School is back in session, and with it come picture books for elementary school babies! Whether your children are physically in school, attending virtually, or are homeschooled, I can promise you your child’s teacher is reading them some high quality picture books. While these books may seem silly or pointless to some, as a mom and teacher, I can promise you that they are an absolute wealth of knowledge. Not only does reading out loud to your children strengthen their reading and language abilities, but picture books also teach SO MANY life lessons. No matter what subject I’m teaching, I always make it a priority to have a great read aloud on hand. Even older children love them, and you’re sure to have their attention thanks to beautiful illustrations.
I had a really hard time narrowing it down, but here are a few of my favorites:
- We’re All Wonders, R.J. Palacio – This is the book I read on the first day of school each year. It is a picture book that is a partner to the chapter book Wonder. This book teaches children about kindness, acceptance, tolerance, being unique, and community. It’s the perfect choice for teaching children to choose kindness.
- Finding Winnie, Lindsay Mattick – This is a stellar nonfiction book that will pull at your heart strings. It’s the true story behind Winnie the Pooh. It’s full of rich history, reads like a fiction book, and tells the story of America’s most beloved bear. Get your tissues ready; it’s a tearjerker!
- Llama Llama Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney – This classic is the perfect book for lower grade elementary kiddos. The rhyming and rhythm is fantastic, and the reassurance Llama’s mother gives him helps kids understand that their parents will always be there when they need them.
- The Stranger, Chris Van Allsburg – Chris Van Allsburg is probably my favorite children’s author. You can’t go wrong with any of his books. I love reading this book in the fall because it’s about Jack Frost. While it never comes out and says that, children must use their inference skills to figure that out. The illustrations are beautiful and the storyline keeps my students on the edge of their seats the whole time.
5. Last Stop on Market Street, Matt de la Pena – This book is as beautiful as it is sweet. It’s a story about a little boy and his grandmother who ride the bus every week through the city. He doesn’t understand why he doesn’t have some of the wealth and privilege as some people he sees in the city, but his grandmother makes their life grand and adventurous. This is a great story for teaching children that life isn’t always greener on the other side.
6. Those Shoes, Maribeth Boelts – This is another exceptional book about children who may not have as much as others. It teaches kids about kindness, sharing, and envy.
7. The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg – This timeless Christmas book is one of my all time favorites. The imagery, imagination, and sense of wonder in this book can’t be beat.
8. After the Fall, Dan Santat – This book is perfect for teaching children to never give up. This is the story of Humpty Dumpty and his redemption after he fell off the infamous wall. The first time I ever read this was with one of my 4th grade classes, and I was just as blown away by the ending as they were.
9. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, Sherri Dusky Rinker – As a boy mom, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book before bed. It’s the sweetest story and the rhyming words are fantastic.
10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle – Finally, I could not write this post without mentioning a book by Eric Carle. All of his books could’ve made this list, but this one is my favorite. Besides the beautiful illustrations, this story teaches children about time, counting, number sense, and life cycles.