Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Must Have Picture Books {LINKY}

 By now, y'all know I love a linky party!  It focuses me and makes me remember some of the great books I've already read.  Since I am always reading new books, sometimes I need this reminder.  The Teacher Wife's {Must Have Picture Books linky} is no exception.
I've been watching others link up their favorite books for almost a week now.  Since a lot of my favorites  (Enemy Pie, Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, and anything by Chris Van Allsburg or Patricia Pollaco), were already shared, and since I teach upper elementary students, I decided to focus on the non-fiction picture books I love.  Let me tell you, even with a 'theme,' narrowing my choices down to five was h-a-r-d.

Lady Liberty: A Biography

Here is an amazing tale of a nation that came together in little and big ways to build the Statue of Liberty and fund a pedestal for her to guide Americans and immigrants alike home to her shores.  Historically accurate and filled with famous and not-so-famous characters, Lady Liberty is poetically told in vignettes of those who created her.

I love to share this story around Memorial Day.  It is wonderfully written and tells of a time we should all wish to reclaim - a time when the entire nation was unified.  Oh, and did I mention how absolutely gorgeous the pictures are?

 Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek

In 2008, the publishing world celebrated Lincoln's 200th birthday with a plethora (great word!) of books honoring our 16th president.  This is my favorite.  It tells the true story of Abe and his friend Austin when they are young boys.  When the two boys try to cross the rushing creek after a heavy rain. Abe slips and falls in but is rescued by his loyal friend.  Imagine if Abe had gone alone that day.  What a profound effect Austin, a mostly forgotten character, had on our nation's history!  

I share this story with my class around president's day.  The message is clear: you don't have to be a president to be important.  In addition, it's a great story to use when discussing story elements like character, setting, and plot.

 Faithful Elephants

This is my favorite book.  Period.  It is sad and terrifying and beautiful and heart wrenching.  

In the 1940's, all of Japan was preparing for the inevitable.  The zookeepers at the Ueno Zoo make the terrible decision to euthanize the dangerous animals in case their cages can't contain them after the city is bombed.  This is the story of three elephants and their keeper who, when poisoning and injecting the elephants do not work, have no choice but to let the poor animals starve to death.  

I used to share this on Veterans Day, but kids seem younger than they used to, and I feel like they couldn't handle it anymore.  (Plus, I think one of my students 'borrowed' my copy; I haven't seen it in years.)  If you teach older students, I highly recommend this book as a discussion starter.  How many innocent victims of war do we not hear about in the news?  Who, besides the troops, are affected by war?  Faithful Elephants is a cautionary tale that everyone should read.

#4 Ruth Heller's World of Language Series

I love these books!  They are written in rhyme and beautifully illustrated.  I leave them out all year and let my little authors refer to them whenever they need help with word choice.  It's a great way to reinforce parts of speech lessons without always doing worksheets.  This is just a sampling of the books available.  My personal favorite is A Cache of Jewels: A Book About Collective Nouns.  (It's also the least useful in class, so I didn't include it in my picture above.)

#5 Old Turtle

 OK, this one isn't non-fiction, but I love, love, love it!  I had to include it in my list.  

From Barnes & Noble
In the time that animals could talk to one another, a great argument took place. Each animal insisted that God was in his image. The argument grew and grew until Old Turtle spoke. He told the animals that people would come, made in the image of God, and would act as keepers of the earth. But over the years the people forgot-until Old Turtle's message rang from the earth. Chee's watercolors adorn this gentle parable. 

I know most of you can't use this in your classroom, but I encourage you to share it with your own children.  It's beautiful message is timeless!


The Word Nerd!!
An Honorable Mention to the books of Brian P. Cleary!  His "Words are CATegorial" books are great, and I have an author crush on him.  (He came to our Young Author's Night a few years ago, and I was hooked!)

Thanks to for the clip art numbers!


Lindsey (The Teacher Wife) said...

Thanks for linking up!

The Meek Moose said...

I was looking at The Lady Liberty Book just the other day, and now regret not purchasing it. I'll have to add it to my wishlist for now.
The Meek Moose

Eileen Griffin said...

I love your blog design! Are these your illustrations? They are sweet. I have never heard of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek. I love the premise. My wish list from this links party is going to break the bank! I am a new follower.
Second Grade Sunshine

Sailing Second Grade Seas said...

You have been chosen for the Liebster Blog Award. Now, it's time for you to pass this award on to 5 other bloggers with less than 200 followers, link it back to me and paste the award on to your blog.

Sailing Second Grade Seas

Shawna said...

I have not seen most of these books before, thank you for highlighting them. I will be looking for them now. I love the name of you blog! I am now your 64th follower :)
The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

Susan Moran said...

I just found your blog through the linky and I must say I LOVE the doodle at the top - it is so cute!!

T.G.I.F. (Thank God it's First Grade!)

Lynn said...

Thanks for your kind words! I love that she is lounging in bed reading, too.

Courtney Long said...

Brian P. Cleary books are just too great! Love them! I loved all of the other books on your list too. You have such a cute blog! Glad I found you today :)

Make sure to stop by and enter my giveaway

Heather's Heart said...

I love Ruth Heller's books. Have you read any of the books in the series "If You were a___________"? They are wonderful. =)

I am a new follower to your blog. I would love for you to come and check out the books that I shared.

Heather's Heart

2nd Grade Teacher and Life Long Learner said...

Hooray for me! I just found your Blog! I love your design!!! It is wonderful! I have not heard of your choices, but they are on my wish list! Stop by and visit anytime!

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