Without further ado, here is my 2012 Picture Book List.
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds was apart of my list last year and frankly may be apart of my list for years to come. This book is a staple in my classroom. It is the book I go to when thinking about everything from feelings to taking risks to trying your best. I've said it before and I'll say it again this is the one book I'd have if I could only have one.
Last year, I had the privileged of reading Ish to a second grade class at my school. We had a rich discussion about Ramon and what "ish" really means. The kids still had a couple of questions that I couldn't answer so I said "Why don't we ask the author?". I went and sent a couple of Tweets to Peter and he responded, answering all of the questions the kids had. He also sent links to articles that would explain more. The kids could not believe that an author answering their questions. Not only is Ish a wonderful book but it has a wonderful author.
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin is one of those books that you could read 1000 times and it would never lose it's luster. I started off the first day of Kindergarten last year with this book and continue to read it over and over all year. Pete's laid back attitude was a great mentor for kids who get worried.
While studying informational texts I scoured the library and Twitter for recommendations that Kindergartners would understand and enjoy. After finding Nicola Davies I checked out every book by her. This book was by far a class favorite. My library copy was renewed about 4 times and the copy I own is well loved. This book has tons of fun facts about sharks while presenting them in a colorful cartoon like format. My kids especially liked inside the covers where the sizes of sharks were compared.
It's not often that a picture book is written about an event that you were a part of but that's what happened to me with Blackout by John Rocco. I lived in NYC when the massive blackout of 2003 happened. I was working in a restaurant at the time and for a bit we thought something much more serious had happened causing the power outage. When I read Blackout I was taken right back to that hot August afternoon and evening. People all came out, ice cream vendors were handing out cones, and there was a new sense of community. At one point, I looked up to the sky and almost gasped. Stars. There were stars in New York City. It was a magic moment that I know very few will ever experience.
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is a wonderful nonfiction book explaining the history of the balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Kids are naturally curious about how things work and learning about the balloons they so often watch on TV was a highlight of our year.
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein is a story about Papa Chicken trying to read a bedtime story but Little Chicken won't let him finish without interrupting. We often talked about how to not be an "interrupting chicken" in kindergarten last year. The kids thought this book was hilarious.
Press Here by Herve Tullet is one of those books that makes me want to run up to people and say "try it, try it, it's so cool". Press Here is an interactive book that gives you sets of instructions "causing" a reaction on the following page. I have seen people from 3 to adult read through this book following all of the directions loving every minute of it.
If you want to hear a classroom full of kids laugh from deep inside their bellies then read Chicken Butt by Erica S. Perl. This book is based on the joke "Guess what." "What?" "Chicken Butt!!" This book is funny and will help anyone have a good day.
I love ABC books! I love finding new and different ways to organize or present the letters of our alphabet. This book is one of the most original ways I've seen. Leslie McGuirk searched for years to find rocks that looked like every letter of the alphabet. There were long breaks between some of her finds but eventually she was able to find them all. Not only is this book unique and beautiful but the author's note is a great lesson in never giving up.
Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell was getting a lot of buzz on Twitter which usually means I should run, not walk, to get a copy. This book was no exception. I first saw the book in our school library. I picked up the story chronicalling Jane Goodall's life and read it. Then I got to the last page and gasped....it was the most perfect last page I'd ever seen. I won't spoil it for you but it. is. awesome.