The very first thing we do on the very first day is to read a picture book. The look of surprise on my 7th graders when I ask them to come on over to the rocking chair is worth it every year. We are a classroom of books, of stories, of illustrations and they surround us beginning on the very first day. All summer I scour my local book stores and libraries. I read reviews, I reach out to friends. I search high and low for that perfect book, the one that will make us wonder, make us laugh, make us think. Make us start to believe again that reading is something magical. Our pile of ten books is one that I look back upon remembering that this is what framed our very first day. That will frame the experience we are about to have.
So as the students come on over, scoot in as close as possible so they can see all of the details, these are the 10 books that will be held up high for a vote. I cannot wait to see which books they choose this year.
How many gushing words can I say about School’s First Day of School written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson. I am fairly sure that these two have created one of the best picture books not just of 2016 but of many years to come. This is bound to be a classic at every grade level.
How great is Baa Baa Smart Sheep created by Mark and Rowan Sommerset? This story of a sheep that sets out to trick a turkey is laugh out loud funny and sure to gain attention. There is even a sequel out which I also cannot wait to share.
Hello, My Name is Octicorn created by Kevin Diller and Justin Love is also in my pile of books for the first day of school. Funny yet poignant in its message, this will also make a great picture book to teach theme.
I laughed out loud when I read Poor Little Guy by Elaina Allen, but this book is not just funny, it also carries a great message; don’t judge others by their looks because you never know what will happen. I am a fan of this book.
What happens when those around you decide to keep spoiling the book for you and all you want to do is read in peace? That is exactly what Mihn Le shares in his fantastic picture book Let Me Finish illustrated by Isabel Roxas. How fantastic will this picture book be for discussing reader identity?
Kwame Alexander is the reason many of my self-identified non-readers are now readers, so this picture book was a given. Come to find out Surf’s Up illustrated by Daniel Miyares (another of my favorite writer/illustrators out there) is all about the pleasure of reading. Yes please!
My friend Jillian Heise told me to read A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young because I would love it and she was right. Funny yet with such a great message about how we can fall victim to wrong impressions, this book is a great book for all ages.
What happens when your classroom pet turns out not be so ice and cuddly? Ferocious Fluffity written by Erica S. Perl and illustrated by Henry Cole is a tale of just that. Sure to hold their attention and make us laugh.
What happens when an angry monster shows up at the library and interrupts Oskar and Theodore’s quiet time? Well, you will have to read The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora to find out. What a fantastic way to introduce our classroom library that should not always be quiet.
Every person I have had read A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins has loved it. Funny and surprising, I have loved the reaction that children and adults have to this book. What do we do when our initial prediction turns out not to be true after all?
There you have it, my 10 picture books for the first day of school and also my blog post for the fantastic Picture Book Ten for Ten that happens every year on August 10th. Make sure you check out the hashtag #pb10for10 and all of the other great posts to receive some more inspiration.