Sunday, March 3, 2013

Animal Fare

My friend, Paul Hankins (@paulwhankins) uses picture books in his high school classroom. One of his projects is called ONE BOOK, FOUR HANDS. High school kids select and share a picture book with kids at the elementary school. That made me think about books and how we select them to begin with. Educators often ask how I choose books to read from the myriad of books out there. I think my approach is no different from the kids in Paul's class. When I open a box or am browsing displays in bookstores or at conferences, I am generally drawn to covers first. Sometimes it is the author or illustrator I spy, and that draws me in. Here is what I suggest for this batch of books al featuring animals. Place them out on a table and allow kids to select one (you will need to supplement this group of course, but that should not be a problem at all). After selections have been made (or you could do this as a Book Pass, too), ask kids to talk about why they opted for a particular book. What was it that attracted them? (or repelled them?) Discuss this as a class. Perhaps do some people watching at the school library or a book store to see how folks select books to browse? BTW, the parenthetical expressions below capture my thoughts as I was selecting the books.

BULLY by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Roaring Brook, 2013.

(anyone think Ferdinand when they see this cover?)

CHU'S DAY by Neil aiman with illustrations by Adam Rex. HarperCollins, 2013.

(come on: Gaiman and Rex, this one was a no-brainer!)

MARIA HAD A LITTLE LLAMA by Angela Dominguez. Holt, 2013.

(title is in English and Spanish for a start, plus I recognize the Mary Had a Little Lamb reference; great mentor text)

THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA by Mo Willems. HarperCollins, 2013.

(Wolf and Chick on cover, black background, plus Mo Willems. One of these things is not like the other)


(This series is inspired by a TV show. I have never seen the show but I love Peppa)

SATURDAY WITH DADDY by Dan Andreasson. Holt, 2013.

(love the cover showing father and son elephants making hot dogs on the grill)

SING by Joe Raposo with illustrations by Tom Lichtenfeld. Holt, 2013.

(I did not know this was a song from Sesame Street. Knew the Carpenters version)

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