Monday, July 16, 2012

Must Have Picture Books - My First Linky

And it freaks me out! Gads I hope I don't mess up!
*update* clearly I don't know my etiquette, and should have put in here that this here linky is hosted by Lindsey at The Teacher Wife.  And also I did find a typing mistake and feeeexed it. Someone beat me with a wet noodle.

The Teacher Wife

I love picture books.  I love the technique in illustration.  The precise language.  The labor of love that they must have been to write, and how excited the children get to read them and share them and love love love on them.  My classroom library has 40 baskets at this point, and I've bought more books this summer, so I know I'll have to add more come end of August.  But I care not! I love them so!  It's hard to pick the 5 BEST ones, but these are old favorites that I read again and again.

1. When Pigasso Met MootisseWhen Pigasso met Mootisse by Nina Laden serves many purposes.  For one, the illustrations are excellent, showcasing both styles of Picasso and Matisse, two of my favorite artists.  My second graders always think both styles are super cool, and want to try both out in their own drawings. Secondly, it's a great story for discussions on friendships, competition, respecting differences, and being unique.  It's a great text to refer back to often when dealing with friendship issues in the classroom. And as a great third reason, the end of the text has real information of both artists, to provide that non-fiction link that kids actually adore.  They LOVE finding out that these were actually real people.

2. RoxaboxenRoxaboxen by Alice McLerran is a beautiful story! I used to bawl like a baby at the end every time...but they make a pill for that now, so now I just choke up a little. Anyway, I tend to like books that do a lot of different jobs for me in the classroom.  This book is a great example of memoir, and I can use it in Writer's Workshop as an example for writing about small moments.  I also use this book as an introduction to my economics unit, as the children in the story create their own town, and it's a fantastic springboard for getting my kids to think about what they would need in their town that they are going to create.  It also works for showing changes over time, which is a social studies standard. 

3. Tough BorisTough Boris by Mem Fox is AWESOME.  I'm starting to worry that I'm running out of adjectives for this post.  All of these books are incredible.  What makes Tough Boris special?  I use it for my illustration unit to show how the picture can show a story that the words don't tell. Which also makes it great for that Daily 5 lesson on Three Ways to Read a Book.  This book has a repetitive text structure, which makes it great for the kids to quickly catch on and echo back the lines with you.  And it teaches about stereotypes.  You can spend the whole book thinking about how awful pirates are and then find out that they are capable of loving and being loved just like everybody else.  But not in a hit over your head sort of way.  This was also a tear jerker for me.  The kids would be all, "Why are you crying AGAIN?" Ah, pills are good.

4. Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty  Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty by Pep Montserrat.  I hesitated on this one when I found out that it's no longer being sold, which I guess means it's not being printed anymore? But I MUST post it, because it is, insert adjective that means so super fabulous beyond belief here. Look for it at yard sales, or borrow it from the library.  This, like Tough Boris, works for teaching about stereotypes and how everyone is beautiful and has worth and how we all need to look for the good in people and be open minded.  BECAUSE Ms. Rubinstein is the bearded lady at a traveling circus.  I will not give away the rest.  But it is a beautiful love story. *sigh*

5. Miss Rumphius Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. Who, coincidentally, illustrated Roxaboxen.  A sweet story about a woman who decided to make the world beautiful.  I have always used this book as a beginning of the year read aloud and had the kids write a little paragraph about how they would make the world beautiful.  Providing kids with opportunities to think about how to give back to the world is so necessary as we nudge their character building.  It's a great example of memoir, small moments, beautiful language, and changes over time.  I also want to point you in the direction of Wendy at Teacher's Toolkit, who also uses this book in her classroom.  But she went an amazing step farther and has a free powerpoint of lupin pictures that she shares with the kids and then they make these gorgeous fingerprint paintings.  It is an inspiring project, and I want to combine it with my writing activity and have the kids create lupin paintings for a bulletin board display and then put up our paragraphs of how we'd make the world beautiful.  A great opportunity for text to self and text to world connections.  Please go give Wendy a visit and give her props for her beautiful art project!

Oh this is sad!  Only FIVE books!  And now I wish I had been able to add in Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein because of how it shows the writer's process, or I Love Guinea Pigs by Dick King-Smith with how it pairs non-fiction informational text features with memoir, or Chin Yu Men and the Ginger Cat by Jennifer Armstrong because it works in wonderfully with my Ancient China unit and character education, or When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant for small moments! There are so many.  Sniff.


  1. Thanks for linking up!
    I'm honored to be a part of your first linky!!!

  2. I love Miss Rumphius. It is a great story to read when you're teaching the kids about plants. I read it every year with my students.
    The Hive

  3. Thank you both for looking over my list! I am excited to learn about all of these picture books I hadn't been exposed to yet.

  4. I love your blog name!
    Tough Boris made my list too - Mem Fox is awesome.
    I am your newest follower

    rubber boots and elf shoes

  5. I haven't read any of your chosen books, looks like I need to get busy! Thanks for sharing! I'm your newest follower!

    Lacy's Letters

  6. I love your list as I have not heard of a few titles! I am a new follower too.
    Second Grade Sunshine

  7. Thanks, Sandi! Canada? Way Cool! I grew up in Alaska- hence the Moose deal.

  8. Hey there Eileen and Cyndi! I admit to having an inclination toward books that aren't super well-known. When I book browse I usually pick up ones that have intriguing titles and beautiful illustrations before I read the story. Horrible, I know, totally judging a book by it's cover! But it seems to be working for me. I hope you enjoy them!

  9. Tough Boris looks like a good one!! I'm your newest follower! I've linked up too:)

    1...2...3...Teach With Me

  10. You'll love Tough Boris, Tammy. I'd bet money on it!

  11. Hi! I like your list a lot. I just realized as I looked at it that Pigasso met Mootsie is by Nina Laden. One of her books is on my list too - The Night I Followed the Dog. So I have to check that out. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Love Miss Rumphius! We read it during election time and talk about our responsibility as citizens!

    Mrs. Jankord

  13. I love the Pigasso book! If you come to my blog you will see why!!
    I am now a follower. Found you on te linky!

    2nd Grade Pig Pen

  14. Hey Heather! I nominated you for an award... come by my blog to get it!


  15. Hi! This was my first linky too and you are one of my very first followers! Thanks

  16. I'm visiting through the Linky Party. Don't you just love picture books?!!? Great top 5! I love Miss Rumphius! Come by when you get a chance. I'm your newest follower.

    Waving from The Teacher's Chatterbox,

  17. Thanks for coming by and checking out my blog yesterday. Now, I'm doing the same! I can't believe it but I've never heard of any of your top five but they look awesome. I'm going to have to put them on my wishlist. I'm following you now too!

  18. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday! I'm now a follower of you! Your book choices are great, I've never heard of them so now I have more to check out. :)

  19. Wow, I had never heard of ANY of those books! Thanks for sharing. I really want to check them out!

    The Dalton Gang

  20. Miss Rumphius and Roxaboxen are 2 of my favorite books! What a great list you have. I am now your 51st follower :)
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

  21. Nice picks! I really like Roxaboxen too!

  22. Love your list of books! Will definitely be adding some to my list! Thanks!

  23. I will have to check out Pigasso met Mootisse and Roxaboxen. They both sound like good additions to my library! I'm so glad I found this linky party!

    Teaching Special Kids

  24. I love Miss. Rumphis! I am need to go check out Pigasso and Mootisse. I also am a big fan of When I was Young in the Mountains. Thanks for stopping by!

    Apples and Papers

  25. Oh my goodness - I LOVE your book choices. Love Miss Rumphius the most of every old lady in every picture book ever written.

    Funny story - I have 5 or 6 copies of Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty that I bought at our local closeout store a few years ago. BUT I have never even read it all the way through, let alone used it in my class. Must find them ASAP!

    Inside this Book

  26. Great book selections! I am so glad I found your blog! I am your newest follower! If you have a chance stop by my blog and follow! Thanks so much!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Brigid's Daily Lesson Log

  27. Love Miss Rumphius and Roxaboxen-those are staples in my classroom!

    Love your blog!I can tell that you are a very creative teacher!


  28. Great list! I love Roxaboxen! Congrats on your first was mine too! You are one of my first follwers...thanks so much and I am your newest follower! :-)

    Craft of Teaching

  29. Great list of books! I love your blog. I am your newest follower.


    Smiling and Shining in Second Grade

  30. Thanks everybody! I've tried to reply by e-mail to all of you, but many of you have no reply blogger e-mails so I can't. And I don't know if you're getting notified of my response when I comment here. But I love all of your comments! Thank you!

  31. I love Tough Boris... you can't go wrong with Mem Fox!

    Make sure to stop by and enter my giveaway!

  32. I LOVE Roxaboxen...thank you for visiting my blog! I'm your newest follower:)
    Mrs. Saunders' Lovelies

  33. I love Roxaboxen too! It is such a wonderful story. I have it on my linky too. I've nominated you for an award. Come to my blog to check it out :)

    Look Who's Teaching

  34. I just found your blog through the linky party and I am so glad I did!
    Drop by anytime :)

    Creekside Teacher Tales

  35. So glad I found this linky party, because I am now your newest follower! YIPPEEEE FOR ME!!!!!
    Great top 5; although, many are new to me. I hear the library calling me! Please check out my Blog and follow me back!