My Past 10 Collections
2014: 10 Books About Being Brave
2013: 10 Newer Authors/Illustrators I Love
2012: 10 Mentor Texts for Young Writers
2011: 10 Authors I Can't Live Without
2010: 10 Must-Have Picture Books
This Year: Ten Books About the Night
This year I have struggled with my ten for ten list. I've changed my mind at least ten times. I'd love to tell you about the ideas I decided not to choose, but I might need them in the future. ;o) (Thanks to Carrie Gelson, I now have a future #pb10for10 list.) Since today's the day, I have to decide. It's a bit like being at a restaurant when the waitress arrives to take your order, you just have to make a decision.
This year I'll be sharing ten picture books about the night. Young children are fascinated - and often fearful - of the night. Sharing books about the night can provide opportunities for children to talk about these fears and share ways they have worked to overcome them. Additionally, there are a lot of great books about the night so here are my favorites:
Night Animals by Gianna Marino (2015): It's true. I think Gianna Marino's books are all worth a space on your family or classroom shelves. I have enjoyed each with their delightful stories and beautiful illustrations. Night Animals is no exception. How can you not love a book where the night animals are afraid of night animals? It's quick lively pace makes it perfect for read aloud. Young readers will laugh out loud as these animals all try to hide from the night animals. Scary noises and dark pictures set the mood of the book as the animals worry together until bat sets them straight. The speech bubbles and easy text will make this a book emergent readers will be able to reread after hearing it read aloud.
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young (2012). In the beginning it seems certain that a ninja is creeping through the night and into the house. Danger fills the night air --- until....I just can't give it away. Young readers enjoy the anticipation in this book as they try to figure out what is going to happen. The illustrations are dark and full of shadows keeping readers on the edge of their seats.
A Beasty Story by Bill Martin Jr. and Steven Kellogg (2002). I can't help it. I still just love this book. With it's intricate illustrations through a dark and scary house at night, readers will be on the edge of their seat wondering what creepy beast awaits. The pictures support the text as the characters move from room to room following the beast.
Blackout by John Rocco (2011). The electricity going out can be a scary event for young children. It's a normal night in the city until the lights go out. Then Mom and Dad can no longer work. What can the family do? It turns out there are many things to do when the lights go out. I'm sure young readers would have many stories to share after reading this book. Rocco uses several boxed illustrations on each page to show the passage of time and the ways this family tries to cope with the electricity outage. Many pictures are black and white with just splashes of color to help set the mood in this book.
Psssst! It's Me...the Bogeyman by Barbara Park and illustrated by Steven Kroninger (2001). My friend, Deb Frazier, first handed me this book. I return year after year to borrow it from her classroom, and wonder why I don't have a copy. This bogeyman is tired of all of the false stories about him. He's good at scaring kids. That's his job. It's all he wants in life. There is a secret that will get rid of him. This book is a book students always want read over and over again.
The Dark by Jon Klassen and Lemony Snicket (2013). Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the basement. Laszlo knows it is down there. What happens when the dark decides to come into Laszlo's room? What will Laszlo do?
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson (2002). What do owl babies do when they wake to find their mother gone in the night? Sarah, Percy, and Bill worry in the night as they wonder what happened to their mom. Students always enjoy this read aloud --- especially Bill's repeated cries, "I want my mommy."
Chengdu by Barney Salzburg (2014). We've all had those nights where we just can't fall asleep. Chengdu tries everything, but he still is awake. What will he do?
When the Sky is Like Lace by Elinor Lander Horowitz and illustrated by Barbara Cooney (1975). I saw this book in the bookstore the other day and fell in love with its beautiful language. Imagine my surprise to find it was first written in 1975. It begins with the line "On a bimulous night," and offers much opportunity for rich discussion.