Saturday, August 10, 2013

August Picture Book 10 for 10

My top ten picture books...not in any order.

This wonderful memoir written by one of my favorite authors, and promoter of 6 read alouds a day, Lester Laminack.  I have used this book in both the reading and writing workshop as a mentor text for my 3rd graders and now my middle schoolers.

Beautifullly written personal narrative about Jane Yolen's husband who takes his children on late night walks to see owls.  The piece is wonderful as a mentor text and uses lots of figurative language.

I love this text as a reminder to hold on to summer even in the coldest of Wisconsin winters.  The author is from Minnesota and crafts a remembrance piece about her time at the cabin.  I have come back to this text many times as a mentor text in 3rd grade for reading and writing workshop.  Lots of figurative and descriptive language.

Helen's Big World is a biography. It is very moving as Doreen Rappaport writes this gorgeous piece about Helen Keller.   Rappaport uses Helen's quotes to frame this book and the illustrations by Matt Tavares are exquisite.

What happens when the author and illustrator don't get along?  Find out in this hilarious picture book by Max Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex.  My 6th graders adored this book. Also check out the cute book trailer.

Such a strong message written by Jacqueline Woodson in Each Kindness.  Wonderful to use on a bullying topic, to remind them that there isn't always a happy ending.  My daughter and I cried when sharing this book, and my middle schoolers understood the message.  Great to partner with Wonder if using as a read aloud.

Love to use this book, app and short film to start the year.  William Joyce does a fantastic job sharing his love of books with us.  There is deep content that can be discussed with middle school readers.

Another biography (will use in my NF picture book suggestions) that is written AND illustrated by Matt Tavares.  Kids will enjoy hearing about Ted Williams as a child and can relate to the simplified version of the facts offered by the author.  I used this with middle schoolers as a mentor text for literary nonfiction writing.

Wonderful personal narrative by Patricia Polacco (it's what she does best).  Follow along as this class of "misfits", with the help of their loving teacher, grow to cherish their differences.  I used this with my middle school intervention groups to help them see that we all have something to offer, and that we all are wonders.

So here is where I bend the rules...I absolutely LOVE Patricia Polacco and couldn't decide on which other book to add to the list.  She is a master of storytelling and with sharing her past with her readers.  I have found that her books work with young children, as well as, middle schoolers.    I have used Thundercake and My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother as reader's theaters with much success.  I have also used many of her books as mentor texts for writing.

There you have it.  I have so many more that I wanted to add.  I use picture books often in my middle school classroom and adore sharing them.


  1. This is a wonderful list! I completely agree with you about Patricia Polacco. My list is all Jane Yolen, and I was just thinking that Polacco could have her own list, too. Needless to say, Owl Moon is one of my all-time favorites, and Each Kindness is one of my new favorites. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. So many of your books are favorites of mine too. It's so hard to narrow it down to 10 isn't it? Patricia Polacco is one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed sharing them with my children when they were little (we made our share of Thunder cakes) and now with my students.

  3. Awesome list! I need to add Saturdays and Teacakes to my must read list!

  4. You have some of my favorites, e.g. EACH KINDNESS on your list! Can't believe I forgot to include CHLOE AND THE LION on my newest list!

  5. Rachel,
    Saturday and Teacakes is one of my all time favorites. There are several titles on your list that are new to me. I can't wait to check them out. I'm going to start with Chloe and the Lion as well as Helen's Big World.