The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Beginning of School Top Books

Beginning the school year, favorite books to share…

I know, most of these books are young, but sharing books at any level can be accepted by students with your enthusiasm presenting them. I was reminded of this when I noticed some wonderful, favorite books that my sister has borrowed from the public library to inspire herself and her students in their beginning weeks of school. She mentioned that she found some new-to-her inspiring titles on Pinterest (hooray for Pinterest!) so thanks to those who shared them! She’s teaching fourth grade, has been a teacher for quite a while and if you’ve been following this blog you know already that she’s a tremendous book lover like me…

So here is my sister’s pile of fabulous books, ones I’d certainly share as well if I was at the beginning of the school year. Of course I’d mingle in other books as well, novels/non-fiction, etc…

*Side note, my sister and I talked about the first novel she would share for the school year… she was considering sharing the wonderful book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, but I suggested, ok demanded, that she share Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff. I just love this book and I think that it brings along opportunities for empathy discussion, understanding of different learning styles, ethics, and so many more things… just love this book! (If you’ve read my blog before you probably saw my huge celebration when it was released!)

By the way, loved the Nerdy Book Club post (I wrote this before it was posted but thrilled to see it.)
http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/saved-by-the-read-aloud-by-ryan-m-hanna/   “Saved by the Read Aloud” – I completely agree, read alouds are fantastic.

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig– as I said last year, I think this book is quite a brilliant one to begin the year with, especially to discuss how some students can dominate a classroom and other students might blend in and become invisible… (I’d also have all Trudy’s other books at the ready for those inevitable discussions about bullying, friendships, and more. Goodreads Summary: “Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.”

Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann – talk about a wonderful book for celebrating individuality when you want to encourage children to not just be swayed by their peers…Goodreads Summary: “It’s the first day of school, and Ruby is new. When her classmate Angela wears a red bow in her hair, Ruby comes back from lunch wearing a red bow, too. When Angela wears a flowered dress, suddenly Ruby’s wearing one, too. Fortunately, Ruby’s teacher knows a better way to help Ruby fit in–by showing how much fun it is to be herself!”

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger – love how you can talk about kindness, tolerance, and challenges each of us go through… Goodreads Summary: “Poor Rodney Rat can’t pronounce his R’s and the other rodents tease him mercilessly. But when Camilla Capybara joins Rodney’s class and announces that she is bigger, meaner, and smarter than any of the other rodents, everyone is afraid. It seems she really is bigger, meaner, and smarter than all of the rest of them. Until our unwitting hero, Wodney Wat, catches Camilla out in a game of Simon Says. Read along with Wodney as he surprises himself and his classmates by single-handedly saving the whole class from the big bad bully.”

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes – lovely examples of how worries can hit anyone, anytime, even on the first day of school. Goodreads Summary: “Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start. And Wemberly worried even more.”

The Way I Act verses by Steve Metzger, illustrations by Janan Cain – love all the action examples connected with life traits such as friendly, brave, considerate, curious, etc. Goodreads Summary: “The Way I Act shows scenes that kids can identify with peering at bugs with a magnifying glass, finishing a puzzle, sweeping up a mess. The text also cites examples that define words such as curious, responsible, persistent, and capable.”

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson, illustrated by Tara Calahan King – love how discussions can be led about making assumptions when you don’t know someone yet and how friends can be made in different ways. Goodreads Summary: “It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend.”

A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, pictures by Harry Bliss – Fabulous book, love Sharon Creech, wonderful school, hilarious storyline, should be shared every year- to lead discussions on balance between school and time at home, learning, need for independence, and more… Goodreads Summary: “One day, Mr. Keene called all the students and teachers together and said, “This is a fine, fine school! From now on, let’s have school on Saturdays too.”And then there was more. School all weekend.School on the holidays. School in the SUMMER! What was next . . . SCHOOL AT NIGHT? So it’s up to Tillie to show her well-intentioned principal, Mr. Keene, that even though his fine, fine school is a wonderful place, it’s not fine, fine to be there all the time.”

A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook, illustrated by Anita DuFalla – Isn’t it wonderful when you have THAT book that fits a certain need? Dealing with tattling can be discussed by sharing this book… especially since different kinds of problems lead to different scenarios. Goodreads Summary: “No one likes Josh the Tattler because he tattles way too much. He tattles on his classmates, his brother, and even his dog! But one night he wakes up to find his tongue is very long, yellow, and covered in bright purple spots. Will a bad case of Tattle Tongue help him learn the difference between tattling and telling? This book gives teachers and counselors a humorous, cleverly creative way to address the time-consuming tattling-related issues that often sap classroom energy and thwart teaching opportunities.”

You’re Finally Here! By Melanie Watt – I love all books by Melanie Watt, but if I was a teacher, I’d probably share this right at the beginning of the year. Celebration of books but also celebration of being back at school and teacher anticipation for students coming into the classroom. Goodreads Summary: “Hooray! You’re finally here! But where were you? A bunny bounces through a range of emotions in this funny picture book about how difficult it is to wait. At first he’s ecstatic that you, the reader, has arrived. But then he can’t help letting you know that waiting for you took too long, was way too boring, and even became insulting. The bunny is ready to forgive everything if you will promise to stay. But hold on–he has to take a phone call. Wait! Come back! Where are you going?”

What if Everybody Did That? By Ellen Javernick, illustrated by Colleen M. Madden – great book to share when having students design their class rules/agreements. Great discussion for how you are part of a community and there are some great responsibilities that connect to it! Goodreads Summary: “Imagine what might happen if everybody broke the rules!”

Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne Jones, illustrated by Richard Watson – What a CUTE character Lacey Walker is, kids will instantly connect with her when this story is read aloud. She learns how interesting others can be one day when she loses her voice and this helps her change her everyday actions… a little bit… Goodreads Summary: “Lacey Walker loves to talk. She talks all day, and sometimes all night. But when she loses her voice, Lacey learns the importance of listening.”

Don’t Fidget a Feather! By Erica Silverman, illustrated by S.D. Schindler – great friendship book, especially to talk about competitions and what’s a healthy choice and when to help others… Goodreads Summary: “Duck and Gander are having a contest. But Duck swims faster, and Gander flies higher. So which one is the champion Then Duck gets an idea: “Don’t move,” she says, “Don’t talk. Don’t fidget a feather And the winner will be the one and only, true and forever champion of champions. But as Duck and Gander stand stock still, along come a host of visitors — including Fox. Will Duck run? Will Gander? Which is the true champion?”

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka – This book is pretty darn blatant with the message, but I don’t think that is bad. I think it is lovely. Sometimes kids don’t need subtle. I love the math lesson embedded within the story as well! One good action can impact many people over and over if others are inspired to also take a positive action… Goodreads Summary: “It’s a feel-good story that inspires and celebrates a world full of ordinary deeds!”

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein, illustrated by Mark Pett – Lovely book. Great for teaching about how mistakes can be fine and to hold yourself to high expectations for being perfect can be quite stressful… Goodreads Summary: “Beatrice Bottomwell has NEVER (not once!) made a mistake…
Meet Beatrice Bottomwell: a nine-year-old girl who has never (not once!) made a mistake. She never forgets her math homework, she never wears mismatched socks, and she ALWAYS wins the yearly talent show at school. In fact, Beatrice holds the record of perfection in her hometown, where she is known as The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes. Life for Beatrice is sailing along pretty smoothly until she does the unthinkableshe makes her first mistake. And in a very public way!”

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague – Hilarious book to use for that beginning of year inevitable writing assignment- how I spent my summer vacation… I honestly think more tall tales would be fun- in fact a writing assignment leaving things open for the reader to guess: reality, tall tale, fantasy, etc. would be quite an entertaining way to begin the year and see where students’ skills are at! Goodreads Summary: “Some kids spend their summer vacation at camp. Some kids spend it at Grandma’s house. Wallace Bleff spent his out west…on a ride, a rope, and a roundup he’ll never forget.”

Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books by Diane deGroat – Great book to share at the beginning of the year with students, includes making new friends, and more! Goodreads Summary: “Some kids spend their summer vacation at camp. Some kids spend it at Grandma’s house. Wallace Bleff spent his out west…on a ride, a rope, and a roundup he’ll never forget.”

 So, which books do you think are “tops” to share at the beginning at the school year? Would love to see your favorites below, if I wasn’t controlling myself, I could add 20 more!

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

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