Although I am a day late and a dollar short, I decided to join Cathy Mere's Picture Book linky party. The daunting task of narrowing down my favorite titles to a top 10 list proved to be a difficult, but I'm thrilled to join in on the fun. Here's my list in no particular order. I added a +1 since I wasn't able to post this until August 11th. Most of the titles have personal significance, which is what reading is all about!
#11 - Uglified Ducky by Willy Calflin
This was on the Texas Bluebonnet list a few years ago, and I fell in love with the book once I heard the audio recording. I spent my young adult life feeling like a porcupine being raised by a family of kangaroos, so I deeply identify with the message of accepting who you are and where you come from.
#10 - Amber on The Mountain by Tony Johnston
While learning about Angela Duckworth's research on grit, I discovered this admirable character who epitomized perseverance and determination. Amber's tenacious spirit could inspire the most reluctant reader, and I love the author's use of colloquialisms and idioms.
#9 - Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
Being a safety girl myself, I can definitely appreciate Scaredy Squirrel's cautious nature. Uncertainty and ambiguity haven't always been my friend, and this picture book helps me embrace the power of vulnerability.
#8 - Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Suess & Jack Prelutsky
My favorite college professor, Dr. Coe, read this book to my class during my teacher prep program. I entered teaching at the cusp of the high-stakes testing movement, and thanks books like these, I've been able to withstand the constant pressures of standardization. My mantra has become, "I've taught them how to think!"
#7 - The Important Book by Margaret Wise
This is a classic book from my childhood, and I've used it over and over again in the classroom. It's a predictable pattern book perfect for helping kids synthesize information.
#6 - Sister Anne's Hands by Marybeth Lorbiecki
I discovered this treasure during a workshop about writing strong leads. The beautiful language and exquisite illustrations will wow and reader. This is my favorite picture book about the Civil Rights Movement.
#5 - Airmail to the Moon by Tom Birdseye
During the first summer after college, I was blessed to participate in the New Jersey Writing Project in Texas. Sherry Gore, my extraordinary trainer, dressed up in overalls and read this book to our class. Years later, she became my administrator, and I always pictured her sticking her hands deep in her pockets searching for that lost tooth. This book is best swallowed whole!
#4 - Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Super cute story about standing out, not fitting in! I love the creativity and originality of this text. Helping kids learn to embrace their uniqueness is a huge challenge, and I appreciate the author's celebration of diversity.
#3 - Don't Laugh At Me by Steve Seskin
Tanny McGregor used this book to teach her reading salad lesson, and I've emulated her for years now. The message of this book is clear. Choose kindness and empathy over cruelty.
#2 - Feather and Fools by Mem Fox
No other picture book captures the issue of war better than this one. Our tendency to fear what we don't understand is real. The old adage, "You find what you look for" rings true in this thought provoking story about hope and tolerance.
#1 - Fox by Margaret Wild
This picture book has the deepest themes of any text I've ever read. The beautiful figurative language and detailed illustrations leave you feeling raw and vulnerable. Dog, Fox, and Magpie are characters you won't soon forget. A perfect book for exploring the issues of bullying and exclusion.