Skip to content

Because Kids Need to See Themselves in Books: My #PB10for10

My 2016 #PB10for10 Picks
My 2016 #PB10for10 Picks | Leave a comment about this post (See giveaway information for details.) for a chance to win one of these ten books.

Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere have been curating a group called Picture Book 10 for 10 every August for the past six years. Essentially, this is an opportunity for educators to share and discuss “must have” books for classroom libraries. It’s a fantastic event, which I look forward to each year since I get to share some of my favorites and learn about new titles from #pb10for10 participants.

I wanted to create a thematic list of books this year. Lisa Keeler’s recent post — “Where Have All the Narratives Gone?” — inspired my thinking about this year’s list. In her post, Lisa wrote:

Perhaps writing about the small  moments of their lives, and creating realistic story lines with relatable characters in fiction pieces is challenging for our students because so much of what they see and read is not like that. When I think about the “hot” books my students read and share, they are mostly fantasy series. And when I see what is in the theaters, well, it is pretty similar. I think students today are unfamiliar, perhaps even uncomfortable with the structure, rhythm and feel of stories of ordinary moments brought to life beautifully on the page.

Lisa’s post made me realize many children kids aren’t getting enough exposure to realistic stories where they see themselves reflected on the page. Therefore, I wanted to curate a list of ten picture books, all of which have been or will be released this year, that will help kids see their own lives reflected in a book. By choosing to share one or more of these books in your classroom, you will provide your students with an opportunity to know they aren’t alone AND that they can write a personal narrative on a similar topic.

9780763669713Because moving to a new country is challenging, share A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts and Hyewon Yum (Candlewick).

Publisher’s Summary: When Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia, he struggles to adjust to his new home. His eyes are not big and round like his classmates’, and he can’t understand anything the teacher says, even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly at him. As he lies in bed at night, the sky seems smaller and darker. But little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English words and make friends on the playground. And one day he is invited to a classmate’s house, where he sees a flower he knows from his garden in Korea — mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him — and Hee Jun is happy to bring a shoot to his grandmother to plant a “piece of home” in their new garden. Lyrical prose and lovely illustrations combine in a gentle, realistic story about finding connections in an unfamiliar world.

AllMyTreasures_CVBecause it’s the little things in life that bring us the most happiness, share All My Treasures: A Book of Joy by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey (Abrams).

Publisher’s Summary: When a girl receives a beautiful porcelain box from her grandmother, she immediately wants something special to put inside it. But what could it be? What does she love best? She loves jumping in puddles on rainy days, blowing bubbles in the park, and watching her little sister’s first steps. As it turns out, life’s most precious treasures cannot be contained in a box! With a gentle message about the immateriality of happiness, this story reminds us to take pleasure in everyday moments. The book is beautifully packaged with a sparkly die-cut star on the cover, and flaps throughout reveal hidden surprises.

9781780677712_mainBecause everyone has been teased about looking different, share Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars (Laurence King Publishing).

Publisher’s Summary: Bob the bird is just like all his friends, apart from his skinny legs. When Bob is teased, he decides to try and change himself to fit in. But little does he know where all his efforts will lead him…
An affirming picture book for age 3+ about the power of art and of being confident enough to be yourself.

CanITellYouaSecret hcBecause we all have fears to overcome, share Can I Tell You a Secret by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant (Harper).

Publisher’s Summary: From the author-illustrator team of You Are (Not) Small, winner of the 2015 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, comes an adorable picture book featuring Monty. He’s a little frog with a BIG secret that he’s ready to share. Monty learns how to face his fears with some help from his new friend—YOU!

9780763678456Because stage freight is a real thing, share Jack’s Worry by Sam Zuppardi (Candlewick).

Publisher’s Summary: Jack loves playing the trumpet, and for weeks he’s been looking forward to taking part in his first concert. But on the morning of the big day, Jack finds he has a Worry. And his Worry starts to grow. Even when Jack’s mother calls him for a special breakfast, even when he hides under the bed or runs around the yard, his Worry follows him. Suddenly, when it’s almost time to leave for the concert, Jack finds it’s all too much. For anyone who’s ever been afraid of failing at something new, this book offers just what’s needed to shrink a Worry down to size.

9781561459100Because reading doesn’t come easy for many kids, share Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp (Peachtree Publishers).

Publisher’s Summary: Madeline Finn DOES NOT like to read.
Not books.
Not magazines.
Not even the menu on the ice cream truck.
But Madeline Finn DOES want a gold star from her teacher.
Stars are for good readers.
Stars are for understanding words.
And saying them out loud.
Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn’t so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn’t mind. Madeline Finn can pet her until she figures the word out.
As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it’s okay to go slow. And to keep trying. Just like the sticker says.

9780763668198Because it takes time and practice to get good at something new, share More-igami by Dori Kleber and G. Brian Karas (Candlewick).

Publisher’s Summary: Joey loves things that fold: maps, beds, accordions, you name it. When a visiting mother of a classmate turns a plain piece of paper into a beautiful origami crane, his eyes pop. Maybe he can learn origami, too. It’s going to take practice — on his homework, the newspaper, the thirty-eight dollars in his mother’s purse . . . Enough! No more folding! But how can Joey become an origami master if he’s not allowed to practice? Is there anywhere that he can hone the skill that makes him happy — and maybe even make a new friend while he’s at it?

9780763679477Because nearly everyone has lost a beloved stuffed animal, share Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann (Candlewick).

Publisher’s Summary: Sam and his stuffed bunny, Jump, are best friends, and they do everything together. One day, on a trip to the beach, Sam meets Thomas. Sam and Thomas play together all day and promise to do the same the next day. But when Sam gets home he realizes Jump is still at the beach! It’s too late and too dark to go find him, and Sam worries all night. What if Jump is nowhere to be found? Can Sam brave the world without his best friend? Little ones with their own cherished toys will be drawn to this reassuring story about losing something dear only to gain something even better.

KidsLogoORIGINALFILEBecause grandparents age and it is hard to watch, share What a Beautiful Morning by Arthur A. Levine and Katie Kath (Running Press).

Publisher’s Summary: Every morning is beautiful when Noah visits his Grandparents. When Grandpa and Noah wake up, they take off singing and hardly stop: walking the dog, splashing through puddles, and eating French toast with cinnamon.

But one summer Grandpa seems to have forgotten how to do the things they love. Does he even know who Noah is?

Grandma steps in energetically, filling in as best she can. But it is Noah who finds the way back to something he can share with Grandpa. Something musical. Something that makes the morning beautiful again.

This is a story about how love helps us find even what we think is lost.

cover DadBecause some families live in two different homes where the expectations aren’t always the same, share When I am with Dad by Kimball Crossley and Katie Gamb (Two Little Birds).

Publisher’s Summary: Elizabeth is a girl who likes things just so. When she spends the day with Dad, sometimes things are a little bit different. She and her little sister, Lulu, take us through a day with Dad; and while everything may not be to Elizabeth’s taste, it’s about being with the person who loves you more than anything in the world. Learning to accept each other’s differences is all part of being in a family!

It is my sincere hope that having these books in your classroom will help kids see themselves reflected on the page. When children hear stories about characters who experience the same things they’ve gone through or are experiencing, then it gives them permission to write their own stories about something similar.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

  • Several publishing houses are giving away one copy of each book listed above.  Many thanks to Abrams, Candlewick Press, HarperCollins, Laurence King, Peachtree Publishers, Running Press, and Two Little Birds for donating a copy for TWT readers.
  • For a chance to win this copy of one of the titles above, please leave a comment about this post by Wednesday, August 17th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Friday, August 19th.
    • NOTES:
      • I will draw the winners’ names and assign the books at random unless you state, in your comment, which books you’re most interested in using in your classroom and why.  Preference will be given to those (whose names are chosen) who mention specific titles in their comments.
      • Some publishers only ship books to people in the United States, while others will ship worldwide. Please leave your geographic location, if you do NOT live in the United States and/or have a U.S. mailing address, when you leave a comment.  
      • Listing the name of the book does not guarantee you’ll win a copy of it if your name is one of the ten chosen since multiple people might request the same book(s).
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – PB10FOR10 2016. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Comments are now closed. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on this blog post. Here are the winners of each book:

    1. A Piece of Home – shawndastories
    2. All My Treasures: A Book of Joy – Michelle Elizondo
    3. Bob the Artist –  tflander2015
    4. Can I Tell You a Secret – Susie Kurstin
    5. Jack’s Worry – Peggy Beach
    6. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog – Lisa Gerin
    7. More-igami – mbhmaine
    8. Sam and Jump – Stefanie
    9. What a Beautiful Morning – Marcia Balkin
    10. When I am with Dad – Stacey Hicklin

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

140 thoughts on “Because Kids Need to See Themselves in Books: My #PB10for10 Leave a comment

  1. I love picture books and use them with my fourth graders. Several of these would be great for the beginning of the year and would help develop community.

    Like

  2. This is a great list! I was pleased to see that all these title are new to me! I would love to add some of these to my mentor text collection!

    Like

  3. I can’t wait to check out these books. Whenever I am asked to give a list of books for the library at school I go to your website for titles. Thanks so much.

    Like

  4. Such a great list of books Stacey! I’ll be adding them to my ever growing list of books that I might need for my classroom. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  5. So many of these books can be used in different curriculum areas, from art to health to social studies. Any of year would be a great addition to my grade 1-2 classroom!

    Like

  6. Stacey, I think you and Lisa are right when you talk about so much of what young children see and read is fantasy, and they already have a hard time understanding that the small, everyday moments of their lives are worth writing about. This is a great list of books, and they are all new to me so I look forward to adding these to my library. Thanks for another great post.
    If I were to win, I’d be especially interested in Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, or any book that’s appropriate for third graders.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love using great mentor texts with my 3rd grade writers! Thank you for the wonderful list of titles that I can add. These are all fabulous! I could use them all 🙂

    Like

  8. I teach 5th grade language arts and history at a small independent music and academic school. Jack’s Worry will be perfect for my students who experience performance jitters.

    Like

  9. Stacey, truly a great list for demonstrating narrative writing. Personal narratives always seem to be the most difficult writing for my sixth-grade students because they feel like they don’t have a great story to tell. Sharing these will definitely demonstrate that we all have a story to tell and ti doesn’t need to be an “earth-shattering” event. Thanks for such a great list!

    Like

  10. All of these books sound great! I teach Kindergarten in a Title 1 school in a primarily African-American/Hispanic area of Maryland. I would love to add any of these titles to my collection of read alouds for my class and my team. More-i-gami would be my top pick, but I think our kindergarteners would love Bob, Can I Tell You a Secret?, Jack’s Worry, Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, or All My Treasures: A Book of Joy. What a fun contest!

    Like

  11. Oh, these all look wonderful! I love the diversity and what appear to be wonderful real world moments come to life. I see outstanding mentor texts for all grades!

    Like

  12. I love the selection of books helping children see themselves in the classroom library. I look forward to adding many of them to my collection. Thanks!

    Like

  13. Thanks for the great list of books! Looking forward to checking them out with my 5th graders as we explore mirror and window books. Jack’s Worry really stood out to me.

    Like

  14. I love that you highlight books for us! It’s so hard to know which new books to purchase for your classroom each year. I definitely want to add “Bob” and “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog” to my list! I teach Kinder and every year I work with struggling readers. I think “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog” is perfect for those children. “Bob” seems to ring true for everyone! I live in Austin, Texas. Thank you, again! karenpurdy23@gmail.com

    Like

  15. I am ALWAYS looking for books to serve as mirrors and windows in my 5th grade classroom. I have already ordered a few of the titles you mentioned, but just recently heard about Madeline Finn and the Library Dog. While I’d be thrilled to receive any book on this list, that book is a book my own 7 year old needs. We were lucky enough to be able to read an ARC of Abby Hanlon’s Dory, Dory, Black Sheep and seeing his reaction to Dory having trouble reading was proof of why all kids need to see themselves in books…even those who struggle to read those books! Thank you!

    Like

  16. There are a few that really stuck out to me that would be great for my group of students.
    When I am with my Dad
    What a beautiful morning
    Sam and Jump
    More-igami
    Madeline Finn and the library dog
    I guess I’ll be ordering some more books!! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Like

  17. As an ESL teacher, I love read aloud a with my students. I must agree with you that small moments are hard for students because there aren’t enough books students can relate with. I am going to purchase A Piece Of Home! Thank you for the great titles! Happy school year everyone!

    Like

  18. This post is wonderful. It reminds me of how my students always love Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting, which is about a homeless child who lives at an airport with his dad. Jack’s Worry particularly piqued my interest. Every year I have several students who have anxiety about their home life, and those worries can affect their learning. Thanks so much!

    Like

  19. So glad to have found this site and this post before school starts in a few weeks. Always nice to have a resource for special kiddos who might need it.
    Thanks!

    Like

  20. I would love the chance to win, “A Piece of Home”, as I will be co-teaching an English Language Learner (ELL)/English as a New Language (ENL) fifth grade class this year. I have been an educator for 20 years and am excited about this new class. There will be 13 students for whom English is not their native language and usually those students are not all in the same class. We will have a real community of students coming from different places. The story seems sweet and will be very useful for the beginning of the year.
    Thank you for this opportunity.

    Like

  21. This post is coming at the perfect time to begin my realistic fiction unit. I have A piece of Home and plan to pair it with my chapter book read aloud, Save A seat for Me.

    Like

  22. I love getting a sneak peek at books to come! And this list does not disappoint. Your narrative theme lends itself perfectly with writing workshop – kids need to see themselves in books to know they have a story to share too! Thanks, Stacey!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I adore all the personal connections you highlighted with these amazing titles! We are very fortunate to have such choices to offer kids in our classrooms.

    Like

  24. I completely agree that students need to see themselves in the books we read. Thanks for sharing your list. Some of these titles are new to me; I can’t wait to explore them with my students.

    Like

  25. I love that you wrote this post. I’m an instructional coach in our district and so often I hear teachers brushing over the narrative writing unit because they feel kids have done this throughout their elementary experience and they need to put more emphasis on persuasive and expository writing. Along with the the immense exposure to fantasy I also think about the layout and structure of texts students are exposed to today. Graphic and comic-based novels have infiltrated bookshelves and there is so much we could be doing with students to experiment with the text structure of narratives as well. Our district has the Reading and Writing Units of Study and I could see all of these books being excellent resources, but in particular for our clientele A Place Called Home, Sam and Jump, Bob the Artist, and What A Beautiful Morning would be titles that could really make a great impact in many of the classrooms I work in. Thanks so much for sharing this great insight and list of books!

    Like

  26. Love this list! All new titles for me, so my library request list continues to grow. I’ll be sharing your post with the teachers where I used to teach. And we’ll use them in our Books, Brownies & Beyond after school book club. I’m so glad that Lisa’s post led you to this theme. Especially interested in All My Treasures and What a Beautiful Morning, but would be thrilled to win any of these titles to place in my niece’s 4th grade classroom library. .

    Like

  27. I LOVE this post, Stacey! I’m always thinking about the many ways I use my books in the classroom and with my own children. And equally, I’m always searching for new books! What is your strategy for keeping track of all of the books you read/use with your students?

    Like

  28. Thank your for this great list! I agree that it is important to find small moment narrative stories that relate to the kids I have in class. I am bit disappointed that only one of your books has a child “of color”. Many of my students are “mixed” or other races other than Caucasian. I would love to have any of these books to use with my class during writing!

    Like

  29. Morning Stacey. I think your theme was a great idea and your list really thoughtful.
    I know that Bob the Artist and More-igami will both be terrific additions for the Doucette Library’s collection. Thanks so much for your recommendations and stopping by Apples with Many Seeds.
    Tammy
    Apples with Many Seeds

    Like

  30. What a lovely list. I love that you picked some great themes that kids can relate to: moving to a new place, anxieties about reading or performing music well enough. I would love a copy of either Jack’s Worry or Madeline Finn.

    Like

  31. What a great list! I’m unfamiliar with several of these titles, so thanks for the recommendations!

    As a dog fan, I’d love a copy of Madeline Finn & the Library Dog–thanks for the opportunity! 🙂

    Like

  32. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog would be a great addition to my library. As a Reading Specialist I work with struggling readers. No matter the age, they all enjoy reading to one of the stuffed characters I have in my classroom.This sounds like a perfect fit for them!

    Like

  33. What a beautiful collection of books! Many titles are new to me. I’m sad I didn’t get to make my list this year but I love reading all the posts!

    Like

  34. WOW!!! What an amazing list of books! I’ve never heard of any of these, so I’m going to have to go shopping. 🙂 I think All My Treasures: A Book of Joy would be an incredible addition to my writing classroom. Thanks so much for the opportunity!!!! 🙂

    Like

  35. This post really has me thinking. I recently read Madeline Finn and loved it. So important for students to see personal stories shared. I am now going to be on the lookout for A Piece of Home and My Day with Dad. I have many immigrant students here in Vancouver and I think a Piece of Home would really resonate.

    Like

  36. I love getting lists of books that will work for Mentor books. I have found that I need them even at the high school level. I have several students that were never read to as children. Love finding books that are good for reading out loud and also relate to something that a high school student may be struggling with. Thanks for the list.

    Like

  37. I love that you’ve put together a list of titles that students can see themselves in. It’s a list I’ll be sharing with teachers! Thank you.

    Like

  38. What a great list of new texts! I think children will be able to relate to any of these books, especially Madeline Finn, Jack’s Worry, and When I’m With Dad, and can find inspiration, encouragement, and validation to write about their own lives! Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  39. We are welcoming a new kind of diversity at our school this year. Can’t wait to hear if I might win this wonderful collection that helps our PK-2 learners have window and mirror books to support their choices in our classroom library! Fingers crossed!

    Like

  40. I would love Madeline Finn and the library dog – I think we could get a stuffed animal to go with it and share with some of our reluctant readers. Fingers crossed!!!!

    Like

  41. Wow! As always, I continue to learn from you! The challenge in finding small moment stories has always plagued our teachers, so thank you for highlighting so many outstanding titles. I don’t own any of them, so winning any of them would be wonderful. However, if given a choice, I would say All my Treasures would be a great pick. As a K-5 coach, this book would appeal to kids in all those grades. It could spark a writing idea for our littlest kids who will probably interpret this book more literally, while our older students might interpret it more figuratively, so it could serve as an entry into metaphor.

    Like

  42. Thanks for sharing these great books! We always start our workshop out with personal narratives so this is perfect. I am especially interested in Madeline Finn and the Library Dog but would love to add any of these to my classroom library.

    Like

  43. Such great titles! Students feel so empowered when they know they are not alone and there are others who face the same challenges and fears; these stories help equip them with the tools they need to overcome those obstacles!

    Like

  44. Picture books belong in the Middle as well! I’m working to expand my middle school classroom library. Hopefully I can include one of these books!

    Like

  45. I love the idea of the book All My Treasures. I can see it fitting nicely with the mindfulness piece and “living in the moment”/”enjoying the small things” mindsets. These are all great books, though! Can’t wait to add them to my collection!

    Like

  46. When I saw the title of this post I was expecting a list of titles that featured non-white characters. I appreciate the different spin on stories where students can see themselves in real everyday moments, at the same time there are only two books on the list that don’t feature animals or non-white characters. I think you may have put a spark in me to find more titles about every day moments for those students that don’t get to see themselves in mainstream titles. I love the titles listed and being exposed to even more stories. Thanks for the introduction and the spark.

    Like

  47. All of these books sound great! I especially am interested in Madeline Finn… and When I am with Dad. Thanks for putting together this list.

    Like

  48. These look AMAZING. I’m most excited about “A Piece of Home” as we have a huge influx on non-English speaking kids lately. And “Jack’s Worry” addresses issues I deal with all year with certain kiddos. I want them all, though!!

    Like

  49. I love having a great book about how seniors change as they get older. I am looking forward to trying “What A Beautiful Morning” with the children before we start our weekly visits to the senior residence this year. Such touching relationships to witness but not so easy for children to understand why it isn’t as easy to talk as it was last year.

    Like

  50. Look at all these great picture books. They seem to each tell a story that will speak to children as well as show the craft of narrative writing.

    Like

  51. Stacey, thank you for your post. Most of these are new titles for me! At first glance, there are several I know I will be adding to my class library.

    Like

  52. I love PB 10for10 in all genres and always fill my cart with books! Thanks for your list-I have a few more to add. I just received Jack’s Worry last week and it’s great.

    Like

  53. Stacey, I loved your titles — and the structure of your post. There are many new-to-me titles in this list. I’ve requested several from the library and can’t wait to check them out. Thanks for sharing your titles with the community.

    Like

  54. Because teachers can never get enough books, I’m thrilled to have your curated list. These books are all new to me and I’m certain I need to get every one of my them! Thank you for sharing these beautiful narratives to reach many different types of readers and writers!

    Like

  55. These books are all new to me, and I will be heading directly to the library to check them out. Thanks for sharing. When I am with Dad interested me because it is a topic my students with newly divorced parents talk about. This looks like a good conversation starter. All of the others also look engaging.

    Like

  56. I’m so glad you chose to follow up on Lisa Keeler’s thoughtful post about narrative books with this themed list. I like to think I’m well versed in picture books, but all of these titles are new to me. What fun to have new books to explore and enjoy! Thanks!

    Like

  57. So many children fear that they are not good readers and it is quite the endeavor to help them over this obstacle. “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog” appears to be a great book that would help kids to learn that it is okay to make mistakes while reading and maybe help them to overcome their own fears. Thank you so much for sharing. It is impossible to keep up with all of the amazing books out there.

    Like

  58. This list is great. I would love a copy of More-igami. We are starting a brand new STEAM school in our district and this book is what we are all about!

    Like

  59. Love the idea of bringing small moments to the fore front…allowing young writers to see how their lives can unfold into a story…even the simplest of moments and everyday situations!

    Like

  60. Nearly two-thirds of the students in my school are ELL’s or speak another language at home. I’m always looking for books that my students can relate to, and “A Piece of Home” looks like one that I need to get!

    Like

  61. I would love a copy of A Piece of Home or All My Treasures. A Piece of Home would be great for students who have moved to America from other countries to connect to and the other would be great to show how students can look at little snippets of their lives as something they can treasure and then write about.

    Like

  62. Which of these would make a better read for middle school? I’m not familiar with any of them, and none of these are at my local public library.

    Like

%d bloggers like this: