Are you a lover of children's books like me? If you are, then let's explore and categorize some great titles together and dive into what attracts us to certain books over other books..
Some picture books can be categorized as being fun to read because they evoke reactions from children as they listen to the story. Others would fall into the important to read category because they provide an introduction to complex conversations between the adult and child. Another valuable category to consider, especially for the classroom, are books that naturally lead to a meaningful follow up activity. (Side note: My book, Amelia's Loose Part Art, lends itself to all three; it's a fun read, it opens the door to conversation, and it's a book that will bring learning to life).
My personal collection of children's books is packed with titles that have these unique features. For instance, My Friend is Sad from Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie series is a fun read that encourages discussions on empathy and emotions, making it an excellent book to read in classrooms.
Anything by Mo Willems is a surefire hit in the kindergarten classroom, but there are many other fun titles like Turkey Trouble by Wendi J. Silvano, Aaron's Hair by Robert Munsch, Click, Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin, and Bill Martin Jr.'s classic, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. These books guarantee giggles and engagement from young listeners every time.
I am especially drawn to books that spark important conversations, and my growing collection features titles such as the entire A Little Spot series by Diane Alber, Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion by Jane Barclay, Ava's Poppy by Marcus Pfister, Mixed by Arree Chung, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger, A Kids' Book About Racism by Jelani Memory, and Trudy's Rock Story by Trudy Spiller. It's through stories like these that children have an opportunity to think about themselves and the world more deeply.
Books such as Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, I'm Not Just a Scribble by Diane Alber, and Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry are a few examples of books that naturally lead to extended learning in the classroom.
Reflect on a time when you browsed the children's book section of your favourite book store, what made a particular book catch your eye? Was it the cover, the title or the author that enticed you to pick up the book? What made you decide to return it to the shelf or take it home with you?
Share your thoughts on what makes the perfect picture book in the comments below.