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.