow me to share myself with my students along with showing them a wonderful story. And as I watched students curl up with a stack during independent reading this past week, I know they will be sharing their favorites with me soon as well.