Today I am going to share 5 of my favorite picture books that help us celebrate reading! I am going to share a little summary of each book and tell you why I love them for kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Before I dive in, I wanted to let you know you can watch or listen to all this information in video format below:
Towards the beginning of the year in our youngest classrooms, we really want to instill a love of reading right away. Whether you are celebrating National Read a Book Day on September 6th, or just trying to get your students to enjoy and celebrate reading, these 5 fun picture books are a great place to start!
Book #1: The Library Book by Tom Chapin
Not only is The Library Book an adorable picture book, but it is also a great song written by three-time Grammy winner, Tom Chapin! The words of this book accompany the music notes on the inside cover to compose a hit song perfect for sing-alongs with your students.
Click here to listen to the song, “The Library Book,” while you follow along to the words in the book: Library Book Song
Tip: Use this song and book together for a literacy center!
Summary: The Library Book is about a little girl who heads to the library on a rainy Saturday. As she goes through the library, she meets plenty of familiar friends from all her favorite stories, including Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, and Winnie the Pooh. The book is all about the wonderful time the little girl has while she moves through the library, collecting all the characters from her favorite books until she finally chooses a book, checks it out, and goes home to read.
I love this book because it really emphasizes a love of reading, especially in young children. When students see other children enjoying their books, it encourages them to start reading and enjoy their own books as well. The Library Book is a great, fun way to celebrate the joy of reading with your students!
You can find the book here >>> The Library Book
Book #2: Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro
Summary: Bunny’s Book Club is about a bunny who loves to eavesdrop on the summer reading club that gets together outside of the library. The bunny loves listening to all their stories and hearing about all the different adventures in each book. However, when summer ends, story time moves back inside the library and the bunny can no longer hear them. He misses their stories so much that he finally decides to sneak into the library and take a bunch of books home to his burrow. When his friends, the bear and the porcupine, ask what he is doing, the bunny tells them about the library and shares all of his stories. They start to love reading so much that he goes back to the library with the porcupine to get even more books to give to all of their friends. The bunny keeps spreading this love of reading until one day, the librarian catches the bunny and all his friends sneaking into the library. Fortunately, instead of kicking them out, she gives them all library cards so they can return and continue to check out books. On the last page, the bunny even starts his own book club for all his friends to enjoy their stories together.
Bunny’s Book Club is an adorable story to read with your class and the illustrations are great. I also love that this book mentions a book club because it really emphasizes a love of shared reading, just like we will be doing in our own classrooms when we sit, read, and enjoy our books together.
Tip: Add this book to your book club list! If you happen to run book clubs in your classroom, I also made a video about running book clubs here if you want to check it out (Book Club Video).
You can find this book here >>> Bunny’s Book Club
Book #3: The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora
The Not So Quiet Library is a fun, quirky book that I would definitely recommend for younger students, like our kindergarten and first graders.
Summary: This is a whimsical story about a little boy and his bear brother, named Theodore and Oskar, who go to the library every single weekend with their dad. It is called “The Not So Quiet Library” because one day, they hear a loud “BOOM! CRASH! GROWL!” and come to find a 5-headed monster trying to eat all the books in the library. When the monster finds out that it can’t eat books, it tries to eat Theodore and Oskar instead! The book is all about the silly things they need to do to escape this monster in the library. In the end, the 5-headed monster ends up sitting down for story time with Theodore and Oskar, and they come to realize that the monster also loves to read.
The Not So Quiet Library is definitely a win for your younger students. While it is a funny read for your kids, it still emphasizes the love of reading theme that we are trying to encourage in our students.
You can find this book here >>> The Not So Quiet Library
Tip #4: The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
Summary: This story is about a little boy named Henry who LOVES books, but not necessarily in the way you and I love books. The Incredible Book Eating Boy is a funny little story about a boy who eats books. Henry realizes that as he eats more books, he keeps getting smarter and smarter. Eventually, he gets smarter than his dad, then his doctor, then his teacher, until finally, he is the smartest kid on earth. However, Henry gets to a point where he has eaten so many books that he starts to get sick! He gets so sick that all of his information starts to get jumbled and he no longer knows how to do things like add or talk. Henry finally listens to the advice he has been given and stops eating books. In the end, he learns that he can still become smart by reading books instead of eating them.
Kids tend to love this book because it is so goofy and out-of-the-box. I also love that it follows our theme and promotes this love of books for kids (reading them, not eating them).
You can find this book here >>> The Incredible Book Eating Boy
Book #5: The Mermaid’s Purse by Patricia Polacco
This is a longer story with a more rich vocabulary that I would definitely read with older students, like second and third grade.
Tip: If you still want to read this book with younger students, try breaking it up and taking extra time to go over all the new words they may not be familiar with.
Summary: The Mermaid’s Purse is about a young girl, named Stella, who was born a long time ago and developed a love of reading from an early age. She always tried to share her love of reading with the people in her town, but nobody ever seemed interested. They finally start to realize the value of reading when Stella shows that she can apply the information she learned from her books to help them around the town. For example, the information she learned from reading her books helped her to save one of the farmer’s sheep, she stopped a person from drowning, and she even predicted a blizzard and warned the town. As people start to realize how important reading is, Stella and her Mermaid’s Purse, which is the building she uses to store all her books, start to become more and more popular. Then one day, a tornado comes and tears down half the town. The tornado destroyed the Mermaid’s Purse and all of Stella’s books were gone. However, the whole town comes together at the end to find all the books blown away by the tornado. She puts all the books back in the Mermaid’s Purse, and opens her own library to share with the town.
The Mermaid’s Purse is based on the true story of the author’s grandmother. She even includes photos of Stella at the back of the book, and there is a note that says her library is still around today in the town of Williamston. I love how this book places a high value on reading and highlights the importance of reading and all the things you can learn from books. As you will see in any Patricia Polacco book, I also love all the amazing imagery and word choice that fills the pages of The Mermaid’s Purse.
You can find this book here >>> The Mermaid’s Purse
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