Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers

#PB10For10: Picture Books To Share in Middle School, Back-To-School Time

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About the #PB10for10 Community:

“Picture Book 10 for 10” has been around since 2010. Love picture books? Then you’re in the right place. This community is dedicated to sharing picture book love. Please visit the hashtag, #PB10for10 to learn about picture books you’ll want to read next. Each August is the Picture Book 10 for 10 event, and in February the community hosts Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10. Have fun reading and enjoy all the resources shared.

Today was my first day of school, but since it was a teacher work day, I didn’t share with students. I will share these ten titles SOON, though. Picture books are my favorite books to use in reading/ELA classes because of the versatility and artistic joy they bring to our middle school classrooms. (Ask me about how “Picture Books are Perfect in Middle School” and I can talk all day!)

Honestly, I chose these 10 books because I want students to revisit former author/illustrator friends (comforting “old stuff”) and I want to introduce some new titles that students didn’t get to see yet due to the pandemic (exciting “new stuff”). I use picture books frequently in middle school classes and in the library for mini-lessons, so I’m not worried about what comes first this year. I want students to find inspiring books to read all year long, every day. Let’s get started!

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018) — This is perfect for the first days of school. “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.” Our school is diverse and fabulous, and I love to share titles like this with my students.

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2020) — I love modeling JOY and EXCELLENCE for all our students, especially with read alouds like this one. I’m so happy that Mr. Barnes and Mr. James are teamed up here again to celebrate our students. My former elementary school students loved The King of Kindergarten, and this book is even better (in my opinion).

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, 2011) — I am ordering posters for the library, and if you have seen the new ALA Graphics catalog, you’ll want to get this “Hats Off to Reading” poster, too. (Click here.) Our students remember those “Hat” books from elementary school.

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2021) — I want our students to see new perspectives of the world. Students remember this writing duo from Last Stop on Market Street, which was a huge hit (and a Newbery Medal winner!).

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2020) — Grandparents are the best school visitors, aren’t they? This Nana shows a class her tribal markings and then the students create their own. What a wonderful way to get to know someone’s background, culture, and heritage!

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018) — It’s been tough. We have all suffered and lost this past year and a half. Sometimes you just need someone to listen.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (Greenwillow Books, 2015) — I loved this book when it first came out when I shared it in an art class, but now I love Red even more. “Everyone seemed to have something to say…” We need to let people (and crayons) be who they really are.

Watercress by Andrea Wang and Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books, 2021) –In Ohio, a family stops by the side of the road to gather watercress, embarrassing the young girl. “Why can’t they just go to the store?” But when a story is told, understanding begins. I encourage my students: Tell YOUR story!

Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn and Victo Ngai (Orchard Books, 2021) — The nouns in this story wish (“The night wished it was quieter…The light wished it was brighter…”). This is one of the most moving, heart-breaking, hopeful stories I’ve read in a long time.

Wild Symphony by Dan Brown and Susan Batori (Rodale Kids, 2020) — I teach in a fine arts academy middle school, and our orchestra is going to get this book as a gift. So much fun! Dan Brown is the composer of the music and his creations are amazing! QR codes lead to the audio for each page, helping readers to fully experience the magic of the symphony.

Thank you for sharing YOUR picture books with your students. Have fun with it! What 10 books will you share this August?


Author: Jennifer Sniadecki

I write about literacy education and my love for reading and writing. My passion is sharing titles I use for school libraries, classroom collaborations, and professional development. My goal is to collaborate, research, and share with other life-long literacy learners. Welcome to my blog!

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