August 10 for 10: A Picture Book Event

August 10for10Cathy at Reflect and Refine and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning began this special event in 2010, after having a discussion stemming from this question:  If you were stranded on an island and had to teach, what 10 picture books would you hope to have in your bag?

I participated in Picture Book 10 for 10 in 2010 and 2012.  In my previous lists I chose a variety of picture books that I would want to have in my bag (with many on my 2010 list remaining constant).  This year, I decided to only place nonfiction picture books on my list.  Of course, then I took a look at Mandy’s and Cathy’s blogs and realized that somehow, I missed the  Nonfiction 10 for 10 that they began in February of this year.  How that happened, I’m not sure. However, I’ll go ahead with my list of nonfiction here and maybe I’ll join in with another ten for Nonfiction 10 for 10 in 2014!

Here is a list of the 10 nonfiction pictures books I would hope to have in my bag (in no particular order):

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of the Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

A picture book based on the life of Tony Sarg, the man behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  

Lesson Idea:  This is a great mentor text for biographies and narrative nonfiction.

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick

According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, from the 1860′s until the 1940′s, there were twenty-nine baseball teams made up entirely of brothers.  The Acerras played longer than any other.  This is their story.

Lesson Idea: Another great mentor text for biographies and narrative nonfiction.


Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman


The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboat of its time, but by 1995, the city didn’t need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames.

Why I Chose it: I love the story of John J. Harvey and how he was taken out of retirement during our country’s most horrific attack.

Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy

Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum follows Walter Diemer’s attempts and eventual success of the invention of Dubble Bubble bubble gum. The pictures are bright and colorful and full of gumballs. The back of the book has a nice layout of further information about Walter Diemer and the history of gum.

Lesson Idea: This is a great mentor text to use as a model for nonfiction organization.  Students could replicate McCarthy’s style using another topic or to write a biography.

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

In the 1950′s Ruth and her family took a road trip from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandmother.  Along the way, they met with resistance from business owners who did not want to serve African Americans.  When Ruth learns about The Negro Motorist Green Book, a book created to inform African Americans of African-American friendly establishments, her family uses it to meet new friends on their way.

Lesson Idea:  This is a great book to tie primary sources into.  You can still find examples of parts of the Green Book online.

Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Pinkney

It was February 1, 1960.  They didn’t need menus.  Their order was simple.  A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side.  The story of the sit-in at Woolworth’s during the WHITES ONLY edict of the era is poignantly told through this picture book.

Lesson Idea:  Use this as a model for students to write their own historically based picture book,  based on an event they study.

Noah Webster and His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris

From the beginning, Noah Webster knew he didn’t want to be a farmer like the rest of his family.  He wanted to be a SCHOLAR.  This is the story of how he made his dream come true.

Lesson Idea: Another great biography mentor text, but also a great mentor when teaching word choice.

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival is the true story of Hurricane Katrina, friendship, and survival. . . of a dog and cat.  Bobbi and Bob Cat are left behind when the hurricane hits.  Never leaving each other’s sides, they overcome many obstacles, living on the streets of New Orleans for four months before being rescued.  With a surprise twist, this is a true tale of the power of friendship.

Lesson Idea: This is a great book to use at the beginning of the year to begin building a community in the classroom.

Side note:  I read this book a while ago.  Until I went back and chose this book and looked at the author again, I didn’t realize that it was Kirby Larson!  As in, Kirby Larson, author of Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After!

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer by Shana Corey

A true story about the 19th-century women’s rights activist Amelia Bloomer.  A note at the end provides horrifying and fascinating information about women’s restrictive clothing (corsets sometimes displaced internal organs!) and the dress reform that Amelia Bloomer spearheaded.

Why I Chose it: There are so many wonderful new picture book biographies out now, and this is one of them.  Another great example of narrative nonfiction.

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

Beautifully painted.  Inspirational.  This is the story of Nelson Mandela, a global icon.  In Nelson’s typical poetic verse and gorgeous paintings, he shares the story of a young Mandela’s determination to change South Africa.

Lesson Idea: A mentor text for civil rights and another fantastic biography.  This book is a beautiful rendition of Mandela’s younger life.  I’m in awe of Kadir Nelson’s talent!

©2013 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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August 10 for 10: A Picture Book Event

Cathy at Reflect and Refine and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning began this special event in 2010, after having a discussion stemming from this question:  If you were stranded on an island and had to teach, what 10 picture books would you hope to have in your bag?

I participated in the list in 2010, missed it in 2011, but I’m back here with my 2012 list.  I must admit that many of the books on my 2010 list will remain constant, but I tried to look back at the books I read over the last year to come up with a “new” list.

Here is a list of the 10 pictures books I would hope to have in my bag (in no particular order):



Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee

Marla Frazee takes readers for a whirling, twirling, ride on a roller coaster.

This is a fantastic model of word choice and voice, when modeling the six traits of writing.


I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

A bear loses his hat and asks the other animals if they have seen it.  A surprise ending might catch the reader off guard. 

This is a great book to model the craft of dialogue (an idea I received from @donalynbooks), but also organization as it has a great surprise ending.  This is a really fun read and now there is a second book (out in October), This Is Not My Hat.

Press Here by Herve Tullet


Press the yellow button.  Go on, press it!  It will take you into an imaginary world full of whimsy and color.  A fascinating concept book, Press Here takes the reader on a journey page by page.

My second graders LOVED hearing this book read aloud to them and loved to read it individually when they had a chance.  It’s just a fun book.  This could also be a fun community building experience – after reading the book aloud, ask students to collectively write a book that models Press Here.

Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown by Sally M. Walker


Henry “Box” Brown was a slave in the 1800’s on a plantation near Richmond, Va.  Song was an important part of his life and he sang for all aspects of it.  When Henry’s wife and children were sold to another master, Henry’s song stopped.  And in the silence, he thought of an ingenious way to escape slavery and find freedom.  

This is such a fascinating story; there are two books about Henry “Box” Brown now.  My favorite is still Henry’s Freedom Box (which was on my first 10 for 10 list and I can safely say is one of my constants).  This is a great model for students to use to write about a true event.

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport

A biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. using his own words to showcase the information in the text.


This is a great model to use when discussing biographies.  I ask students to model the author’s style, by writing a short biography of a person and using their actual quotes interspersed into their text.

Ducky by Eve Bunting

A crate of bathtub toys are washed overboard in a storm.  As waves crash all around them, the animals are separated until Ducky is left all alone.  Will he wash ashore and find a friend?  


Based on a true story, I use this book as a model for students to write their own story based on a news article or as a model for organization.  The first line in the book hooks the reader.  Ducky is a great mentor texts for hooks.

Snow Day! by Lester Laminack


When the weatherman predicts an overnight snowfall, the narrator dreams of all the fun he can have on his day off from school.  Children will enjoy the surprise ending.

I’m familiar with some of Laminack’s professional work, but this was the first picture book I read by him.  It’s a fun read aloud that I used to discuss organization in writing.  The surprise ending gets the reader every time!

 

Blackout by John Rocco


It was a normal summer night in the city. . . hot, noisy, busy.  Then the lights went out. The story of one family and what they do when the lights go out.

Blackout is a great book to use to model making inferences.  The pictures really help the read put clues together to infer what happens when there is a blackout.

A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black


Like most children, you probably think a pig parade is a terrific idea. . . this book begins, but the author shows you exactly why a pig parade is a terrible idea.

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea is a great example of a model text to teach persuasive writing to students.  I read aloud A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea and discussed the techniques the author used to persuade the reader that the idea of a pig parade is a bad one.  The author also utilizes great sequencing words and a surprise wrap up that’s worth investigating.

Chalk by Bill Thomson


In this wordless picture book, three children arrive in the park one day to find a bag full of chalk.  Each takes a piece of chalk and draws a picture, which beautifully comes alive in this wonderfully illustrated book.  

This is a great model to discuss sequencing with students.  The pictures tell the story, so the author/illustrator must take care that the pictures make sense.  I have students create their own wordless picture book to demonstrate their knowledge of sequencing after sharing many models of wordless picture books.

Can you list the top ten picture books you would want to teach with? 

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

August 10 for 10: A Picture Book Event

Cathy at Reflect and Refine and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning are co-hosting a special event today stemming from this question:  If you were stranded on an island and had to teach, what 10 picture books would you hope to have in your bag?

Here is a list of the 10 pictures books I would hope to have in my bag (in no particular order):

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

A true story of Henry Brown, a run away slave on the Underground Railroad, who found an ingenious way to find freedom. . . he shipped himself in a box.

I absolutely love this picture book!  I never had the chance to use it in the classroom but would use it to teach making predictions and asking questions pertaining to The Underground Railroad.  It’s a beautiful story!

When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant

Inspired by Cynthia Rylant’s childhood spent with her grandparents in the mountains of West Virginia, Rylant lyrically describes the simplicity of living in the country using the phrase, “When I was young in the mountains. . .”.

I used Cynthia Rylant books all the time in my classroom, so I would have to have one in my bag!  This book is great to use to model how to brainstorm topics as well as to teach moving endings.  At the beginning of the year when I was introducing Writer’s Workshop, I would often use this book to provide students with a way to remember their “childhood.”  After reading aloud and discussing how Cynthia Rylant remembered hers, students would write, “When I was young. . .” and complete the thought in their notebook as many times as they saw fit.

My Mama Had A Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray

A sweet memoir about a girl and her mother and the fun days they shared through the seasons.  Gray uses wonderful memorable language to convey feeling in this text: “When a warm spring rain would come pinging on the windowpane, we’d kick off our shoes and out into the rain we’d go.” Her choice of adjectives and verbs paints a vivid picture of the activities she and her mother would embark on.

When discussing and modeling word choice for my students, this was a “go-to” book.  It is a fantastic book to model voice and word choice.

Dogku by Andrew Clements

A book written in haiku form! Dogku tells the story of an abandoned dog and the family he encounters. Each page is written as a haiku, but weaves together to tell a story. Will the family keep the dog?

A great model for organization when modeling the Six Traits of Writing.  I never had a chance to use this book in my classroom, but it’s a perfect example of organization.  The entire book is written in haiku form!  After reading it aloud, I would ask students to organize their own story in haiku form.

Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss

Nine-year old Amelia records her thoughts and feelings about moving, her new school and friends.

I used this book at the beginning of every year to model for students how to create and use a Writer’s Notebook.  After reading it aloud, students would create their own personal Writer’s Notebooks.

Encounter by Jane Yolen

A  fantastic picture book written by one of my touchstone text authors, Jane Yolen.  This book is the story of the Taino people and how they reacted when one Christopher Columbus lands on their island.

This is a fantastic picture book to use to model making inferences.  It’s written from the point of view of a young Taino boy.  It’s a great book to tie into your “New World” social studies unit.

Verdi by Janell Cannon

Cannon beautifully writes and illustrates this tale of a carefree snake who learns to love himself despite the fact that he has to grow up. Even though he must age, he does not have to lose the fun-loving, figure-eight forming side of his personality.

When teaching students about word choice and specifically sensory details, I would turn to this book.  It’s a fantastic model of sensory details.

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution by Laurie Halse Anderson

Everyone has heard about the men of the American Revolution.  But what about the women and girls?  Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution answers the question through thoughtfully researched information.

A great model to teach about the American Revolution, but also to model for students on how to ask questions to build their background knowledge.

Web Files, The by Margie Palatini

Ducktective Web and his partner, Bill, have been called to the farm. All of the vegetables are vanishing! Will they be able to find the culprit and solve the mystery?

I loved to use this book to model conventions for students.  It’s written as a report from a police detective so it has a ton of conventions.  After reading aloud the book, I re-write part of the story and take the conventions out.  I then provide students with the opportunity to determine which conventions are missing.

Dinner at Aunt Connie’s House by Faith Ringgold

A fantastic book that highlights noteworthy African American women through history. Each woman introduces herself and discusses her contributions to U.S. history.

This book is a great model to teach students how to make text-to-text connections.  I would tie this into a biography unit of noteworthy African American women.

So, those are the ten picture books I would hope to have in my bag if I were stranded on a desert island.  My list is ever changing, so if you ask me again next year, it will probably be different!  Head over to Reflect and Refine or Enjoy and Embrace Learning to see what other educators are saying!  And if you arrived here through them, I hope you’ll subscribe and join me as I showcase a new picture book you can teach with weekly!

What are the top ten picture books you would want in your bag?

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.