Saturday, 10 August 2013

Picture Books 10 for 10: Classroom Edition

Today I participated in #PB10for10 (my 10 favourite Picture Books on August 10th) created by @cathymere and @mandyrobek and now I've been inspired to create some sort of PB10for10 for our students using our class blogs. Reading through dozens of blogs about favourite picture books has been inspiring. There are so many GREAT books out there - one I have read and ones I haven’t read... yet (my amazon account has been busy!).

Our STUDENTS need a voice in this. What are their favourite books? Think of the discussions you could have with your students about this. What makes it their favourite? Would you create criteria for what makes a good book or just pick random favourites? If you can create a top 10 list of books with your class, we can share those lists with each other on our class blogs or twitter accounts (like we did today - check it out here!).

February is the month of love, so this may be the perfect time to share our love for BOOKS. This would also give us lots of time to be reading to our students and allowing them to make decisions about what books they like.

We can talk specifics later on in the year and link up our class blogs. We could create an Edmondo teacher group and share ideas/books, buddy up with another class and further the conversations using individual blogs, or just keep it simple and read a few lists from other classes. I want it to be useful for YOU and your class. However that may look. Right now, this is just the beginning stage.

** If you are interested in participating in something like this, add your name HERE so I can make sure we connect later on in the school year.

Suggestions are appreciated, so please let me know if you think of anything else. Leave a comment or connect with me on twitter @jennivanrees.

Picture Books 10 for 10: Authors I couldn't live without


Choosing 10 favourite pictures books is probably one of the hardest challenges I’ve had to face this summer. So, in order to get around the fact that I need to choose only 10 books, I created a list of authors who write those 10 (or more) books that I just couldn’t live without in my classroom or in my life. To feel like I wasn’t “cheating” I only chose 6 authors, rather than 10, since each author writes multiple books I love. 

Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Exclamation Mark, Little series (Little Hoot, Little Pea, Little Oink)


I love how Exclamation Mark discusses punctuation without actually talking about it. It doesn’t explain what a period does or a question mark, it just shows the dialogue. Love how it’s a cute story with a meaning. 

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The Little series are my favourite because it takes what would kids love to do and makes the animals characters hate it. Little Hoot is forced to stay up late even though he wants to go to bed early like everyone else. Little Pea is forced to eat CANDY everyday, even though he would rather eat spinach and Little Oink has to keep a dirty room, even though he’d rather keep it nice and clean. Such fun books and when your students notice the reversals, they love it too!

Daniel Kirk: Library Mouse series

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I love the words to these stories, it promotes writing in my class. I’m not a huge fan of the illustrations, but the storyline makes up for it. After reading the story, I’ve created my own mouse-sized pencils and books for the students. As they write their stories (about the things they know about), they feel like they’ve become REAL writers.

Oliver Jeffers: How to Catch a Star, Lost and Found, The Day the Crayons Quit (illustrator)

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There’s just something about Oliver Jeffers books. I love that he uses a unique font and that the front covers always have a different texture than other books. I love the story lines and what his characters say - sometimes not expected. His books usually get me laughing out loud in the book store. “The Day the Crayons Quit” written by Drew Daywalt but illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, will guarantee be a hit with my class this year.

Melanie Watt: Scaredy Squirrel series
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Scaredy Squirrel has been a favourite for years. I love the way she created a character that everyone can relate to - either you’ve been there or know someone who is exactly like Scaredy. The humour goes beyond Grade 1 level, which makes me chuckle more than my students at times. Love that she uses a variety of text forms in her writing that can be easily be created by my students. These books in my classroom library are usually taped up a few times, because they’ve been read so much. A sign of a great book!

James Dean & Eric Lutwin: Pete the Cat series

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I’m not sure what’s better, the books or the fact that the books have audio songs. My students LOVED Pete and Cat this year. I think we sang his song all through the year at different parts of the day, even on the bus on the way to a field trip. What I love most about these books, is Pete’s mantra, “It’s all okay”. We have taken that up as our motto in class when things just don’t go our way or we’re talking about flexibility. If we break something, do we cry about it? Oh no...  we say it’ll be okay, try to fix it, while singing our song. :)   Go here for the songs.

Mo Willems: Knuffle Bunny series, Elephant and Piggie series, Pigeon books

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I LOVE these books. My students LOVE these books. Knuffle Bunny has captured audiences in my classroom from Kindergarten to Grade 6. When Trixie goes ‘boneless’ in the first book, I can hardly contain my laughter. When she grows up in the third book, I can hardly contain my tears. Mo Willems is just that good! :)

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My Grade Ones LOVE the Elephant and Piggie books, not only because they're funny and love hearing them read aloud, but because THEY can read them too. What a great series to create independent readers.

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To top it off, Mo Willems also writes all the pigeon books too! I’m sure I can go without saying anything, because who hasn’t read one of these? They’re just so engaging!

So, there is it, my favourite authors I just couldn’t live without, nor could my students. My 10 for 10... even though if you were counting books, you'd see that there was definitely more than 10 - but less than 10 authors. So, technically it's not "cheating", right? :)  

What are your “must have” picture books?