"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

16 May 2016

My Favorite Things: Go-to Picture Books

I am responsible for the weekly family storytime at my library, and I also frequently host elementary school classes that visit the library or visit classes at preschools and daycares. While I usually follow a theme for my storytimes, I do have a few books that are my go-to resources if I can't think of a particular theme, or if I just want to read a variety of books that I know the children will enjoy:

  1. The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak. This book is guaranteed to get a laugh from students, both those who have heard it before and those who are new to it. I recommend that anyone reading this out loud ham it up as much as possible, because kids love nothing more than watching grown-ups be ridiculous.
  2. Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. Tacky is hands-down my favorite picture book character. He's silly, he's different from the other penguins, but he has a good heart and he always saves the day. I also love that his companions, while agreeing that he is different, don't tease him for being different, and they realize how helpful his differences can be.
  3. I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. This is another silly one, and it works well with an ocean theme, a fish theme, a whale theme, etc. It's also fun, and the kids enjoy the surprise ending of the story.
  4. The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone. This is an older book - I remember reading it when I was a child. I also remember how much I loved it, and the kids I see at the library share this love once I introduce them to this book. They think it's hilarious to watch the antics that Grover gets up to in attempting to stop the reader from getting to the end of the story.
  5. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett. This may seem like an odd choice, but it's a great, quiet book to place in between more rowdy books, or to use with an older group. The reason for the yarn's disappearance is never explained, so I love asking the kids at the end of the book what they think happened to the yarn. They all have interesting explanations, and it's neat to hear how many different answers I can get from one class.
  6. Any of the Love Monster books by Rachel Bright. Love Monster is adorable and he learns good lessons about friendship.
  7. Any of the Anansi books by Eric Kimmel. Anansi is a trickster whose tricks often backfire on him, and these stories are good for older groups of children who are ready for a longer, meatier story than many picture books provide.
  8. Meet Dizzy Dinosaur by Jack Tickle. This interactive book is great for a younger crowd who need a shorter story that keeps them engaged. Also, Dizzy is adorable. 
  9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Yes, this is a classic that many children have already heard, but a familiar book can be a comforting book, and the counting and life cycle parts of the story are really good for young pre-readers. Also, there are big book versions, flannel versions, and puppet versions of this story, which makes it great when you need some variety. 
  10. Bats at the Library by Brian Lies. This rhyming story introduces children to the library itself and also ties in well with a storytime about the night, bats, nocturnal animals, etc. 
If you have to do a storytime on the fly, what are your go-to books? 

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