Books for Babes

Reading is an escape. It takes you places that you never thought you could go and allows you to be whoever you want to be. Reading = Opportunity. As a future teacher, I cannot wait to introduce my students to the magic of reading. This virtual shelf is for them. Enjoy! and Happy Hunting!


Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream - Deloris Jordan, Kadir Nelson, Roslyn M. Jordan

I recently used this book with a boy I was tutoring and we both loved it. He wanted to read it over and over again. I take that as a good sign. Salt in His Shoes is a book about Michael Jordan when he was young and had a dream to play basketball. Michael becomes discouraged when he misses the winning basket during a game with his brothers. Michael decides to stop playing with his brothers until he is tall enough to make every goal. Later, Michael realizes that it takes a lot of hard-work and patience to achieve your dreams. This is a phenomenal book that teaches students that nothing comes easy. It teaches them that they should dream, but that they also need to work hard to make those dreams come true.


Use in the classroom: I would have this as a whole group read or something to offer for independent reading. It would also be a good book to use during research week!


Target grade: 3rd-5th 

Spooky good!

The Haunted House (Disney's Wonderful World of Reading) - Walt Disney Productions

This is a book that my mom read to me and my siblings when I was growing up. I loved hearing her read it to us and now I love to read it to my students. In this book, Mickey, Donald, and Pluto find themselves in a spooky haunted house trying to get some help. They end up finding out that the ghosts that were 'haunting' them were actually bank robbers and they turn them in to the authorities. This is a great book to teach that things are not always as they appear! You always have to dig a little deeper.


Use in the classroom: I  would read this during Halloween to give my kiddos a fun, spooky read! 


Target grade: kindergarten-1st

It's Shel Silverstein, what more can I say?

Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

Knock, knock. Who's there? Another one of my favorites! A friend gave me this amazing book when I was in the third grade and I immediately fell in love. There is just something about Shel Silverstein's work that completely draws me in. It's funny, serious, bizarre...I mean, what more could you want in a book? Where the Sidewalk Ends is a collection of poems that teach students some really great life lessons. Whether it be the illustrations or the syntax, your students are sure to enjoy every aspect of this book. Trust me, you need this one.


Use in the classroom: I would use this to teach students about all the different types of poetry. It is also a great book to use for partner reading!


Target grades: 3rd-5th

Extraordinary read!

Charlotte's Web - E.B. White, Garth Williams, Rosemary Wells

A sweet little pig named Wilbur is given a second chance at life when Fern steps up and saves him from being killed by his owner. Fern takes great care of Wilbur and they become great friends, until Wilbur grows big enough to be transferred to a new home in the barn. Because Fern is not able to visit as often as she would like, Wilbur is forced to make friends with the other animals in the barn. His new friends teach him all about the ways of life, but Charlotte helps him keep his life. This amazing book teaches students about the true meaning of friendship and loyalty. You are definitely going to want oyur little ones to read this one. Be warned that there is death in this story. However, I think this story is a great way to teach your kiddos that death is apart of life and that what matters is what you do with the life you are given. It's pretty deep stuff, but so so good!


Use in the classroom: For starters, this book will spark a lot of discussion, which is great! I would probably have students do a good bit of writing with this one. Perhaps, have them write about what they think a true friend is (how one should act). Of course, I would have some sort of fun "craftivity" too!


Target grade: 3rd-5th

Totally entertaining!

A Bear Called Paddington - Michael Bond, Peggy Fortnum

Paddington bear was found in a London train station with a note around his neck saying, "Please look after this bear, thank you." The Browns just couldn't pass by and do nothing, so they took him home, not realizing that things would never be the same. Paddington was a sweet bear and he tried to do the right thing, but somehow it always ended in a mess. Grab a copy of this book and experience all of the crazy predicaments that Paddington finds himself in. Trust me, you won't want to put it down. It's too much fun!


Use in the classroom: I would use this book during Literature circles and have students really dig deep into the text. I might even have a research project on Peru and London... have students find facts about each. I would also like them to create their own suitcases and bring things from home that are special to them.


Target grades: 3rd-5th

Such a sweet treat!

Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is about a young mouse named Chrysanthemum. Now, Chrysanthemum had always liked her name, she was proud of it. That is, until she went to kindergarten and her classmates made her think it was a silly name. Poor Chrysanthemum' s spirit was crushed, even her parents could not soothe her. Thankfully, Chrysanthemum encountered a teacher who was also named after a flower and who was very proud of it. Because of her, Chrysanthemum learned to love her name again and her joyful spirit bloomed again. This sweet book teaches students to be proud of who they are and what they love. It teaches that it doesn't matter what others think, you have to stay confident in yourself. 



Use in the classroom: I would have students get into groups and create a movie poster for Chrysanthemum. They will have to come up with a movie title, an illustration, and three words to describe the movie. I did this in my education class and I loved it! I know, my students will as well. 


Target grade: 1st or 2nd

Realistic and Humorous!

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Beverly Cleary

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 is such a fun book! It is sure to have every eight year old hooked because of it's relatability and humor. In this book, poor Ramona just cannot catch a break. Not only does she have to adjust to a changing home-life, but she has to endure some seriously embarrassing situations at school. Ramona handles it all the best way she knows how, unfortunately, that sometimes ends in a tangled mess. Go grab a copy and experience the life of an eight year old Ramona, you won't regret it.



Use in the classroom: I would use this book in a Literature Circle unit. I would have students divided into groups and after they read a certain amount of chapters, they would have an activity to complete (comprehension questions, conflict map, character map, etc.). 


Target grade: 3rd-4th

Totally Suessical!

Daisy-Head Mayzie - Dr. Seuss

Out of all of Dr. Suess' extraordinary books, this one is definitely one of my favorites. Mayzie is just like any ordinary girl in her class. Well, until she sprouts a daisy out of her head one afternoon. Poor Maizie is mortified, along with her teacher and principal. No one knows what to do. Specialists come in and try to get rid of it, but nothing works. After Mayzie is asked to be on television, she becomes famous. When everyone that Mayzie loves decides to not be her friend anymore, she realizes that love is more important than fame and fortune. I love the message that this book communicates to students! Trust me, you do not want to miss out on this fun Dr. Suess book. It may not be as well known as his other books, but it certainly is worth your time!


Use in the classroom: I would read this book on Read Across America day, instead of one of the more common books. I would have a discussion with students about the importance of love and friendship in life. For an activity after reading, I would have the class create their own daisy to wear on their head for the day. 


Target grade: I would read it to kindergarten-4th

Amelia Bedelia=Priceless

Amelia Bedelia - Peggy Parish, Fritz Siebel Come Back, Amelia Bedelia - Peggy Parish, Wallace Tripp Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower - Peggy Parish, Fritz Siebel, Barbara Siebel Thomas Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia - Herman Parish, Lynn Sweat Amelia Bedelia Helps Out - Peggy Parish, Lynn Sweat Good Work, Amelia Bedelia - Peggy Parish, Lynn Sweat Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping - Peggy Parish, Lynn Sweat

For as long as I can remember I have absolutely loved these books. They have had me laughing and laughing and...well, laughing some more. Amelia Bedelia is a maid who takes EVERYTHING literally (bless her heart), so, sometimes things go a little haywire. Not to worry though, because everything always works out for Amelia Bedelia. She and I, we are kindred spirits. In fact, we are probably twins that were separated at birth. I mean, talk about a relatable story (for me anyways...)! In all seriousness, these are fantastic books. I promise you, you will not want to put them down. 



Use in the classroom: I would use the "World of Amelia Bedelia" website to find some really awesome activities. On the website, there is a fun activity to help teach homophones and homonyms that I would use. I would also use these books for some fun journal or creative writing activities.


Target grade: 2nd



Madeline - Ludwig Bemelmans

Madeline has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. This story is based in France where a little girl named Madeline lives in a convent. Madeline is the most daring of all the little girls that she lives with. One night, Madeline wakes up in terrible pain and finds out that she has to get rid of her appendix. The other little girls visit her in the hospital and decide that they want to have their appendix removed too! This book is a super fun read. Your little ones are sure to be fascinated with it. In fact, they will probably  have a million questions about what they are seeing and reading! 


Use in the classroom: I would use this book as a way to introduce my students to a world of new things! I would have word sorts and creative writing projects. My students will be immersed in facts about France. I might even have my students do a little research project on French culture and how it differs from American. I would  connect the author's life to the text and show how they correlate. Finally, I would have a French party at the end (French food, music, colors, etc.)


Target grade: 1st or 2nd

So much fun!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Barbara Robinson

You won't be disappointed with this one, trust me. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a story that has captured the heart of many. The Herdman kids are the town's worst nightmare. They lie, steal, cheat, and...well, let's just say that they aren't the greatest example. So, as you can imagine, when they barge into the church one Sunday and take over the Christmas pageant, the people are less than thrilled. The Herdman's turn the pageant upside down, but to everyone's surprise, it ends up being the best Christmas pageant ever. This book teaches students that there are people from all different backgrounds that have something wonderful to offer. Students will also learn that things do not always go according to plan which is okay because many times the new plan turns out much better! 


Use in the classroom: I would have the students design an advertisement poster for the Christmas pageant, starring the Herdman's.


Target grade: 3rd-5th


Stellaluna - Janell Cannon

Stellaluna is heartwarming story about a little bat that feels as if she doesn't belong. After many trials, Stellaluna realizes that she is meant to be a bat. I love this book because it has so many teaching points! Students will learn that they all belong somewhere, it just sometimes takes a little longer to find where that is. They will also learn that being yourself is always the best option. Finally, students will learn to celebrate their differences. You and your little ones will love this story, trust me!


Use in the classroom: I would read this at the beginning of the year to encourage the students to just be themselves, always and to celebrate all of the differences in the class. I would use it to hopefully build a family-like environment in my classroom. 


Target grade: kindergarten-3rd

Absolutely Captivating

By Aaron Becker - Journey (7.7.2013) - Aaron Becker

Journey is probably one of my favorite books. It is enchanting. It is magical. It is inspiring. It is imaginative. It is breathtaking. It is all of these things and so much more... and it doesn't have a single word in it. This is not your typical wordless story, trust me. It challenges your mind to do the unimaginable. With one red coloring utensil, a whole new world is created. A world where you can meet new people, learn new cultures, and experience new adventures! Your students will learn that they can change the world. Buy this book, seriously. 


Use in the classroom: I would probably make a whole creative writing unit off of this book, but for starters I would have them write about what they think is happening in the book. Later, I would have them write about what they would change in their own life/world if they were given a magical marker and I would have them create their own book based on what they come up with. They would draw their own illustrations. 


Target grade: 4th or 5th


Simple and Purposeful!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Eric Carle, Bill Martin Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You see? is a wonderful book for your beginning readers. In the book, the narrator asks various animals what they see, to which the animals usually reply with another animal. There are many animals featured in the story: a bear, bird, duck, horse, frog, cat, dog, sheep, and goldfish and depending on your version, you may see a teacher, mother, children or students.  It is a very colorful story with a lot of rhyme and easy predictability that your kids will love! Brown Bear is simple, but so fun and purposeful. 



Use in the classroom: I would use this in the classroom to help my students with sequencing skills. I would read the story and then pass out a copy of the story to groups. The story will be all scrambled up and the students will have to put it back in order. I will include pictures to help students make connections with what they have seen and heard in the story previously. 


Target grade: kindergarten-2nd (depending on the activity you are wanting to do)

Could it be any more imaginative?

Harold and the Purple Crayon - Crockett Johnson

Harold and the Purple Crayon is such a fun, creative book and it is a perfect fit for your little ones. Harold finds himself with a purple crayon and literally draws his world as he moves along. He leaves his cozy bed to explore an unknown world. When Harold finds himself in a quandary, he draws a way of escape. Harold can do anything he wants with his purple crayon. This book shows students the wonders of imagination and teaches them that they all have talents to offer  the world. 


Use in the classroom: I would use this book to introduce a creative writing activity. I would use the prompt "If I had a magic purple crayon, I wold draw..." or "With a magic purple crayon, I would make my _________ better by..."


Target grades: 2nd or 3rd




The Rainbow Fish - Marcus Pfister, J. Alison James

The Rainbow Fish is a lovely story that teaches students about the joy of sharing. In the story, a beautiful fish with the shiniest scales is asked to share one with a friend. The fish loves his scales and does not want to give any of them up, so he rudely refuses. His decision not to share causes all of the other fish to refuse to be his friend. The fish realizes, through some very wise advice, that sharing his scales will bring him more joy than keeping them all to himself, so he decides to share. He shares his scales with one fish and then another, and then another, until he is left with only one. I love the message of this book!


Use in the classroom: I would read the book at the beginning of the year and follow up by having the students  create a scale with some information about themselves on it. I will glue all of the scales on to a big fish and display it on the wall. This activity will be used to teach the students that they are all apart of a small community with wonderful differences that need to be shared! 


Target grades: kindergarten-2nd