I cannot do a best of the year book list. There are too many that I have loved. There are too many I have yet to discover. A book always gets left off and I wonder why I forgot it. So instead, I will continue my tradition of offering up some great new additions to our classroom library. I have been on a year long mission to get as many great picture books into the hands of my students, and so here is the latest batch that we have been reading aloud, discussing, using, and sharing.
When I wanted to send a picture book to Australia, I knew that I wanted to send one by Wisconsin native Pat Zietlow Miller. So I sent the book Wherever You Go. Not only does it have the best message, but I have also found that every age group I have read it to has loved it. It is a new classic in my opinion.
My school is very focused on creating an inclusive environment for all students and so I have been on a mission to include more picture books that speak to all of my students. Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman is a book a child may need, I don’t need, but in case they, I want it to be there for them.
As my students created their own non-fiction picture books I needed strong mentor texts to show them just how amazing this genre can be. Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares is an incredible example of a sports focused nf picture book that does not read like a long list of facts. This is a book that will be read and used for years to come.
The same goes for the historical nf picture book Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans. In it we learn about the fight for voting rights for African Americans as Lillian walks up the stairs to cast her vote. Masterfully told, this one moved me to tears.
Picture books don’t usually make me cry, but this one did as I read it aloud to my own children. Eve Bunting is a master storyteller, Fly Away Home is a book I have used many times. The pairing here in Yard Sale with Lauren Castillo’s beautiful illustrations is really out of this world, and the conversations, the inferring that can happen because of this book is powerful.
Can Kadir Nelson do anything wrong? If You Plant A Seed not only has a great message for all ages, but the illustrations are breathtaking.
Groundhog’s Dilemma by Kristen Remenar and illustrated by Matt Faulkner is not just a book for Groundhog’s Day. It is a book for all ages that need to discuss what peer pressure can do to you and how to navigate friendships.
This one, Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers, is the reason Oliver Jeffers is a Global Read Aloud Contender for the picture book category. While perhaps hard to read aloud in one sitting, it is definitely still worth sharing with others as each little story will make you laugh or wonder. I also cannot wait to see what type of writing might be inspired by this book.
I love a narrator that speaks to their reader, it gets me every time. Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Tim Miller is laugh out loud funny, and yet, is bound to also lead to a great conversation about how to deal with others. How many of our students could need a little with that?
How many of us have taught students whose parents or other people they know are in jail? Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson once again means that we have a book that can start hard conversations. That students can find themselves in even if they do not want to share about their own experiences.
There are always more books to highlight, to share, but for now I will leave it at these 10. To see other lists of favorite books, go here, I try to share as much as possible.