Ten Picture Books My Students Say You Need – 2014

Anyone who has been in our classroom know that picture books are a big deal.  A hush falls over the room whenever one is read and we hold our picture books as sacred text that not only let us relive our younger  years, but also spark deep conversation.  We realized we wanted to share our ten favorite reads from the year and I can say, it was hard to pick!  The students shouted out beloved titles and then each voted for their own top ten.  So without further ado, these are the ten picture books we think every classroom should read and own!

A few runner ups:  These lost out by one vote to make it in the Top Ten but are still worthy of a read any day…

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems

And now on to the Top Ten.

Number 10:

We love Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  This sweet story of a spoon trying to fit in and finding his place in the world was one that made us laugh and think about our own place in the world.

Number 9:

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, the story of a boy who feels invisible in his classroom was one that silenced the students.  The reflections that followed from them were some that I had to blog about right away.  have you had the conversation about the invisible children in your classroom?

Number 8:

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed is the story of an unlikely rescue mission and friendship , which was one that my students loved and gravitated toward many times.  This is one of my all-time favorite picture books and my students agree, this is a must read over and over.

Number 7:

I love when my students laugh out loud when I read aloud and Warning:  Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt  definitely did that to us.  Great illustrations as well as a fun story kept my students hooked.

Number 6:  

What can I say about The Dot that countless others have not said already?  The simple message of making your mark on the world and being good enough is one that left its mark on us.

Number 5:

Even though this book carries no words, my students could not get past the depth of the story.  The gasp of breath in “that” scene was audible as was the hush that followed when the book was done.  I love wordless picture books for the incredible imagination they possess, but this one downright shakes you awake to make you think about the world.  Bluebird by Bob Staake is a must add to any classroom.

Number 4: 

Another masterpiece by Peter H. Reynolds; Ish which is why he is the author study for Global Read Aloud 2014.  This book led to a deep discussion of what people’s words do to our dreams and how we can support others’ dreams.

Number 3:

Journey by Aaron Becker was used as the culmination of our first reading unit, which happened to be a lesson I was observed during.  I asked the students why I picked this book to share with them as our celebration book and their reasons blew me away.  “We are on a journey in reading like the girl.”  “we also can create what we want 5th grade to be like she does with her world” were among some of the things said.  Again a wordless picture book brought some of our deepest conversations.

Number 2:

Picture books do not always have to discuss heavy topics to leave a deep impression. Weasels by Elys Dolan was one my students loved because it was sheer fun watching the weasels try to overtake the world.  I love how picture books allows my otherwise cool 5th graders to just let go and laugh.

And finally, number 1 out of so many picture books read….

I pulled this book out after a recess incident that had really rattled my team.  Whenever I send my students out to play and be with their friends, I never think that they may not be friends outside, that they may say mean things about each other, that they may exclude, and yet that day they proved me wrong.  I knew we had to discuss what had happened but instead of another lecture from me about the power of our community, the sanctity of what we have built, and how we should all fit in, I let this picture book, Zero by Kathryn Otoshi do the talking for me.  The fact that this is the most favored read in my room tells me they may have been listening.

From our class to yours, we hope you add some of these to your collection.

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

7 thoughts on “Ten Picture Books My Students Say You Need – 2014

  1. I saw this list shortly after it was published. I decided then to read all of the books on the list to my kids. We haven’t yet finished the list, but every book we have read so far has been amazing!

    We just finished The Invisible Boy and absolutely loved it. Even my first grader understood the message. All 3 kids oohed and ahhed as the boy became visible. I will be recommending this book to teachers at all of my schools!

    Thanks to you and your students for posting this list!

    • I love picture books, and noticing more and more educators are using them. I will certainly have to order the ones I don’t have for my collections at Lincoln and Houdini Schools in Appleton.

  2. Wow! This list left me speechless — mostly because of the explanations, but also with the depth of topics covered in the books.

  3. Thank you for providing a list of books that are enjoyed by children. It is wonderful to see children in the upper elementary years reading picture books. I feel that sometimes children forget how to enjoy a picture book once they get older.
    Thank you,
    Cara Little
    Raleigh, NC

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