Recently the challenge went out; Name 10 PBs that you cannot live without. It’s known as #PB10for10, thanks to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek.
If I was choosing my 10 favourite picture books, this would be an impossible task – so I have focused my list on the classroom, and chosen 10 books that I’ve built units of work around. Some of these are linked – and I think you can tell that we have a lot of fun with water-based units, bringing in the sea, floating and sinking – and much, much more! Others are one-offs but fantastic within their specific units.
Parsley Rabbit’s Book about Books (Frances Watts / David Legge)
This is a delightful, humourous book rabbiting on about the parts of a book in a most entertaining way. From cover to cover, Parsley Rabbit is most definitely ‘into’ books.
Water/The Sea/Floating & Sinking
I could go on and on in this section. So many fantastic books that work together to give a rounded and relevant approach to all aspects of water, the beach and the sea.
Alexander’s Outing (Pamela Allen)
Who Sank the Boat? (Pamela Allen)
I include Who Sank the Boat and Alexander’s Outing, because they both spark great discussion/exploration of the concept of floating and sinking, in a most delightful read. And there is that element of surprise in both of them. In fact, they both bring so much more into the discussion – with prediction and reader involvement throughout. Alexander’s Outing is not just a classroom favourite, but also a family favourite, and one of my all time favourite PBs.
At the Beach (Gwenda Turner)
At the Beach could have been my family. The illustrations and text are simply gorgeous and I think any child who has revelled in the sun, sand and surf will relate to this book. It covers a great range of activities and is the perfect springboard for other books like, Looking for Crabs (Bruce Whatley)… and the list goes on. Of course, if you’re going to do the sea, you’ll be looking at Food Chains… and then you’ll be wanting, There Was an Old Sailor by Claire Saxby/Cassandra Allen. (I do believe ‘Water’ or ‘The Sea’ is one of my favourite school units.)
Are We There Yet? (Alison Lester)
Again – a book that could be my story – maybe even your story. An extended caravan holiday around Australia told through the eyes of a young girl’s journal, there is so much to recognise and ‘own’ in this wonderful book. So much to discover! One read isn’t enough. And for those who haven’t yet travelled around Australia by caravan, Alison Lester will soon help you feel like you have.
Window (Jeannie Baker)
Jeannie Baker is a unit of work unto herself, with her incredible collage illustrations. Her books are often wordless, inviting readers to pore over the pages and create the stories. I had a group of (sporty) Yr 7 boys who were so totally engaged in their analysis of Jeannie’s books that they voluntarily stayed through their lunch break until they could prove a connection between two of Jeannie Baker’s picture books. (Jeannie was amazed when they wrote and told her they had unlocked the connection. It was not something she had expected readers to find. But such is her incredible storytelling.)
Multiculturalism/Empathy/World Demographics/My Place/Statistics…
If the World Were a Village (David Smith / Shelagh Armstrong)
David was a classroom teacher himself when he gathered facts for this book, to help his students put their world (our world) into perspective. This book is an eye-opener particularly suited to older classes, and as a teacher, it changed my life. Truth. A great companion book for this is One Well (Rochelle Strauss/Rosemary Woods).
Life Cycles/Egg-Laying Animals/Easter
Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones (Ruth Heller)
Easter often brings a study of animals that hatch from eggs, and this is the perfect picture book to drive discovery. Chickens aren’t the only ones to hatch – but in this easy-read rhyming text, you don’t even realise you’re learning about all the others. An enduring book I have loved since my own childhood.
Warm & Fuzzy Fun
The Lion Who Wanted to Love (Giles Andreae / David Wojtowycz)
A beautiful rhyming story that tells of the importance of being true to yourself – and the value of love. This is another that doubles as a family favourite – with a message that kids can’t hear often enough.
Hairy MacClary (Series – & friends by Lynley Dodd)
Anyone who follows me knows I love Lynley Dodd. Her rhyming books are rollicking reads full of mischief, mayhem and mouthfuls of words. Kids love them – and so do I.