Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Picture Book 10 for 10

For those that are truly dedicated to sharing the best picture books, the August Picture Book 10 for 10 was established in 2010. There's also a nonfiction picture book version in February. Picture Book 10 for 10 was the brainchild of Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek, teachers that love to talk about the best books for their classroom libraries. Through the years, the group has grown larger and larger and now includes over 300 teachers, librarians, parents and picture book lovers from around the world. To participate and view everyone's lists, please visit the Picture Book 10 for 10 Community.

For me, this is my second year participating in the August Picture Book 10 for 10. It's especially meaningful for me, because this is what motivated me to start the Jana The Teacher blog 1 year ago. Here's my post from a year ago: Picture Book 10 for 10 August 2015 

Last year, since I was new to blogging, I just made a simple list of books that made me happy.  This year, I decided to list ten picture books that would be awesome to use during the first few days of the new school year.

Kids that are nervous and self-conscious on the first day of school will definitely be able to relate to this book. Anya wakes up on the first day of school and discovers that she has grown a tail. The illustrations are hilarious and support the text very well! This one will be very popular on the shelf of my classroom library!

School's First Day of School by Adam Rex, Christian Robinson  

This is a cute picture book that tells readers about the very first day in a new school building, from the point of view of the building. The school where I teach was a brand new building nine years ago, and I remember the excitement of setting up my classroom (where I still teach BTW); knowing that I was the first person to put stuff on any of the shelves! I really love the idea of sharing this with students on the first day of school. This could serve as a great mentor text for writing from a different point of view. I definitely need to get my own copy!

Bear's Big Day by Salina Yoon  

This is such a sweet picture book that shares with readers Bear's first day of school. He's so excited to be a big bear that can cut up his own pancakes and go off to spend the day learning. But when he gets there, he realizes he misses his stuffed rabbit, Floppy. Young readers will be able to relate and will be anxious to see how Bear solves this problem. Colorful, digital illustrations along with this adorable story will make this book a big hit as kids start back to school!  

Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson, Ron Husband (Illustrations)  

Based a true events, this awesome picture book tells the story of Reverend John Berry Meachum and his tireless work educating African Americans in St. Louis in 1847. When the state of Missouri passed a law banning schools for African Americans, he moved his school to a steamboat on the Mississippi River. The book includes more information at the end of the story about this man and this time in history. I would love to share this book with my students during the first week of school.

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann   

This is a heartwarming picture book about a little girl who has a difficult time doing all the things that earn the other children stars on the blackboard. This would be a terrific book to share during the first days of school. 

My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown  

This is such a fun book about a little boy who has teacher troubles at school and then runs into the same teacher at the park. The time spent in the park changes everything. The watercolor illustrations do an awesome job of showing the emotions and humor of running into your teacher outside of school. Great message that teachers are regular people, too. The teacher seems to come away with a better understanding of the little boy as well.

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen, Dan Hanna (Illustrator)  

This is another fun book in Deborah Diesen's Pout-Pout Fish series. In rhyming text, Mr. Fish recalls his first day of school. He remembers how all the other fish seemed to know how to write, make shapes and do math. He was so intimidated because he couldn't do these things. He was ready to quit and then his teacher found him. She guided him to the right class and everything turned out all right. This is a sweet book for kids who are just starting school and might be a bit nervous.

The illustrations are very detailed and colorful. There's quite a bit of humor in them as well. I love the posters on the walls of the classroom and halls. There are quotes from Shark Twain ("Fish aren't slimy, they just ooze personality.") and Sharkespeare ("A fish by any other name, would smell as fishy."). There posters of Great Artists like Michelanjellyo, Leonard Da Pinchy, and Vincent Van Goby.
This book is fun for everyone.

Big Bad Wolves at School by Stephen Krensky, Brad Sneed (Illustrator)  

This was a fun book about a misfit wolf trying to fit in at the Big Bad Wolf Academy. The book has a fun message about being yourself, while playing around with fairy tales that we've all grown up with.  

A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, Harry Bliss (Illustrator)  

This is a fun picture book that shows us how you can have too much of a good thing. Principal Keene loves his fine, fine school and his fine, fine teachers and students so much, pretty soon everyone is going to school on weekends, holidays and in the summer! Will he come to his senses? Great illustrations support the text.

Running the Road to ABC by Denize Lauture  

This is a gorgeous picture book that uses beautiful poetic language to tell about three boys and three girls on their way to school in Haiti. They are up before the sun and they journey through the lush landscape to get to school on time. I love the vibrant acrylic paintings that bring this story to life. I would love to share this book at the beginning of the school year.   


  1. I didn't know either Running the Road to ABC or Steamboat School. I've ordered them from my library. Thanks for highlighting!

  2. Hi Jana. What a great list. There were several here that are new to me. I'll be ordering Running the Road to ABC and Big Bad Wolves at School (absolutely love the cover illustration). Thanks for your recommendations.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  3. Some new ones to find, Jana! A Fine Fine School sounds very fun, and I Will Never Get A Star. . . sounds like one to discuss seriously. Thanks for all, you know I loved Steamboat School!

  4. There are a few of these titles that are favorites of mine - I Will Never Get a Star, My Teacher is a Monster, School's First Day. I don't know Big Bad Wolves, but it sounds great. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great theme, I went with a similar one! We have some crossovers too. So many great books to share at the beginning of the year.

  6. My Teacher is a Monster . . . is on so many lists for so many different reasons! Such fun! Seeing this list made me realize that I don't own a copy of A Fine Fine School

  7. I Will Never Get A Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard was perfect for my students last year. School's First Day has shown up in several places. I'm going to need to get this one. This is a great list. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I can't believe it's almost time to head back to school! Parents are already flocking to the library looking for books to help get their kids ready for the start of school (we go back in September), so this great list is just in time!