Favorite Halloween Books 2020

It’s almost time for Halloween! How are you celebrating in your town or school? Does it look different for you, or are things fairly similar? 

I can’t let a holiday go by without sharing my favorite books for the season! It’s just not in me. Here are my favorite Halloween books. 

The Legend of Spookley The Square Pumpkin. Maybe I love this book because my first-grade teacher (read about her here and how she gave me a love for books!) read this to our class on Halloween. But the message behind it is still great. 

Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini 

Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown By Charles M. Schulz because how do you say no to a classic?! 

Pete The Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean. I think there’s a special element of fun when a beloved, well-known book character celebrates the same holiday you do. 

The Dead Family Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle: it teaches about Day of the Dead from a unique perspective from the dead world side instead of the living world. It will also make you wonder if maybe the movie Coco stole some ideas and influence from this book….?

What are your favorite Halloween books to read to your class?

Great List Of Elementary Aged Read Alouds

I’m a sucker for a good read aloud in the classroom!! This post is focusing on read-alouds for elementary-aged students. Please also note that they are equally as good for middle and high school ages! But these specific books are age-appropriate for these younger grades. 

Picture books:

The Little House. It takes a talented writer and illustrator to give a house such expression.

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits. 

The Book With No Pictures by B.J Novak. For when you just need a good laugh! It’s also excellent to teach how words can be so powerful and important in reading. 

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Napping House by Audrey Wood. The rhythm of this book is so peaceful and nice, a great book when the class needs calming. 

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. I cannot read this book without shedding a tear! “I like myself! I’m glad I’m me. There’s no one else I’d rather be.” a message you really hope every one of your students knows. 

Chapter books:

Frindle by Andrew Clements

A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Such a fun series! I’m also a big advocate for reading the first book in a series to students in hope that they pick up books two, and three, and so on….

Nate The Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. Start them early with some good mystery books! 

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. My new favorite! It’s written in verse, making it a unique chapter book. It’s a great read! 

What are your favorite elementary school read alouds? 

My Book Review on “College READY: Get The Most Out Of Your College Experience”

High school and college students, this post is for you! Teachers and professors of high school and college students, you’ll want to listen too. I recently read a book targeted toward high school seniors, but I believe is beneficial to any students, even those well into college. 

College READY: Get The Most Out Of Your College Experience by Mitchell Nicholes is a book written by a recent college graduate who takes apart different parts of college step by step in an easy to read and comprehend way. He covers topics such as discovering you why for college, setting SMART goals, and the ins and outs of funding and financial aid in college. The writing is fairly casual, making it a text that doesn’t need to be deciphered, the information comes across easy and sometimes in bullet points for ease. And with only 37 pages, putting this in the hands of students would not be overwhelming. By the end of the book, they should feel confident in knowing more about schooling, budgeting, and goal setting. 

It covers a vast audience, not just high school seniors. Researching college and the preparation it entails can start at younger ages before high school. And on the other end of the spectrum, students beyond their freshman year in college can benefit from this book too. I was well into my sophomore year of college before financial aid was even on my radar, and this book would have been a great tool in my research on what FAFSA was and the jargon it brings along with it, which is why this book needs to be in the hands of every student with undergrad and graduate schooling on their minds.

There is a whole chapter on career choice and progression, and that itself is why any college student at any level needs this as well. He covers everything from choosing the correct career for you to figuring out salary after graduation. If you won’t take my word for it that this book is worth your time, take it from a paragraph in the book itself: 

“The sole purpose of this book is to equip you with the knowledge and tools to get the most out of your college experience and set you up for success in life. So many people go through different journeys in their life without a plan, and essentially just end up “somewhere.” Think of this book as a guide. Utilize the knowledge you learned to discover what you need to do to get the most out of your college experience and set yourself up for success in life!’

-Mitchell Nicholes

You can buy the paperback or Kindle version of this book on Amazon. 

Three Cheers For Repeating Text!

If I were to pick three books that are favorites for my two-year-old right now, it would be Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, Goodnight Moon, and Bear Snores On. I read these three books so often I could read them in my sleep! What makes these texts so memorable for my daughter, why is she so drawn to them? The repetition. Repetition can be a powerful tool for younger students, whether it’s in book, song, dance, word, or any other form. 

Hearing the sentence over and over “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” with only the noun and pronoun changing through every page gave my daughter the confidence to say this phrase herself at a young age. When she was younger and still learning phrases, one of her favorites to say was, “What do you see?” Obviously, it sounded a lot more like, “at you ee?” but we could translate! 

Still, almost a year later, her favorite phrase is, “Mama, what do you see?” said a little clearer now, and with actual meaning. When I respond by following the pattern of the book, “I see a little girl looking at me!” she giggles in delight because she knows these words, they are near and dear to her heart. 

The repetition in songs and books can also promote: 

  • Recognizing letters 
  • Phonological Awareness 
  • Writing skills 

Some of our other favorite repetitive books include:

  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess 
  • If You Give A Pig A Pancake Series by Laura Numeroff 
  • Don’t Let Pigeon Drive The Bus! By Mo Willems 
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Lucille Colandro 

So next time your child or student requests Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell for the 50th time (yes, I have that one memorized as well) remember that they are learning and their little brains are growing, becoming more confident with words, speaking, and writing by hearing these over and over and over and over again. So let’s add in a little more repetition and give three cheers for repetitive text!  

The Season for Giving Thanks and Reading Books

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, so do you know what that means? Thanksgiving picture books! There is no better way to celebrate a holiday than with picture books in the classroom, I am a huge advocate for picture books at any age. Here are four books you need to keep on your radar this holiday season. 

A Turkey For Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting A fun story about woodland animals that get together to eat Thanksgiving dinner together, just to realize that their friend, Turkey, is missing! 

Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf This book is based on a true story of a New York family who celebrates Thanksgiving in the woods with family. Not only is it a great book, but the pictures are also beautiful as well. 

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano A story that will have your students laughing out loud seeing Thanksgiving from the perspective of the turkey. 

If You Were At The First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma This isn’t a picture book per se. However, it is a great book to keep around the classroom for the month of November. It answers common questions and some misconceptions you or your students may have about the first Thanksgiving. 

What fun books are you reading in your classrooms this Thanksgiving? 

Featured Image: deathtothestockphoto.com

Let’s All Remember Our Heroes This Veterans Day

Veterans Day is on Monday, and with any important holiday, a great picture book is a must. It doesn’t matter if your students are 2-year-olds in a daycare, or 18 years old in college, a powerful, informative picture book can always be applicable when used correctly. 

Veterans Day is now more widely known as, “Head over to our stores for our 50% off Veterans Day sale” It has become a commercial holiday used to boost sales and place the United States flags on their ads as if that honors the men and woman that served our country in some way. Veterans Day is so much more than a 50% off sale and needs to be treated that way as well. 

It’s a day to celebrate and remember those who gave their all, sometimes even their lives, so that we can continue to live in peace and comfort we have today. It’s remembering those families that suffered weeks and months without their dads, or the kids who attended their first day of school without their mom because they had parents serving across seas. It’s a chance to feel empathy for the families who have packed up and moved so many times in a year that they have lost track of what cities they’ve lived in. It’s a holiday all of us need to remember a little more. 

I have read multiple books on Veterans Day, and after all of my readings, one book sticks out to me because of the emotional pull it brought out as I read. America’s White Table by Margot Theis Raven goes through everything placed at the White Table, the rose, the lemon, the chair, and more, then explains what it represents and why. 

Katie, the young girl in the story helping her mom set the White Table, is told a story of her uncle who served in the war and ended up as a Prisoner of War (POW) but eventually was able to escape and help a friend escape as well. Hearing his emotional story helped Katie see the importance of the white table. 

“It was just a little white table… but it felt as big as America when we helped Mama put each item on it and she told us why it was so important.”

-America’s White Table

I was somewhat ashamed to find out after reading this picture book that I did not know what each of the items on the White Table was for, I just knew it represented a solider somehow. Let’s change this for our students that also do not know the purpose of the white table. Let’s not just teach out kids numbers and letters, let’s teach them about our heroes of this country this Veterans Day. 

A few other great Veterans Day books: 

The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh

H Is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion by Jane Barclay 

How do you honor Veterans Day in your classroom? 

Featured Image: Pexels.com

5 More Interesting Informational Picture Books

Continuing my efforts to promote more nonfiction, here are 5 more reads we’ve enjoyed lately!

An Ode to the National Parks: You Are Home, by Evan Turk. The National Parks are my happy place. The rich illustrations and figurative language perfectly captured the way I feel when I explore these majestic realms.

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Teddy: The Remarkable Tale of a President, A Cartoonist, A Toymaker, & A Bear by James Sage and Lisk Feng. I was surprised how much my kids enjoyed this book, given the long text. But the story was just so compelling for us all! My kids adoration of their teddy bears has definitely reached new levels ever since.

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Pedal Power by Allan Drummond. This is a great text for teaching your kids about how they can take action in their communities. Of course, my own involvement in bicycle advocacy didn’t hurt in making me love this book, too!

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One Day, So Many Ways by Laura Hall & Loris Lora. I remember being unable to get enough of these kinds of reads growing up, usually supplied by DK. I like the vintage feel of the illustrations, too.

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I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon, by Baptiste and Miranda Paul and Elizabeth Zunon. Engaging biography that demonstrates the power of one determined individual.

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featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto