Saturday, August 10, 2013

10-for-10 Picture Book Event 2013

This is my first year to participate in the 10-for-10 event. My list consists of the 10 picture books I, as a teacher, author, and illustrator, can't live without. Here goes:

1.  Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey--I had to begin my list with this because when I was a child and was taken to the library every week, though I searched and searched, I could not find a better book than this, so I checked it out each week. My parents then made a new rule: I had to check out two books, one of which could not be Make Way for Ducklings. Problem solved.

2.  In a Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming. --Here is a great example of writing about a "small moment" and it's a great mentor text for that. Couple that with Fleming's brilliant and innovative paper pulp illustrations and you have pure genius.

3.   The True Story Of The Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka  --Here is a great example of Point of View and could be a great mentor text for kids of all ages to write a familiar story from an alternative character's POV.

4.  Hook by Ed Young --I think that everything Ed Young does is brilliant, but I love this book for its sparseness. Sparse text, sparse illustration = less is more. For students who get hung up on trying to make their artwork look as realistic as possible, here's a great lesson in illustration that "gives the impression of," which is what illustration is meant to do. (If the publisher wanted the illustrations to look totally realistic, they'd use photos.) It's a freeing lesson for children.

5.  This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen  --What I love, love, love about this book is that the text does not match the illustration, and kids know it. Great for examining inference! Several years ago I took a novel writing class where the teacher posed this question: "If the majority of communication is nonverbal, what are you doing in your writing about this?" This is the question in illustration, and Klassen handles it in the blink of an eye.

6.  Olivia by Ian Falconer--Olivia epitomizes the character-driven picture book, and no one, young or old, can tell me they don't like this little pig.

7.  The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney --There are many awesome wordless picture books out there, but I challenge you to find one more beautiful than this one. I love the strength of wordless PBs in building vocabulary and blogged about it here.

8.  Country Crossing by Jim Aylesworth --This obscure little book stole my son's heart when he was young. I love it for a couple reasons. First, I think it's a great example of the "speed" of a text. This story begins slowly and quietly, becomes fast and loud in the middle, and returns to slow and quiet in the end. The other reason I love this book is the way the illustrations become the text--a beautiful meshing of text and image.

9.  Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh--The first reason to love this book is because the mice are so darn cute. The second is because it teaches an art lesson and it's fun to duplicate that. Finally, I love this book as an example of character motivation--why the mice decide to become white again in the end.

10. The Reader by Amy Hest--I'll admit it--I have a love affair with quiet books, and they rarely make it through the publication process these days, but this one did. This quiet tale is of two friends who share a great and important experience together--reading! Couple this with some of the best work illustrator Lauren Castillo has done and you have beautiful book through and through that celebrates--what else?--reading!

Thank you to Cathy, at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community, and Mandy, at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for sponsoring this 10 for 10 Picture Book event!


  1. Thanks Deb! Love your list too! More books I must read.... :-)

  2. The True Story of The Three Little Pigs made it on my list too. Nice job!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! Great minds.... :-)