Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 10 for 10

Today is the 6th annual "August 10 for 10: A Picture Book Event," (#pb10for10) and this is the third time that I have participated. Cathy at Reflect and Refine and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning began the event in 2010 with a question: "If you were stranded on an island and had to teach, what 10 picture books would you hope to have in your bag?"

The first year I participated was 2012. I chose the 10 books that I use every year in my first grade classroom. Narrowing it down was tough, so it should have been easy to just take then next 10 on my list for the following year. However, after seeing some of the other variations posted, I decided to go a different direction for the next year's list. My list in 2013 answered the question, "If you were trapped in a bedtime routine with your child, what books would you be begged to read?"

This year, I decided to deviate from the rules once again (it's okay, I got the go-ahead from Cathy Mere herself). A few weeks ago I found myself at the public library. Each week throughout the summer, teachers from my school were taking turns putting in an appearance at the library to encourage our students to come out and borrow books and talk about what they were reading. While I was waiting for students to arrive, of course I was wandering around the picture book section. I love that they have a whole shelf of new arrivals, as well as featuring books on the top of the shelves. I started pulling out books and taking pictures with my phone to save for later. As I was in the process of becoming swallowed up by all these new books, I  was struck with the idea that this should be my 10 for 10 list.

So I give you, in no particular order, the answer to the question: "What are the 10 picture books you can't wait to introduce to your class?" I took the blurb from the book jacket and then explained why I liked it or how I will use it in my classroom.

1. Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood

Bear lives on his own in the middle of nowhere, and that's just the way he likes it. But when a family of rabbits builds their house right next to his, he isn't pleased. They keep knocking on his door and asking for things! Will Bear ever learn to like his pesky new neighbors?

I would use this in my classroom to show acts of kindness. Even though the Bear was not kind to the rabbits, they showed kindness to him and eventually became friends.

2. The Boy & the Book by David Michael Slater

Take cover! It's pandemonium among the paperbacks. The hardcovers are hysterical. He's back. That BOY! And he's after the BOOK again! What will he do this time? Sometimes children love books with a bit too much...enthusiasm. What's a hapless book -- or grown-up -- to do?

This is a wordless picture book that would be a great way to start talking about book care, library etiquette, and the joy of reading.

3. The Little "READ" Hen by Dianne de Las Casas

When the Little "Read" Hen's friends won't help her write an "egg-cellent" story, she doesn't let it ruffle her feathers -- she just does it herself! Brainstorming, researching, outlining, drafting, editing, and proofing: all the ingredients of the "write" recipe for a well-crafted tale.

This is a cute story that shows the different steps in the writing process. In the end, she discovered that the story was best when shared with friends.

4. First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick

The boy in this story wants to drop out of first grade. But first grade is amazing! Why would anyone want to quit? Find out in this funny story, which will show you that even though embarrassing things sometimes happen, usually they're not nearly as bad as you think.

Some kids are more sensitive than others, particularly when it comes to an embarrassing situation. This is a simple story that illustrates that sometimes kids make a bigger deal of things than they are or need to be and that everyone makes mistakes, and that's                                                         okay.

5. The Very Inappropriate Word by Jim Tobin

Michael loved collecting words: big words, little words, and fast words. Then one day, he picked up a new word. A BAD word. An INAPPROPRIATE word. At least that's what his sister said. But Michael kind of liked the word and thought he might try it out. At school. Bad idea.

Every year, when teaching about writer's craft, we talk about interesting words. I have often posted a chart where students can write down any new words that they like or would like to learn more about. I like that this story shows different places where we can find these kind of words. It also can gently bring up the subject of inappropriate language without making a big deal about it.

6. Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden

When a feather drifts through a child's window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. Whimsical "before" and "after" scenes offer readers a peek at the world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, ultimately asking the question, "What will you remember?"

I see lots of possibilities for using this book in the classroom. One of my favorites though, is at the very end of the book there is a list of "Some of our favorite things to remember" that could be a model of collecting ideas for future story topics. I also liked that, with each "remembrance" the reader has the opportunity to think about what came before.

7. If You Ever Want to bring an Alligator to School, DON'T!
by Elise Parsley

An alligator for show-and-tell sounds like tons of fun. What could possibly go wrong? Magnolia is a one-of-a-kind girl who wants to share something at show-and-tell that really stands out from the crowd. but what if her teacher is right? What if alligators really are nothing but trouble?

This is a really adorable book in the same style as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I can imagine the students getting a kick out of all the mischief the alligator gets into. I know I'll have a lot of fun reading the exclamations and exaggerations of the main character of Magnolia. This is great for writer's craft lessons.

8.The Highest Number in the World by Roy MacGregor

Nine-year-old Gabe (don't call her Gabriella) Murray eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. Her lucky number is 22, the same number as her hero, Hayley Wickenheiser. But when her new coach hands out team jerseys, Gabe is stuck with number 9. She's crushed. How can she play without her lucky number?

The little girl in this story has worked hard to follow in the footsteps of her hockey idol and even has her heart set on having the same jersey number. However, when that doesn't happen, she is ready to give up. With the help of her Grandma, she learns that things don't always turn out the way we hoped or expected, but they may sometimes be even better. How many times have first graders gotten upset because things didn't go the way they expected them to? I know that I will have this one to pull out when it happens in my class.

9. The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

Henrietta loves books. She thinks writing must be eggs-hilarating! Why not create her own story? following all the rules of good writing, she starts with an interesting main character, hatches a plot, builds suspense, and uses all five senses to develop her story. The final product is eggcellent...or so she thinks. Will anyone outside the hen coop appreciate her story?

This book has so many great elements. As Henrietta is going through each step of the writing process, her fellow chickens are giving suggestions, which she incorporates into her story. What a great way to show collaboration and feedback to our young writers! This is a terrific way to anchor the concepts of story elements to a story demonstrating them. We could refer back to this story all year! Best of all, when nobody wants to publish Henrietta's story, she doesn't let that stop her. She self-publishes her book with the help of her friends.

10. How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

Step 1: Find a story. Step 2: Find a reading buddy. Step 3: Find a cozy reading spot. Now: begin. This story chronicles the process of becoming a reader, from choosing a book and finding someone with whom to share it to guessing what will happen and -- finally -- coming to The End.

This is the perfect book to start the year with as an introduction to our Reader's Workshop. In fact, I just had to have my own copy so I bought it last week. The little boy in the story shows what readers do, even explaining that sometimes we have to repeat steps. This is definitely going to be one of my new favorite mentor texts.


  1. Great titles!! I love The boy and the Book and will be looking for Those Pesky Rabbits! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love that you included a wordless book (which I need to get now!) While we connect literacy with text, often reading images can be an even bigger challenge!

  3. Carolyn,
    Seriously, nine out of ten of these titles are new to me. I enjoyed reading your post and have already requested most of these from the library. You have several titles here that would be perfect for writing workshop. I'm so glad you were able to join us again this year!