being a teacher, books, Literacy, picture books

Great Picture Books to Use for Words of the Wiser – Notice & Note

One of the main texts we use to guide our reading instruction is the amazing Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst.  This book provides us with the foundation for having deeper reading conversations and a common language as we develop our thoughts.  While the book has excellent text ideas to use as mentor texts, I thought it would be nice for my students to use picture books on the very first day of a new strategy before we delve into the longer text excerpts.  I have therefore looked for picture books I could use with the different strategies and will publish posts as I have them for the 6 different strategies since I cannot be the only one looking for ideas.

The first post was on Contrast & Contradictions, then followed Aha Moments, then Tough Questions, and now Words of the Wiser – a great strategy for noticing when life advice is given.  I loved revisiting some older picture books but also finding some new favorites to share.  Again, there are definite repeats here from the other lists, perhaps at the end, I will compile a list of picture books that can be used to teach more than one signpost.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall features some sage advice from his father when the diving board is too scary.

In the sequel Jabari Tries, Dad continues to give good advice.

What Are your Words?  A Book About Pronouns by Katherine Locke and illustrated by Anne Passchier.  Ari’s uncle Lior gives some great advice when it comes to choosing his pronouns.

Grandpa gives Billy good advice when he professes he is scared of the giant.
The aha moment is mixed in with words of the wiser from Emmanuel’s mother and is embedded into the story.  This is a good book to use when it may not be as obvious.

Great wisdom from the mother bat to the baby as he prepares to take off into the night in Ari Berk and Loren Long’s Nightsong.

The dark knows just what to say in The Dark by Lemony Snicket.

Who says giraffes can’t dance?  Thankfully some wisdom is given in Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andrede

Any of the books in the series Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Melzer can be used for words of the wiser as the characters speak directly to us and give us their wisdom.

Because what we know first will always help us in our lives, I love What You Know First by Patricia MacLachlan.

I have had a Peter H. Reynolds book on every list so far, I am pretty sure you can teach all 6 signposts using his books.  The North Star will always be one of my favorites.

Ish also by Peter H. Reynolds also has great wisdom.

Many of Patricia Polacco’s books can be used for words of the wiser, here I chose Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece.

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi is a picture book that can be used for many things, teaching words of the wiser is definitely one of them.

When the students wonder when they will finally get tall, this is a great book to pull out You’ll Grow Soon, Alex by Andrea Shavick and Russell Ayto has great wisdom.

Our Gracie Aunt by Jacqueline Woodson is the book I am using with my students to teach the strategy.  It is a beautiful story that will start discussion in our classroom for sure.  Each Kindness also by Woodson is another amazing example.  In fact, many of her books can be used for this strategy.

I love stories about following your dreams and Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen fits the mold.

The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock is a beautiful reminder to follow your dreams.

I know there are so many more out there, please leave your favorites in the comments.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.  The 2nd edition and actual book-book (not just e-book!) just came out!

11 thoughts on “Great Picture Books to Use for Words of the Wiser – Notice & Note”

  1. I love all your examples! My first book Heart of a Tiger, now out-of-print but still available as an e-bok, told of Little Four, a small kitten whose dream was to give himself a name on Naming Day like that of the Beautiful Bengal Tiger. Over the years of school visits I had many educators and students greatly affected by Little Four’s story. Some children wrote me years later sharing how they had gone to this book time and time again to have a model of honor, bravery, and perseverance.

  2. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson really shakes my 4th grade students. They are speechless when I get to the end. I also love Nightsong paired with Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. Her other books, Verdi and Pinduli have great messages as well.

  3. I Wish I Were a Butterfly by James Howe
    Howe wrote this using ideas he gathered from learners he met at a school author visit.
    Beautiful pictures by Ed Young and an old spider offers wonderful advice to an envious cricket.

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