Picture books provide for teachers the perfect tool to build students’ vocabulary, understanding of story structure, and character traits, but beyond that they also provide teachers the perfect platform to introduce areas of study far beyond that of developing literacy skills. Discussion of complex ideas like cause and effect, self-esteem, bullying, or mathematical concepts can all be initiated through the use of picture books at any age. You are never too old for picture books, and given how busy teachers are, why not consider combining multiple purposes through a read aloud?
The following texts are new releases that teachers of all grade levels will enjoy having as part of their classroom library.
Because by Mo Willems and illustrated by Amber Ren provides a joyful journey through a series of seemingly unrelated and insignificant events that bring a young girl face to face with a life changing moment.
I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James uses easy to read text to highlight the strength, courage, and worth of a child. Strength can be found in a painful fall, courage in making an effort, no matter how small, and it all contributes to recognizing our own unique worth.
A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade and illustrated Veronica Miller Jamison celebrates the life and perseverance of Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician featured in the movie Hidden Figures. Katherine exhibits strength and the unwavering recognition that how she and other women are and have been treated is wrong… as wrong as 5+5=12 or 10-5=3.
I Didn’t Stand Up by Lucy Falcone and illustrated by Jacqueline Hudon is another example of a seemingly simple text that will facilitate thoughtful discussion about bullying. The illustrations like the text provides powerful context for the topic.