I don't do as much picture book reading as I used to, which is one unfortunate by-product of my move to middle school and the fact that my own children are getting older and not interested in having me sit in bed with them at night, working our way through piles of new picture books I'd bring home to read. However, I'm still enjoying some from time to time.
Here are five winners I'm anxious to share with students, nieces and nephews, and perhaps I can convince my youngest daughter to listen to one or two:
Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone - this is a fun picture book that most kids will be able to relate to because they have experience with playing Monopoly themselves. In addition to tracing the game to its origin, it also shows that a woman is actually the first person to have created Monopoly, although there were various contributors and changes along the way.
Lucy and the String by Vanessa Roeder -this is a cute story, with illustrations in black and white and red, for younger readers. When Lucy gives a string a tug she doesn't realize that she has wrecked Hank the Bear's sweater. Through some fancy yarn work, Lucy and Hank figure out how to solve the problem of Hank's lack of clothing.
Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein - this title is one I've read to every sixth grade and seventh grade class in the past two weeks. I know it's a picture book geared toward younger readers, but it does a good job of explaining the concept of the element of surprise in a way that's easily understandable to my students, who were able to enjoy the humor and cleverness in this book.
Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story by Marc Tyler Nobleman - I love non-fiction picture books that bring little known bits of history to the attention of young (and not so young) readers. This book shares the story of Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita's bombing of a small Oregon town during World War II. Years later, he returns to Brookings, Oregon, where he is greeted warmly, and the townspeople and Fujita form a relationship that endured until Fujita's death. This is a fantastic slice of history that will entertain and amaze anyone who reads it and is a great addition to the collection of WWII books already out there for children.
Contrary Creatures by this is a great book for younger readers who are being introduced to animals and comparisons. The illustrations are colorful, and I appreciate that this book is one that will generate lots of discussion. For readers who want and need a little more, there is one page at the book's end that gives additional information on each animal featured. This would make a great springboard for an animal unit with young students.
I already have a few more new picture books on my list that I want to get my hands on in the future, and have started getting a stack ready for my nieces and nephews for Christmas.