I’ve done a couple of recent posts about mentor texts I use in my classroom and recently I noticed a challenge by some other teachers about a Picture Book 10 for 10 Challenge. #pb10for10 Their invitation is to share ten picture books you can’t live without on August 10th. So today is August 10th…and my picture books are all in my classroom.
I had almost abandoned the idea of sharing my picture book favorites since I don’t have easy access to them today. But then I spent the morning with my SDAWP colleagues at UCSD thinking about complex texts–both reading and writing–which led me to think about the ways I use texts in combination in the classroom. So I started thinking about some of favorite picture books for the classroom…and how I often layer books to create more complexity and deeper meaning with my students. These books come from the top of head (with the help of the web to sort out the actual titles and authors)…you don’t get pictures or excerpts…just what I can remember!
I’ll start with a few that I used with my students to examine abstract concepts. Most of them use the idea of color in different and interesting ways.
1. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor: This book is a gem (like most of the others by this author). I love the way she describes colors using senses other than sight. I wish I had my book handy to include an excerpt! Read it — you won’t be disappointed!
2. The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin: This book, all in black in white, is gorgeous! The use of texture and Braille add a fresh dimension to this book…and reinforces the need to use powerful sensory language in descriptions.
3. The Sound of Colors by Jimmy Liao: This book describes the experience of a blind girl as she travels in the New York subway system. Imagination takes the girl on a powerful journey. What do you experience when you aren’t able to see?
4. The Colors of Us by Karen Katz: This books offers way to describe the colors of our skin in beautiful and appreciative ways.
5. What Does Peace Feel Like? by Vladimir Rudunsky: This book is a collection of similes and metaphors from students describing peace–helping to bring some concreteness to this big and abstract concept.
6. If… by Sarah Perry: This books takes a fanciful journey into the imagination and invites students to imagine if worms had wheels and other fanciful and surrealistic ideas.
And I also love books that are about math and nature. Two more favorites that I used this past year to support my students’ understanding of the Fibonacci sequence and its appearance in the natural world.
7. Wild Fibonacci: Nature’s Secret Code Revealed by Joy N. Hulme: This book explores the appearance of Fibonacci numbers in the natural world–mostly focusing on the spiral.
8. Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman: This book is another look at Fibonacci’s sequence and spirals using spectacular illustrations.
And to round out my ten, two other books I purchased this summer and intend to use with students this year.
9. One Hen by Katie Smith Milway: A book about micro loans and how small investments can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
And one more math and science focused book
10. Dave’s Down-to-Earth Rock Shop by Stuart J. Murphy; This book combines geology and classification as the characters devise new ways to sort and display their rock collection.
I look forward to seeing what picture books other people love. I’m always looking for new books to inspire my students’ thinking and to help them understand complex concepts. I’m especially interested in those hidden treasures that somehow don’t get the attention of the large bookstore chains…and yet have wonderful content, language, and illustrations. What picture books do you love?