This is an incredible challenge for me, as it is for all the participants, I'm sure. Although I've been a teacher going on 14 years, this is only my 4th year in a true classroom. Before that, I didn't have much interaction with picture books the way that I do now. I don't have a very large personal library, so I check out most of my books from the school's library or the public library. My 10 books are taken from what I've noticed checking out year after year. Whether it's because the children have enjoyed them, or because I have enjoyed reading them. As I narrowed down my choices, I tended to gravitate toward those books that I will introduce at the beginning of the year. Maybe because that's where my mind is right now. However, many of them are books that can be returned to over and over again. That's what makes them good choices for my list.
1. "Pete the Cat" by Eric Litwin: I'm going to lump all of the Pete the Cat books in together as one pick. They have a great character, they are repetitive for the little ones, and they are just fun. Not to mention, you can download the author reading them (and singing the songs) from the publisher's web site.
4. "Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians" by Jackie Mims Hopkins: This twist on the classic "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" story is used to illustrate to students how to find "Just Right" books. I find myself coming back to this book throughout the year, reminding students how they can find the books that are right for them, all on their own.
7. "Don't Let the Pigeon..." by Mo Willems: This pick includes all of the books in the Pigeon series. The kids love the humor in the interaction between the Pigeon and the readers. The books follow a pattern and allow them to "read" the stories themselves and feel successful as readers from early on.
8. "The Best Story" by Eileen Spinelli: In this story, the narrator is trying to win a contest for writing the best story. Along the way, she gets advice of what makes the "best" story from various members of her family. When it comes right down to it, the "best" story is one that comes from the heart. I love sharing this with my young writers who think that they have to write the same story as their friends. Not everyone has a story about Angry Birds (the hot topic of last year's class) or Princesses in them.
10. "Miss Nelson is Missing!" by Harry Allard: The kids in Miss Nelson's class are misbehaving and taking advantage of the kindness of their teacher. When Miss Nelson suddenly disappears, their substitute is Miss Viola Swamp, who is the opposite of Miss Nelson. The kids learn to behave and appreciate their teacher. My students enjoy this book year after year. It's also a good jumping off point for classroom rule discussions.