Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Top 10 Picture Books for Literacy Leaders to Read to Children and Staff

Picture Book 10 for 10 is a Google Community of educators who share their favorite picture books. It was started by Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek. Consider joining the fun. Directions for participating can be found at Cathy Mere's blog, Reflect and Refine. ( You can also follow along at #pb10for10.

Picture books can bring us the best messages to share with staff and children. Thanks to the many talented authors who bring us wise and beautiful words to share with others. There's nothing better than children gathered 
around a book that brings them giggles and laughter. There is no better mentor text than a picture book filled with beautiful and carefully chosen words. There's no better way to realize just how human we all are than sitting down with a book that touches our heart.

My Picture Book 10 for 10 is fueled by my love for the written word and my appreciation for the children's book authors and illustrators who bring us beauty on the pages of a picture book. So many picture books inspire us to sit along side someone, lovingly turn the pages, and talk about the fabric of life woven together in a blanket of words and pictures.

It is so important to share picture books at any age. Primary children thrive on them. Children in middle grades learn about how language and storytelling come together and even adults can learn from the themes that are woven thought a picture book. My 10 for 10 post was inspired by Matt Renwick who recently posted in the Nerdy Book Club about the Top 10 Books for Principals to Read Aloud at Staff Meetings. ( It was also inspired by Mr. Schu at the Scholastic Reading Summit in July who said "Every faculty meeting should start with a book talk."

I believe that it is so important for principals and literacy leaders to know picture books well. What a pleasure it is to leave the library each week with a stack of picture books in hand. The fun begins when I go into classrooms or a meeting and read. These are the books that are high on my list this week. The grandest pleasure is knowing that there are always shelves of new picture books waiting for me at the library. 

Top 10 Books for Literacy Leaders
to Read to Children and Staff

I Wonder: Celebrating Daddies Doing Work by Doyin Richards

Daddies are so cool and they are all different! 
This book is about all the wonderful things that dads do with their children. The author, Doyin Richards, is on a mission to celebrate "how fatherhood is the coolest and most rewarding gig a man will every have in his lifetime." I love the diversity of dads pictured in this book. It is surely a book that children and families will love.


Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berube

You can conquer your fears.
This story is about Hannah who is afraid of the dog that greets the children on the school bus each day. But Hannah is afraid of dogs. Then one day Sugar can not be found and Hannah helps search for the missing dog. Readers will discover if she is able to conquer her fear of dogs. This is a great story to share with anyone because we all have fears that can be conquered.  

Willow's Smile by Lana Button

Just be yourself.
Many of our children will be lining up for school pictures this fall. This is the story of Willow who has a difficult time smiling on pictue day. When she has a chance to help the photographer, Willow realizes that her friends all have unique looks of their own. And when it's time for Willow's picture to be taken, she knows that she just need to be herself. This is a great book to share in the fall when Picture Day is right around the corner.
The Little Tree That Would Not Share by Nicoletta Cost

Share and be kind. 

A tree planted in the city grew beautiful green leaves in the spring. But throughout the summer when the butterflies, birds and other animals tried to get near the tree, the tree tells them to go away. When fall arrives the tree notices that his leaves are turning colors and falling to the ground. He regrets being mean to his friends. A crow comes along and explains the seasons and the tree promises to be nicer to his friends as spring arrives. This is a light-hearted story about sharing and being kind to others.

What Do You Do With a Problem by Kobi Yamada

Have the courage to face your problems.
This book was written by the same author who wrote What Do You Do With An Idea. The boy in the story avoids a persistent problem that gets bigger as the story moves along. The boy finally gets enough courage to face the problem and it turns out that the problem is different than he thought. This story reaches out to anyone who has ever faced a problem. It inspires those who read it and would spark a great conversation with children and adults.

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre
Water (and nature) can be beautiful.
This book reminds me of a soft and gentle summer rain. In beautiful photos and sparse words, the reader experiences the refreshing feeling that comes after a shower. This nonfiction book is an exploration of raindrops and the water cycle. It is a close discovery of how water is a natural part of our world. I love the photography and the carefully chosen words in this book and think that children and adult will too.                                                                       

I'll Catch You If You Fall by Mark Sperring
Someone is keeping us safe.
I love this reassuring story about knowing there is always someone near to keep us safe.
On a journey the boy's mother and a boat captain surround the boy with reassurance that they will keep him safe. As they return home, the star asks, "Who will keep me safe?" And the little boy tells the star that he will catch him if he falls. In this simple but elegant story we realize that all of us want to know that someone is keeping us safe. It's a lovely story that

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena

Look for the beauty in our world.
On a bus ride across town, CJ asks his grandma questions about their lives and their
neighborhood. Grandma always points out the beauty and goodness of things as she answers him. CJ and Grandma share a heart-felt perspective on the world.

... and some older titles I treasure...

The Quiltmakers Gift by Jeff Brumbeau

 Celebrate the joy of giving.
A generous quilt maker gives her beautiful quilts away. She agrees to make a quilt for a greedy king with hopes that it will make him happy. When she does the king changes his outlook on life and becomes a generous leader of his kingdom. I love the way this book reminds us that we all benefit when we learn to give to others.

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan

Cherish the people and places around you.
Eli is born into a loving family. The story recounts the beautiful memories he has with his parents and grandparents. When his baby sister is born he in turn shares all the places to love with her. The language of the story tugs at your heart and reminds you to appreciate your own special people and places. The language is rich and the story is a gentle peek into the strong bonds of a loving family.