Our Favorites

Reading aloud to kids is one of my most favorite things to do. This past week we read our 100th book of the year in my kindergarten classroom. Many of these books are put in the “Our Favorites” box, by request of the kids, to be reread many times. On a whim, I asked the kids what their 5 all time favorite books were for the year so far. They ran to the “Our Favorites” boxes and started pulling ALL the books out. I realized that question is just as hard for kids to answer as it is for me. My favorite book today may be different from my favorite book tomorrow. And just 5? Well, that quickly proved to be impossible. We had a fun time revisiting the books we’ve read since the beginning of the year and predicting how many books we would read by the end of the year. “A hundred million” was the most popular answer. Gotta love those kindergarteners – although I’m willing to take on that challenge! Here are just a few of our favorites so far this year. These are books that get the whole class yelling, “read it again!”, and the ones that have tattered covers out of love and frequent rereads. They are the ones that I hear lines from repeated over and over during play and throughout our day – “It’s all good!”, “Goodness, gracious me!”, “I’ll give you five bucks.”, “Can you believe this guy?” and “Aggle flabble!”.  They are the books by authors that my students “stand upon the shoulders of”  in our Writer’s Workshops –  creating their own books about adventures of pigeons, Knuffle Bunny meets Power Rangers, animals that hop and hoot and many adventures of Pete the Cat. Hopefully you can discover a new one here that your class might enjoy or that a lucky kiddo will find wrapped under the Christmas tree.  Enjoy!

Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox








Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Willems










Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (as well as the other “Pigeon” books in the series) by Mo Willems












Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin













I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen












Who Hoots? and Who Hops? by Katie Davis












Chalk by Bill Thomson










What are your class favorites this year? Please share!

August 10 for 10: 10 of our Favorite Picture Books!

Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning invited us to join in this 2nd annual fun picture book event. We happily accepted the challenge to join our Twitter friends and choose just 10 of our favorite picture books and highlight them here. Enjoy reading our choices and then be sure to head over to their blogs here to read about all the other great picture book recommendations.

Pat decided to pick “oldies but goodies” – a selection of tried and true read alouds for elementary classrooms. Enjoy!

Our Granny, by Margaret Wild

In a celebration of grandmothers, Wild lists all the things grannies can be, all the places they can live, all the hobbies they can have, and so on.  This book speaks to the diversity of the modern day granny.  The illustrations by Vivas are fabulous and even comical at times!

Guess Who My Favorite Person Is, by Byrd Baylor (out of print – check your library)

Just like all of Baylor’s other books, the beauty of nature and being outdoors plays a big role. This time a little girl and a young man describe their favorite color or sound, favorite thing to touch or place to live, favorite smell or moving thing as they play a game lying in the grassy meadow.  Try using this as a mentor text when talking about descriptive writing with students or just enjoy the beautiful language of the poetic free verse.

Koala Lou, by Mem Fox

I know it’s been around for a long time, but I still feel compelled to mention it because I love this book so much.  The theme of a mother’s love is so beautifully intertwined with Koala Lou’s undying determination and endurance.  I’ve never met a child or adult that couldn’t relate to this story.  Don’t miss hearing Mem read it aloud on her website.  Her voice will stay with you every time you read it.

Rough-Face Girl, by Rafe Martin

There are so many wonderful variations of well-known folktales, but this version of a Cinderella tale is one of my favorites. I love changing my voice to match the two haughty older sisters, or the timid Rough-Face Girl, and the sister of the Invisible Being who demands answers from each one of them who wants to marry her brother.  I’ve had many great discussions with 4th and 5th grade students about ‘what is truth, beauty, and true love?’

Edward the Emu, by Sheena Knowles

I practically have this one memorized, I’ve read it aloud so many times.  It’s a commonly told story of one animal wishing he were something other than what he is, but realizing his value by the end.  I like the rhyme and rhythm to the language.  The illustrations are incredible.  And the ending adds a little twist… leading right into the follow-up book, Edwina the Emu.






Katie decided to narrow her choices down to 5 of her favorite NEW books! A few are brand new in the picture book world and a few are just new to her. She’s looking forward to sharing them with her kindergarteners this fall.

Move! by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

A wonderfully fun nonfiction book that introduces kids to how animals move. It has beautiful language, “A crocodile leaps to snag its meal after slithering silently into the water…” with text that moves all over the page to show the motion being described. Children will love exploring how animals move with this book.

Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

Another Piggie and Elephant adventure that will help teachers talk about sharing and friendship. The anticipation throughout the text and pictures, along with a twist at the end, will leave readers loving this new book by Mo Willems.

Who Hops? and Who Hoots? by Katie Davis

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of these books until now. They are amazing! I can’t wait to read these to my kinders. Fun, colorful pictures and an engaging text, “Frogs hop. Kangaroos hop. Cows hop. NO THEY DON’T!” will definitely pull young readers in and invite shared reading. I love how there are great nonfiction facts woven throughout as well. “Who squeaks? Hippos don’t squeak. Alligators don’t squeak. Mice don’t squeak. YES THEY DO! – Mice have very bad eyesight and give birth to lots of babies, and they definitely squeak!” Katie Davis has a great website, too!

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat quickly became my favorite read aloud last year, along with this fabulous YouTube video showing the author and illustrator performing the song. Eric Litwin and James Dean have come out with a new Pete the Cat story where Pete is rocking his school shoes as he goes on a tour of the school. This is the PERFECT first day read aloud! And yes, school is “all good”!

Just One Bite by Lola Schaefer

This HUGE nonfiction book shows kids how much animals eat in “just one bite”. The book shows the life size animals and all or part of the mouths, along with the food of choice. More details follow at the end of the book for kids to learn more about the eating habits of each of the animals. Kids will love this giant book and the great illustrations.

We hope you are starting your year with some old favorites and some new finds that will really get kids loving books and loving to read. What books are in your “top 10”?