Tag Archives: Reading Power

Picture Book 10 for 10 (2017) – 10 New Picture Books for Your Reading Power Collection!

 

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I’m excited to be, once again, participating in this summer’s 10 for 10 Picture Book celebration! #pb10for10   This annual celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.  Hard to believe this is my fifth year of participating in this event! (you can read my 2016 post here2015 post here2014 post here and 2013 here. )  Each year, the blogging community chooses 10 picture books on a range of themes – from diversity, to bullying, to writing, to conservation.  It is an amazing opportunity to explore new picture books related to a wide range of themes.  (It can also be a little hard on your bank account, if you are anything like me!)

This year, as with my previous 10 for 10 posts, I have organized my post to feature new releases that support Reading Power strategies.  I have included two books for each: Connecting, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, and Transform (synthesizing).  The response has been positive each year, so I am continuing the tradition!  For those who are already using RP, these would be my recommendations for adding or replenishing your collection this year!

(Please note that I have received advanced copies of a few of these titles so some might only be available for pre-order.)

CONNECT

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Now Antoinette Portis

This is a beautiful new book from Canadian writer/illustrator Antoinette Portis. Such a sweet story about a girl whose favorite things are whatever she’s currently experiencing. I would definitely use this with for connecting to favorite things (personal preferences),  but could also be used for inferring a deeper meaning about living in the moment.  Great for mindfulness and gratitude.

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There Might Be Lobsters – Carolyn Crimi

This is a wonderful story about dealing with fears and anxiety. Sukie is a very small dog with a really big fear of almost everything, especially lobster.  Spending a day at the beach with her favorite person is a nightmare for Sukie as she thinks about all the dangers that might be there.  When her favorite toy, “Chunka Munka” (love the name!) starts to drift into the tide, Sukie must face her fears!  I love that this book is told from the dog’s perspective and also you need to read it out loud just so you can say “Chunka Munka” lots of times!  Great illustrations!

QUESTION

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Questions AskedJostein Gaarder

Well, you can’t get a better book for introducing deep-thinking questions to your class than a book filled with them!  This book introduces readers to rather complex philosophical questions in a simple format.  Gorgeous,  soft-pallet paintings that capture the emotions of this little boy wandering and pondering through an open landscape.  This would be more suited for older students and would stimulate deep-thinking conversations.

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Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of SecretsPei-Yu Chang

What could be in his suitcase? This is the question readers wonder as they read this historical picture book based on the life and persecution Walter Benjamin – a Jewish philosopher forced to flee the Nazi occupied Germany during WWII.   When asked why he couldn’t just leave the suitcase behind, he responds:  “The contents of this case can change everything.”   But in the end, we never know what was inside – the perfect starting point for discussing possibilities. Such an important story depicting a world where ideas and opposition are seen as dangerous by those in power.  This is a book I would definitely recommend for units on WWII with intermediate or middle school. Incredible paper cut and mixed media illustrations.

VISUALIZE

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A River – Marc Martin

Oooooo… this book is stunning!  Gorgeous illustrations, detailed poetic text.. this book is a magical journey of a young girl in a silver boat following a river through jungles, farmland and eventually the sea.   But I think it could also be a wonderful introduction to the geography of rivers and their tributaries and habitats.    A marvelous, gentle journey to visualize!

Things to Do – Elaine Magliaro

This is a delightful book, perfect for visualizing but could also be used for making connections and an anchor book for “How To”  writing.  Reads like a collection of “How To” poems centered around a child’s day, capturing little things in life as well as different weather and seasons. Lovely vocabulary (great triple scoops!) and gorgeous illustrations.  This book is pure joy!  LOVE this one!

INFER

Draw the Line – Kathryn Otoshi

The amazing Katheryn Otoshi (author of One, Two, and Zero) has, once again, given us a book filled with rich discussion points.  Draw the Line is so much more than a book about lines.  It is a beautiful wordless picture book about friendship, creativity, community, conflict, resolution – and a “line” connecting us all.  A must have book for inferring, connecting, transform…. Brilliant!

Town is By the Sea – Joanne Schwartz

A simple, poetic story set in the early 1900’s in Cape Bretton, Nova Scotia tells of the challenging life of a mining family.  A young boy goes about his daily activities in the sunshine by the sea while, in contrast, his father works underground in the mines.  The writing is so beautifully descriptive and would be a great anchor book for descriptive, sensory writing or Visualizing, but also Inferring.  The words are lulling and almost haunting and the illustrations are gorgeous.

TRANSFORM

Life – Cynthia Rylant

Cynthia Rylant is definitely one of my top favorite children’s writers. I find her books to be so life-affirming, full of wonder and hope. Her new book “Life” is simply stunning. “What do you love about life?” is the question asked to many different animals. Through their responses, we are gifted with a wonderful message about life: how it constantly changes, the beauty of it, the darkness, and the wonders all around it. Simple, lyrical text and beautiful illustrations by Brendan Wenzel – it is a calm and reassuring book.  I would use the “one word” activity for this book with the word “Life”.  Give the word to the students before and after reading and see how their thinking changes.   Love.

Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt

This gorgeous book celebrates diversity and identity in the most respectful and thoughtful while exploring the deep question – Why am I me?  Would be great for both young children but would stimulate great discussions and writing responses from an older class.  A great “Me to We” book as readers are invited to imagine a world where there is no you or me, only we.

La La La: A Story of Hope – Kate DiCamillo

Just had to include this almost wordless picture book by the great Kate DiCamillo that tells the story of a lonely young girl who is longing to be heard.  The illustrations are endearing, gentle and filled with emotion.  This book invites inferences because of the sparse text, connections to being lonely and the desire to belong, and transforming because of the hopefulness that you feel.  As I always say – I know when a book is good when I don’t know where to put it!  And here is a perfect example of that!

 

There you have it!  My 2017 Picture Book 10 for 10!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found one or two books to add to your Reading Power collection!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2017 releases, Connect, Infer, New Books, Picture Book 10 for 10, Reading Power, Transform, Visualize

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 French Picture Books to use with Reading Power

While all of my Reading and Writing Power books are translated and published in French, I, myself, am not French speaking.  This makes it rather challenging for me to create book lists for French Immersion teachers.  After numerous requests, however, I decided to rise to the challenge! I was surprised to see many of the English books I have recommended for Reading Power are translated into French so the challenge wasn’t as difficult as first thought!  Thanks to Vanessa Zentner, a grade 4 French Immersion teacher in Calgary, for the gentle nudge – here are my top 10 French picture books to use with Reading Power.

Image result for la branche Mireille Messier

1. Ma branche préférée – Mireille Messier

When an ice storm breaks a branch off a little girl’s favorite tree, she is devastated.  Fortunately, her kind neighbour, Mr. Frank, helps her turn her branch into something wonderful (not telling!)  I love this book for making predictions – students predict what Mr. Frank will make.  I also like the reference to an ice storm to introduce students to this weather phenomenon that many have never experienced.  A great CONNECT book – connecting to something special that was damaged or lost.

                     2. Grand-mère, elle et moi – Yves Nadon

There is something special about memories with your grandmother.  Special feelings, memories and moments to connect to.  A perfect CONNECT book.

3. Tourbillon d’émotions – Janan Cain

I use the English version of this book with many classes when we are practicing making Connections.  It is filled with many different examples of everyday situations and the feelings connected to them.  A great book to introduce “feeling” vocabulary.

Quel génie!- Ashley Spires

This past fall, I used this book to launch our school wide Critical Thinking project called the “Most Magnificent Thing”.  (You can read all about the project here.)  It is the story of a little girl who sets out to build “The Most Magnificent Thing”, but becomes increasingly frustrated when things don’t turn out exactly as planned.   It is one of my favorite books because it is filled with so many themes for discussion – determination, managing frustration, and, in the case of our MMT projects – the importance of using critical thinking to solve problems.

4. Plus noir que la nuit – Chris Hadfield

One of my favorite biography picture books of 2016, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield shares his childhood experiences of being afraid of the dark.  A perfect book for CONNECTING to childhood fears but also an inspiring young readers to overcome those fears and dream big.  Gorgeous illustrations by brothers Terry and Eric Fan.

5. Le jardinier de la nuit – The Fan Brothers

A mysterious gardener begins to sculpt trees into animals during the night and young William wonders who and why.  Breathtaking illustrations (again by the talented Fan Brothers) and spare, sweet text, this is a perfect QUESTION book.  (Before starting the story, show the class the cover – and ask the “Qu’est-ce que vous vous demandez?” (Not sure if that’s how you say “What are you wondering?” but I tried!)  They will fill a chart paper, white board or smart board screen with questions!

6. Le lion et l’oiseau Marianne Dubuc

Another favorite from last year, this  is a tender tale of friendship between a lion and the wounded bird he finds and cares for.  When bird flies off with his flock the following fall, Lion is left alone.  A great book for QUESTIONING.  (I’m wondering what the bird is whispering to the lion on the front cover!)

7. Le bateau de fortune – Olivier de Solmicnhac

This gorgeous book is a perfect one to practice VISUALIZING!  Two friends arrive at the beach but have forgotten their swimsuits, buckets and spades.  What to do?  Instead, they make a makeshift boat and sail off to imagine the sound of the sea, the taste of the sea spray, seeing the sparkling light of the sun on the water,  and the feeling of a day at the beach.  Full of sensory descriptions, this book will make a wonderful one to practice VISUALIZING.   

                   8.  Mon papa, il est grand, il et fort, mais Coralie Saudo

A humourous role reversal plays out in this gentle book about a boy who is trying to get his dad to go to bed.  Children will make many connections to being coaxed into their own bedtime routines.  Perfect for Father’s Day!

9. Et si jamais…? Anthony Browne

I was very pleased to see that this book about childhood anxiety by Anthony Browne has been translated into French.  On his way to to a birthday party, his first “drop off” party, a little boy becomes more and more anxious about the many things that could go wrong.  As he and his mum get closer to the house he becomes filled with worry:  “What if nobody talks to me?”  “What if I don’t like the food?” “What if you forget to pick me up?”  It is a book I have shared many times and it always invites many “worry” connections from children.

10. Le Canada, c’est moi!  – Heather Patterson

I was SO excited about this gorgeous book when I saw it in English (I am Canada) and now soon to be released in French!   A perfect book to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, written in simple text and illustrated by 13 amazing Canadian children’s illustrators including Barbara Reid, Jon Klassen, Marie-Louise Gay and Ashley Spires. It is a celebration of all things Canada – from First Nations festivals, to playing hockey on an frozen pond, to lying in a pile of leaves – depicting the cultural and geographical diversity of our home and native land.

 

Well, French Immersion Teachers, there you have my first official blog of French titles!  I hope that you have found a few new books to add to your Reading Power collections.  I would love to hear back with any of your favorites so that I can perhaps do another Top 10 List soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Filed under French Books, New Books

Picture Book Month – Celebrating my favorite PB’s for Intermediate/Middle Grades

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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: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

“A children’s story that can be enjoyed only by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” —C.S. Lewis

Are picture books are not just for Primary students?  No, no, no!  In fact, there are MANY picture books far too sophisticated and complex for younger students.  Over the years, I have been astounded and moved by the rich conversations and deep thinking that emerges from sharing these books with older students.  They also include many powerful themes with topics that link to content areas.   I love using picture books to model different comprehension strategies and the fact that they are shorter in length means that I can read them for single lessons.

Soooo… today I am happy to celebrate my favorite picture books for your older readers…

Voices in the Park

Voices in the Park – Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne is a brilliant author/illustrator and this is one of my favorites of his.  I love the way he combines sparse text and detailed illustrations to tell his story, while always leaving spaces for our thinking.  I often use his books to practice inferringVoices in the Park follows four different narrative voices  (depicted by Browne’s signature gorilla characters) as they visit the same park one day.  What makes this book special is that, although at first glance it appears a simple story, it explores many adult themes including poverty, class and diversity.  Anthony uses different “voices”, font, language, body language, color and backgrounds to represent the different characters.  This is a book with many layers – and a perfect invitation for close and careful reading. 

Flotsam

Flotsam – David Wiesner

David Wiesner’s known for his highly inventive, creative wordless picture books.  This book earned him the Caldecott in 2007.   In in this story, a young boy, while searching for  flotsams (any floating object washed up on shore) on the beach, discovers an old-fashioned underwater camera.  The roll of film inside reveals some remarkable and magical surprises!  Breath-taking illustrations that can be poured over again and again.  A perfect book for practicing inferring with older students.  Delightful!

Sparrow Girl

Sparrow Girl – Sara Pennypacker

This book is based on a true event that happened in China in 1953 during the rule of dictator Mao Tse-Tung when he “declared war” on the sparrows.  Over a 3 day period, he ordered every person in china (women, children, the elderly) to take to the streets and make as much noise as possible to scare away the sparrows.  The result was horrific, as the sparrows were so frightened by the noise that they had heart attacks and fell down dead from the sky.   This event led to a famine that killed between 20-30 million Chinese over the next 5 years.  This is the story of a young girl who saves 7 sparrows and hides them in her barn.  This book would be a wonderful anchor to introduce students to different forms of government.

Mr. Peabody's Apples

Mr. Peabody’s Apples – Madonna

Madonna’s re-telling of an ancient proverb is one I often use to practice how sometimes a book can “transform” or change our thinking in some way.  The story centers around Mr. Peabody, a popular teacher and baseball coach in the small town of Happville.  When one of the children on his team witnesses what he believes is Mr. Peabody stealing an apple from a local deli, he begins to spread the rumours that his coach is a thief.  This book has stimulated a great many thoughtful classroom conversations about the consequences of spreading false rumours.   Lauren Long’s illustrations are amazing – especially the last page… “What can you infer from those few leftover floating feathers?”

Bully

Bully – Patricia Polacco

The amazing Patricia Polacco targets middle school students in this excellent book.  While there are many books about school bullying, this is the first I’ve read that focuses specifically on cyber and facebook bullying.  This is an important book to share and discuss with your middle school students – and a great book for practicing making connections. 

The Stamp Collector

The Stamp Collector – Jennifer Lanthier

Wow – this thoughtful book is truly beautiful – to read and to look at. A book that celebrates the power of stories and how they bind us together and set us free.  This is the story of a two friends – one grows up to be a prison guard, the other a writer imprisoned for something he writes.  Great to explore issues of government oppression and freedom of speech with older children. This book is haunting – it will stay with you long after the book is finished. 

Fox

Fox – Margaret Wild

This book is dark, disturbing and haunting –  definitely NOT for younger students.  A magpie with a burnt wing, a one-eyed dog and a jealous fox.  Even after the book is finished, it will stay with you for a long time.  I have had amazing journal responses from students after reading this book – so many unanswered questions.  The word choices, the art, the story – by far one of the BEST picture books in my intermediate collection!

The Arrival

The Arrival – Shaun Tan

The Arrival is a stunning wordless graphic picture book.   Shaun Tan captures the experience of an immigrant brilliantly.  The story follows the journey of a man leaving his family and his home country to his arrival in confusing new world.  The reader experiences the fears and challenges of this man as he tries to make his way in a new land, unfamiliar with the language and customs.  It is a surprisingly moving story of hope – perfect for questioning and inferring. 

Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom

Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom – Shane Evans

The story of the underground railway, told through the eyes of voices of the slaves.  While there are few words on each page, the reader is left to infer much of the story.  As the slaves begin to “find the light”, so too, do the illustrations become brighter.  I love using sharing the words of the poem with students first without telling them the title or showing them the pictures and invite them to infer the possible meaning of “Freedom”

The Promise

The Promise – Nicola Davies

Nicola Davies is one of my favorite Nonfiction picture book writers so I was excited to see this book when it came out last year.  It is a “pay it forward” type of story  of hope, of renewal, of promise.  In a colorless city where the people have become as ugly as their surroundings, a young girl steals a bag from an old woman and makes a promise to plant what is inside the bag… acorns.   As trees begin to grow, green joy is spread throughout the desolate city and others are inspired to also do some planting of their own. The mixed media artwork  takes the reader from darkness to light as the change in the girl also begins to change the world around her.  I love Nicola Davies simple, direct language and message. 

The Composition

The Composition – Antonio Skarmeta

Wow – this powerful picture book for older students was originally published in Spanish.  It tells the story of Pedro, who lives in a police state and is forced to choose between his own family and the state.  One day,  a policeman comes into Pedro’s class and asks the students to write a composition about what their families do at night. The pressure on children to betray their own parents brings fear and terror to Pedro and his classmates;  many know their parents meet at night in secret and are planning some kind of a revolt.   I love to pause and ask the students – what would you do?  A  final note explains what it’s like to live under a dictatorship.

Just a Dream

Just a Dream – Chris Van Allsburg

Chris Van Allsburg is a master story teller.   He seems to tell a story by not telling us the story!  In other words, he crafts his stories carefully to allow spaces for our thinking.  His books are my “go to” books for teaching and practicing inferring with intermediate students.  While ANY book by Chris Van Allsburg could be on this list, I chose Just A  Dream because of it’s subtle but important message about the environment.

To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful

To This Day: For the Bullied and the Beautiful – Shane Koyczan

Spoken word poet, Shane Koyczan provides us with a glimpse into his childhood of bullying and ridicule through this powerful book adaption of his poem.   Raw, heartfelt and inspirational – his words bring hope for all those who have been bullied.  This is a must share with your middle school students.

 

Thanks for stopping by!  What are your favorite picture books to use with Intermediate and Middle school students?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, making connections, Picture Book, Reading Power, Transform, wordless

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Early Summer Sensations!

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

It’s amazing to me how many wonderful new books keep appearing!   I can’t seem to keep up with all the amazing picture books being released and my collection keeps growing!  Here are some of the new treasures I have fallen for in the last few weeks:

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What Do You Do With an Idea? – Kobi Yamada

Every once in a while I discover a book that floods my heart with emotion and my mind with deep thoughts.  Here is such a book.  This is a book that celebrates ideas – no matter how small and how insignificant they may seem.  A little boy has an idea.  At first he doubts it, worries about it, almost rejects it – but the idea follows him around and slowly begins to grow and take shape.   I love how the idea is an actual “thing” that you can see.   The illustrations are wonderful; I loved how when the story begins, only the idea is in color – everything else in black and white.  As the idea grows, so does the color on the page.  So much to love about this book.  A great book to discuss the power of never giving up on an idea.  I would definitely use it for helping students understand how a book can change our thinking.  (TRANSFORM)

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Norman, Speak! – Caroline Adderson

This is a delightful story of a family who adopts a dog from an animal shelter.  They love this dog so much but discover that he is “not very smart”.  He does not respond very well to his new home and has a hard time learning to do what other dogs do.  While at a park one day, they discover why – this dog speaks Chinese!  They watch in amazement as he responds to the Chinese commands from another dog owner at the park.   Now it is the family who doesn’t feel very smart and decide to take Chinese lessons so they can communicate with their beloved dog.  A wonderful story to  promote questioning about animal adoption and animal communication.   My only issue was the length of the story – almost too long for a single sitting – but certainly worth reading over a few days.

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Whimsy’s Heavy Things – Julie Kraulis

This beautiful and thought-provoking books deals with depression as a simple metaphor:  “heavy things” that can weigh you down.   Whimsy carries around her “heavy things” until she discovers that by breaking them into smaller pieces, they become easier to manage.  I love the soft illustrations and the gentle tone of the story.  I can see this being an excellent book for discussion and using to infer (What do you think “heavy things” are?)  and connect (What are some heavy things that weigh you down?)

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Same, Same but Different – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Comparison writing is one of six nonfiction text structures I focused on in my new book Nonfiction Writing Power.  Since using anchor books (mentor texts) is an important part of writing instruction, I am always on the look-out for new books that model the different writing structures.  While this book would be classed as fiction, not only does it work well as a model for comparative writing, it is an excellent book for teaching diversity and multiculturalism.    The book features two boys:  Elliott who lives in America and Kailash who lives in India.  They begin their friendship as pen pals and through their letters, learn about the many similarities and differences between their two lives.  A great book for making connections to culture, family and lifestyle.  Colorful, cheerful illustrations.

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Whale Shines – An Artistic Tale – Fiona Robinson

Beautifully illustrated story of Whale trying to find something he can contribute to the upcoming undersea art show.  All his sea creature friends have artistic talents, but whale feels like he has nothing to offer.  I loved the illustrations and the great message of perseverance and creativity. Also a great link to science – learning about different sea creatures as well as whale’s discovery of bioluminescent phytoplankton that he uses to create his art.  I also love how each sea creature uses their own natural characteristic to develop their artistic talent.    

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The Numberlys – William Joyce

Once upon a time there were no numbers – only the alphabet. And so begins the latest visually stunning book by master creator William Joyce.  The text is simple but the illustrations add a layer of sophistication to this story of the world before numbers were created. The book starts out with only numbers in the world and the world is gray, lifeless and dull. Then The Numberlys decide that change is necessary and they create Letters !   And then the world comes to life and the pages have color!  The value of both numbers and letters is reminiscent of 1, 2, 3 Versus A, B, C by Michael Boldt, but Joyce manages to add a sophisticated flair to the concept.  This would be a great book to illustrate the value of numbers and letters in learning.

17941626                  Billie B Brown: The Birthday Mix-up

 The Winning Goal – Sally Rippin        The Birthday Mix-Up – Sally Rippin

It’s often hard to find books for emergent readers that are both age and language appropriate.  Sally Rippin‘s series are excellent for children who are transitioning into very easy chapter books.  There is a series of books featuring Jack and another featuring Billy Brown (who is a girl). But the fun part is that Jack is a character in the Billy books and Billy is a character in the Jack books.  Very simple vocabulary and stories children will find many connections to.

 

Thanks for stopping by!  I’d love to know which book has caught your eye!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Art, Connect, Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Multicultural, New Books, Picture Book, Reading Power, Science, Transform, Writing Anchors

Summer Reading – Day 26! Top 10 for 10 Picture Books – New Reading Power titles!

I am excited to be participating in my first Picture Book 10 for 10 event. This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning

The biggest challenge for me was trying to narrow down my favorites to just 10 and also to decide on a theme.  But since most of my work is centered around Reading Power, I decided to choose my favorite 10 books from 2013 that could be added to your reading power collections.  This was a huge challenge as there were so many amazing new books to choose from!  And since this is the top 10 – that equals 2 top picks for each of the 5 Reading Power strategies:  Connect, Question, Visualize, Infer and Transform. 

CONNECT

 connect 2                  question 2

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies is one of my favorite books from 2013.  It is the story of a boy who loves his bike, experiences bullying and deals with the situation in a very positive way.  Students will make connections to many different aspects of this book – from bike riding to dealing with bullies.

The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleishman is a beautiful book about an Italian immigrant grandfather who tells the story of his childhood to his granddaughter through mementos kept in matchboxes in an old cigar box.  “Your life is a story and every experience you have, you are adding a chapter”  This is what I tell students when I’m teaching them about connections.  This book is a perfect extension of the concept of “your life is a story” and also about  “memory pockets” as the grandfather’s objects represents the memories and “chapters” of his life story.   I LOVED how this book could be used to invite students to tell their own stories through special objects they may have collected.  Lots of text-to-text connections here to Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life!

QUESTION

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Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford is a beautiful introduction to deep thinking questions.  A young girl wonders “what is infinity?”  “what does infinity look like?”.  This promotes a wide range of different answers.  A great introduction to the concept of infinity that could lead to other big questions.  The illustrations are amazing!

Phileas’s Fortune by Agnes de Lestrade is the only book on my list not published in 2013 – but one I could not leave off as it is among my favorite books of all time.  A tale of a land where words are made in a factory and in order to speak any word, you need to buy it. Of course, some people cannot afford to buy words.   I have read this book to many different classes and many different age groups.  It promotes more deep thinking questions than any book I’ve ever read.  A must for your collection of books that promote questions.

VISUALIZE

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Beach Feet by Kiyomi Konagaya is a visually descriptive story of a young boy’s day at the beach.  What makes this story unique is how it is told through the experiences of the boy’s feet – the sensations of the sand, the foam, the pebbles and shells.  The perspective of the “feet telling the story” is one that I would definitely use for a writing anchor for creating visual images through the senses.  As well, the book is filled with wonderful triple scoop words and similes.

If I Built A House – by Chris Van Dusan is a follow up to his first book If I Built A Car, which my students loved.  Jack is a dreamer with a big imagination.  He invents his own wacky, wild and imaginative house – with everything from an indoor race track to a flying room.  While this book is not one that uses rich descriptive language (it has a rhyming text), I love the idea of reading it aloud and having kids “visualize” Jack’s house through some sketches and then try to create then their own imaginary house.  Another great anchor for writing!

INFER

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Both Bluebird by Bob Staake and Journey by Aaron Becker are wordless picture books that invite students to use the pictures to infer the story.  Bluebird is an emotional story of a young boy who’s day is brightened when a bird befriends him.  The bird later risks his life to protect the boy from a group of bullies.  It is moving and powerful and is a must for every teacher to share with their students.

Journey is a breath-taking stunningly beautiful wordless picture book.  It tells the story of a young girl who is being ignored by her family.  When she draws an imaginary door on her bedroom wall and opens it, a magical journey unfolds.  Careful study of the pictures reveals many surprises and clues which invite many inferences.  This is truly a remarkable book that has Caldecott written all over it!

TRANSFORM

Sometimes a book can change the way we think about something. When searching for books to use to teach this strategy, I look for books that deal with an issue that students have some experience.  We “take stock” of our thinking about the issue or topic before and after reading, so that the students can visibly notice how their thinking has changed.  Both these books have the ability to “change your thinking” – about the dark and about books.

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The Dark by Lemony Snicket tells the story of how Lazslo faces his fear of the dark.  The dark, in this book, is depicted as an actual character – and utterly transforms the reader’s mindset of fear.  I can see using this book as perfect introduction to the concept of Transform:  your thoughts about the dark before and after reading this gem of a book.

I have saved the best for last – the book that transformed my thinking about books!  Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier celebrates the power of books, from the physical turning of the pages to the act of storytelling.  It is visually stunning as the reader is invited to turn the pages and discover more and more little books.  This is one that has to be experienced to be appreciated.  Please open this little book and share it with everyone you know.  It will transform your thinking!

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 picture books and have found a few new titles to add to your collection!

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Filed under Connect, Infer, Lesson Ideas, New Books, Picture Book, Question, Transform, Visualize