Tag Archives: Allan Ahlberg

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Favorite Back-to-School Read Alouds

top 10

I realize that there are many of you who may be reading this who have already started teaching, but this is my first week back so I thought that I’d share my top 10 books (OK – I went a little past 10!) for starting school.  All of these books would make wonderful “connect” books to share during those first few days and weeks of school!

Fun, Wacky, LOL books! 

1. Steve, Raised By Wolves – by Jared Chapman

LOL!  This book is hilarious and would make a brilliant back to school read-aloud for any grade! Young Steve is literally raised by wolves.  Mother wolf sends him on his first day of school with this advice:  “Just be yourself!”.   So Steve proceeds to do just that – howling in class, shredding homework, marking his territory, drinking from the toilet and pouncing on his classmates!  His behavior does not go over well!  In the end, Steve saves the day and helps to find the class pet.  Great book for discussing appropriate school behavior as well as what it means to “be yourself”.

2. The Gingerbread Man is Loose in the School – Laura Murray

This is a fun twist on the classic fairy tale.  After a gingerbread man is left alone in the classroom at recess, he decides to leave to find the children. He makes many stops in the school and asks many different people for help.  Great rhyming text and graphic novel type illustrations.  This book would be a great introduction to different people and places in the school.  I know of a teacher who, after reading this book, hides a gingerbread man in the school and takes her class on a search for him!   Or you could have your students write about the gingerbread man’s adventures!

3.  The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School – Lorenz Albert

This book was a little on the odd side, I must admit, but it got better each time I read it!  The illustrations reminded me of MAD magazine and the story line is a little like Marc Teague’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” with a boy’s “version” of his summer vacation.  Unusual but clever!

4.   Daddy’s Back to School Shopping Adventure – Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Yes, it’s “back to school” shopping time and the school supply stores will be full of parents and kids filling their baskets!  Sticking to the shopping list is difficult for this wild and wacky dad who takes his kids or their supplies. He is tempted by the glow in the dark glue sticks and neon paper clips but his kids keep him on track! A little wacky, lots of fun and a sweet surprise ending. A fun first week back read aloud! 

Books about Beginning School Anxieties

5. Back to School Tortoise – Lucy M. George

Story includes worries of starting school, not wanting to go inside the classroom and the most adorable illustrations ever!  Perfect for Kindergarten!

 6.  Monkey: Not Ready For Kindergarten – Marc Brown

Adorable Monkey experiences anxiety as Kindergarten is only a week away . . What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don’t have any red crayons? What if he doesn’t like the snacks? What if he doesn’t make new friends?  Poor Monkey has so many worries running through his head!  Slowly, his family helps him ease his worries.  Perfect book for Kindergarten children and making connections to starting school.

 7.  Chu’s First Day of School – Neil Gaiman

Adorable Panda Chu is worried whether his classmates will like him. He gets so nervous when he gets to school, he can’t even speak to share what his favorite thing to do is.  Charming, simple story and sweet illustrations.

8.  First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg

Delightful story with a surprise ending…. and an important message that teachers get nervous about starting school too!  I have read this book to MANY classes over the years and the reaction at the end is always the same!

Books About School Days, School Goals and School Rules!

9. This School Year will Be The BEST! – Kay Winters

Fantastic beginning of school read-a-loud. Great for starting the conversation about what students are nervous about, thinking about, and hoping to get from school.  Also a great anchor for writing about school goals and wishes for the new school year ahead.

10. Starting School Allan Ahlberg

A group of kids start kindergarten. The book walks you through a day at school, the second day of school, a week, and special events. Good for calming nerves and making connections.  (Does have reference to a Christmas pageant and a school prayer)  I love Janet and Allan Ahlberg books  (Jolly Postman, Each, Peach, Pear, Plum) and they were a favorite of my children when they were younger. Delightful illustrations! 

11.  Back-to-School Rules – Laurie Friedman

Perfect anchor book for stimulating a class discussion and creating a class anchor chart of school rules.

Books about Creative Souls, Fitting In and Embarrassing Moments

12.  Ally-Saurus and the First Day of School – Richard Torrey

A first-day-of-school book with a dinosaur-loving main character who calls herself Ally-saurus  A lovely picture book that weaves together a number of discussion-worthy issues including first day of school, imagination, books, fitting in, and friendship. A great book to show that everyone may have different interests but can still be friends.  LOVE the illustrations in this book – especially the pages with the children’s “drawings” of their interests.

13.  I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard – Jennifer Mann

This is the heart-warming, heart-breaking story of Rose, a creative soul who struggles doing all the things that earn the other children stars on the blackboard. But as we all know, not every student is a neat, straight-A student with all the right answers. This book helps us see that there are blackboard stars out there for the doodling daydreamers too.

14  First Grade Dropout – Audrey Vernick

When the young narrator of this story experiences a mortifying moment in class (he calls his teachers “mommy”) he decides to quit school.  This fantastic picture book is a great look at how to persevere after embarrassing things happen.  Perfect read-aloud for making connections.

Thanks for stopping by!  What are your favorite “back to school read-alouds?

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Filed under Back to School, Connect, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Books for Summer Reading!

IMWAYR

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers

Well, summer is officially here and I’m enjoying the slower pace of life!  Time to relax, get to my very long “to do” list and enjoy reading lots of books!  After a recent visit to my favorite local book store, and a delivery of a few ARC’s – I’m happy to share some of the new books I have been enjoying!

 Kicking a Ball – Allan Ahlberg

With the excitement of the Fifa World Cup – this book caught my attention!  I am also a fan of Allan Ahlberg (The Jolly Postman;  Each Peach, Pear, Plum).  This wonderful rhyming story is about the simple joy felt by a boy kicking a soccer ball.  ‘Not eating an ice-cream Or riding a bike No – kicking a ball Is what I like!”  Sebastien Braun’s illustrations are delightful!  I think this would be a perfect anchor book to read aloud to a young primary class and certainly one that many will make connections to!

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My Pet Book – Peter Staake

Last summer, Peter Staake’s moving wordless picture book Bluebird was getting a lot of attention for its powerful depiction of loneliness, bullying, and the importance of friendship.  In his latest book, Staake takes a lighter approach in a heart-warming story of a young boy who choses a red book to be his perfect pet!  (He does not care for cats or dogs!)  I LOVE the idea that a book can be a pet!  The book is told in clever rhyme and is a joy to read aloud. I am already visualizing my class in September dragging around their favorite “pet book” by a leash around the classroom!  

Nancy Knows – Cybele Young

I so enjoyed Canadian writer and illustrator Cybele Young‘s Ten Birds (which won the Governor General’s award) and her follow up Ten Birds Meet a Monster, so was excited to see her new book Nancy Knows. Wow!  This book is a whimsical feast for the eyes!  It is the charming story of an elephant who remember lots of things, except the very thing she is trying to remember. Each captivating spread features fantastic miniature paper sculptures – it’s an extraordinary work of art as well as a delightful story of a young elephant.

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Julia, Child – Kyo Maclear

This fictional story by another Canadian author is apparently loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the real Julia Child.  It tells the story of two best friends – Julia and Simca who take cooking classes.  They begin to discover that the adult world is mundane and colorless and so decide they never want to grow up.  They begin to create recipes for “growing young” – not in a physical way but spiritually – a joie de vivre!   This book is a celebration of youth and being young at heart no matter what your age is.  Julie Morstad’s (How To, When I Was Small)  delightful illustrations are a perfect match for this book.  I’m not sure if it’s a book aimed at adults or children but it’s certainly worth a look!

The Memory Tree – Britta Teckentrup

Get your Kleenex ready as this book made me tear up a few times.  When fox is dies, his friends gather to share stories and special memories they each shared with fox.  As they share their memories, a tree begins to grow, sheltering and protecting the animals like Fox.  This book is gentle and comforting and would be a wonderful book to share with any child who may be experiencing the grief of loss.  Beautiful and touching.

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The Eagle and the Wren – Jane Goodall

As soon as I saw animal activist Jane Goodall’s name on this book I knew it would be great!  This story is based on one of her favorite childhood fables.  All the birds are arguing over who can fly the highest so owl devises a contest to see just who can.   Eagle wins the contest, flying higher than any other bird, but as it turns out, wren was hiding and riding along in Eagle’s feathers.  He begins his flight where eagle stops and soars even higher.  So who won the contest?   I can see how this book could be used to stimulate many questions and great discussions.  I love how Jane Goodall writes in a non-condescending way and is able to weave bird facts into the story.  I also loved the importance of working together to help each other achieve great things.  The illustrations are amazing!  This is definitely one I look forward to sharing with my class this fall.

Boom Snot Twitty

Boom, Snot and Twitty – Doreen Cronin

Besides the catchy title, I so love Renata Liwska’s illustrations (The Quiet Book) that I was immediately drawn to this book.  It is the story of three friends – Boom the Bear, Snot the Snail and Twitty the bird, each of whom look at the world differently. Boom wants adventure, Twitty likes things “as is” and Snot prefers to see if there will be better options. When a storm arrives, each deals with it in a slightly different way and eventually they collaborate to deal with it together.   I enjoyed this book and the charming illustrations, but for some reason (perhaps from the lively title?)  I had expected something a little more lively and humorous.  Instead, it was simple and soft but fell a little flat.  With “snot” in the title – I expected to laugh more!  I did like the theme of respecting each others’ differences and collaboration.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

The Museum of Extraordinary Things – Alice Hoffman

This summer, my book club summer is reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.  We all enjoyed her previous book The Dove Keepers and so far, I am enjoying this one even better.  It is a love story that takes place in New York City in the early 1900’s.  It is the story of Coralie, the daughter of a sinister museum curator who collects and exhibits “freaks” in his Coney Island side show.  Coralie is an exceptional swimmer and when she turns 13, her father creates an exhibit for her as the “Human Mermaid”, making her stay underwater in a life-size tank for hours at a time.  The book flips between her story and the story of a rugged photographer named Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father.  These two have only just met, but I’m anticipating their lives to become intertwined as the story continues.   So far, I am completely drawn into this story – the writing is excellent and I’ve made many T-T connections to The Night Circus and Water For Elephants.  A captivating story so far!

Well – that’s it for now!  Thanks for stopping by and I’d love to know which book has caught your eye!

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Filed under Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Read-Aloud