In honor of Thanksgiving, I sent an email to the Pacifica Mother’s Club, asking members to send me the titles of books they are thankful for. I picked a few of them to read at my storytimes this week. I have included all of the titles at the bottom of this post, with links to both the Peninsula Library System catalog and Amazon.
The books I read for my Family Storytime were:
This is such a fun read-aloud. A bored little girl gets in an argument with a potato, who claims that kids are boring. Kids love joining in on the potato’s repeated reply, “Boring!” This one got snatched up immediately.
I have really fond memories of this story myself, and would definitely include it in my own list of books I am thankful for. Not only is it a sweet, happy story about a teddy bear searching a department store for his lost button, but it was the first book I remember reading that featured an African American girl, who is beautiful, and also more or less the hero of the story. (Interestingly, I just found this post by a woman who claims to have been the inspiration for that character). As soon as I pulled the book out at storytime, all the kids yelled, “Oh, I love that one!”
Jingle All the Way by Tom Shay-Zapien (Shared by Lisa Ottati and Family) Amazon.com link
This was a fun surprise. One of my storytime regulars brought this book, along with the plush dog who makes sounds in response to certain words in the story. I hadn’t read the book before (I think it’s only available as part of the Hallmark dog-and-book set), but it was a cute story about a homeless dog, and I enjoyed putting the dog on my lap and having him bark and whine at the end of each page. I may get this one as a Christmas gift for my daughter. I could see how it might be a good reading tool too, since kids will probably learn to recognize the words that make Jingle bark.
This is a longish story (an early chapter book), but it has enough action, repetition, and charming illustrations to hold the interest of preschoolers. A knight standing on watch at a castle hears a loud roar. Rushing to investigate, he comes to a cave where three little dragons are getting ready for bed. The first dragon asks for a drink of water, but naturally that’s not the end of the story… This book is always a hit. The kids love joining in on the loud roars, and they were all begging to check it out afterwards. There are several sequels, both picture books and chapter books. My daughter has been requesting to hear Get Well, Good Knight every night this week at bedtime.
CRAFT: Crepe Paper Dragons
I printed out this dragon head template from Sparklebox, then gave the kids crepe paper streamers, googly eyes, crayons, straws, and plastic gems. They had fun coloring and decorating the paper head, then taping on the streamers. We taped the straws on the back of the head to make a handle.
One creative dad stuck several straws together so his daughter could hold her dragon high above her head.
BOOKS YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR (from members of the Pacifica Mother’s Club)
These are all of the titles I received over email. Please send me any others you would like to add:
Todd Parr books (Recommended by Erika Patterson).
Todd Parr is a San Francisco author/illustrator who writes bright, colorful, funny but thoughtful little books like Underwear Dos and Don’ts and Otto Goes to School. Click here for the Todd Parr page on Amazon.com. My friend Lindsey Tear, a librarian in Virginia, also recommends The Family Book, a simple book that celebrates all the different types of families. It’s the perfect book for All About Me units or preschool and elementary school classes looking for books about families.
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes (Recommended by Angie Major) Amazon.com link
I read this at my toddler and preschool storytimes this week. It’s one of my daughter’s favorites, and I love to share it because it is so simple, and has such a satisfying ending. Bad things happen to four different animals, but they all turn out for the best.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Recommended by Angie Major). Amazon.com link
Talk about a classic! Great book for teaching about butterflies and the days of the week, with large, engaging illustrations.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Recommended by Allison Tungseth) Amazon.com link
Wonderful rhyming bedtime story for kids who love big machines and construction equipment.
Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton (Recommended by Teri Tosspon) Amazon.com link
This was a favorite of both my kids when they were toddlers. Funny, easy, rhyming book about animals. Sandra Boynton has lots of great books for toddlers. There are a number of iPhone and iPad apps based on her books as well. My daughter loves the Blue Hat, Green Hat one, and there’s a good one for this book as well.
Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney (Recommended by Teri Tosspon) Amazon.com link
Adorable rhyming stories about Llama Llama and his Mama that portray kids’ emotions in a way that parents of toddlers will identify with. My favorite is Llama Llama Red Pajama.
Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli (Recommended by Jessica Ellison) Amazon.com link
Another must-read for both of my kids when they were babies and toddlers. My daughter still goes around saying, “Burgers are Yummy. Boogers are Yucky.” (Valuable lesson!) Jessica also recommends Quiet Loud (Amazon.com link) and No No Yes Yes (Amazon.com link).
Preschool/Early Elementary Books
I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black; illustrated by Debbie Ohi (Recommended by Sarah Coffey) Amazon.com link
Great book to read when your kids complain about being bored. (See above for a longer description).
The Teeny Tiny Woman (Recommended by Sarah Coffey) Amazon.com link
There are several different versions of this story, but the classic is this one by Paul Galdone. A simple ghost story about a teeny tiny woman who finds a teeny tiny bone. Creepy without being too scary for little guys.
The Big Orange Splot (Recommended by Sarah Coffey) Amazon.com link
Terrific story about a peaceful neighborhood that is shaken when a seagull drops a big splot of orange paint on Mr. Plumbean’s roof. All of the neighbor’s complain, until Mr. Plumbean helps them learn to be brave enough to be different and express themselves in their own way.
I Miss You Every Day by Simm Taback (Recommended by Liz Vaisben) Amazon.com link
Charming, touching poem about a little girl who misses someone so much, she wraps herself up and mails herself to them. Great book for young kids who miss a friend or relative.
Press Here by Herve Tullet (Recommended by Janell Jones) Amazon.com link
This book reads like an iPad app, asking kids to interact with the illustrations by touching colored dots, shaking the book, blowing on it, and clapping. I’ve shared it with a wide range of ages, including two second grade classes, and the kids always love it.
Good Night, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas; illustrated by Jennifer Plecas (Recommended by Lisa Ottati) Amazon.com link
A beginning chapter book that also works well as a read-aloud, about a knight and three very cute dragons. (See above for a longer description).
Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go by Richard Scarry (Recommended by Lisa Ottati) Amazon.com link. Angie Major also recommended Richard Scarry Books, and I remember loving them as a kid too (Lowly Worm was my favorite). So much detail for kids to pore over. Here’s the Amazon.com link for all the Richard Scarry books.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (Recommended by Dorit Betschart) Amazon.com link
You may think you know the story of the The Three Little Pigs, but wait until you hear the wolf’s side of the story! This is an excellent book for fairy tale units, and so much fun to read.
Pigs Love Potatoes by Anika Denise; illustrated by Christopher Denise (Recommended by Dorit Betschart) Amazon.com link
I don’t know this one, but it looks adorable, and I can’t wait to read it. A counting book about a bunch of pigs who have a potato party. Dorit also recommends Bella and Stella Come Home (Amazon.com link) by the same authors, about a little girl and her stuffed elephant who move to a new home.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Recommended by Dorit Betschart) Amazon.com link
Winner of the 1963 Caldecott Award, and one I remember loving as kid. The story of a boy’s adventures on a beautiful snowy day. This was considered groundbreaking when it came out because of its African American main character. It’s a wonderful book for anyone who loves snow.
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon (Recommended by Jessica Ellison) Amazon.com link
When a little boy leaves his bike unguarded, Duck takes it for a spin. The other farm animals are jealous, until a large group of kids leaves their bikes outside. I love to do this one for storytime. The picture of all the animals on bikes is hilarious!
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Recommended by Jessica Ellison) Amazon.com
Hilarious story about a farm strike mediated by a duck. The cows won’t give milk until they get electric blankets. What is Farmer Brown to do? I love all of Cronin’s books, especially this series and Diary of a Worm (Amazon.com link).
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (Recommended by Jessica Ellison) Amazon.com link
As a children’s librarian and a parent, I am SO grateful for Mo Willems. This book puts kids in charge of a begging, wheedling, tricky pigeon. My kids love the iPad app based on this book too, where they get to create their own pigeon stories.
Nightsong by Ari Berk; illustrated by Loren Long (Recommended by Jessica Ellison) Amazon.com link
Beautiful book about an adorable bat who has to venture out into the night on his own to find food, using his song and his good sense.
Elementary School Books
Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Recommended by Angie Major) Amazon.com link
These are definitely in my own list of books I am thankful for. They are amazing, both for the detail they provide about life on the American frontier as well as for their beautiful writing. I read the first two with my son last year, and I got choke up reading about the Christmas where Laura and Mary were astounded and grateful to receive their own tin cup and a penny. The next day, I was astonished when my son announced that he wanted to give some of his toys away to kids who didn’t have any. (I wrote another post about it here.)
Mary Doria Russell books (Recommended by Angie Major) Amazon.com link
I have not read these, but Angie has me intrigued. She writes, “I really enjoy her writing style and that she writes so many different genres. But be careful – the only thing that’s hard for me is she gets you to really really like her characters and then they get killed. Have a box of Kleenex, especially for A Thread of Grace.
What books are you thankful for? Write your titles in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to add them to the list. Thank you to everyone who sent me the recommendations above!