Monday March 6th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. 

Last week I was here – Western Washington’s Children’s Literature Conference with Rita Williams-Garcia, Laurie Halse Anderson, Christian Robinson and Matt Phelan so I didn’t post. I just lived in literary love land. It was pretty darn amazing. I came home with bags of signed books and a head full of inspiring words.

Monday March 6th, 2017

So two weeks of literacy snapshots from my classroom are here:

When UBC (University of British Columbia) students come to teach us science for three days, you should also ask them to read aloud The Book with No Pictures. Hilarious!

Monday March 6th, 2017

Loved that I had both big kids (from UBC) and little kids (my 4s and 5s) reading during quiet reading time.Monday March 6th, 2017

Sarah Lean sent us some books – this is a group of readers showing her their excitement!Monday March 6th, 2017

Finally, the Grade 1/2 teacher has agreed to be our buddy reading class! Our first session was all that I knew it would be.

Monday March 6th, 2017 Monday March 6th, 2017 Monday March 6th, 2017

And because I can’t resist – here are my students doing their version of slam poetry – which is basically alternating poem lines in a loud dramatic fashion. They are rocking a Silverstein poem. Kind of hilarious.

Monday March 6th, 2017

#classroombookaday titles

Monday March 6th, 2017

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

On the blog:

It’s Slice of Life Season so there’s a lot here:

Advice on the Fly: Slice of Life #5 2 minutes to give teaching advice? What would you say?

Elevated Love Notes: Slice of Life #4 A letter from a student that knocked me over.

Proof: Slice of Life #3 A necessary post to help me process some stuff I don’t like observing

Listening During the In-Between: Slice of Life #2 The precious things we hear when there is time to listen.

Doubts: Slice of Life #1 Because you might as well start off a month of writing being sure you can’t do it . . .

Books I enjoyed:

Bob, Not Bob! written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

When we are sick, we clearly need our Mom most of all. This may not be possible to make perfectly clear. Lots of tissues and blowing of noses here. Funny!

bob-not-bob

Antoinette written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Antoinette is pretty charming.

antoinette

School’s First Day of School written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Finally, I got my hands on a copy of this book. A beautifully tender first day book told from the school’s perspective.

schools-first-day-of-school

A Family is a Family is a Family written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng

Oh how I LOVE this book. Families all look amazingly and wonderfully different. This book celebrates this perfectly.

Groundwood Logos Spine

Preaching to the Chickens The Story of young John Lewis written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Gorgeous paintings by Lewis accompany an inspiring story of John Lewis in his childhood.

preaching-to-the-chickens

Before Morning written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Wow. This book is all about leaving and returning to a cozy home on a winter’s day. Just absolutely beautiful and poetic.

before-morning

A River by Marc Martin

Take a journey along a river through your imagination. The colours here are just incredible.

a-river-by-marc-martin

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

This will be another title about a refugee family’s experience that I will be sharing with my students. One little boy must leave his home and his birds behind as he and his family seek safety in a camp.

my-beautiful-birds

When we Were Alone written by David A. Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett

An important story of family and remembering. A grandmother tells her granddaughter about her residential school experience. Beautiful art by Flett.

when-we-were-alone

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

This is one funny book.But it’s also sweet and full of grief and change. Fantastically illustrated letters tell the story of a girl and the chickens she has inherited. She needs lots of help and advice along the way.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 11/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 65/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 2 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 6/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 13/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 11/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Monday July 11th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. These were taken during our last week together in June. And these mark the last photos I will take at the school I have taught at for so very long. A little bittersweet.

Reading Elephant and Piggie and giggling along with Piggie and Gerald

Monday July 11th, 2016

Revisiting Dog and Bear stories during buddy reading.

Monday July 11th, 2016

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

On the Blog:

I have been moving: packing, befriending boxes, making messes and thinking of what’s next. So blogging continues to be only here and there but I did manage two Celebration posts in the last few weeks.

Celebration: Readying the room for students

Celebration: Moved! 

Books I enjoyed:

You are One by Sara O’Leary with illustrations by Karen Klassen

Simple and sweet in a lovely not over the top way. The text captures the essence of being one – wow, a lot happens in a little one’s first year. Klassen treats us to images that breathe additional mood and joy into these snippets of this 12 month stage. Babies are beautiful, many ethnicities are captured. Would make a beautiful keepsake gift.

You Are One Monday July 11th, 2016

Ideas are All Around by Philip C. Stead

Every encounter and observation on a simple walk triggers thinking and memories and leads to stories. An ideal mentor text for idea generating.

Ideas Are All Around Monday July 11th, 2016

Teachers Rock! by Todd Parr

I was gifted this at our final assembly in June and will happily include it in my Todd Parr collection. Bright, amusing and full of celebrations of the teacher/student connection.

Teachers Rock Monday July 11th, 2016

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Ratchet has mechanical talents I know I will never have. Ever. Very wonderful to see in a female character. A story about finding many things – friends, identity, family connection and reasons to be committed. An impressive debut novel.

this-journal-belongs-to-ratchet Monday July 11th, 2016

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Oh, these characters. DiCamillo’s characters absolutely charm me every time. There is sadness here but it’s life sadness and the learning and the revelations in these characters makes this such a rich MG read.

raymie nightingale Monday July 11th, 2016

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 24/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 179/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 26/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 21/50 books read

Up next? I am reading  Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

Favourites of 2015

Oh, this list. 15 of my favourite fiction titles. I started putting this together in early December and have changed it numerous times. Reading new books shifted things. Revisiting favourites and loving them even more shifted things. I was switching books on and off until moments before I hit publish.

The 15 books that made the final cut? They spoke to my heart. Sometimes happy. Sometimes hopeful. Sometimes with sorrow. But they all spoke deeply.

15 books and no more than 15 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words) In 2013, it was Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and in 2012 (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

These picture books are both beautiful and in need of many rereads. I love each of them more each time I read them and read to children? Well . . . they certainly do their picture book magic thing.

Lenny & Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Moody. Measured. Heavy but secure. Vulnerable but playful. Oh, this book.

Lenny & Lucy Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

Celebrating the creativity on the page and endless possibility.

My Pen Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Skunk written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

Quirky. Charming. This title sings to my philosophical heart.

The Skunk Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

Lush and moody. Sweet and hopeful. Every shade of green gorgeous.

The Little Gardener Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder

Beautiful, playful and imaginative illustrations. Olafur is a transformative Arctic tour guide.

The Bear Report Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

Missing and connecting. Believing and making it so. Lots of love here.

Boats for Papa Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Special Delivery written by Phllip C. Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

A big heart. A big elephant. A big journey. Large doses of joy.

Special Delivery Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto.

This is Sadie Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

These six titles are my most favourite of many truly fantastic titles I read this year. Something about the characters in these books made them unforgettable.

Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin

The magic suggested in the story floats off the page and whispers quietly, “Immerse yourself.”

Wish Girl Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

The pull of home, the strength of family, the importance of culture: all rich & complex.

Listen, Slowly Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Family is about who is in your corner. Beautiful. Hopeful. Heartbreaking.

Orbiting Jupiter Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This novel twists from the ugly cruelty of abuse to the powerful healing of connection.

The War That Saved my Life Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Dog as hero. Boy with the weight of the world. Honest truths are the hardest. The Honest-Truth Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

So much grief and challenge but the humanity shines bright.

boy in the black suit Favourites of 2015 There's a Book for That

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2016 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

 

Top Ten Read Aloud Experiences (2015)

The #TopTenTuesday theme this week is the top ten best books read in 2015. How we interpret this theme? Up to us. I have some Best of Lists coming up on the blog so I decided to tackle this list a little differently.

My theme this week: Top Ten Read Aloud experiences of 2015.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

I am looking at the calendar year of 2015. From January to June I taught a Grade 3/4 class. Since September I have taught a Grade 2/3 class.

The Scar written by Charolette Moundlic and illustrated by Olivier Tallec

I happen to own a number of books that deal with grief. I always figured that when I needed them, I would have them. And so I keep them close. Now, I need them. Sharing this very emotionally challenging book about a little boy whose mother has died with a little one who needed to see herself in the pages of a book was a read aloud experience I will never forget. Ever. Watching her lighter afterwards made me so glad I have that important stack for when.

The Scar

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney

I appreciated all of the pre-book love this title got in my room. And so, of course, my students from last year had to come in during a recess to have me read this title aloud when Josh Funk sent it our way. This book will always represent serious reading community.

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

This was the first read aloud I attempted with my class this fall. I needed an all kinds of amazing title for a group of kids who had never experienced a chapter book read aloud before. This book delivered!

I was thrilled that Abby Hanlon shared our read aloud joy with this book on her blog.

Dory Fantasmagory

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

When students remain after the bell just to share impressions and reactions, you know you have a winner. I blogged about our beautiful read aloud experience here.

This is Sadie

Wish by Matthew Cordell 

This book means something to me on many, many levels. I read it aloud to my class of three years to send them off on our last day together with the very important message – they were everything I could have wished for and more . . .  And yes, I cried. Those joyous, emotional, meaningful tears.

Wish

Little Robot by Ben Hatke

I have never read aloud a graphic novel before. A graphic novel that is basically wordless but for a number of robot noises. This title held my class absolutely spell bound. And inspired!

Little Robot

Little Robot

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Shouting. Shouting. Shouting. This book will always be about the shouting audience. “No! They missed it again!” “Oh my God!” “Seriously?!” This book absolutely surpassed my read aloud expectations!

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by

There was some absolute blow me away kind of thinking around this book in my class. I recorded it here. Children’s compassion and wisdom is a beautiful thing.

A Boy and a Jaguar

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

Reading this title was definitely about watching a book be loved. It was also about watching fans be made. Loved every minute of it!

Ballet Cat

Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles

This is such an incredible title to read aloud. There are moments where the room fills with hold your breath hope that I might not ever forget. This title made funerals such a fascinating prospect that one student earnestly asked my parents (reading volunteers extraordinaire) if she could attend their funerals! I suppose when you spend all day with 8 year olds, the past 65 year olds who visit once a week seem like your best “might have a funeral” prospects. My parents have great senses of humour so recounting this request has been a constant source of amusement!

Each Little Bird That Sings

Do you have some unforgettable read aloud moments?

Gift Books 2015: 25 picture books to give this season

Making a picture book list to give is becoming one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014. This year 25 made the list. Why not? There are a lot of books to love!

Gift Books 2015: 25 books to give this season

Of course, I have not read every book out there. But I believe in picture books for every reason and so, I have read a lot! A lot, a lot. Some have stood out. Some I must insist upon. Going picture book shopping? Here is my list of 25 titles that I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. Fantastic titles in both fiction and nonfiction. My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make its readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Does it freeze time? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh? Laughing, I always think, is very underrated.

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond

I was smitten just with the end pages. Based on a true story, this title goes back to Ontario forests of 1914. It is a memory, a story. And what a story. How incredible to think about this experience where a fire caused humans and animals to connect in an incredibly quiet, necessary way. The illustrations here are stunning.

Out of the Woods 2015 Gift Books

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

This book. It speaks to wild wishes, big possibility and the amazing of the simple and natural. Love, love, love.

Something Extraordinary 2015 Gift Books

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.

Last Stop on Market Street 2015 Gift Books

Wolfie the Bunnie written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Charming, humorous and sweet This book has much to offer. Sibling dynamics. The brilliance of children. Humour, giggles, and wows.

Wolfie the Bunny 2015 Gift Books

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López

Gorgeous. Inspiring. Saturated colours and beautiful art. The true story of one girl’s dream to drum.

Drum Girl Dreaming

Elwood Bigfoot: Wanted: Birdie Friends by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Nate Wragg

One sweet book. About the quest to belong and have friends. Some serious perseverance here.

Elwood Bigfoot 2015 Gift Books

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder

I don’t even have words. A must own. Really, truly beautiful. This title makes me cry and sigh and sit in absolute awe. I refuse to even write about the plot. Just trust me and go buy this book.

The Bear Report 2015 Gift Books

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

It’s lush and moody and at the same time sweet and hopeful. I had all kinds of wishes. I wanted to shrink down and wander about this little garden. I wanted the book to be quilted so I could gift it as a “stuffie” type treasure to little ones to snuggle with. I wanted each image, framed, to hang on my wall. This is a book to love.

The Little Gardener 2015 Gift books

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim

This book is magical. The text suggests all kinds of connections between ours and the animal world. Talk about perseverance, creativity and inspiration. Or, just get lost in the illustrations.

Wild Ideas 2015 Gift Books

Marilyn’s Monster written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Matt Phelan

What do you do when everyone gets a monster and yours never arrives? Marilyn grows impatient with the endless waiting. So she ventures out to make her own difference.

Marilyn's Monster

Bright Sky Starry City written by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro

A beautiful story of father and daughter, of a curious girl wondering about space and astronomy, of a glorious sky full of stars and constellations.

Bright Sky, Starry City 2015 Gift Books

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Wordless perfection. I love everything about this book. How it is about little things, being in the moment, noticing, kindness . . .

Sidewalk Flowers 2015 Gift Books

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

Gorgeous. Wordless. Two children dive deep and meet under a bunch of swimmers and floaters in a busy pool. What do they find there? A fantastical world. The colours, the negative space, the whimsy.

Pool 2015 Gift Books

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

This book is absolutely adorable. The perfect book for reading aloud at a story time for younger listeners. The perfect bedtime book to remind all soon to be sleepers that they are brave.

Night Animals 2015 Gift Books

Toad Weather written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Rich messages beyond a fascinating story. I love that it reminds us to notice and experience the natural world no matter what the weather, no matter what our mood.

Toad Weather Gift Books 2015

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

For inspiring gardeners. For nature explorers. Spans generations and seasons.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt 2015 gift Books

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

This is a wonderful title. Such creative twists on Little Red Riding Hood – crafted into quite a different tale. Mysterious. Unusual. Magical. The perfect read aloud for a cozy winter’s day.

The Tea Party in the Woods

Float by Daniel Miyares

Children approach rain in the best of ways. All in. Rubber boots, puddle jumping, sailing of boats! And after the rain, there is sunshine and new possibilities. Wordless and wonderful.

Float 2015 Gift Books

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

I always say there is power in the pencil (or pen, or marker, etc) – this book celebrates the creativity on the page. But on the page is so much more. I want to share it with each group of children I teach for forever . . .

My Pen 2015 Gift Books

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto. Creative, inspired, endearing. Her story is a delight to read aloud. Morstad’s images are “ooh” and “ahh” and “wow” inducing. The combination is pure read aloud perfection.

This is Sadie 2015 Gift Books

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Lyrical and lovely. And illustrations to knock you over. Takes you through the seasons, the water cycle, childhood experiences. A must own.

Water is Water 2015 Gift Books

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Beautiful. Special. And inspirational. For little dancers to be. For those with big hearts who know what it is to share.

swan the life and dance of anna pavlova 2015 Gift Books

Lenny and Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Moody. Lonely. Emotional. Sweet. Lovely. A favourite in my room. Children responded to this gentle story of needing to feel secure.

Lenny & Lucy 2015 Gift Books

Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl

Try and get past the cover with the greens, the lush, the rich and deep. Sigh. A story about nature, responsibility and hope.

Sonya's Chickens 2015 Gift Books

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

I am not sure I have words for just how breathtaking I find this title. It is a book lover’s dream. Seriously. Stop dead illustrations. Of course, I had to own this one. And ahem, you should too . . .

The Whisper 2015 Gift Books

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

Mock Caldecott 2016

Oh this process is a tricky one – deciding on the most beautiful of the beautiful. This year I am sharing twelve titles with my students. But if I could include Canadian illustrators, I would have fifteen titles here. Check out the bottom of the post for books from Canadian illustrators that I would love to include.

I LOVED this experience last year. Read about Mock Caldecott 2015 here and here.

This year I am extremely excited to go through this process again with my new class. I will use the same 3 questions I used with my grade 3/4 class but I have simplified the language a little bit to be more appropriate for this group of Grade 2/3 students.. Students answer each question for each book with a rating of 1 – 5,

This book is a book kids will really like. 1  2  3  4  5

The illustrations in this book are excellent. 1  2  3  4  5

The illustrations are a great fit for the story.  1  2  3  4  5

Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Here are the twelve titles on our Mock Caldecott 2016 list. Listed alphabetically by illustrator (as they would be shelved on last year’s Caldecott Honor artist Lauren Castillo‘s picture book shelves 🙂 )

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Water Is Water- A Book About the Water Cycle Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Special Delivery written by Phllip C. Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Special Delivery Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

The Night World Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Skunk written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

The Skunk Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Float by Daniel Miyares

Float Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

My Pen by Christopher Myers 

My Pen Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Wolfie the Bunnie written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Wolfie the Bunnie Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Emmanuel's Dream- The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Market Street Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach 

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

Lenny and Lucy written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Lenny & Lucy Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

The Whisper Mock Caldecott 2016 There's a Book for That

These Canadian OMG titles are not to be missed when we are doing illustration swooning of the best of the best kind. Unfortunately, these are not eligible for the Caldecott medal.

Ask Me written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee

Ask Me Bernard Waber Suzy Lee

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

This is Sadie

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

sidewalk flowers

Which titles would you include for Mock Caldecott 2016?

Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

It is November and that means it is Picture Book Month!

Time to read and celebrate all things picture book. For me, it’s the perfect excuse to generate lists!

This week’s list? Picture books that capture the essence of childhood. With actual children in them! When I started looking at some of my favourite picture books, I realized that many of them were actually not about children. Many feature animals (bears are strangely (or not) represented) or a lot of adults. Some are about children but feature animal characters. These can be fantastic and very easy for children to connect to (I’m thinking everything Kevin Henkes does). The ones with “real children” characters can sometimes have heavy themes or be a little too forced. They don’t all ring true. We can’t pluck a character off the page and believe that child could quickly leap into a playground full of children and completely blend in. Or beautifully stand out . . .

Move into chapter books and boom, there are the kids! Marty Macguire. Clementine. Billy Miller. Flora Belle Buckman. William Spiver. Dory Fantasmagory. Piper Green. Nate Foster. Popeye and Elvis. There are no shortage of children behaving like children.

Finding them in picture books? Not as easy. Hence, my list.

These 20 titles are all about kids and all that they are. Childhood and all of the quirky, all of the lovely, all of the human, all of the unique. Sometimes the messy and challenging. Sometimes the sweet and lovely. All of it absolutely honoured and celebrated. These 20 books all hold a special place in my heart.

I would love to know which books you would add to this list and why. Please share in the comments.

Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

On the list because? Children have some interesting, not always sensible, problem solving strategies.

 Stuck Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

The Frank Show by David Mackintosh

On the list because? Kids worry about not being the coolest, the best, the greatest. Even in the Grandparent department.

The Frank Show Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine, written by Allison Wortche and illustrated by Patrice Barton

On the list because? Primary students need to navigate a lot in a day – sometimes doing the most simple of things like growing seeds: envy, friendship, forgiveness, competition

 Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile

On the list because? Little ones have a hard time doing just nothing or even turning off their racing imaginations. Those busy brains are pure delight!

Let's Do nothing Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić

On the list because? Children notice what we should. Especially the very beautiful and amazing things in the world.

The Man with the Violin Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies

On the list because? When given the chance to do the right thing, children usually will. Eventually.

Ben Rides on Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Yuyi Morales wrote and illustrated Niño Wrestles the World

On the list because? Children love to embrace the wild and amazing energy of their heroes.

 Nino Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

On the list because? Being brave sometimes requires a little wisdom from someone who has been around for a while. Or a little magic.

Nana in the City Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas

On the list because? Childhood is about navigating the road between making memories and learning from the memories others share

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Blizzard by John Rocco

On the list because? Snow day after snow day after snow day and the chance to be a hero. Childhood magic!

Blizzard Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

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

On the list because? Learning about forgiveness is one of childhood’s most powerful lessons. Often as adults, we still don’t have it figured out.

 Desmond Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Float by Daniel Miyares

On the list because? Children approach rain in the best of ways. All in. Rubber boots, puddle jumping, sailing of boats!

Float Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Ask Me written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee

On the list because? Little ones have lots and lots of stories to tell. If you don’t ask, they will remind you to.

Ask Me Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

On the list because? Thee is something particularly magical about childhood faith and hope.

Sparky! Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

I’m Bored  written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

On the list because? “I’m Bored!” is a childhood theme song! But “Kids are boring.” Those are fighting words!

I'm Bored Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad

On the list because? All children need to have a little piece of Sadie inside of them and have space to let it shine!

This is SadieTwenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild! written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Marla Frazee

On the list because? When you are little, it seems to be all too easy to make parents a little crazy.  Just like that. Pesky is too easy. But forgiving and hugs are part of it all too.

Harriet You'll Drive Me Wild Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. by John Burningham

On the list because? Everyday holds huge imaginative possibilities. Even if others don’t quite embrace our wild stories, we persist in telling them. And maybe they are true . . .

John Patrick Norman McHennessy – the boy who was always late. Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning

On the list because? Sometimes when we discover new found ferocity, it takes a little while to tame. Inner strength and big doses of kindness, we need them both.

Millie Fierce Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

Singing Away the Dark written by Caroline Woodward  and illustrated by Julie Morstad

On the list because? A lone walk through the woods is a journey of many small moments of bravery. Singing to combat the fear? A perfect strategy.

Singing Away the Dark Twenty Picture Books that capture the essence of childhood

How I love sharing picture book lists during this month of picture book love!

Happy Picture Book Reading!

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