If You Lived Here

Bibliographic Information: Laroche, Giles. If You Lived Here: Houses of the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011. Print.

Brief Annotation: The book goes through 16 different beautifully illustrated types of homes in various regions of the world. Each page talks about in what kind of environment your house would be, materials used to build it, when and where you would see these houses, etc.

Genre: Non-fiction

Grade Level: 3-6

Readers who will like this: Students who like learning about different cultures; students who would like to travel; students concerned with global issues.

Rating/ Response: 5 – The collage-style illustrations are beautiful and detailed, and each page of text is factual yet engaging.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What materials is your home built with? Why do you think that?

Reading strategy: Making Connections

Rationale for strategy: You can make global social studies connections about how different homes are built using background knowledge about different environments, resources, social groups, etc, and build new knowledge and perhaps even spur research projects about other homes.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller


Frog and Toad Are Friends

Bibliographic Information: Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1970. Print.

Brief Annotation: This is a collection of five short stories of the friendship between Frog and Toad.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Students who enjoy stories of friendship; students who like short stories; students who like animals.

Rating/ Response: 4 – Excellent, easy-to-read short stories that develop reading skills. The stories are cute and talk about friendship in an accessible and creative way.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Describe your best friend/ideal best friend – how do they treat you when you’re in trouble? What do you do with them? etc.

Reading strategy: Making Connections

Rationale for strategy: I used this book to teach a first grade lesson on activating prior knowledge on the topic of friendship. Friendship isn’t necessarily a content standard for any year of school, but learning how to be a good friend in school with other students is an important social concept to be taught. This is an especially good idea for the first few days of school as well.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

Bibliographic Information: DePaola, Tomie. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. New York: Putnam, 1988. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book follows the life of one man who was not accepted as a little boy because he did not fit in.  He was told by his elders that he was not to worry because he had another gift.  He created a paintbrush and made paints out of materials he found and then created paintings on buffalo skin.

Genre: Fiction (legend)

Grade Level: 1-6

Readers who will like this: Students who are interested in painting and understanding history of American Indians will appreciate this story.  The illustrations will also definitely inspire learners who are visual.

Rating/ Response: 5 – I loved this book!  Tomie dePaola is an amazing artist who will definitely inspire young learners.  This book would be a great book to teach about painting, art in general, Indians, and the great plains.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Looking at the cover, what types of painting do you think the American Indians created?

Reading strategy: Visualization

Rationale for strategy: This book is a fabulous way to learn about history through visuals.  The book is all about a man who creates amazing paintings.  Tomie dePaola is one of the best illustrators for children’s literature.  He does an amazing job creating pictures with detail.

Posted by: Breanna Richey

Thank You, World

Bibliographic Information: McGinty, Alice B., and Wendy Anderson Halperin. Thank You, World. New York: Dial for Young Readers, 2007. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book is about thanking the world and other things around us.  For each item we thank, there are eight pictures that show people from around the world thanking the same item.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 1-2

Readers who will like this: Students who like to see that they can connect with other students around the world will like this book.  Students who enjoy the world around them will also enjoy this book.

Rating/ Response: 5- I enjoyed this book and the connections that it was able to make all over the world.  The connections that the book was able to make were connections that are easy for students to understand.  The pictures were wonderfully portrayed and it was easy to understand.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: If you were able to thank the world, what would you thank it for?

Reading strategy: Making Connections

Rationale for strategy: I chose to put this book under making connections because the entire idea is for children to feel like they can make connections with other students.

Posted by: Breanna Richey



Bibliographic Information: Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures. New York: Scholastic, 2011. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book follows the lives of two kids, Ben and Rose, who are both longing for something new and different in their lives – so they each run away to find it. Ben lives in Gunflint Lake, MN in 1977, and Rose lives in Hoboken, NJ in 1927. Ben’s story is told through text, and Rose’s through picctures, their lives are interwoven very cleverly through the two mediums.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: 4-6

Readers who will like this: Students who are interested in Deaf culture; students who enjoy “reading” illustrations; students who enjoy museums and dioramas; students who have traveled to New York or northern Minnesota.

Rating/ Response: 5 – This book blew me away with its ability to weave two stories together in two different ways. It kept me turning the pages, wanting to find out what happens to each character. Both protagonists are deaf, which helped me connect to the story in different ways. There is so much to analyze and ask questions about – I can see any type of learner finding something they enjoy and are challenged by in this book! Highly recommended.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: In what ways can you tell stories or communicate without words?

Reading strategy: Free Choice (Chapter Book)

Rationale for strategy: This book offers amazing opportunities for social studies, science, literacy/language, culture, and art ties! Storytelling is a fascinating concept that this book can help explore – especially telling stories nonverbally through museum boxes and physical objects, ASL, and illustrations. I recommend also taking a look at the great ideas on the Classroom Bookshelf blog. http://classroombookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/12/wonderstruck.html

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

Same Sun Here

Bibliographic Information: House, Silas, and Neela Vaswani. Same Sun Here. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2012. Print.

Brief Annotation: This is the story of two 12-year-olds – River, a boy from mountainous Kentucky, and Meena, an Indian immigrant living in New York City – who become pen pals (and, by the end of the story, best friends). The book is told through their letters to each other about issues in school, family, and living in their respective environments.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 5-6

Readers who will like this: Students who enjoy diverse cultures; students who are concerned about environmental issues; students who are in late elementary school (close in age to the characters); students who enjoy realistic fiction.

Rating/ Response: 5 – This neat book covers many serious and relevant issues. It takes place in 2008, so it covers recent events like the election of Barack Obama. The characters are relateable and their relationship very heartwarming and genuine. The style of letter format is engaging.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you imagine the life of someone living in NYC is like vs. Kentucky? What could these people have in common?

Reading strategy: Free Choice (Chapter Book)

Rationale for strategy: This chapter book would take more than one lesson to read aloud. It can be tied into many lessons – learning to write different kinds of letters, writing to students’  own pen pals across the country, etc. The subject that this ties in most to is social studies due to all the social issues (rent, mountaintop removal, family issues, etc.). Find more ideas on the Classroom Bookshelf blog: http://classroombookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/04/same-sun-here.html.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

An Extraordinary Egg

Bibliographic Information: Lionni, Leo. An Extraordinary Egg. New York: Knopf, 1994. Print.

Brief Annotation: Jessica a curious frog who encounters a strange new pebble one day, but it turns out to be a chicken egg (according to her friend Marilyn)! The egg hatches to reveal a “long, scaly” creature that the frog friends, of course, call a chicken.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 1-3

Readers who will like this: Children who enjoy animal characters; children who delight in mix-ups and jokes.

Rating/ Response: 5 – Nice illustrations and a funny story that kids are sure to buy in to. It’s short and sweet, with lots of engaging language and humor.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What kind of animal could hatch out of an egg?

Reading strategy: Free Choice (Picture Book)

Rationale for strategy: This book, at its base, is simply an opportunity to laugh and model fluent, expressive reading for your students and show the enjoyment of reading! I also had the opportunity to use it to introduce “interesting vocabulary” to my first-grade practicum students.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

My Rows and Piles of Coins

Bibliographic Information: Mollel, Tololwa M., and Earl B. Lewis. My Rows and Piles of Coins. New York: Clarion, 1999. Print.

Brief Annotation: This story is about a young Tanzanian boy who saves up his money with the hopes of eventually buying a bike. His dream does not go as planned but the result isn’t too bad either.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 1-3

Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy reading about children around their age in other countries and cultures will enjoy reading this story.

Rating/ Response: 5 – The author does a fantastic job of illustrating this story and making the young boy’s emotions seem so real, the readers will instantly be able to connect with him.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever saved your money to buy something?

Reading strategy: Mathematics

Rationale for strategy: When teaching about money it is important to make connections to other cultures, especially since their are so many forms of currency. Making the situation real in your classroom by allowing students to buy items, will make the learning come alive!

Posted by: Katie de St. Aubin

Color Zoo

Bibliographic Information: Ehlert, Lois. Color Zoo. [S.l.]: HarperFestival, 1997. Print.

Brief Annotation: This story talks about many different types of shapes and makes direct connections to children because animals are formed from the different shapes.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: This story is simple but it has a big message; showing students both colors and shapes. Students who enjoy animals will enjoy being able see them in terms of different shapes.

Rating/ Response: 5 – This story is not very complex but it still gets a big idea across; how shapes form different animals and other things we may see every day.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What shapes do you know?

Reading strategy: Mathematics

Rationale for strategy: Students are introduced to shapes – and being able to demonstrate this topic in terms of a story will aid in forming their understanding.

Posted by: Katie de St. Aubin

Jingle Bells

Bibliographic Information: Muldrow, Diane, and Joe Ewers. Jingle Bells. New York: Golden, 1998. Print.

Brief Annotation: This story is about a bear who decides to leave his warm bed to embark on an adventure with new friends, as they actually live out the traditional Jingle Bells Christmas song.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-1

Readers who will like this: This book is simple but has stunning illustrations and context for students to relate to. It can be a good read around the holidays since it has a direct connection with the song, Jingle Bells.

Rating/ Response: 4 – This story is entertaining and the illustrations will keep the students talking. I think the inclusion of the song, Jingle Bells at the end of the story can lead to extensions beyond the reading of the story.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Who has heard of the song, Jingle Bells? What are some memories that come to mind when you think of the song?

Reading strategy: Free Choice (Picture)

Rationale for strategy: I chose this strategy because it was one of my final options, but I could see this book being developed into a music lesson or maybe even striving to discover the origin of the song.

Posted by: Katie de St. Aubin