Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 for 10--Picture Books that Celebrate Words!

I LOVE this day and hope is becomes an annual tradition FOREVER! Thanks to Cathy at REFLECT AND REFINE and Mandy at ENJOY AND EMBRACE LEARNING for creating this wonderful event! It is totally impossible for me to come up with my Top 10 picture books so I didn't even attempt it.  Instead I have must Must-Haves (at the moment favorites) that celebrate words.

I have learned over the years, that word play takes me a long way with kids.  If I want them to think about words and word choice in writing, if I want them to pay attention to new words they see and hear, and if I want them to discover the power of words, they must first have fun with words. So, I am always looking for new books that help kids celebrate the fun in words. I often use these books in the first six weeks of school to start various conversations about words that we'll come back to. Each of these books is fun and playful and invites kids into the joy of word play. Most of the books listed are natural invitations for children to play with words in lots of ways!

Mr. Putney's Quacking DogMr. Putney's Quacking Dog by Jon Agee is a fun book about a man who has all sorts of animal (and other) friends.  Each page serves as a type of riddle for readers.  The wording of the riddle give readers a clue into the answer to the riddle and each requires that readers put together two words. This is the perfect level of humor and word play for young and middle grade readers.  The language play is very accessible to them.

This Plus That: Life's Little EquationsThis Plus That is Amy Krouse Rosenthal's newest book and is such fun!  Rosenthal puts words into equations to help define the word a bit. The equations become a riddle for the reader and kids definitely leave this book wanting to try word equations of their own.

Chicken CheeksChicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black is a book about bottoms.  The illustrations and words work together to describe animals trying to get to the honey at the top of a tree. But the main words in the story label the "bottoms" of each animal. A new word is used to label each animal's bottom (derriere, patootie, etc.) This is a fun book and a great way to begin conversations about synonyms and word choice.  (The video of Michael Ian Black reading this one aloud is quite fun!)

Animal SoupAnimal Soup by Todd Doodler is a lift-the-flap book. It is a another book that combines two known words to create a new word.  Doodler asks the reader a question that requires combining two animal words and the reader lifts the flap for the answer.  A fun read for young children and a great way to begin discussions about word parts with older kids.

Q Is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing GameQ is for Duck is an old favorite.  It is an alphabet book but it is a little bit tricky.  The book follows a pattern telling readers things like "Q is for duck". When the reader turns they page, they realize that "Q is for duck" because "a duck quacks." Readers love to work to figure out how the letters relate to the word given.  A fun game for readers to play and the text is great for new readers.

A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes: A Pocket BookI love the way that Liz Scanlon thinks about pockets in the book A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes.  Who could have thought of a sock being a pocket for your toes? This book is full of ideas like this and it is great fun looking at how authors can play with words in unique ways.

Beach Is to Fun: A Book of RelationshipsHad I known about Beach is to Fun:  A Book of Relationships by Pat Brisson when I was in elementary school, analogies might make far more sense to me!  This is a book of analogies and the comparisons follow the rules of good analogies. It is fun for readers to discover the way these analogies work. When I've used this book with 3rd-5th graders, they beg to go off and try to write their own analogies around a topic.  So different from my attitude about analogies after being introduced to them on a multiple choice bubble sheet!?

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible VerseMirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse  by Marilyn Singer is simply brilliant!  In this take on classic fairy tales, the author plays with Reverso and actually completely reverses the words in one poem to create another, very different poem about the same story.  This is a fun read and the idea of Reverso is discussed at the end of the book.  This is a great book to include with fairy tale reading too!

DogkuEvery time I read DOGKU by Andrew Clements to a group,  I have several students begging to try to write a story in Haiku. That is what the author does in DOGKU. This is a picture book story about a lost dog who finds a new home.  But each page is written in Haiku. Even the author blurb and other features in the book are written in Haiku. A fun way to write and enjoy a story!

One Foot, Two Feet
I just found is One Foot, Two Feet by Peter Maloney. The book appears to be a simple counting book but the paired words are really "exceptional plurals". The illustrations are shown with cut out frames and the words are show the various ways that we turn singular words into plural words.  

Monday, August 08, 2011

#bookaday Favorites

I have so loved participating in Donalyn Miller's Book-A-Day Challenge.  I wasn't sure how it would go but there was so much more to it than just reading lots of books (which I did!). It was more of a mindset. Knowing that I wanted to read a book every day, I had to think about the kind of book I would read that made sense each day--how much time did I have, etc.  I also realized how much I skim picture and poetry books. I am an honest person who would never add a book to my #bookaday list if I hadn't read it cover to cover, so I got into the habit of actually reading entire books.  I also love how much reading I caught up on. Oh, my To-Be-Read stack is still very large and growing every day, but I have read a lot and have lots of new books to share with kids and teachers. I am already looking forward to the holiday version of #bookaday and any other #bookadays I can fit in.
Here are some of the highlights from my #bookaday reading:

Nonfiction Picture Books

Time to Eat
, Time to Sleep, Time for a Bath by Steve Jenkins (Click here for blog review)
Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg (Click here for blog review)

BreadcrumbsMiddle Grade Novels

A Million Miles from Boston by Karen Day (Click here for blog review)

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky

Breadcrumbs by Ana Ursu (Click here for blog review)
The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson (Click here for blog review)
Hidden by Helen Frost
When Life Gives you O.J. by Erica Perl
Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Early Grade Chapter Book

Toys Come Home

Adult Read

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Click here for blog review)

Young Adult

Shine by Lauren Myracle

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered AlphabetPicture Books

If Rocks Could Sing by Leslie McGuirk

Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray (Click here for blog review)
Big Brothers Don't Take Naps by Louise Borden (Click here for blog review)
Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems