The benefits of using picture books in classrooms across all grade levels are well documented. The problem becomes which book should you choose? In this series of blogs, I will share some new and old favorites to help inspire your choices in Language Arts, Math and Science, and Growth Mindset.
This is by no means a definitive list. As you start looking at books, you will find books that you love (and books that you don’t love quite as much.) As a warning, this might hurt your wallet a little bit. My apologies in advance? Remember to check your local public and elementary school libraries for copies of books before you decide you must own your own copy. As always, you should read the books before sharing them with your students to find the right fit for your students.
Let’s get started…
Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
This is a cute book about what goes into making a story and a great introduction to plot.
The Raft by Jim LaMarche
Nicky is sent to spend the summer along the river with his grandmother and experiences something quite different than the boring summer he had envisioned.
Probuditi by Chris VanAllsburg
A young boy hypnotizes his little sister into thinking she is a dog and then has to figure out how to return her to normal before their mother comes home.
These all plot out nicely on a simple plot chart.
The Invisible Boy by Judy Ludwig
Brian feels invisible at school until a new classmate arrives.
Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman
The authors wrote this for their son about conformity and fitting in.
Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved
Four children deal with the death of a beloved grandmother.
Introducing Point of View
Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian
This story is told from the point of view of a goldfish who finds out that when you get what you want, it might not be what you want after all. This is part of a four book series that my students loved!
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Each color of crayon has a different reason for why they want to quit. You’ll never look at a box of crayons the same way again.
Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose
A conversation between an ant and a little girl. To squish or not to squish?
And, of course…
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
This story of the three little pigs told from the perspective of the wolf never gets old and is an excellent example of point of view.
Introducing Character Traits
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Camilla is worried about being different and not fitting in. Suddenly Camilla’s actions make her not fit in at all because she has a bad case of stripes!
After the Fall by Dan Santant
What really happened to Humpty Dumpty after his fall?
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter
A picture book biography of Sandy Koufax, a shy and modest baseball player who was discriminated against for being Jewish.
The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
The story of a young Japanese-American girl in an internment camp during WW II.
Du Iz Tak by Carson Ellis
Readers decode an invented language as they learn about change and community.
Tuesday by David Weisner
Because, you know, Tuesday.
Nonfiction Picture Books
Nacho’s Nachos The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack by Sandra Nickel
The true story of the man behind the invention of the nacho. Who wouldn’t want to teach a fun lesson about nachos?
Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransom
A beautifully illustrated book written in verse about the early life of Harriet Tubman.
Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
Biography of Michael Jordan focusing on his childhood. Excellent message of persistence and hard work.
Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higenbotham
A picture book about white privilege.
Don’t Pass These Up
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander
Poetry about the joy of reading.
A Walk in the Words by Hudson Talbott
A young boy struggles with the challenges of being a “bad reader.”
Quirky Books that You and Your Students Will Love
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
This is a great book to use as story starters for students.
The Hole by Ovyind Torseter
What is the hole? Where did it come from?
The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg
What exactly is the Wretched Stone that has caused so many problems?
“If you have a picture book you love to use in the classroom, please share it with me!”
Some resources about using picture books in the classroom:
If you have a picture book you love to use in the classroom, please share it with me! I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like ideas on how to use a book once you’ve found one, please ask. I’m happy to get you started or connect you with one of our Digital Learning Coaches in your area. firstname.lastname@example.org.