Friday, August 10, 2012

10 for 10 -- Picture Books for the First Weeks of School

I've used the same set of picture books (including these books about names) to start the school year for several years now. It's not a bad set, in fact, it's a GREAT set, but I challenged myself to pick 10 different picture books to start this new year in a new position, and to think about what I'll be saying to my students (through these books) about my hopes for them, and for our year together.

1. Choose kind.
Little Bird by Germano Zullo

2. Make friends, not enemies.
Enemy Pie (Reading Rainbow book) by Derek Munson

3. Be faithful to your friends.
Otis by Loren Long

4. Work hard to solve your problems...but don't forget to think about what your solution might do to others.
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

5. Live in this moment. Be present.
You're Finally Here! by Mélanie Watt

6. Be yourself. No matter what.
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems

7. Be persistent. Believe in yourself. Follow your dreams.
Learning to Fly by Sebastian Meschenmoser

8. Know yourself. Be yourself. Follow your dreams. (And a special note to myself: make sure your "dance academy" has room for everyone.)
Brontorina by James Howe

9. Make memories, because memories make stories.
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

10. The world around us is amazing, awe-inspiring, and diverse. It is there for us to notice, learn about, and appreciate.
The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins

Thank you to Cathy, at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community, and Mandy, at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for sponsoring this 10 for 10 Picture Book event for the third year. Be sure you hide your credit cards and then go look at all the fabulous lists!


  1. Thanks for the list. As I unpacked my boxes this week I started pulling my books for the first week. Looks like I may need to add some.

    Great list!

  2. Wow, Mary Lee! Thanks for pointing me at these lists, and now of course I have to start making my own (which won't be too hard, since I've featured many of them already on my blog). But you're right, it's probably time to refresh my list of necessaries. Most of all I love how you've condensed what you hope children will take away from each picture book experience. I look forward to checking all these out, literally!

    P.S. What's your new position?
    P.P.S. I'm here at school this week trying to finish moving into my grand new K classroom before official preservice...and this morning, after setting up furniture and laying out rugs, I came in to find that during a heavy rainstorm, my floor-level air conditioning unit has served as an overflow gutter and poured water--I mean INCHES of water all over the floor. Rugs are soaked, furniture is back in a disorganized clump and I might as well post. *sigh*

    1. re: PS -- I moved from 4th grade self-contained to 5th grade Language Arts (reading, writing, word study).

      re: PPS -- Oh, my! Oh, UGH! Oh, the time you spent, only to be right back where you started...and then some, what with the wet!!

  3. What a great list, MaryLee! Books that serve well at the beginning of the year, and get into theme as well. Love it!!

  4. I am familiar with about half, Mary Lee, so onto my list go the others. What a lovely introduction to the world for your students. Picture books can help us share so many good conversations. I will look up Little Bird especially! Thank you!

    1. Paul Hankins gave Little Bird 5 stars on Goodreads, and he either doesn't use the stars, or never gives 5 stars...whichever the case, he agrees that it's an incredibly noteworthy book. It won the equivalent of the Caldecott in France in 2011.

  5. Thank you for your great list, Mary Lee. I too love the way you summed up each book with an important message or lesson to learn. Always grateful for your blog! ~ Theresa

  6. Great list and yes I will be borrowing the idea for most of them. Great connections with 5th grade issues but most of all amazing conversations for the beginning of the year.

  7. I am so excited to share your list with the teachers at my school!! I love that you included a concept for each book. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  8. Mary lee,
    Thanks for this great list! I will be checking these books out for sure! I love how you also shared how/why you use them.

  9. What a wonderful list - both the book list and your hopes for your students. I'll be adding some of those to my list for my younger students. I posted about one book I'll be introducing to my older students. It is fabulous, (the book I mean). Your post has inspired me to go work on my classroom. Thank you.

  10. This is a wonderful list! The only one I haven't read is Little Bird which sitting on the 'new book' cart. I'll toddle on over to take a gander, shall I?
    Thanks for the list.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  11. Fabulous list! I adore The Beetle Book and Little Bird. Stuck also made my list. My students adored it!

  12. What a beautiful list (and I love the thoughts that go with each book). Thanks for sharing--makes me wish (a little bit, anyway) that I was in the classroom, preparing for a new year.

  13. Lovely list, so many fabulous books. I can't wait to look for Little Bird. Thanks :)

  14. Wow! I just love your little messages that you shared about each book. You have definitely gave me a few new books to check out and reminded me of a few I had forgot about. Thanks.

  15. I love your simple advice for each. It's really not that simple and big issues for a community to consider as they come together. I think I need Little Bird to start my year. Thanks for joining us.

  16. What a rich way to start the school year! Thanks for sharing!

  17. What a wonderful wonderful list, Mary Lee! I shall definitely share this with my teacher students on Monday. :)

  18. Uh-oh! I definitely need to back away from the credit card when I read this list! There are at least four that I know I NEED to own! YIKES! I also love, loved, loved seeing the thoughtful and deliberate way you pulled together your first read alouds! I think there are lots of teachers who don't understand how important that is!

  19. I love your list and the reasons why you're sharing each one with your class. There are several I know, but some new ones too. Thanks for sharing!

  20. This is a super list! I know lots of teachers who will benefit from having this list!


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