Monday, August 19, 2013

#PB10for10 - 9 days late!! / Also #IMWAYR - on time :)

You know those guests you invite to a party and they perpetually show up late?  Well, when it comes to replying to memes or participating in online events this summer, that would appear to be me, more often than not.  My apologies.

On August 10, Cathy and Mandy hosted #pb10for10 and gathered many rich resources from educators all over the world.  I  had so much fun looking at other people's book lists, that I just had to join in, even though I'm more than a tad embarrassed I didn't make the actual deadline.  But a huge thank you to these ladies for hosting and organizing everyone's post!

The years before this, the 10 books I chose always revolved around one big idea.  This year is sort of the same, but with a small twist -- I have sub-categories of books as well.  The big umbrella my books fall under this year is "Books I Will Share in the First Two Weeks of School." There are 4 sub-categories for these books.  And the books are some old favorites as well as some amazing new favorites.

Picture Books that Help Set Expectations for Classroom Climate / Celebrating our Differences

1) Amazing Faces - poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  The students in my two language arts classrooms this year come from very diverse backgrounds.  Amazing Faces is a book of poetry that shares a variety of faces in different situations.  This will be a great springboard for my students to talk and write about their different ethnic and cultural experiences.  How much richer we will be as class as we discover and celebrate our differences.

2) This is Just to Say - poems by Joyce Sidman.  This book of poetry will be a humorous way to address how we talk to each other as individuals in our community.  Even though the apologies aren't always apologetic and the forgiveness is not really forgiving, through humor, we will be able to set some classroom norms about how we talk in our classroom.

3) Tara and Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends - text and photography by Carol Buckley.  This book will be a triple threat: it is a book about animals which is sure to make it a fan favorite, it is non-fiction that is incredibly enjoyable, and it addresses the big idea of how two individuals who wouldn't appear to be the most logical choice for friendship, can really have each others' backs in time of need.  Many life lessons here that we can apply to our classroom community.

4) Crankee Doodle - written by Tom Angleberger. This picture book is just a hoot!  We have two main characters, and one is a huge whiner.  As Angleberger has fun with how the song, "Yankee Doodle Came to Town," originated, we as readers can learn a lot through humor about how not to approach problems and boredom.  The surprise ending is just icing on the cake!

5) Each Kindness - written by Jacqueline Woodson.  Children can be cruel to one another at times, and this book captures that cruelty in a vivid way.  More importantly, sometimes you can lose your opportunity to do the right thing.  This book deals with important issues that crop up in our classrooms, and there is a real feeling of being punched in the gut at the end when the reader realizes there won't be a chance for redemption in this specific instance.  I think this will be a book I come back to time and time again throughout the year.  The message of our actions have consequences is quite clear, and will provide for great conversations.

Picture Books that Tell a Story Through Poetry

6) Moving Day - poems by Ralph Fletcher, and

7) Oh Brother! - poems by Nikki Grimes

Both of these books tell stories through poetry, and would be a great introduction to the concept of novel in verse.  Equally important, both stories have beautiful language embedded within their poetry.  This will be a wonderful way to look at word choice in their own writing.

Picture Books That Promote Gathering Pieces of Life for Future Writing

8) The Matchbook Diary - written by Paul Fleischman.  What a gorgeous book this is!  The illustration by Bagram Ibatoulline are amazing!  But the real gift of this story is how a person can gather artifacts to tell the stories of his/her life.  So many ways to use this story, but my current thinking is that each student will bring in 3 - 5 artifacts of their own history to first orally share with the class and then to capture that same thinking in their writers' notebooks.

Picture Books That Promote Life Science and Word Study

9) How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships - written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page.  Symbiotic.  I love that word, and it turns out with our new state standards, it is a word my 5th graders will need to know as well.  Steve Jenkins is a prolific writer of nonfiction so this will be a great way to introduce my classes to him as a nonfiction author.  More importantly, we will begin our word study with a word observation of "symbiotic."  We will notice many things together about this word, and after that, I will read the book.  After reading this book and sharing the unique ways animals form partnerships, we will revisit the word to add more thinking.

10) Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors - poetry by Joyce Sidman.  Joyce Sidman is another poet/nonfiction writer my students need to know.  As teachers, we do a nice job sharing authors of fiction; but I think it is equally important that students are aware of nonfiction authors as well.  In addition, I love how Sidman weaves poetry and nonfiction text together on each 2-page spread.  We will also be doing a word observation of "ubiquitous."  Another great word!  I want students to know from the beginning of the year, that words are important in our classroom.

So there you have it - my very belated #pb10for10.  I wish for you and your students many wonderful reading experiences this year!

Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for co-hosting the kidlit version of the meme, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?


  1. I tried to hunt down The Matchbox Diary in our library but didn't find it on the shelves (although technically, it should be available) - hopefully, my luck would be better the next time I visit. This is just to say has been catching my eye for the longest time. I'm a huge fan of Joyce Sidman - I should find that title soon. Thank you for also linking the picture books to possible activities inside the classroom. Truly helpful.

  2. So happy to have your list, Karen, even late! I have all of these but Crankee Doodle-have seen it reviewed so it's going on the list of course. Of your list, I have really loved sharing Each Kindness with those I work with & they in turn say they've had good conversations because of it! The poetry ones are wonderful, to be used often, right? Thanks very much!

  3. Hi Karen, Just stopping by to say how much I enjoyed your article The Spotlight in the Choice Literacy newsletter today. I was inspired and I'm way past 5th grade!