Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Finding Friendship Picture Book August 10 for 10 #pb10for10

For the past five years I have been fortunate to be one of hundreds of people who can hardly wait for this date to arrive.  It's when book lovers and readers participate in the Picture Book 10 for 10.  Co-founders of the event Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere have created a community of those who wish to list their current top ten favorites in general or by a theme.  Cathy explains it here.

This will be my sixth year generating a list of favorite books around a common theme.  In my first year I selected ten plus two of my favorite alphabet books from my collection.  Year two had me unable to select only ten of my top picture books from my canine collection, so Xena my wonderful Labrador retriever picked the titles.  That year I used an application called Learni.st to host the choices.  This can now only be accessed by using the app rather than the website.  If you use the app Learni.st and search under Xena the book list, August Ten for Ten Xena's Favorite Dog Books, will appear.  As a companion to the first list I chose counting and number books in 2014.  In 2015 my books revolved around bedtime, sleep and sweet dreams.  Last year I decided to generate a more unusual list showcasing robots as main characters.

School has started for many educators; others will be following in the next several weeks.  One of the most lasting things we do in our classrooms is to build relationships.  A gift we give to our students is to show them the value of true friends.  Our authors and illustrators address this very real need with beauty, truth and sometimes laughter.  Here are my top ten plus one. (This was exceedingly difficult.)


1.  The Story of Fish & Snail (Viking, June 13, 2013) written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman.


Sometimes it's more important to feel safe.  Sometimes it's more important to do what you can when you can.  This book is about trust; leaving safety and doing more than you think you can to be where you want to be.

Every day...
Snail sits in one special spot, waiting 
for Fish to come home with a story.

The playful pal and comfortable companion are delightfully depicted in this title.  When it comes to friendship, living the story is much better than listening to the story; your world grows, your spirit soars and your heart is brimming with happiness.  Oh, let me tell you; this book is meant to be shared...again and again.  This would be lots of fun as reader's theater or at the very least be sure to use a special voice for each of the characters.  An Educator's Guide to the Works of Deborah Freedman is now available.


2.  The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Little, Brown and Company, April 4, 2014) written and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Nearly ten years ago author illustrator Dan Santat celebrated his first book's birthday; The Guild of Geniuses (Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.) was released in November of 2004.  In the intervening time I have watched him perfect his distinctive workmanship in writing and illustrating.  His visuals are brimming with a colorful vibrancy and his particular brand of humor.  His newest book, different from the others, which he both wrote and pictured, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Little, Brown and Company, April 4, 2014) came out two days ago.  It's already left a huge print on my heart.  It's a love letter; perhaps to his eldest son for whom the book is dedicated or to all those seeking their most remembered friend.

He was born on an island far away where imaginary friends were created.

 This book is beautiful like any and all of your favorite things.  Read this to everyone.  I know, in my heart of hearts, you will be asked to share this story over and over.  There are many, many extras to use with this book in your classrooms.


3.  Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt and Company, August 26, 2014) written and illustrated by Mike Curato

Being a smaller person allows you to have a tried and true empathy for all the students who pass through your classroom at the elementary school level.  In your heart of hearts you understand how a taller person can glance around a room or scene missing someone as if they are invisible, not necessarily because of age but because of height.  Debut author illustrator Mike Curato gives us a peek into the world of a big-hearted being in Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt and Company, August 26, 2014).

Little Elliot was an elephant.

I predict a HUGE gathering of readers of all ages (and sizes) will continue to fall in love with this elephant and his mouse friend.  Be sure to check out the companion titles, Little Elliot, Big FamilyLittle Elliot, Big Fun and Little Elliot, Fall Friends.


4.  Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, August 7, 2014) written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi

Spending the night with a friend is one of those events when the realization exceeds the anticipation.  Those treasured hours chatting, laughing, telling stories, watching television or movies or playing games are sacred childhood memories.  In Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, August 7, 2014) written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi a solution is sought by one kind and clever friend.


Beatrice and Bear met on a clear spring day.

I can't imagine a collection of friendship books without this title.  It is one of those huggable books.  Beside friendship it could be used to discuss hibernation, the seasons, perseverance and ingenuity.  Get out your bear, rabbit and squirrel puppets for a story hour filled with joy and warmth.


5.  Stick and Stone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 7, 2015) written by Beth Ferry with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld

Sticks and stones can be used to make homes.  Stones and sticks can be used to shape words in dirt or sand.  Sticks and stones can be used to channel water.  Stones and sticks can be used to bring imagined miniature worlds into reality in fields, woodlands or even backyards.  With skill they can supply warmth through fire.  They hold, hide, mark, filter, and form.  They are indispensable.

Together they are better.  Stick and Stone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 7, 2015) written by Beth Ferry with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld introduces us to a stick and a stone who discover the benefits of not being alone.  They fashion a friendship, firm and true.

Stick.
Stone.

This book is a gentle, rhythmic ode to the strength of shared experiences; to having someone who cares about you as much as you care about them.  The text and pictures mirror the relationship of the characters, friends to the end.  This is a wonderful read aloud generating laughter, sighs and discussion.  It would be fun to think of all the uses for sticks and stones.  I wonder how many phrases with sticks and stones can be listed;

Between a rock and a hard place
Out on a limb
Branching out
Stick in the mud...


6.  Be A Friend (Bloomsbury Children's Books, January 5, 2015) written and illustrated by Salina Yoon

Be A Friend (Bloomsbury Children's Books, January 5, 2015) written and illustrated by Salina Yoon like these exceptional children is a present for her readers  It's a token to be treasured, representing the wisdom and worth of walking this planet with respect and appreciation for others.  It asks us to wear our differences seen on the outside and those we harbor inside with courage.


DENNIS was an ordinary boy...
...who expressed himself in
EXTRAORDINARY ways.

Not only are you going to read this title over and over again at one sitting, you are going to want to read it to others.  The combined pacing of the text and pictures is superb; a tale about needing a friend and being a friend.  If you use it in a storytime make sure to have red hearts to give to your listeners.


7.  Nerdy Birdy (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, September 22, 2015) written by Aaron Reynolds with pictures by Matt Davies

 With humans it is sometimes a different kind of survival; a fine line we walk in choosing which paths to take, wanting to belong but maintaining our individuality.  Nerdy Birdy (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, September 22, 2015) written by Aaron Reynolds with pictures by Matt Davies follows a bird seeking to find his place among his feathered fellows.


This is Nerdy Birdy.
His glasses are too big.
His wings are too small.

If you have not read this book yet, make sure you do so as soon as possible.  If you've already read it, go now and read it again, preferably aloud.  There is nothing better than laughing and learning at the same time.


8.  Best Frints in the Whole Universe (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, July 5, 2016) written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis

We may discover again and again the inhabitants of other outer worlds share some common characteristics with us.  Best Frints in the Whole Universe (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, July 5, 2016) written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis explores the relationship of two individuals from a unique planet.  These buddies boisterously proclaim their affection amid their antics.


Yelfred and Omek have been best frints since they were little blobbies.

With every reading of this title your happiness will grow larger and longer.  These two pals seems to be at odds as much as they are in sync but they help us to realize no matter where you reside the essence of friendship can withstand anything, even the schmackle of a spossip.  It also helps to have one special item handy at all times. (You'll have to read the book to discover this valid piece of advice.)


9.  Samson in the Snow (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, September 27, 2016) written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead

When you read titles such as A Home for BirdBear Has a Story to TellHello, My Name is RubySebastian and the Balloon, and Lenny & Lucy each focusing on compassion and friendship, each written by the same author as the dedication shown above, you know his newest title will give you those very same things.  It will encourage you to look at your world with intention.  Samson in the Snow (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, September 27, 2016) written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead is a gentle story wrapped in a timeless truth.

ON SUNNY DAYS Samson tended his dandelion patch.

Samson in the Snow is a moving, marvelous tale of friendship.  It softly surrounds you.  It is the kind of story you want to share repeatedly. This book is a gem; like finding dandelions in a snow storm.


10. Your Alien Returns (Sterling Children's Books, October 4, 2016) written by Tammi Sauer with illustrations by Goro Fujita

If an extraterrestrial happens to crash his ship in your yard, you might feel as though you are dreaming but this is exactly what happens in Your Alien (Sterling Children's Books, August 4, 2015) written by Tammi Sauer with illustrations by Goro Fujita.  A fast friendship is formed between the human boy and the small green alien child.  Fortunately for readers the best buddies are reunited in Your Alien Returns (Sterling Children's Books, October 4, 2016).  Space contains no boundaries when love fills two hearts.


When you least expect it, something special will get your attention.

Your alien will be back.


This book clearly shines a light on the soul of friendship.  Differences in appearance, food, games, customs and where you live don't matter to friends.  The most important thing is each other.  This is an uplifting tale and a stellar companion to the first title.  You will be asked to read them both over and over again.


11.  That Neighbor Kid (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May 9, 2017) written and illustrated by Daniel Miyares

Even if you have a fear of heights, once you arrive and enter everything changes.  The small space, four walls with perhaps a single door, a single window and a roof to keep out the weather, is a place where memories lasting a lifetime are created.  Wishes are spoken aloud.  Promises are made.  Secrets are voiced.

When this haven is constructed by hand and with help, its value increases.  That Neighbor Kid (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May 9, 2017) written and illustrated by Daniel Miyares is about the art of reaching out and receiving.  Taking chances can lead to a far greater joy than believed is possible.

There is a timeless quality to the story and the portrayal of the characters in Daniel Miyares's That Neighbor Kid.  Even the title supplies wonder; is it the girl or the boy who is the neighbor kid?  I can't imagine a personal or professional bookshelf without a copy of this book.


If my wonderful sweet Xena the Warrior Princess, a chocolate Labrador retriever, were still here I know she would pick this book.

I Got a New Friend (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, May 23, 2017) written and illustrated by Karl Newsom Edward

Is there anything better than watching children and puppies playing together?  The rest of the world falls away as they focus on each other.  They seem to embrace life with pure bliss and complete interest.  It's as if they are connected by an invisible thread.

They are the ultimate example of "love at first sight."  I Got a New Friend (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, May 23, 2017) written and illustrated by Karl Newsom Edwards celebrates this mutual affection. As soon as you open the book it reaches out and envelopes you.

I got a new friend.

Will this book make a great read aloud?  Yes!  Will this book be a bedtime title read repeatedly?  Yes!  This book is brimming with exuberance.  I cannot imagine a professional or personal bookshelf without a copy.  I would pair this with Our Very Own Dog.


My new furry friend, my wild child, my eleven month old chocolate Labrador retriever, Mulan thinks this book is a fantastic title about friendship.

Hello Goodbye Dog (Roaring Brook Press, July 25, 2017) written by Maria Gianferrari with illustrations by Patrice Barton

When a dog and their human connect, it's indescribably beautiful.  If you are one of those humans, each day you look at your dog thinking how fortunate you are.  Surely this is a miracle this wild thing chooses to be with me.

It's as if two separate souls become inseparable.  As a human, whether you realize it or not, you have become a member of a pack.  Your dog's loyalty is one of the most humbling experiences you will ever have.  Hello Goodbye Dog (Roaring Brook Press, July 25, 2017) written by Maria Gianferrari with illustrations by Patrice Barton is the story of two hearts full of love, the one for the other.

"Hello, Moose!" said Zara.
There was nothing Moose loved more
than hello.

As you read this story your heart fills with laughter and lightness. Hello Goodbye Dog gives readers an up-close look at the desire of a dog to be with her human always and of her human's loving response.  Children and adults alike will enjoy seeing themselves in this story.  You will most definitely want a copy on your professional and personal bookshelves.

I am wishing everyone one of their best school years ever.  I hope this list of books contributes to building lifelong friendships.


8 comments:

  1. Margie, what a perfect theme for back to school. I just read Samson in the Snow and was hoping it would have made your list. That Neighbor Kid is on my TBR list. Must lay my hands on it! Be a Friend is also a favourite of mine. When I had a Gr 2/3 class a few years ago, the children drew and drew images form this book! Wonderful list!

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  2. I love books about friendship and you have made such good choices. There are a couple that I don't know so I'll have to check them out. Best Frints is on my list, too. First and second graders who I have read it to have loved it.

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  3. Margie, this is a wonderful post because you write from the heart about each title. Thank you for taking the time to showcase each book with such passion and care. I am especially keen to read The Adventures of Beekle.

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  4. Thanks for contributing such a good list. I Got a New Friend looks lovely and I'll be adding it to my wish list.
    Tammy
    Apples with Many Seeds

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  5. Just added a few of these to my "must read" list.

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  6. Margie!! Thank you for including Hello Goodbye Dog here! <3 <3 <3

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  7. I loved Nerdy Birds and more lately, That Neighbor Kid. Your list is a great one for the beginning of the year. It is so brave for students to walk into a classroom, especially if they are new. I hope teachers find books like these that help. Thanks!

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  8. Margie, I always look forward to your book recommendations. These are great titles for getting our learning communities off to a strong start.

    Cathy

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