Monday, August 10, 2020

Ten Picture Books You'd Want if You're Ordered Home #pb10for10

Please note:  today's Picture Book 10 for 10 event is hosted by Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning.  You will find directions to post with the community at the bottom of today's post.  Make sure you stop by Mandy's blog to see all of the collections being shared by the #pb10for10 community.  Also, follow the Twitter hashtag #pb10for10 across the day for a big dose of picture book love.  If you're joining us for the first time, please grab your library card as this event can get expensive.  Consider yourself warned.  

Today's the day!  It's our annual August picture book celebration.  

When the event began in 2010, Mandy and I started with the question:  "What are the must-have books for your classroom library?."  

Here we are in 2020.  In March, we were quickly sent home to teach from our screens during our state's stay-at-home orders to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  I don't think any of us thought we'd be out for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.  This was a tough time, but I celebrated the fact that the first thing we all seemed to try to figure out was how to read aloud to our students in remote learning.  Authors and publishers came quickly to our rescue as we tried to keep books at the center of our learning communities.  

Of course, as schools closed, libraries were shuttered too.  It wasn't long until we realized we were home without our classroom books - and home without an open community library.  Talk about your book emergency!!!  Thankfully I had a large collection of picture books at home - and a pretty good stack from the library that was staying at home with me until libraries began accepting books again.  

As we get ready to begin 2020-2021 school year.  Not one of us is sure what is coming, but I think we all know it's going to have its hard parts.  It seems appropriate for this year's #pb10for10 celebration to share books I'd want if I was stuck at home again.  

Ten Picture Books to Have in Your Bag if You're Ordered Home

Dot by Randi Zuckerberg and illustrated by Joe Berger (2013)

I was reminded of this book recently by Deb Frazier.  It does seem the perfect book for a year that is likely to move back and forth from being together face-to-face and being together virtually.  In this book, Dot likes her time connecting and working virtually, but sometimes she gets tired.  Her mom reminds her that time to recharge outside can be equally important.  This book is available in digital and print format.  (Harper Collins COVID permissions.)

Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival (2019)

There certainly is plenty to worry about these days.  Whether our learners are with us at school or we are teaching from a remote location, they may have a lot on their minds.  In this story, Ruby has a worry that just won't go away.  She spends so much time thinking about it that it just keeps growing.  Will Ruby ever find a way through this worry?  Readers will enjoy listening to this story that helps readers find their way through their worry.  A must-have book for life in 2020.  This book is available in digital and print editions.  (Bloomsbury COVID read aloud policy.)

Write! Write! Write! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (2020)

If you end up teaching from home, you have to have poetry!  What better poetry book to have by your side than one that inspires some writing?  When we're in the classroom, we work to connect home to school.  Let's be honest, if our young writers are home, they're surrounded by those stories.  This book is full of poems to inspire writers to put their pencils and markers to paper (or their fingers to their keyboard...whatever their preference).  Whether you're live or remote, you'll want this book close by.  Available in digital or print format. Additionally, Amy has a collection of notebook mini-lessons and an ever-growing collection of digital poetry sure to inspire your writers.  Also don't miss With My Hands:  Poems About Making Things.  Imagine what our learners can make - and teach us to make - from home.  

I Remember:  Poems and Pictures of Heritage compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins (2019)

One poetry book probably isn't enough so let's add another to the essential bookstack.  I don't think you can go wrong with I Remember:  Poems and Pictures of Heritage.  I happened to have this one checked out from the library when it closed for COVID.  It was the perfect book to read again and again.  Readers will enjoy the collection of poems and illustrations by artists and writers who share stories of their heritage, family and childhood.  One of the gifts of our spring emergency learning was that we got to know and connect with our families in a much deeper way.  This poetry collection is not only perfect for beginning any year, but also can help build our understanding of the different identities we all bring to our learning community.  There are so many great poems in this collection to open rich conversation and create possibilities for writing.  This book is only available in hardcover.   (Lee and Low temporary read aloud guidelines during COVID.) 

Woke:  A Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood (2020)

Okay, maybe I'm on a poetry roll right now, but really you just can't go wrong with poetry.  We are going back to school in turbulent times.  (Check out ILA's webinar:  Teaching in Turbulent Times.)  While COVID has knocked us off our feet, the voices of Black Lives Matter are calling for change long overdue.  While these are tough times, we have the opportunity to come out of them better than we were.  Books like Woke, alongside books like Dictionary for a Better World and Can I Touch Your Hair? (yep, I snuck in a few bonus titles there - it's a well known trick in the #pb10for10 world) can help start those conversations.  You'll want this one in your collection, for sure.  (Roaring Brook Press appears to be part of Macmillon see permissions here.)

Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe (2020)

Whether you're starting with students in a face-to-face or remote learning situation, this book will be perfect for getting started.  At every page turn, the reader is greeted by positive affirmation and the words, "I am born to be awesome."  Of course, the bonus is all of those great hair styles labeled for readers.  When working to build identity and community, this book is sure to be a smart addition to your collection.  This book is available in hard cover or digital format.  I have the digital format which actually shows a copyright of 2016.  (Doubleday Publishers an imprint of Random House COVID read aloud policy)

Layla's Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin (2020)

I can't imagine not having this book with me whether teaching from my classroom or at home.  This just seems the perfect book for getting to know one another at the beginning of the year.  In this book, readers discover all that makes Layla happy.  This book would make a strong mentor text for some beginning writing as we build our learning communities and get to know one another.  

The Hike by Alison Farrell (2019)

If you want to find a way to get kids away from their screens, this book might be the perfect read aloud.  If you want learners to learn to observe or find new ways to write, this book might be just what you need.  Mandy Robek first shared this book with me and every time I share this picture book with someone else it is a win.  In this book a group of friends heads out for a hike.  As they hike, they take notes and make new discoveries.  Whether at school or at home, this book has a myriad of possibilities.  (See Kate Messner's copyright update for information about Chronicle Books and COVID read aloud permissions.) 

The Serious Goose by Jimmy Kimmel (2019)

I'm not one to pick up picture books written by already famous people, but I'm glad I decided to open this one.  In the heaviness of the times, a picture book to make kids laugh can be just what is needed.  In this book, the narrator assures us nothing will make Serious Goose smile, but can a serious goose hold tough when kids are making faces?  Whether reading this live from a distance or in a Zoom room, kids are going to love making faces to get a smile out of Serious Goose.  This book is available in hard cover or digital edition.  I have the digital edition of this one.  If you need a laugh, this book is a must-have.  (Penguin Random House COVID read aloud policy)

Misunderstood Shark by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Scott Magoon (2018)

Seriously, what #pb10for10 list would be complete without a book by Ame Dyckman?  Her books always make for a fun read aloud.  I haven't had one of them fail me in front of kids.  As I think about beginning a year that may be started remotely, it's likely easy to be misunderstood.  Even in our day to day life in the classroom, friends often do things that get misunderstood.  This books surely sets up a story that makes this a fun discussion.  Let's be honest, just the fact that this book has a shark in it makes it sure to be a winner.  

Want to Join?  
  1. Choose Your 10 Favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you cannot live without for whatever reason.  In the first days of this event, everyone shared their ten very favorite titles.  This still works.  You will notice, however, that many past participants choose some type of theme or thread to connect their selections.  We'll leave this up to you.
  2. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post about the ten books you cannot live without.  
  3. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don't have a blog, this might be the perfect time to start one --- or there are a million digital ways to join.  You could post from a Google page, create a S'more, make a Padlet, share in Twitter (and copy the Tweet link to the host blog), or any other creative idea you may be considering.  We will also be tweeting from the #pb10for10 hashtag.    
  4. Link Your Selections:  Please share your posts at Enjoy and Embrace Learning in the comments of today's celebration post.  (Share them on Twitter too at #pb10for10.) 
  5. Find Other Participants:  You will find the links to other 2020 collections in the comments of today's host blog.
  6. Connect & Comment:  Take some time to read posts from other participants.  Please comment on at least three. 
Warning:  Picture Book 10 for 10 can be hard on your wallet.  I'd pull out your library cards before you start to visit these wonderful posts below.  


  1. Misunderstood Shark is a favorite among my students. They love the follow-up, too. I've never read Dot. Will have to check that one out.

  2. Ruby Finds A Worry & Laya's Happiness both sound like books I will love, Cathy. My youngest granddaughter missed being "in school" so much & I think both would help her. I loved Woke, have read it with the grand-girls & have it on my list today, too! Thanks for this special day!

  3. I don't think I know any of these!!! I need to get busy reading!

  4. Thank you for hosting every year. It is wonderful to learn of so many books!

  5. There is so much to love about this list, Cathy. The poetry books you've included are all stunning, and I can't wait to get copies of Layla's Happiness and Ruby Finds a Worry. Thank you for sharing!