Monday List: your top 5 favorite children’s books.
Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson is a great book for the beginning of the year and lends itself to more stories of Henry throughout the year to study multiple books by one author. Students are able to relate to Henry’s character.
“The first day of kindergarten is finally here, and Henry can’t wait to paint pictures, sing songs, and practice counting. When he gets to school, though, he’s not so sure he’s ready for kindergarten. But before long Henry discovers that the only thing he’s not ready for is how much fun he’s going to have at school! This gently humorous, encouraging story will give children about to enter kindergarten an extra boost of confidence.” ~Good Reads
After getting to know each other and adjusting to a new class, teacher, school , we go from making text to self connections in Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by reading Henry’s Show & Tell by Nancy Carlson. This book leads us right into text to text connections and character study. The most fun we have is adding our own speech bubbles to the characters as we imagine what they might be saying, shouting, or screaming when Henry’s pet lizard gets loose. By Christmastime, students are quite familiar with Nancy Carlson as an author and can fully appreciate the humor in George & Harriet’s Christmas Treat.
This year, for some reason, my students have connected to Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward this year. Every time we make a mess in our classroom (and we do make many of them) the kids chant, “There was _______ everywhere!” The mess was glitter during a Christmas project, a spilled button box during math, corn kernels during an art project, Goldfish crackers during snack, and our mittens, hats, and snow pants once winter clothing arrived on the scene. Yes! We make many messes, so the phrase continues to pop up. Everyone knows what the word mischief means after getting to know Cookie.
It’s a great text to use for introducing for learning to retell a story without being able to read the words. It’s my go-to big book, along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar for modeling the retelling procedure when teaching Three Ways to Read a Book for Daily Five. Later on, I revisit it to work with days of the week. By then, many students are reading the words and not just the pictures to retell the story. This books elevates confidence in my early readers.
I chose to show the first edition cover of Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary because this is the book that I remember reading as a young child the summer going into third grade. Once I discovered Ramona and Beezus and Henry and Ribsy, I couldn’t ride my bike back and forth to the public library fast enough to devour the next book by Beverly Cleary. That in and of itself was monumental, because I was terrified of the librarian! She wore wool skirt sets and sensible shoes. The library was never quite quiet enough for her. Come to think of it, she reminds me a bit of Miss Nelson. And the children’s section of the library was in the basement. That made it even more terrifying. Lucky for me, my older sister was an avid reader too and she never had a problem taking me down there.
Beverly Cleary wrote about kids like me and kids that lived in my neighborhood. I connected with Ramona Quimby like no other storybook character that summer.
Years later, Ramona popped back into my life while I was teaching Kindergarten and I wondered if my students would also enjoy the book. Actually, I worried if they could even handle a chapter book. It was the first chapter book I ever tried reading with kindergarteners and I knew that if the book was good enough, even five and six-year-olds would sit still for a story that didn’t have pictures. Ramona worked her magic and the kids begged me to read longer each day.
If I clump my next two together, let’s just call that one out of my five favorites. That way I can finish up my five with my all time favorite picture book.
The Mitten and Snowballs are two of my favorite winter books to read with kindergarteners. I’m sure they are in every kindergarten classroom. Wintertime is a glorious time for children. It’s “Snow Much Fun.” See here for the fun activities my class had with Snowballs earlier this month.
My fifth and final favorite picture book is All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan.
Within the sanctuary of a loving family, baby Eli is born and, as he grows, “learns to cherish the people and places around him, eventually passing on what he has discovered to his new baby sister, Sylvie: ‘All the places to love are here . . . no matter where you may live.’ This loving book will be something to treasure.”‘BL.”The quiet narrative is so intensely felt it commands attention. . . . a lyrical celebration.”‘K. ~Good Reads
The first time I ever heard this book read I got choked up. Not only are the illustrations exceptionally beautiful, the simple message makes you stop, take a breath, and think about your home and family and why we are so attached to the place we call home.