Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017

Picture book 10 for 10 is here! This is one of the best days of the year to increase your knowledge of amazing picture books. It may also be a tad expensive . . . You’ve been warned!

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my sixth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. In 2014, I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness. In 2015. I highlighted favourite historical fiction titles. Last year I chose books that may inspire philosophical discussion

This year’s theme is the theme I chose for #classroombookaday with my Grade 4 and 5 class during the last week of school. I told them I was going to read books that were beautifully quirky and that I wanted to be sure I shared with them before our year together ended. Beautifully quirky is a great category. These books lead to awe and wonder. Questions and discussions. And many rereads.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

These books are wonderfully odd. My kind of odd. I hope your kind of odd. Books that leave you thinking. That awe you with the wild and the beautiful and the unexpected or unexplained.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (2014)

This book will always be about the shouting audience. “No! They missed it again!” “Oh my God!” “Seriously?!” This book is all about theories. Digging in, around and but never really out is highly satisfying.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket with illustrations by Lisa Brown (2017)

This book really is about a goldfish ghost who travels around in search of a place to belong. Quietly clever and speaks to some important themes: the cycle of life, belonging and companionship.

Goldfish Ghost Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for ThatNot Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima (2017)

Kelp was born in the ocean and raised by narwhals. Something has always seemed not quite right. Then one night, he discovers unicorns. Is this the answer to everything? Or just some things. Who we are, where we belong, how big all of this can be. Lovely little book.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken (2017)

This book begins with an eye that was drawn too large. Where it ends up? Oh my! A creative and inspiring journey.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Snurtch written by Sean Ferrell with illustrations by Charles Santoso (2016)

Well, if we all have a Snurtch – and I suppose we do – I would hope that mine is this cute. A charming story that reminds us of all the emotions and moods inside of us. Because, oh yes, it isn’t all happy happy joy joy.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Day I Became a Bird by Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi (2016)

I am utterly enamoured by the illustrations in this book about a boy willing to be a bird to attract the attention of the girl he swoons over.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis  (2016)

Invented language. Over the top stunning illustrations. This book invites the reader to climb inside and help tell the story over and over again.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

The Liszits written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Júlia Sardà (2016)

I use the word quirky every time I pick this book up. It is absolutely captivating. The story. The lists. The illustrations. I can’t share this with anyone without reading them the entire book and then we both just sit back in awe. Inspired.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming with illustrations by Boris Kulikov (2013)

Creativity. Focus. Absurdity. Inventiveness. The language is fun. The entire family is involved and Papa models the curiosity and persistence of an inventor. This book is “almost true” based on the life of Lodner Phillips who really did build The Whitefish, an actual functioning submarine.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt (2015)

Who better to introduce children to the stages of grief than a bug swallowed up in a vacuum? Right? Huh? Love this book! Students do too.

Beautifully quirky: 10 titles to read and ponder #pb10for10 2017 There's a Book for That

Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10

pb-10-for-10What titles would make your beautifully quirky list? 

Happy picture book reading!  

Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016

Picture book 10 for 10 is here! Not many days can rival the picture book love shared on this day!

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my fifth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. In 2014, I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness. Last year I highlighted favourite historical fiction titles.

This year I chose books that may inspire philosophical discussion. BIG questions with no absolute answer. Questions about meaning. And truth. Knowledge and reality. Ethics and morals. Books that will allow readers to think critically. To reason. To argue. To listen. To take risks in understanding and meaning making. To stretch one question into deeper and more complex questions.

Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

For each title I have listed the initial questions I had after reading. Of course, in a room full of readers and thinkers, these questions would only grow!

Little Bird written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine

Little Bird Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Is a small thing insignificant? What state of being do we need to be in to notice small details?  How does this noticing change our reality?

You Call That Brave by Lorenz Pauli and Kathrin Schärer

You Call that Brave Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is courage? Is it an action or a decision? How do we determine what is bravery? Can a brave act for one be common place for another?

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

this moose belongs to me Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is ownership? Do we have the right to “own” something live? If yes, what responsibilities go along with this? Or is it even possible to own a living thing?

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell

The Gift of Nothing Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is nothing? Is it something? Does it have value? Significance? How do we measure the power or weight of nothing?

There by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

There Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Is there a place that brings bigger happiness? What are we searching for? Is it someplace we have been?  Or someplace we only imagine? Can we truly be in the moment or are we always thinking ahead or looking back?

Wild by Emily Hughes

Wild Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Can our true self be changed? What do we mean by the influence of nature or nurture? What is freedom? Can our spirit be contained? How much of our inner life is our own?

The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have written by Edward van de Vendel and illustrated by Anton Van Hertbruggen

The Dog that Nino didn't have Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Where is the place between imagination and reality? Can what we imagine make us truly happy? Which is superior – imagination or reality? In which circumstances?

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton,

Something Extraordinary Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What is real? What is fuelled by imagination? How does that influence our reality? Is there beauty in simplicity? In the everyday? Does it count if we don’t notice it?

 My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown 

My Teacher is A Monster (No, I am Not!) Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

What defines us? Who we are or how we are perceived? How does emotion affect perception? How does our reality change over time? How does experience alter reality?

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

Grandad's Island Big questions: picture books that inspire philosophical discussion #pb10for10 2016 There's a Book for That

Is there life after death? What would it be like? Do those we love remain with us? How? Where?

Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10

pb-10-for-10

Happy picture book reading!  

Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015

It is that time of year where picture book love is celebrated and shared! Yes, Picture book 10 for 10 is here!

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my fourth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. Last year (2014) I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness.

This year I decided to share ten historical fiction titles that are favourites of mine. When we can engage children with wondering and thinking about another time and place and what it was like for people who lived then, our discussions automatically center on who we are as people. Such rich and important conversations to have. Many of these titles can also be shared with students as we try and read more diverse titles in our classrooms.

Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

My top ten favourites on this theme: Historical Fiction

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small (2008)

What is more beautiful than bravery and perseverance to bring books into the homes of children who don’t even have the chance to go to school? Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s, this book is inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books by horseback to areas where there were few if any schools and no libraries. A story about the power of books, the devotion they are given and the magic that happens when a reader is made.

 That Book Woman Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue (2001)

A story of friendship, prejudice and courage set in the American South in 1964. Beautifully written – lyrical text and honest emotions, this book is one of the best historical fiction picture books I have read.

Freedom Summer Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Busing Brewster written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by R.G. Roth (2010)

A picture book with many important themes: having a dream, the power of libraries to be transformative and what it was like to be black at an all white school. Set in the 1970s when integration was being “helped” along by forced busing – bringing black students into white schools, this story gives children a glimpse into the racial tensions of the time and the complexities of integration.

 Busing Brewster Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Shi-shi-etko written by Nicola Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave (2005)

Shi-shi-etko has only four more days until she must attend residential school. She spends these precious days with her family, in nature gathering her memories and avsorbing the wisdom of her family. Such a beautiful book about a very heartbreaking topic. My students were mesmerized. And full of questions.

 Shi-shi-etko Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Lizzie Nonsense by Jan Ormerod (2004)

The illustrations in this title are incredible. It is nostalgic. Lonely. Gives us a glimpse of the hardships of early pioneer life. Set, so very beautifully, in Australia.

Lizzie Nonsense Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis (2001)

This author/illustrator combination create absolute magic. So much in one little picture book with huge implications for discussion. In a segregated town, black and white don’t mix. A fence that represents the division of race becomes just a fence at the end of the story when a whole row of girls perches atop it.

 The Other Side Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Elsie’s Bird written by Jane Yolen and David Small (2010)

It is the late 1800s and Elsie has lost her mother. Her father moves her to the Nebraska prairie from their home in Boston. When Elsie’s beloved canary escapes his cage she must venture out into the landscape of this new quiet, open space. Both Yolen and Small are at their best – this is a literary and visual treat.

Elsie's Bird Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

Red Kite, Blue Kite written by Ji-li Jiang and illustrated by Greg Ruth (2013)

Rich in truth and history (based on the story of the author’s family friend), this book is set during the Cultural Revolution in China. It is the story of father and son –  separated by distance and circumstances who stay connected through kites in the sky. Heartbreaking but full of hope. Such a beautiful book.

Red kite, blue kite Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road by Bonnie Christensen (2013)

An appealing book on so many levels – the history, the geography, the adventure, the culture – wow. The story begins with one girl in China (ninth century China) who dreams of traveling The Silk Road trade route. Not able to travel even part of the way with her father, she asks him to bring a single pebble to send along the road to a child somewhere further along. The path of the pebble is incredible as it is passed from person to person finally ending up in Italy. My son read this book and found it fascinating – all of the old maps and interesting journey.

 A Single Pebble Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2015)

This book does so much. As we travel through time with a recipe for a simple summer dessert, we are treated to a history lesson that is much more than how kitchen utensils and appliances have changed. Sometimes, history titles have heavy themes. This one is about the everyday of cooking together. Pure delight.

A Fine Dessert Monday Historical Fiction Titles: ten of my favourites for #Pb10for10 2015 There's a Book for That

I have other favourites on this theme that I didn’t include. Check out my Historical Fiction Pinterest board.

Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10

pb-10-for-10

Happy picture book reading!  

Picture Book 10 for 10 in 2014: “Go to” titles

It is that time of year where picture book love is celebrated and shared! Yes, Picture book 10 for 10 is here! What are the picture books that you just can not live without?

This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!

This is my third year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations.

This year I changed it up a little. The books I have placed on my list this year are what I call “Go to” titles So often someone will ask, “Do you have a picture book about _____________?” These are the titles that I reach for – some I have been reading and sharing for years. Some, I have discovered more recently but I know they will also become favourites that I rely on.

Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

So if you are asked any of these questions, please, feel free to borrow from my list! I hope some of these favourites become your favourites.

Do you have a picture book about generosity?

Call it my generous spirit but for this theme I must highlight two titles. Both bring me to tears every time I read them. I couldn’t pick just one. Phew, cheating bending the rules is out of the way immediately. On to the books . . .

Melissa Parkington’s Beautiful, Beautiful Hair written by Pat Brisson and illustrated by Suzanne Bloom (2006)

Melissa Parkington is known for her beautiful hair – everyone notices it and comments on how special it is. But Melissa wants to be known for something special that she does, not simply for something that grows out of her head. She tries to do many things to make herself special – but what ends up happening time and time again, is that she is noticed for her kindness. Melissa realizes that performing acts of kindness is what is special about her. Cutting her hair so that it can be made into a wig is an act of generosity that makes ultimate sense to her. Amazing book! What a story of generosity and a recognition of true inner beauty.

 Melissa Parkington Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

The Teddy Bear by David McPhail (2005)

A little boy loses his beloved teddy bear. It is found by a homeless man who begins to care for it, also with love. When the little boy later comes across his bear and realizes that someone else needs the bear more than he does, he gives his bear up. Tender and sweet, this book captures a moment of true compassion and the generosity of a little boy to share something that has meant so much. I know children who will so willingly give to help others feel better. David McPhail captures this generous sentiment in a beautiful book.

 The Teddy Bear Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about forgiveness?

Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford (2012)

Gorgeously illustrated by A.G. Ford, this title handles forgiveness and its power in a totally accessible and meaningful way for children. An engaging story of negative interactions between boys where the negative tension is finally soothed through gestures of apology and forgiveness. A wise adult helps Desmond navigate feelings of vengeance, anger and upset. Set in South Africa and based on a true story in Desmond Tutu’s own childhood.

Student reactions here

 Desmond and the Very Mean Word Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about self-expression?

Emily’s Art written and illustrated by Peter Catalanotto (2001)

Emily is an expressive and happy artist until her work is judged in an art contest. The judge’s reactions to her work are hurtful and heartbreaking. She needs to work through her feelings about someone judging her art and her feelings about making pictures she loves. Inspires amazing conversations about rejection, the negative power words can have and about finding your self despite what others might say.

Talked about in my classroom here and here 

 Emily's Art Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about friendship?

Matthew and Tilly, written by Rebecca C. Jones and illustrated by Beth Peck (1991)

There are so many books about friendship but this one remains one of my favourites year after year. It explores the feelings of friendship and forgiveness in a totally believable way. A short but powerful story about best friends that argue, as friends do, but then find it easy to forgive each other when they realize that favourite activities are just not the same without a friend. When I read this aloud, I watch the rhythms of conflict, tension and reconciliation play out in the student’s faces. They feel each page deeply.

Matthew and Tilly Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about courage?

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold (2011)

A black dog is spotted outside the window of the Hope family residence. As it is described and worried about, it “becomes” larger than life – the size of a tiger. . . no, an elephant . . . maybe a T-rex? These illustrations are beautifully odd. But in the best of ways. From the full page spreads with the huge menacing dog to the little sepia coloured boxes surrounding the text that reveal close ups and clues from the story. Small (the littlest Hope) finally braves the outdoors to confront this creature. What ensues is absolutely delightful – a visual treat to tickle our imaginations. Small becomes large and Large, small. Fear and courage intermix into teasing and challenge and joy. You don’t need to work hard to get a conversation about courage happening after you read this book.

Black Dog Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about grieving?

The Scar written by Charolette Moundlic and illustrated by Olivier Tallec (2009)

This book gets you on the first line, no easing in or warming up: Mom died this morning. We turn page after bright red page and experience, along with the little boy who has just lost his mother, a whole range of emotions: anger, frustration, disbelief, anxiety . . . So sad when just Dad and son try to navigate through their grief, being there for each other but both feeling so alone. Grandma soothes, consoles and explains, patting his chest.

“She’s there,” she says, “in your heart, and she’s not going anywhere.”

Watching the little boy run until it hurts to breathe so that his heart will beat very fast and he will feel connected to his Mom (beating in his chest) is both heartbreaking and comforting. He has found his connection to Mom and can begin to heal. This book needs kleenex, deep breaths and many hugs from those you love to get through it. But it might be the first book I would reach for when a child needs it most. Raw. Human. Real.

 The Scar Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about standing up for yourself?

Willow Finds a Way written by Lana Button illustrated by Tania Howells (2013)

When I read this to my class, there was silence. A well done story, illustrations that convey emotion and a plot that is completely relatable make this title an absolute must for the primary classroom. It explores how we treat each other, standing up for what we know is right, honouring our feelings . . . Children can so often be bossy and controlling and it is often difficult for other children to stand up and be assertive. This book shows us how -through quiet Willow who surprises everyone, including herself.

willow Finds a Way Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about the role of the bystander?

Bird Child written by Nan Forler and illustrated by François Thisdale (2009)

Eliza is a sensitive little girl who witnesses bullying. Lainey, the new girl is teased and excluded. It is terrible for Eliza to stand by and do nothing. She agonizes about it and finally talks to her Mom. The next time Lainey is bullied, Eliza acts. She “reached down inside herself and found her wings.” The power in standing up to say “No, this isn’t okay,” is dealt with carefully by Forler. We are pulled into the story and feel the emotional struggles of Eliza. This book is a must read if you are exploring the bully/bullied/bystander relationship. There are not enough picture books that so thoughtfully explore the active role of the bystander in changing the way a bully might act and the way a peer is treated.

Student reactions here.

Bird Child Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about moving somewhere new?

Neville written by Norman Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (2011)

Who wants to be the new kid? Sad about missing the “real” home far away and starting all over again is just not fun. One little boy has the “moving blues” and how! Mom sends him out for a walk to explore, as Moms do. He stands on the corner and begins to yell, “Neville!” It starts something. Soon everyone is calling for Neville. But he never turns up. A book that touches on moving anxiety, making new friends and realizing things might be a little better than they first seemed. If you haven’t read this book – prepare for the most interesting of twists at the end. One that children are delighted by!

Neville Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

Do you have a picture book about being yourself?

Suki’s Kimono written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch 2003)

This book has long been a favourite in my household. We love how Suki possesses a joyful inner spirit and how she lives in the moment not worrying about what the world might think.  Suki adores her blue cotton kimono – for the memories that it holds and the way it makes her feel. She vows to wear it on her first day of school despite the disapproval of her older sisters and manages to maintain the magical happy feeling of wearing this special kimono throughout her day even when questioned and taunted by classmates.

 suki's Kimono Do you have a picture book about . . . ?

For many of these themes, I could probably have added ten titles. But, knowing that my books might not be your books, I would love to hear from you. If you have a favourite “go to” title on any of these themes, please share in the comments section!

Follow the links above to see other favourite picture book lists and follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag.

pb-10-for-10

Happy picture book reading!