My Favorite Picture Books Read in 2013

I know my blog is primarily about young adult lit (and teaching), but as a teacher I read a number of picture books this year. I’ve discovered that I love picture books and that I can use them in my classroom. The best part of reading them this year was sharing them with my sophomores last school year so they could read them to a classroom of third grade students.

I am in no way a picture book guru; I’m very much a novice. I hope to read more picture books in 2014. I might even set a goal for myself 🙂 Anyway, I decided to narrow down the books I read to my top 5.

1. Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Goodreads): I’m really surprised more of my friends on Goodreads haven’t read this picture book yet; it’s absolutely beautiful. The images Collier created to compliment the story are stunning. The text combined with those images pulled at my heart, but the note at the end of the book sent me over the edge. I cried.

2. The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty (Goodreads): This picture book has so many elements that I love. It rhymes, it has vibrant illustrations, and the story is sweet and full of heart. This showed up on my radar a few times so I was excited to see it when I was at Barnes & Noble not too long ago. I read it in the store and smiled the entire time. Not only do I want to share this with students, but I will absolutely need a copy for my future children. It’s adorable and makes for a great read aloud.

3. The Day of the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Goodreads): I love the concept for this picture book and can see it being used in a variety of ways as a mentor text. This would be a great book to read aloud to students and have them create their own letters written by crayons (or another object). The letters and illustrations really make this book stand out.

4. Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Goodreads): What a fun way to teach punctuation to beginning writers! I love the humor, the power of the illustrations, and how they affect the meaning.

5. The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley, illustrated by Billy Aronson (Goodreads): Apparently I like humorous picture books because most of the books on this list are cute and funny. The Chicken Problem is yet another adorably humorous story. It even incorporates math! There are lots of great details in this picture book like math problems to make up the page numbers (page two says 1+1=2) and the fact that the background is graph paper. I read this to one of my classes last school year and they really enjoyed it.

Honorable Mentions: Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein, and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

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