I am new to the blogging world and have been completely blown away by the amazing number of terrific blogs about children’s literature (the “kidlitosphere” — there’s actually a term for it!). It has been fun to learn just how many people there are out there like me — who are passionate about children’s literature and love to talk about it. So I was especially excited to find out about the “Picture Book 10 for 10” event hosted by teachers Mandy (at Enjoy and Embrace Learning) and Cathy (at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community). The “10 for 10” event asks educators, teachers, media specialists, parents, and picture book lovers of all ages to compile and post (on August 10) their own list of top 10 picture books that “you cannot live without for whatever reason”. Each of these posts are then compiled into a virtual picture book resource on Jog the Web. I am excited to be participating in this for the first time!
The list that I compiled contains my top 10 high-quality narrative (stories with plots) picture books. It is especially important to read aloud high-quality narrative books, because repeated experience with good narrative gives kids the opportunity to develop the comprehension strategies and thinking skills that are so fundamental for deep understanding of narrative in literature. The books below made my list because they (a) are fantastic read alouds and (b) contain the core features of high-quality narrative text. These core features are:
- Stories contain the key story elements (e.g., setting, character, problem, event episodes, resolution, ending)
- There is rich narrative content, including vivid settings, memorable characters, and a compelling plot in which kids get caught up in predicting what will happen next.
- The characters’ psychological responses (their thoughts and emotions) are important to the story.
- The story conveys meaningful themes or messages that give kids something important to think about, leading to richer social or “in-your-head” conversations.
With these ten books, parents and teachers can easily work on all of the important comprehension strategies required for understanding narrative (e.g., predicting upcoming events, inferring character feelings, identifying key story elements). And parents, remember — the strategies and thinking skills required for understanding narrative in picture books are the same for understanding narrative in other forms of narrative (e.g., chapter books, storytelling). So, building these skills through picture books has enduring benefits for your child!
My top ten picture book read alouds with high-quality narrative text:
1. Enemy Pie (Derek Munson) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
2. Extra Yarn (Mac Barnett) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
3. Hubert’s Hair Raising Adventure (Bill Peet) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
4. King Hugo’s Huge Ego (Chris Van Dusen) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
5. The Mightiest (Keiko Kasza) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
6. The Seven Silly Eaters (Mary Ann Hoberman) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
7. The Snail and the Whale (Julia Donaldson) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
8. Strega Nona (Tomie dePaola) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
9. The Teddy Bear (David McPhail) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com
10. The Widow’s Broom (Chris Van Allsburg) Click title to purchase from Amazon.com.
My initial list had about 30 picks, and it was very difficult for me to select only 10. I arrived at my final ten choices by aiming for a broader audience in terms of age and gender. All of these books are great read alouds for preK through at least 3rd grade. None are geared specifically for boys or girls.
Each of these 10 books will be highlighted individually on my blog soon, with specific suggestions for how to read them aloud to build kids’ reading comprehension and complex thinking skills!