Hooray! Today is August 10th, which means it is time for the annual Picture Books 10 for 10 event (#pb10for10). Teachers and educators are challenged to choose and share their 10 favorite picture books, and the posts will be aggregated by Cathy of Reflect and Refine and Mandy of Enjoy and Embrace Learning.
- Top 10 Picture Books Featuring Diverse Characters (in books that are not just about diversity) #pb10for10
Top 10 Picture Books for Middle School
(In order of publication. I'm no good at playing favorites.)
Ish (2004) by Peter Reynolds. Perfectionism and the idea of trying to do things "perfectly" is something that many students struggle with. I love the message of this book: both the idea of "ish" over perfectionism and the triumph of art and creativity.
The Invisible Boy (2013) by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton. Middle school can, at times, seem like a constant race for attention, for visibility. This quiet book shows the importance of noticing others, of taking first steps, and of acknowledging that there are likely times when each of us has felt invisible. I think this will be a great book early in the year for building our classroom community and empathy.
Water Rolls, Water Rises = El agua rueda, el agua sube (2014) written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Meilo So with Spanish translation by Adriana Domínguez and Pat Mora. The picture book as pure poetry. Water Rolls, Water Rises = El agua rueda, el agua sube is a gorgeous poetry tribute to water and the role that it plays in the lives of all people, plants, and animals on our planet. I love how the author and illustrator relied on different locations around the world as the basis for the illustrations, and the style is so fun-loving and free. Another amazing book to share, and one that I am planning to read aloud as part of our poetry unit at the beginning of the year.
The Case for Loving: the fight for interracial marriage (2015) by Selina Alko and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. The story of Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter and their fight for interracial marriage is presented very much from today's point-of-view but also offers children background about how this fight came to be. The author's note draws the natural connection between the history of this fight and the current battle for recognition of same sex marriages and also shares some of the authors' backstory as an interracial couple. (Click here for more books written and/or illustrated by Sean Qualls.)
How to Read a Story (2015) by Kate Messner and illustrated by Mark Siegel. It is impossible to read this book and not want to immediately grab a huge pile of picture books, a reading buddy, and snuggle up for some amazing read alouds! I think this will be a great book to read and discuss as we prepare to be reading buddies with the second grade class. So fun!
Last Stop on Market Street (2015) by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson [winner of the Newbery Award, a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Honor...]. Ok, I admit that this is a repeat from last year's list, but this book has so much going for it. This is a powerful and important story told through the eyes of our young male narrator, who is finding a lot to complain about on this rainy Sunday. As the story progresses, however, his Nana wins him over and keeps showing him the beauty of the world around him, which culminates naturally into a lovely act of service. This is a great book for celebrating diversity and action in so many different ways!
Ideas Are All Around (2016) by Philip C. Stead. I immensely enjoyed this meta-take on inspiration and picture books. A bit long and wordy for a read aloud, but I'm thinking about how to incorporate this into lessons with my middle schoolers about finding ideas and inspiration in the little things in like that are "all around." It would also be interesting to use as part of an author study of Philip C. Stead to see if there are references to ideas/inspirations for some of his other published works.
A Hungry Lion or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals (2016) by Lucy Ruth Cummings. Sarcastic irreverent picture books have almost become a genre in themselves (I Want My Hat Back, This is Not My Hat, Carnivores, and more). This book plays on that idea, as the title sets you up immediately, but perhaps this book is not what you are expecting. Or is it? I anticipate that this will be a big hit with my middle schoolers.
School's First Day of School (2016) by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Just out, this is a must-have book for back to school - and for talking about perspective and point-of-view. School has just been built and soon discovers exactly what his new mission entails ... with both heart-warming and laugh-out-loud moments on his first day of being a school.
They All Saw a Cat (Aug. 30, 2016) by Brendan Wenzel. Though this book doesn't come out until the end of the month, I got to hear it read aloud last month at #nErDcampMI. It is an incredible take on the idea of perspective and multiple points of view. I am very excited about discussing this one with my students!
Looking for more #pb10for10? Check out #pb10for10 on Twitter or click the #pb10for10 tag to see my previous years' posts.
Shared with #DiverseKidLit