Thursday, July 19, 2012

Must Have Picture Books Linky

Lindsey at The Teacher Wife is having a Linky party where we get to name our favorite picture books. What a fabulous idea and wonderful resource for teachers.  Picture books are a great way to model comprehension strategies with students of all ages.  Emily and I have taught 2nd-5th grade and have used picture books with each grade.  The dilemma is choosing our favorites.  The Linky party says to choose 5.  We are going to choose 3 each.  Mine will be in blue and Emily's will be in purple.

I'll start with my number 1, absolute favorite book...
This is a MUST read.  It is a story about Patricia Polacco as a child and her difficulty with reading.  What a great message for students to see that a famous author, who is dyslexic, overcame her challenges.  I always start the year with this book because my students can easily activate schema and make connections.  I have read this book to my students almost every single year.

The Royal Bee is a newly found favorite. (Debbie Miller suggested this at a training Emily and I went to.) It is a story of a boy who is not allowed to go to school because he is poor.  He has such a strong desire to learn that he hides outside the school and listens in on the daily lessons knowing he could get into serious trouble for doing so.  Another fabulous message for children to see how lucky they are to have the opportunity to be educated.
The Empty Pot has an amazing message of being awarded for honesty.  The Emperor presents a challenge to the children of his kingdom but little do they know there is more to this than simply growing the most beautiful flower.  

I LOVE picture books, so I agree with Antoinette that only choosing 3 is difficult.

All my pics are going to be books I used this past year with my 3rd graders.  I plan to use them all again this year with my 5th graders.

A tried and true favorite:
I use this to teach geography.  If you haven't seen the activity ideas on Pinterest, look them up!  I use circles that fit inside each other.  It is a great reference tool for the kids.

A great non fiction (tear jerker):
This is a moving story that takes place at an elephant sanctuary.  I like the idea that it is non fiction, but more of a story.
There is a sad part in the book, but it is a true story, so these things happen.  You can also look up video clips on Youtube of news segments about them.  I actually cried in front of my students, during one of the news stories. (Darn hormones!)

A great choice for beginning story writers:
I did a post about this book a couple months ago. (Click here to read it.) I am starting to really get into wordless books like Chalk.  A must "read" for any grade level.

What are your top picture books?  Stop by The Teacher Wife's linky party to share your top picks.

Antoinette & Emily  


  1. I'm always on the look out for a great wordless picture book. Can't wait to check Chalk out!
    The Meek Moose

  2. Have you ever used "Thank You, Mr. Falker" to launch Read to Self (modeling reading the pictures and words)?

  3. Hey Heather- Another great wordless book that my students loved is The Red Book by Barbara Lehman. It is about a girl who happens upon a magical red book. As she looks at the pictures she discovers another child who is reading a book about her. One of the greatest things about this book is that the journey doesn't end when the stories does. If you haven't used The Red Book in your classroom, you should check it out.

    Antoinette :)

  4. Hey Randi- In the past, I have done my own version of Daily Five which I didn't refer to Read to Self. I called it independent reading time. But yes, I always start out the year with Thank You, Mr. Falker and one of the things we focus on with the story is Polacco's amazing illustrations. I always tell my students that true picture books use the illustrations as well as the words to tell the story. Polacco puts so much emotion and detail in her illustrations, so they are wonderful books to use for both reading words and pictures. The page were Tricia is sad and the mean words are in the background around her is a perfect example. I LOVE that book! :)

    Antoinette :)

  5. Such a great book list! Glad I found your blog through the linky :)

    Make sure to stop by and enter my giveaway.

  6. The Royal Bee reminds me of a real picture I saw in China-the student's family couldn't pay for school anymore but she was there with her notebook in the window listening. I tell my students that story all the time-will definitely be checking out that book. Thanks for sharing it! :)


  7. Miss Trayers- thank you so much for sharing that story. What a wonderful real life example to share with our students. Hope you enjoy the book. :)

  8. Thank you for having the linky party. We love picture books.

  9. I saw the You Tube video of that sweet friendship but didn't know there was a book also! Thanks for all the great suggestions. My Amazon wish list keeps growing...and growing... Yay for 100 followers! I'm a new one. Glad I found you.
    The Bubblegum Tree

  10. You just turned us on to soo many new books! The Royal Bee looks and sounds amazing. I need to get my hands on that ASAP!

    Thanks for stopping by our blog, we're your newest followers!

    Halle & Jenna
    Across the Hall in 2nd

  11. Thanks, Antoinette! Did you do all five components? If not, which did you leave out (or deemphasize)? I really like the structure and idea behind Daily 5. I just need to figure out how to manage everything using our schools' basal (Treasures). I also only have one CD player (with multiple headsets). This might make the Listen to Reading component more challenging. I wonder if my read aloud could be an substitute? I will have to do that separate from my reading block. I know that eliminates some choice, but I always have the students vote on which book to read next. Any thoughts/suggestions?

  12. Hi Randi- I had not read the Daily Five before this summer (I am not finished with lol). So my knowledge of it was based on a couple classes I took.

    The school I was at only allotted a little over an hour for both reading and writing which is impossible. I alternated units of reading and writing which isn't ideal, but it was all I could do.

    During my CA block, I would start out with a whole group mini-lesson where I would read a picture book to model what I was teaching. Then the kids would alternate between independent reading where they would read and write about their reading (this is two components combined into one), guided groups with me, and tech time (We had a 1:2 ratio of mini-notes to students). During Tech time, the students would practice reading skills on educational games, respond to literature on our classroom blog, and/or listen to online stories. At 5th grade, the listening to reading and read to someone were't a huge focus, although the students loved it when they got the chance. Our work with words was the last part of our day after recess. I had a short chunk of time there so we all did this component at the same time.

    I am not sure what Treasures is, but my old school was a basal school. At first, I would use the text book as my read alouds, the students would read to self and/or listen to reading, and they would have independent time for the workbooks. My principle gave us some freedom, so I eventually quit using the workbooks and replaced it with reading journals where their work was more authentic.

    Do you have any flexibility in what you use? It sounds like to me the Daily Five components can be what you want them to be. I hope this is helpful.

  13. Awesome choices! I'm going to look for The Royal Bee and Terra and Bella. Thanks!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  14. I'm your newest follower! YIPEE for me!!! Wonderful book choices! I second them all! Stop by and visit me anytime!