Monday, August 10, 2015

Picture Book 10 for 10 - First Quarter Mini-Lesson Books


      Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek are hosting their Picture Book 10 for 10 Round-Up today.
Yesterday, I published a post about flipping my classroom, so I thought today I would gather a text set of picture books that I would use with my 5th graders for first quarter mini-lessons (of course, I'll use a lot more than 10, but I had to narrow it down for this list).  I'll be videotaping myself reading these books and using them for mentor teaching texts on various skills: analyzing theme, point of view, and character - all standards we're teaching during first quarter. Of course, biographies are great for analyzing character, but I'm going to stick with fiction for this list. I also chose texts according to theme topic.  My first theme topic for August/September is EMPATHY, so all my choices will address empathy.  Here we go! 
By Mouse and Frog
So cute! Deborah Freedman is able to capture expression, personality, and friendship so perfectly in her words and illustrations. This would be the perfect book to teach collaboration, creativity, cooperation, conflict and resolution, and character traits. Fits great into writing workshop, also. Love it!
The Girl and the Bicycle
This beautiful story made me tear up at the end. I was rooting for the little girl, and when things didn't seem to be going as planned, I was sad for her. I guessed what was going to happen right before it did, but I still choked up at the last scene! This is just the kind of book every teacher needs in the classroom and every parent needs to read to his/her child. It teaches determination, selflessness, work ethic, playfulness (the antics and expressions of the little brother, cat, and dog are so cute), delayed gratification, kindness, joy, and love...all without words. Just wonderful. I'm obviously a Mark Pett fan. I gave his 2013 wordless book The Boy and the Airplane 5 stars, too!
The Most Magnificent Thing

Oh, how I love this book! I connected strongly to it because of writing frustrations, and I know there are many students in my gifted classes who will identify themselves in this "regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world." We can all learn from this little girl who wants to make the perfect, most MAGNIFICENT thing, but can't quite seem to get it right. Her little hilarious dog is right by her side through the whole frustrating process - kids will laugh out loud at his antics and expressions. After an emotional explosion and a nice walk, she realizes if she takes the bolts on one, the shape of another, etc...she has the perfect object. I love the people discovering what they like about all her other "mistakes." Great book to talk about the creative process, innovation, and persistence!
Nana in the City
I'm a huge Lauren Castillo fan. I got to meet her at NErDcampMI in July - what a treat!  I really enjoyed this picture book about looking at things in a new way. It is a great mentor text for point of view/perspective. Terrific illustrations. A print from this book is framed and hanging on my classroom wall.  It's beautiful!
Last Stop on Market Street
"He wondered how his nana always found beautiful where he never even thought to look." This is a wonderful story of a grandmother teaching her grandson about beauty, social responsibility, and appreciating life. CJ's and his grandmother's differences in perspective throughout the book until the end reminded me of Nana in the City. Loved the illustrations, also - the city's people are full of diversity. CJ's grandmother helps him learn to appreciate the differences. The spotted dog is adorable.
Voices in the Park
Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne
My students really like this book. I use it for point of view/perspective. Great illustrations. The kids get to see how different characters in a book see and interpret the world. 

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad
GORGEOUS. When I got this book in the mail after reading about it in several blogs, I knew it would become one of my most treasured picture books. I even love the texture of the book jacket and the thick pages. It's a beautifully told wordless story about a girl who discovers a runaway slave hiding in her family's barn. The girl's courage and compassion leads her to feed the stranger and help keep his secret. We never see the face of the runaway slave. We only see his eye peering out from his hiding place. He returns her gift of protection with a gift of his own for her.
Each Kindness
This book makes an impact. Chloe and her friends reject and tease the new girl, Maya, even when she tries to befriend Chloe. One day Maya moves away, and when Chloe's teacher demonstrates that kindness acts like a stone dropped into the water - it ripples out into the world, she can't think of a single kind thing she's done. When she realizes Maya isn't coming back, she is left with the knowledge that she was cruel to her and won't be able to make it right. The illustrations are beautiful and revealing, capturing expressions perfectly. This would be a great companion book to Wonder, Out of My Mind, and The Hundred Dresses.  
Sophie's Squash

Sophie is a sensitive, vibrant little girl (the illustrations capture her essence perfectly) who decides to make a squash (yes, a squash) her best friend. Her patient parents try to help her give Bernice the squash up because it's rotting, but Sophie won't hear of it. She does, however, ask a farmer how to keep a squash healthy, so she makes Bernice a little bed under the soil. Winter comes and buries her in snow, so Sophie befriends a fish for awhile. Spring brings a delightful surprise. Sophie reminds me of little gifted girls I know who make imaginary and/or unusual friends and love them with all their hearts!
City Dog, Country Frog
I find an excuse to include this picture book in every list I make.  It's my all-time favorite.  I love it for teaching theme, character, symbolism (seasons), circular writing structure, empathy, friendship, leaving a legacy, loss, setting, and more.  It pairs perfectly with The One and Only Ivan and Bridge to Terabithia.  Katie Wood Ray used it to teach how a writer can learn from the decisions an illustrator makes.    
I'm going to cheat and include one more book, making it a list of 11.  I'm including this one because I want to share my favorite picture book of 2015 (so far).  
        Boats for Papa
I love participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 link up each year!  The hardest part is narrowing down the lists to ten, for sure.  I'm looking forward to reading all the lists!






  1. Holly! City Dog, Country Frog is my very favorite picture book. :) I'm keeping a Padlet of books that I want to get my hands on as well, I've added By Mouse and Frog to my list. Lots of wonderful books on this list! Thanks for sharing.

  2. So many wonderful books! I'm looking forward to reading more about your flipped classroom too. Last Stop on Market Street is on my list PB featuring diverse characters too. Also love Each Kindness, Most Magnificent Thing, and more!

  3. Such great books! There are several I need to find. Always love books that can evoke strong feelings.

  4. Oooooh! Some I love and some new ones, too. Awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Just picked up Boats For Papa from the holds shelf at the library last week. I love it too! Off to request By Mouse and Frog - a new title for me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Holly - this is a beautiful list - I know all of them except for the last one - but it is on my TBR list. I get teary with The Girl and the Airplane too. Such a book! Sigh

  7. Thank you for sharing your list, Holly! I use several of these titles in my second grade class. Isn't it amazing how picture books can span many grade levels and ages? The Girl and the Bicycle is a new title to me. I can't wait to check it out!

  8. Holly, this list is incredible. Thank you! I'm ordering anything our library doesn't already own and sharing your blog with my teachers. I agree that Boats for Papa is my favorite picture book of the year so far!

  9. Lots of great books and mini lessons here! I don't think I've ever read City Dog, Country Frog aloud to kids. Not sure I can make it without crying, but I'll try it this year!

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