It's August 10th (I'm squeaking in!) so it's time to share favorite picture books again. I spent the morning in my classroom unpacking boxes, many of them full of picture books, so this is fresh on my mind.
My favorite book from the last year is Mo Willems' We Are In a Book! I shared it during the Northern Virginia Writing Project's summer institute and it was well loved by all. The Piggie and Elephant books are always popular with my first graders and I love this series as much as the kids do. This one, with Piggie explaining to Elephant Gerald that a reader is reading them is still my favorite.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas makes me laugh every time I read it. Like We are in a Book it is deceptively simple. In reality, both of these books require young children to step back and think about what is happening.
One Mo Willems' book would not be enough on my list, so I also have to include The Duckling Gets a Cookie. It's as much about The Pigeon as it is The Duckling. When I read it last year we had quite a talk about how The Duckling handled The Pigeon.
This is a title that has likely shown up on many lists (I haven't read any of the other posts yet in order to not be swayed on my thoughts). I have read this book to my daughters (ages 8 and 5), my first graders, and fifth graders. It has been fascinating to see which students immediately understand what has happened as the bear gets his hat back and how many are uncertain.
I've got to have some nonfiction and my current favorite nonfiction author is Steve Jenkins. It is nigh on impossible to choose one title but Move! is well loved by my students.
Piggie and Elephant, the Pigeon, and Froggy are all characters we get to know early in the year. My students love to write their own stories about those characters. Another favorite is Hi Fly Guy. It's not uncommon for me to conference with students about stories that include multiple characters we love. Reading about Fly Guy and the Pigeon have adventures together is a hoot.
Like every other group of kids everywhere, my first graders last year loved Pete the Cat. This is another great book for the start of the year because it is one they can all read, at least after I've read it to them, and it's a great mentor for them as writers.
I call my youngest daughter Little Miss and she is a snuggly little one. As a result, when I saw a proof of Plant a Kiss at ISTE last year I knew it was a book we had to own. This year at ISTE I got Peter H. Reynolds to sign it. It is a beautiful book with a sweet message.
On September 15th kids all around the world will celebrate International Dot Day. They will, in a wide variety of ways, celebrate their own creativity, individuality, and make their own marks. My class will certainly be reading and celebrating!
The final book on my list is not one I read to my students. I give a copy of this book to each new mom or dad when they return to work. It tells the story of a mom dropping her son off at day care and shows them each going about their days with the message that they may be apart but their love is always there. Each page has a heart worked into the illustration, a fun thing to look for with your child.