Thanks so much to Cathy Mere of Refine and Reflect and Mandy Robeck of Enjoying and Embracing Learning for leading this blogging event. The question was basically....What 10 picture books could you not live without? It was so hard to narrow down this list to only 10, but here goes!
1. Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin-This was a book that my kindergarteners held on tight to all year long. They loved the book and anything related. The simple catchy rhythm of the text along with the groovy song deliver a very powerful message for kindergarteners. "Don't sweat the small stuff!" I love Pete, his attitude and his message. So...much to my delight, Pete the Cat is now Rocking His School Shoes. I was so thrilled with this sequel and had my doubts as to whether it could live up to the original, but it does! Love it!
2. We Share Everything! by Robert Munsch- This is a book that I read every year on the first day of school. It is silly and a perfect ice-breaker and leads to a little discussion of things we do and don't do in kindergarten. I love Robert Munsch and always do an author study in February and my students all become big fans.
4. Knufflebunny by Mo Willems- This is one of my favorite Mo Willems books and I love ALL THINGS Mo Willems. He earned 3 spots in this list and it was hard not to give him more. I love to read this book towards the beginning of the year as a way to illustrate growth over time with persistence. Trixie, the main character, is a toddler who is not talking and only babbling. ("Aggle-flaggle"....lots of laughs!) But when her precious stuffed bunny "Knufflebunny" is left at the laundry mat, she protests in her loudest babble until she is able to clearly speak the word "Knufflebunny!" at the end of the story. I use Trixie's persistence to illustrate how many of them feel that they can't read, or draw or write.....but if they only keep trying in the best way that they know how...they will get there. If you don't try, you never give yourself a chance. Trixie didn't give up and she got her precious Knufflebunny back because of it! This is an important life lesson and so valuable in our classroom.
5. Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog- Another Mo Willems favorite. My students LOVE this book and beg me to read it over and over. It is often a reward at the end of the day for me to read this AGAIN if I still have some voice left because I haven't had to give the same directions over and over again. (wink! wink!) I do this small squeaky voice for the little chick and they laugh so hard. I have multiple copies of all of the pigeon books and they are always in someones book box throughout the year.
It was nearly impossible to narrow down this list. I often genuinely say to my students, "This is one of my favorite books," as I begin a new story. And, they tell me...."You always say that!!" But it is so true! It is terrible that this list doesn't include any Cynthia Rylant books. She is one of my very favorite authors.....but at the start of this new school year, my mind is on the books that bring kids joy and promote a love of books and reading. It is such an important thing for beginning readers to find that book that really lights their passion for reading.
And a shout out to Twitter. I feel like I have "met" new teacher friends this summer through twitter. Cathy Mere, thanks so much for always sharing your thinking. I appreciate you! I can't wait to read everyone else's list. Cathy will be linking them at her blog. Be sure to check them out. I would love to hear your favorites if you want to comment here.