10 August 2013

10 for 10: Picture Books an English Teacher Enjoys with Her Sons

This morning while browsing twitter within minutes of waking (according to #twitterrevolution I am not alone in this behavior), I noticed in my feed #pb10for10 and decided to take a look.  Here's what I learned:  Mandy @ Enjoy-EmbraceLearning and Cathy @ Reflect & Refine sponsor a Picture Book 10 for 10 book jog each August.

I couldn't resist.  So here I am on Saturday morning posting my own 10for10 post.  Theme:  10 pictures books an English/Arts & Humanities Teacher enjoys sharing with her sons.  I like these books for a myriad of reasons—for the exposure to authors, music, artists, beautiful words and language, and most importantly because they became not only my favorites, but between my two sons (now ages 10 & 12) these became their favorites as well.

1.   Henry Builds a Cabin  by D. B. Johnson

My English teacher self couldn’t resist sharing this book with my sons.  Thanks to D.B. Johnson, my sons have a full awareness of who Henry David Thoreau is and why I think his work is important.  There is also available--Henry Climbs a Mountain and Henry Hikes to Fitchburg.  We've read them all, but the boys like the dimensions of Thoreau's cabin in this one.

2.  Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

As library mouse hides away in a school library writing his own books for each genre, this is an excellent tale reminding us that we are all writers.  This is another message I wanted my sons to hear to encourage them to enjoy writing and know that they are capable.  (Right now neither of them prefer writing because most of their writing experiences at school have been spent practicing for the state writing test)

3.  John Coltrane’s Giant Steps remixed by Chris Raschka

Illustrations, words, and style all portray improv—this book is a great way to learn about jazz improvisation.

4.  Slowly, Slowly, Slowly said the Sloth by Eric Carle

From an early age, my oldest child has enjoyed science and nature, and since we enjoyed other Eric Carle books, this one became a delight to us because of the beautiful language and vocabulary.  At the end of the book, the sloth finally replies to the onslaught of attacks from other animals who accuse him of being lazy.  “It is true that I am slow, quiet, and boring.  I am lackadaisical, I dawdle, and I dillydally.  I am also unflappable, languid, stoic, impassive, sluggish, lethargic, placid, calm, mellow…”

5.  Old Cricket by Lisa Wheeler

"Old Cricket woke up feeling, cranky, crotchety, and cantankerous, so when his missus asked him to ready the roof for winter, he came up with a clever plan."  We loved the opening lines as well words the old cricket uses instead of curse words of today.  Plus, it’s a great tale about how the cricket tried many excuses to get out of work but really just needed to dig-in and prepare the roof for winter.

6.  Lego Star Wars The Visual Dictionary

This one became a favorite for my youngest son because of his interest in building and creating with Legos, and his love of all things Star Wars.  I have to admit, it took a while for me to enjoy this book, but after reading it again and again with my son, I couldn’t help myself.  Plus, this book became a great example to me of why we can’t base all our reading decisions for students on Lexile level.  This Lexile level for this book is much higher than my son’s Level, yet he can read the book because it’s a perfect match for him as a reader.

7.  The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

We definitely have this one memorized and can recite it in its entirety.  Who doesn’t love this one?

8.  Masterpieces Up Close:  Western Painting from the 14th to 20th Centuries

With flip open tabs and close-up shots of sections of each painting, this book became a great one for teaching my boys about masterpieces of Western visual art.

9.  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

What I love about this one?  My ten and twelve year old will still let me read it to them periodically and they love the story.

10.  Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long

I end with this one because my ten year old still asks me to sing this version of the song to him at night when he goes to sleep.  This natural and beautiful adaptation of the old lullaby has been part of our nighttime routine for twelve years (My oldest is twelve).  Once the boys heard the original version of the song and commented that it was incorrect.  Though my twelve year old no longer asks me to sing him to sleep on a nightly basis, my ten year old is still cool with it and asks me to sing this song to him right before he nods off.  (Sshh:  He would be embarrassed if he knew I’m telling you—if I’ve been out of town for work or if he’s sick—the twelve year old has asked for the song within the last year).