I just learned about this virtual picture book party on Twitter (#pb10for10) yesterday afternoon. I got to work on it on the train during my commute home. While some people have been prepping their lists for weeks, I had a few hours. The books I’m listing below are true favorites. My descriptions are a little thin since I didn’t have much time to prep this post.
Here’s my list of the “Ten Picture Books I Couldn’t Live Without,” in no particular order (& I mean no order since I typed this entire post out on my iPhone:
1). Knuffle Bunny Trilogy by Mo Willems: I followed Trixie’s adventures in books one and two. My students and I studied them as mentor texts. I read the last one after I left the classroom alongside my husband who watched me cry happy tears at the ending. Whenever I can I suggest these three books as mentor texts to teachers of writing because they are so well written.
2). The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy: This book is a legend, which is partially steeped in truth. Reading it gives me hope since I know the Danes did so much to save my Jewish brothers and sisters. My heart swells with emotion every time I read this book.
3. Chloe, instead by Micah Player: This is a new book that I never personally used in the classroom. I’ve blogged a bit about it in the past few months. Search for those posts if you’d like to know why I live this book so much.
4. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts: I have used this book in the classroom, at parent nights, and with teachers. Everyone empathizes with Jeremy thanks to the incredible way Maribeth developed him (& the entire story for that matter).
5. Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts: I had to put Maribeth’s newest book on here. I cried the first time I read it. When she did an author visit in June with my grad students I learned so much about this book’s backstory, which made me love it even more. This is yet another fine example of a mentor text for writing workshop.
6. Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco: A longtime favorite of mine. I read this book aloud to my students multiple times since it the pictures tell a second story. If kids are old enough be sure to clue them into Mr. Kodinski’s tattoo on his forearm. He’s a Holocaust survivor, which can help students to understand a bit more about the way he acts in the story. I know that my students were able to have deeper conversations about this text after a second reading of just the illustrations with my think alouds.
7. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson: Woodson’s picture books are amongst my favorites, which is why it was hard to select just one. I chose this one since I used it with my students in reading and writing workshop year after year. While not old enough to be a true classic, I know it will become one. Every child should be fortunate to read this book, have deep discussions, and then find opportunities to take some action to make this world the kind of place where everyone is equal and respected regardless of their differences.
8. The Carpenter’s Gift: A Story About the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree by David Rubel: As a Jew, I shocked myself for putting a Christmas book on my list. But if you’ve read Rubel’s book then you’ll know that this is one of the most moving holiday stories you’ll ever read. Also, it has one of the most stunning circular endings I’ve ever read.
9. The Journey: Stories of Migration by Cynthia Rylant: This is one of my favorite nonfiction books. No matter how many times I read this aloud to my students, I always found myself in awe at the incredible migration stories.
10. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman: I was living in Manhattan on Sept. 11th, 2001, but didn’t learn of the heroism of this fireboat until I became a classroom teacher. This is one of the best books to share with elementary school students when you want to approach the September 11th anniversary in a way that won’t scare kids.
So, what are the picture books you can’t live without?