Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Got Your Party Hat? It's a Picture Book Party!

One of my absolute favorite things about teaching pre-kindergarten and kindergarten was story time. I was always excited to read a good book to a group of eager little listeners. I miss teaching, but I have never lost my love for children's literature. That is, in part, how this blog was born. Not only do I love a good book, but I truly believe in the power of early literacy. I still remember some of the books that I read as a young girl so I'm honored to think that maybe, one of the books I read to a child will still be remembered 20, 30, or even 40 years later!

Last year, I participated in an awesome picture book party hosted by Cathy and Mandy. On August 10, bloggers listed 10 books that we couldn't live without. I had a hard time, narrowing down my Desert Island Book Collection, but I managed (just barely). This year, I thought it would be easier... you know... I've done this before so I have it under control, right? Well, not exactly. My list kept growing and growing... but after a week and a half of internal debate, I've narrowed down 10 books I'd recommend to my Blog and Twitter Family. I can't wait to read what books other folks suggest. I'm sure my pockets will be a little lighter as I find new goodies for my library collection.

What books would you add? Comment on the blog for a chance to win a children's picture book. One random winner will be selected. Deadline: August 23, 2011.

Here are ten books (out of hundreds!) that I enjoy reading:

Please, Baby, Please 
Please, Baby, Please by Tonya Lewis Lee: Anyone who has had the grueling task pleasure of putting a toddler to bed will enjoy this little story. Preschoolers will like the humor and predictable text; it's the kid of book they will learn to "read" by looking at the amusing pictures and remembering the predictable, rhythmic text.

Dancing in the Wings
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen: It's not always easy for ethnic girls to see themselves depicted as ballerinas, so I enjoy this story and the beautiful illustrations. (Also check out Whoopi Goldberg's Sugar Plum Ballerinas.)

The Jolly Postman
The Jolly Postman and Other People's Letters by Janet and Allan Ahlberg: I loved this book almost as much as my kindergarten students. It's the kind of book that you will want to read in small groups since the book is so interactive. The children get to pull out letters and postcards (and even a birthday party invitation) to and from popular fairy tale characters.

A Giraffe and a Half
A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein: I'm a Shel Silverstein fan and this one is a particular favorite. "If you had a giraffe and he stretched another half …you would have a giraffe and a half." The tale goes on, and as you can imagine, the illustrations (classic Sliverstein line drawings) are hilarious. Take lots of pauses while you are will need time for giggles!

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)
The Little Red Hen Maks a Pizza by Philemon Sturges: If you like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, you will enjoy this story as well. It's a fun twist on an old favorite. Who doesn't like a hen who makes bread pizza?

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Child's Play Library)
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood and Don Wood: So if you were a little mouse, and a big hungry bear wanted your strawberry, what would you do? I love reading this story - especially to a group of little ones who have never heard the story before. They are always anxious to see how it turns out! Check out the story on You Tube.

Hey, Little Ant
Hey, Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose: Young children are just learning to empathize with others and for this reason, I like books that encourage children to think from someone else's point of view... event if that other point of view is a little, tiny ant that was about to be squashed!

The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch)
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch: Robert Munsch was a popular author in my classroom (for me, it all started with Purple, Green and Yellow). This story tells the tale of a princess.. but not the pink dress wearing, tiara-donning, pixie-dust carrying, wand-wielding princess.This princess by no means needs to be rescued by her prince. When the dragon burns her clothes and steals her prince, she slaps on a paper bag and well... the rest is, as they say, hysterical! Girl Power!

I'm as Quick as a Cricket
I'm Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood: I'd read almost anything by Audrey Wood just because of the illustrations! They tell a story all on their own. This book has a wonderfully rhythmic text that boasts the message, "just be yourself." That's a lesson we all need every now and then.


Waiting for Wings
Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert: I have a special and personal love of butterflies, so I'm drawn to books about them. This one has classic Ehlert collage-style illustrations and catchy text. The book also has a great deal of information about various kinds of butterflies. If you want to plant a butterfly garden, this book also tells you the name of several butterfly-attracting flowers!

Now I must go... Picture Book Party 2012 is just around the corner and I've got to get ready!

See Also: 10 Books I Love to Read Aloud


  1. Wow!!! Tonya. Just stumbled into your blog from a Twitter post I saw. I love your top 10!! LOVE: Please, Baby & companion Please, Puppy too. My children's favorites were both Wood classics you have listed & I'm a BIG BIG fan of Lois Ehlert.

    Can I enlist your help? I am an author/illustrator with a brand new national award fro my newest project, "Red, White and Blue" and tomorrow I launch my first BlogHop, Linkie-party, contest where I will give away 11 signed copies of my National INDIE Excellence Award winner that is the perfect resource for teachers as we approach 9-11.... if they only knew about it!

    My picture book is based on an original song I wrote by the same name, immediately after 9-11. I've worked on the quilt illustrations for over 5 years. The book is done & includes a CD. It's won a national award & now I need help in getting the word out.

    Please come tomorrow & enter to win. If you're willing to write a blog post about the book I'll link directly to your blog in the post to launch the contest (if you can let me know by the end of today..... but no rush: LOL!)


  2. I too love The Jolly Postman, & have used it even with middle schoolers for a letter writing project. Thanks for all the great book ideas!

  3. You've included many wonderful titles.
    Thanks for the recommendations.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  4. Thanks for joining us today. I'm so glad you put Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza on your list.

  5. Great list. I'm going to check out Please baby please. Looks like a fun one for my boys.

  6. I love your list! I have Manana Iguana on mine and it goes great with Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza! Check out my

  7. I love The Jolly Postman too - and have my own copy so the kids could really get to grips with theirs - they did...

    And I remember discovering Tha Paper Bag Princess in a miniature edition when I was about 15 - I bought it for all my friends. And then several years later I used to use it with the pictures all jumbled up in my TEFL classes, before putting the story straight - yes, GREAT story!

    And a couple of new ones there in your list for me to go and find. Now I will have to go away and think about my favorite Top 10, but oh, it will be sooooo hard...

  8. anything by
    Erza Jack Keats
    Mem Fox
    Eric Carle
    Jan Brett
    The Chocolate Covered Cookie Tantrum
    Mean Soup
    Knuffle Bunny
    Go Away Big Green Monster



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