You Can't Buy Happiness But You Can Buy Books!

Reading gives you a place to go when you have to stay where you are!

Vocabulary building/ Relating

Akeelah and the Bee - James Ellison, Doug Atchison

I would use this in my classroom for my children to gain a better vocabulary of words but also because it helps children understand why learning new words are important. We could use the words from this book on our word wall and have a discussion about why we think learning new vocabulary words is important. I think it is important not to only teach the material but to explain to the children why it is important to learn the material! I would recommend this for a 4th-5th grade class.

Ideas/ Writing

Esperanza Rising - Pam Muñoz Ryan

By reading this book to my class, we could highlight on how to form main ideas for your writing. "Two birds with one stone" some may say. This book shows some heartbreaking moments, therefore, it would be better suited for a 5th grade class. After reading this story, I would discuss what main ideas the book had and how we can come up with our own main ideas when starting to write. This book illustrates the first trait to an author's craft.

Prediction/ Summarizing

This is Not My Hat - Jon Klassen

I am actually doing my minilesson on this book! It is precious! It is a great predicting book because it leaves you guessing what will happen on the next page. I am going to be honest, even my 5th grader was reading this book last night and talking about how funny it was. Basically, I did my minilesson on predictions and I did a before reading, during reading, and after reading chart. I would provide the students with sticky notes to write their predictions on. Before reading we would look at the cover and make predictions based on the title and picture and then write that on a sticky note and place it on the chart under before reading. Same thing with during reading, but we are now using the text clues along with the pictures to predict what will happen next. The students would write their responses on a sticky note and place it under during reading on the chart. Lastly, after reading we would compare what actually happened to what we predicted would happen and put that under after reading on the chart. This book can be used in so many ways in the classroom. Summarizing was another great thing I thought about with this book. The target grade level would be 3rd grade.

Cause and Effect

How I Became a Pirate - Melinda Long, David Shannon

This book is a great way to show students what cause and effect is. Jeremy Jacob, the main character, joins a pirate crew and learns lots of exciting things about a pirate's adventurous life, but then learns that being a pirate is not always fun. There are many things he begins to miss. Using a graphic organizer, I would teach my second graders what the cause and effect of the story is. I also found a package of activities you could purchase for this book. Here is the link:


Also, this would be a very fun theme to have!


Ho! Ho! Ho!

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas - Eric Litwin, James Dean

Santa becomes sick and cannot deliver the presents so Santa decides to call Pete the Cat and Pete saves Christmas. This book would be awesome for kindergarten/ first grade. Let's talk about ways that you have helped someone. What else could we do to help someone? I am providing a link to some of the cool activities we can do along with this book.

Integrating Art

What Do Authors and Illustrators Do? (Two Books in One) - Eileen Christelow

This text is paired with the "What do Authors do?" and follows two artists as they illustrate different versions of "Jack and the Beanstalk." Another great first grade book to introduce the students to what an illustrator is and the hard work they put into the books. We all know that illustration is important at this milestone (first grade) because the children are using the illustrations to help them read the text. By furthering their understanding of the process and importance of the illustrations, they gain a deeper comprehension. After reading this book I would have my class "illustrate" a small book just to check and make sure they grasped the concept.  

Learning about Authors/ Writing

What Do Authors Do? - Eileen Christelow

This text  follows two creative people-and a talkative dog and cat-through the writing process step by step. It will help when starting a lesson on writing and introducing first graders to what an author is and does. It walks through the writing process step by step so it would be a great informational text but written in story form. The children can refer back to the text when they forget something about the writing process or have a question about it. Let's read this and then walk through the steps of writing together by writing our own little books.


Monster Mash - David Catrow

Halloween is such a fun and exciting time for children, and adults! My children personally love this book and it is so much fun to read. This would be perfect for a kindergarten/first grade class to read at Halloween. There is so many activities we could do with book, even integrate music into this book and introduce the children to song Monster Mash. So many fun things to do with this book!

Biography/ Activity

I Am Rosa Parks - Rosa Parks, James Haskins, Wil Clay

I chose Rosa Parks because Charlea looks to her as a great historical figure (as do I) and she reads about her all the time. I would allow the students to choose an important historical figure of their liking and then read the biography and we can make an activity, such as dressing up like your historical figure and telling the class about their important role in history. All-in-all, we are able to incorporate history into our reading and learn something about each students' person's role in history, all the while making it fun by dressing up and telling our stories! I have attached a picture of my Charlea dressed up as Rosa! Target age range would be 4th grade!

Historical/ Cultural

Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

"Bud, Not Buddy" would be a great book to introduce the students to the life of a African American back in the 1930s. Even though the events are heartbreaking, it is a part of our history and every child must know what African Americans went through to gain their freedom. Let's read this after we having discussed in detail the historical events and then let's have a written reflection on the book and the historical events. It is a great historical marker but also a good book to incorporate reflection journals. This book would be most appropriate for a 5th grade class.

Close Reading/ Inferences

The Junkyard Wonders - Patricia Polacco

This book would work great in a 3rd grade setting with close reading. The students would make inferences about the overall message of the book based upon the characters problems, motivation, and feelings. The children can work in groups when they discuss their interpretations on the overall meaning and bounce ideas off one another to get a better understanding of inferences. They are having to use the text to know the problems, motivation, and feelings of the character so it is also a good way to teach them how to go back to the text and find what you are looking for. I could do an individual assessment based upon questions about the book. This will guide me on knowing more about their comprehension and inferences.

Antibullying/ Words can hurt

Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh

This book would be a great introduction into bullying or saying things and learning that once they are said, you cannot erase them. Also, this classic is a great character builder because it teaches children about apologizing to people and making it right with them. Another great way to use this book is to have my students become "writers" like Harriet, but not saying mean things about students, but let's write about something that we are interested in. A great way to get to know my students' writing levels and them as individuals. I can learn more about their interest and be able to get more books to their likings. I really see this as highlighting on what bullying is and how to address it and showing them that words can hurt people.

ELL Students/ Adventure

Skippy Jon Jones Collection (4 Board Book Collection, 1-2-3, Color Crazy, Shape Up, Up & Down) - Judy Schachner

These books are an all time favorite in our house! They are great for an ELL making the transition from Spanish to English. Keep in mind that these books would be most appropriate for an ELL student who has a more developed English word recognition/vocabulary. I can see an ELL having an opportunity to shine while reading this book. I have to be honest, I get tripped up on the Spanish words while reading this to my children (it's okay because we all chuckle while trying to figure the words out). While reading this book aloud, my ELL could tell us how to pronounce the word correctly and even tell us its meaning. It will help engage ALL of my students and let's just say it, the kids love Skippy's adventures. Another thing we like to do in our house is, Is Skippy really a Siamese cat because my kids think he looks more like our Chihuahua Aubie? Its just a fun guessing book! This book would be most appropriate for 2nd-5th grades.

Integrating Math with Reading

Mouse Count! (Bright Idea Book) - Felicia Law, Suzanne Chandler

This book would work best with kindergarten/first grade. It introduces adding and subtracting but doing it in a fun, rhyming way. The children would love counting mouse and there are so many activities that are available for this book. The templates would be a great start for activities. The children can retell the story by using the activity of a jar and stuffed mice. They will not even be aware that they are having to do math in the process. Here is a great link that has an awesome activity to go along with the book.

Color/ vocabulary building

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes - Eric Litwin, James Dean

Pete the cat and his white shoes are great for a kindergarten/ first grade class. This book would be great to introduce the word of the color and the color itself. The children will learn to recognize the color by its word and by its appearance. We can even have the children wear their favorite color shoes/ shirt. This is also a great opportunity to introduce the children to the music that goes along with the book.

Background Knowledge/ Summer

The Night Before Summer Vacation - Natasha Wing, Julie Durrell

We can all relate to the night before going on a trip. It doesn't have to be a long, planned trip but just a simple trip to somewhere. Let's all think about the excitement, the worrying about packing, the worrying about the trip in general. We will discuss this background knowledge and what the word trip means to us as individuals. Using a journal we can jot down our first thoughts when we hear the word trip. Then, elaborate on our feelings. Let's discuss what we love to do during the summer. So many options with this book! Targeted audience would be 2nd grade!