About two weeks ago, I got an email from my friend Cathy Mere over at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community inviting me to join her and many other bloggers in posting a list of 10 picture books I just couldn't live without in my classroom. Kind of an "If you were stranded on a a deserted island...." type of list. Now coming up with titles is definitely NOT a problem for me! In fact, any of my teaching friends will tell you I have cost them a lot of money because of my book recommending! And let's not even mention my book buying habit...my husband may be reading. However, trying to narrow it down to just 10 books was going to be quite a challenge. In fact, when I emailed Cathy to tell her I would love to participate I told her I would probably have to break the "rules", so to speak, and create 2 lists! And so...here is part one of my August 10 for 10...10 of the favorite pictures books I used when I taught pre-school and kindergarten (in no particular order).
Mommy Doesn't Know My Name by Suzanne Williams (1996) is a story about a little girl who is convinced that her mother doesn't know her own daughter's name, since she seems to call her every possible pet name except Hannah. When Mommy wakes Hannah in the morning, she asks: "Is that my little chickadee?" Hannah, envisioning herself with a bird's beak, insists, "I'm not a chickadee. I'm Hannah." As the day progresses, Mommy employs an assortment of pet names, and each time as Hannah corrects her she also envisions herself as the pet name.
This was always one of my first read alouds at the beginning of the year. The students would ask to hear it over and over...that's when you know you have keeper! We would create an adapted class book version titled Mrs. Dee Doesn't Know My Name that quickly became a wonderful shared reading text.
The Magic Hat by Mem Fox (2002) One fine day, from out of town, and without any warning at all, there appeared a magic hat." So begins Mem Fox's marvelous picture book, filled with rhyming text that is includes energy, rhythm, and motion. As the magic hat floats through town it lands on the head so of towns people and the magic begins. Great for reading aloud, The Magic Hat lends itself perfectly for teaching predicting with kindergarten students. Because of the repeating refrain, students naturally want to join in the reading and it's fantastic for working with phonological awareness skills. So many uses for this delightful story!
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems (2005) Leonardo is truly a terrible monster-terrible at being a monster that is. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to frighten anyone. Determined to succeed, Leonardo sets himself to training and research. Finally, he finds a nervous little boy, and scares the tuna salad out of him! But scaring people isn't quite as satisfying as he thought it would be. Leonardo realizes that he might be a terrible, awful monster-but he could be a really good friend. Another story that my students would ask to hear read aloud over and over, I would use this story as a starting point for talking with students about qualities of a good friend.
My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman (1998) "My little sister ate 3 ants. She even ate their underpants. She ate 2 snakes. She ate 1 hare. We thought she'd throw up then and there. But she didn't." Four shrews (plus their "smelly socks and shoes"), five bats, six mice, seven polliwogs, eight worms and nine lizards don't interfere a whit with the insatiable child's digestive system... until she makes the mistake of eating 10 peas and everything comes back up, alive and well. Any book that uses the word 'underpants' and includes throw up is guaranteed to be a hit with Kindergarten students. This cumulative story is one of many I used for story retelling, creating a class story map of the events.
The Ticky Tacky Doll by Cynthia Rylant (2002) A little girl worries about going to school for the first time and leaving her ticky-tacky doll that Grandmama made behind. The child is unable to eat or pay attention and her teachers and family are concerned. Only her observant grandmother is able to figure out what is wrong, and she devises the perfect solution: she sews a miniature version of the doll that fits into the corner of the little girl's book bag. Another one of my first day read alouds that offered opportunity to begin planting the seed of text to self connections.
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills (2006) Duck and Goose have to work at getting along. You see, Duck doesn’t much care for Goose at first–and Goose isn’t fond of Duck–but both want the 'egg' that each claims to be his. As the two tend to their egg, and make plans for the future, they come to appreciate one another’s strengths. This adorable story is a wonderful story to read aloud to students of all ages. I also used it to explore themes of cooperating, accepting differences, and friendship.
Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal ~ Little Pea is happy. There are many things he likes to do, such as roll down hills and hang out with his friends. There is one thing, though, that he does not like, and that is to eat candy as the main course every night for dinner. He struggles through, reluctantly swallowing not just one piece but five, in order to have his favorite dessert. What child can't identify with Little Pea's dilemma of having to eat something they didn't really want to eat so they could have dessert? Great text to use for comparing and contrasting Little Pea to self.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (1981) One night when Harold decides to go for a walk he takes his purple crayon and begins his journey...drawing landmarks to ensure he won't get lost; sketching a boat when he finds himself in deep water; and creating a purple pie picnic when he feels the first pangs of hunger. I just loved students reactions when they hear this classic story for the first time. I would use it for having students predict and revise their thinking as well as for encouraging writing.
Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose: One Hundred Best-Loved Verses ~ An illustrated collection of nearly one hundred nursery rhymes, including "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and other familiar poems, as well as "Mary had a Pretty Bird" and other less familiar ones. Alright...I realize this is an anthology! However, nursery rhymes were the starting point for developing common reading experiences for my students. From phonological awareness activities to shared reading to Poetry Folders to student created books I got a lot of "bang for my buck" with nursery rhymes. This anthology became one of my favorites.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats A small boy wakes up to discover that snow has fallen during the night. The little boy celebrates the snow-draped city with a day of humble adventures--experimenting with footprints, knocking snow from a tree, creating snow angels, and trying to save a snowball for the next day. I read this story aloud on the day of our first snow each year. I had a special bag (decorated with sparkly snowflakes) that had this book, pictures of snowstorms, and special snowmen pointers (for later reading) that sat up on a special shelf. On the day of our first snowfall I would bring down the bag with much fanfare! After our read aloud, we would go outside to celebrate our first snowfall. I would take pictures of the students playing in the snow and then have students write a story to go with their photograph.
So there you have it...my August 10 for 10! What books would be on your August 10 for 10 list? I would love to hear from you. You can find more August 10 for 10 lists over at Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community! And don't forget to check back later today for part 2 of my August 10 for 10~ picture books I am using with 4th and 5th graders.