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April 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Classroom Connections
A wordless book tells an entire story with pictures, yet when we read a wordless book aloud, we use words to tell the story. For this reason, wordless books can make great mentor texts for teaching sentence fluency. Students can’t “copy” the words in the book because there aren’t any. At the same time, a wordless story is already fully developed, so young writers can focus on creating sentences filled with meaning.
Keep a few of these wordless books on hand for a quick writing session. Ask each student to write the story they see based on a single page or two facing pages. If students work on one picture book at a time, the class can write a book a week. To avoid duplication, after students finish writing their page, have them write their name on a sticky note to mark that page as completed. After peer editing, host a “round-robin” reading as a culminating activity and have each child read his or her part of the story aloud.
Begin with a Classic
The 2010 Caldecott Medal winner, The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney, is a wordless version of the Aesop fable. A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog, by Mercer Mayer, is part of a much-loved series from the 1960s and was recently reissued.
Have an Adventure
A ride on a train leads a girl to embark on a series of imagined adventures in Trainstop, by Barbara Lehman. A dog and his bug go on a comic-book adventure in Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug, by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash. In Oops, by Arthur Geisert, a piglet spills his milk, a small incident that leads to one calamitous event after another.
Go to the Beach
In Wave, by Suzy Lee, a young girl enjoys a day at the beach. In another Caldecott Medal winner, Flotsam, by David Wiesner, a boy discovers a camera on a beach.
Test Your Eyes
Speaking of cameras, in Zoom and the companion book, Re-Zoom, by Istvan Banyai, readers see what the camera sees as the lens moves farther and farther away on each spread. Looking Down, by Steve Jenkins, moves in the opposite direction, beginning in outer space and zooming closer and closer until readers peer through a magnifying glass.
Explore New Worlds
Young adults will enjoy exploring the many-layered illustrations in The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, the story of an immigrant’s journey to a new land. In Robot Dreams, by Sara Varon, a dog builds a robot to be his friend.
The Arrival. By Shaun Tan. Illus. by the author. 2007. 128p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $19.99 (9780439895293). Gr. 7–up.
Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug. By Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash. 2007. 56p. Harcourt, $12.95 (9780152058135). PreS–Gr. 4.
A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog. By Mercer Mayer. 1967; reissued 2003. Dial, $6.99 (9780803728806). PreS–Gr. 3.
Flotsam. By David Wiesner. Illus. by the author. 2006. 40p. Clarion, $17 (9780618194575). K–Gr. 4.
The Lion and the Mouse. By Jerry Pinkney. Illus. by the author. 2009. 40p. Little, Brown, $16.99 (9780316013567). PreS–Gr. 3.
Looking Down. By Steve Jenkins. Illus. by the author. 2003. 32p. Houghton, paper, $6.95 (9780618310982). PreS–Gr. 3.
Oops. By Arthur Geisert. Illus. by the author. 2006. 32p. Houghton/Walter Lorraine, $16 (9780618609048). K–Gr. 3.
Re-Zoom. By Istvan Banyai. Illus. by the author. 1995. 64p. Puffin, paper, $7.99 (9780140556940). K–Gr. 5.
Robot Dreams. By Sara Varon. Illus. by the author. 2007. 208p. Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.95 (9781596431089). Gr. 5–9.
Trainstop. By Barbara Lehman. Illus. by the author. 2008. 32p. Houghton, $16 (9780618756407). PreS–Gr. 2.
Wave. By Suzy Lee. Illus. by the author. 2008. 40p. Chronicle, $15.99 (9780811859240). K–Gr. 3.
Zoom. By Istvan Banyai. Illus. by the author. 1995. 64p. Puffin, paper, $7.99 (9780140557749). PreS–Gr. 3.
Anastasia Suen is a former K–1 teacher who has written dozens of children’s books and is the author of the Picture Book of the Day blog, devoted to the Six Traits of Writing.
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