Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10 for 10 2016~#pb10for10

*cue music* It's the most wonderful time of the year! There'll be lots of list making and lots of book buying for sure! It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Seven years of #pb10for10! Wow! Today is a day I look forward to every year. I have my public library account open and my reader's notebook and pen close at hand.  I'm always inspired by the thinking that each person puts into their list of 10 picture books. 

Today I'm sharing some picture book titles that lend themselves to argument and debate work in grades K-5.  For each book, I've included a possible debate question you could use, but please know these aren't the only debatable questions you could use. I've organized the books in a grade span sequence with level of the debate question increasing across a progression. 

In today's world we need people who can think for themselves,  who read to be informed so that they truly understand an issue before having an opinion, and who can work for change when needed more than ever before. Embedding argument & debate into all content areas benefits students in so many ways:

  • Shows students their voice matters
  • Allows students to get better at talking “to” rather than “at” other students
  • Sharpens students’ listening skills
  • Helps students consider another point of view
  • Strengthens students’ ability to use evidence from text to support thinking
  • Promotes re-reading which deepens understanding of the text
  • Oral rehearsal of ideas (reasons & evidence) improves opinion writing
  • Promotes 100% engagement during read alouds, conversations, and writing
All book descriptions are from

Ugly Fish is ugly and big and mean, and he won't share his driftwood tunnel or his special briny flakes with anyone. And that means the wimpy little fish who keep showing up in his tank have got to go. But then one day someone bigger and uglier and maybe even meaner arrives . . . and suddenly Ugly Fish isn't feeling quite so confident anymore. 

Debate Question: Did Ugly Fish deserve what happened?

Meet Petunia.  More than anything, Petunia wants a pet. I'll feed my pet every day, she promises her parents. I'll take her for walks. I'll read stories to her and draw her pictures.  Petunia knows she can take care of a pet, but what happens when the pet she most desires is a skunk?

Combine fiction and non-fiction evidence for this question, using Pet 101: Pet Skunks.

Debate Question: Would a skunk make a good pet?

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse and its treasures to school and can't wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. Lilly's fury leads to revenge and then to remorse and she sets out to make amends.

Debate Question: Is Lily a good role model?

All Jeremy wants is pair of black high tops with two white stripes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. But Jeremy's grandmother tells him they don't have room for "want", just "need", and what Jeremy needs is new boots for winter. When Jeremy's shoes fall apart at school and the guidance counselor gives him a hand-me-down pair, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift store pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren't much fun, and Jeremy comes to realize that the things he has --- warm boots, a loving grandma, and a chance to help a friend -- are worth more than the things he wants.

Debate Question: Who helps Jeremy more, Grandma or Antonio? 

Ian always follows the rules. His sister, Jenny, breaks them all the time-especially "Don't pinch." So Ian is thrilled when the house where his family is vacationing posts a tidy list of rules. But when Jenny breaks them all, the house itself decides it's time for payback. The rug, the stove, and the bathtub are hungry for rule breaker soup, and they've found the perfect ingredient: Jenny! 

Debate Question: What helps the most with Ian becoming more flexible, Jenny or the house monsters?

Frank follows the motto, "Honesty is the best policy." He tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Frank never lies to his schoolmates, he always tells the truth to adults, and he’s always honest with police officers. The balancing act of finding tact, that fine line between telling the truth and telling too much truth, is the main theme of this story, and it's very funny --- but no one is quite as impressed with Frank’s honesty as he thinks they should be.

Debate Question: Who's happier with more sugar and less pepper when it comes to honesty--the speaker or the receiver of the comment?

Monique hates her school uniform.  Brown and blue? Who wants to wear brown and blue? Monique wants to be different. One day she finds a trunk filled with her mother's old clothes, and the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that Monique transforms her boring old brown and blue (and herself), until she finally learns that no matter what you wear, individuality always shines. 

Debate Question: Does Monique's feeling of success result more from her flexibility or more from her perseverance? 

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. No one ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party...until, that is a new kid comes to class.  When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together,  Brian finds a way to shine.

Debate Question: Who ultimately helps the most to make Brian become more visible, Brian or Justin?

Debate is a great way to teach figurative language and/or writing craft! 

Caldecott medalist, Beth Krommes and Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman celebrate the beauty and value of spirals. What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

Debate Question: Is the spiral (swirl) a better symbol for beauty or safety?

An injured magpie and a one-eyed dog live happily together in the forest, until a jealous fox arrives to teach them what it means to be alone.

Debate Question: Does the author create a sense of character more through the use of dialog or through the use of descriptive details?

I have to give a huge shout out to 4th grade teacher, Molly Leding, for welcoming me into her classroom to learn about this work alongside her and her students. She has answered more questions than I can count, coached me as I learned to coach other teachers, and offered great suggestions and feedback for many of the titles I shared in today's post.  

I'm looking forward to seeing what books others have included in their lists this year! A huge thank you goes out to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for continuing to host the amazing celebration of picture books. I'm off to check out the #pb10for10 Google Community and hope you will too.

You can see my past lists here: