Lit Block Blog

Children's books that I would love to have in my classroom one day.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

best-selling picture book inspired selection of the world - the real three little pigs Story - Unknown

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, written by Jon Scieszka, is the story of The Three Little Pigs but is the story told in the wolf's point of view. It shows an entirely new perspective to the story of The Three Little Pigs by having the wolf tell how he  believes the story actually happened. It has the wolf tell his side of the story and explain how he believes things went down. I believe that this would be a great book to use in a comparing and contrasting lesson by having them also know the original story of The Three Little Pigs and then giving them an anchor chart to help fill out for comparing and contrasting between the two. You could also have different comparing and contrasting activities that you could do with this book, and by using this book it helps keep them engaged. I would use this book for grades First through Third. 

Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley - Jeff Brown, Scott Nash, Macky Pamintuan

Flat Stanley, written by Jeff Brown, is about a little boy who wakes up one morning to find that he has been flattened by his board that fell on him over night. Stanley starts to discover that he can do some pretty amazing things that other children can't. He even get's to mail himself across the country to California. Stanley begins to go on lots of adventures such as, catching thieves, retrieving jewelry, and even being a kite. I would use the flat Stanley book as something that could be a first day of school activity. I could mail all of my students a flat Stanley or flat Stella over the summer and give them directions explaining to decorate their flat Stanley's or Stella, and to take them on adventures. They can either take pictures of all the places they go with their Stanley or Stella., or they can write about the adventures they went on, and on the first day of class they will share with the class everything they did together over the summer. This would be a great ice breaker and a great way for you to get to know your students. You can also display your students Stanley or Stella on the bulletin board for everyone to see, or you could have your students put their names on Popsicle sticks and then glue their Stanley or Stella to the sticks and use those as ways to call on students, or organize them into groups. I would use this for grades first through third. 

A Bad Case of the Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon

A Bad Case of the Stripes, written by David Shannon, is a great story about the importance of being yourself. Camilla Cream is the main character of this book and she is a very popular little girl who wants to fit in. She has one problem however, she loves Lima beans but refuses to eat them because she is afraid the other children will make fun of her or won't want to be her friend anymore. One day she breaks out into a bad case of stripes! she is covered from head to toe in colorful stripes! Camilla starts getting bullied at school and the other students call her shapes and color and she turns into those shapes and colors when they call her them. Camilla and her parents tried everything to cure her stripes, but nothing worked. One day a little old lady figured out how to cure her stripes by giving her Lima beans to eat. After eating the Lima beans she turns back into her normal self and finds that being herself is better then pretending to be something shes not, even if the other kids don't like the same things she does.This is a great book to show children the importance of being themselves. You can come up with many activities including writing activities, or even hands on activities. You could have a jar of dried Lima beans and have each student take one and tell the class one food that they really love, but some people might not. You could also have the students do an activity sheet where they fill out their own "stripes" and write things that they like about themselves on each stripe. I would use this book for Kindergarten through third grade. 

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum, written by Kevin Henkes, is about a little girl who is named after her grandmother. Chrysanthemum loves her name in the beginning of the story, but as she goes to school all the other children start bullying her about her name. She starts to believe that her name is not as beautiful as she thought it was, and she starts to hate school because all the other kids do is make fun of her name. One day the teacher makes a startling revelation about long names and names of flowers, the teacher says her name is also a long name and the name of a flower. After the teacher tells the class this Chrysanthemum loves her name again and the whole class decides they love her name to. I believe that this book is a great book to help children understand emotions. The main character in this book has a lot of the same feelings occur throughout the book, and she has trouble deciding how she feels about her name based on other people's opinion. This would be a great book to help children to understand their emotions and how it is okay for them to change. You could also do a writing activity where you have them write about a time where they might have really loved something and then someone else had a different opinion about it and they were confused on how to feel about it after. I would use this for grades first through third. 

The Night before ST. Patrick's Day

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day - Natasha Wing, Amy Wummer

The Night before ST. Patrick's Day, written by Natasha Wing, is a book about two children and how they prepare for ST. Patrick's Day. It is very similar to Twas the Night before Christmas, but is based on ST. Patrick's Day instead. I love this book because I love ST. Patrick's Day. To me this holiday get's ignored in schools, and I believe that any kind of Holiday is a good way to bring some fun into the classroom. There are many different activities that we could do after reading this book, for example, I could take them outside on a four leaf clover hunt. I could also have them make their own four leaf clovers and have them write the theme, setting, characters, and plot on each separate leaf; that way you can have a reading comprehension lesson as well as a fun activity related to the book. I could also have all the children wear green that day to add a little bit more fun to the activity and day. I would use this book for Kindergarten to Third grade. 

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace - Mary Hoffman, Caroline Binch

Amazing Grace, written by Mary Hoffman, is about a little girl named Grace who loves stories. She loves to act out stories of all kinds, whether it is being Joan of Arc, a pirate, or Mowgli. This little girl believes that she can do it all, and proves to everyone that she can be/do whatever she sets her mind (and imagination) to. This book would be a great book to not only read to help encourage children that they can be/do anything they set their mind to, but it also could be a great book to in-cooperate into black history month lessons. This book can show ALL children that they can do anything they want to do no matter their circumstances or backgrounds. I would love to use this book in a black history month lesson and having them write everything that they can do and want to do just like Grace does. I would say that this could be for grades first through third. 

Big Pumpkin

Big Pumpkin - Erica Silverman, John McDonough

Big Pumpkin, by Erica Silverman, is about a which who finds a great big pumpkin to make pumpkin pie out of, but she can't get it off of the vine because it's to big and heavy. The which has many ghouls and goblins come out and try to help her get the pumpkin off the vine but nothing works. Eventually they work as a team and pull the pumpkin off of the vine together and luckily it rolls down the hill right into the witches house. The which then gets to make her pumpkin pie and share it with all of her new friends. I believe that this book would be a great book to use during Halloween to promote teamwork and sharing. I also believe that this book would be a great book to read to your class and then have them take a "field trip" outside so that I can sit them down and cut open a pumpkin and we can go over the insides of a pumpkin and what they are called, look like, and fell like. By tying in the pumpkin activity it would be a great way to tie in science, along with letting them do something fun and interesting. I would use this book for grades first through third to tie in Halloween activities along with educational ones. 

Once Upon a Dime: A Math Adventure

Once Upon a Dime: A Math Adventure - Nancy Kelly Allen, Adam Doyle

Once Upon a Dime: A Math Adventure, by Nancy Kelly Allen, is about an organic farmer named Truman Worth and he finds an unusual tree growing on his farm and decides to try different kinds of fertilizer on it to help it grow. The tree begins to grow different kinds of money and begins to change his life tremendously. This is a great book to read for a shared group reading to get them engaged and intrigued about counting money. You can introduce counting money by reading this book to the whole class and you can even make a lesson that centers around the book to help keep them interested in the lesson. You can even use it as something to do after teaching a lesson on how to count money and knowing what coins are what and what bills are what. You could make different math activities centers to go with the story to help reinforce the math lesson that you taught. By using this book it is a great way to tie reading into a math lesson. You could use this book for grades first through second grade. 

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web - Garth Williams, E.B. White, Kate DiCamillo

Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, is about a little girl named Fern who saves the runt pig that her dad wants to get rid of. She raises the pig and names him Wilbur. Wilbur is moved into the barn and begins to make friends with a spider named Charlotte. They go through many trials and tribulations as such strange friends. Eventually Charlotte dies but leaves behind children. This is a great story to use for grades third through fifth where they can learn how to cope with death and the way of life. You can use this book as a whole group reading book where you assign certain amounts of chapters a week, and we discuss them later in class with doing multiple activities. You can also in cooperate science by using it as a life cycle lesson, or even a lesson on spiders life spans. It would be a great book to keep them engaged and excited about reading. You could even in-cooperate poetry by having a themed poem sheet in the shape of a web, spider,or even a pig. You could do many different kinds of poetry lessons using this book  and it's characters, setting, and theme. 

Bully Beans

Bully B.E.A.N.S. - Julia Cook

Bully Beans, by Julia Cook, is about a group of kids who have to decide to stand up to the new girl Bobbette who is bullying them. One of the students finally gets tired of being bullied and decides to tell her parents about it and they give her bully beans (jelly beans) and tell her that if they she and her friends eat a bully bean then they will be immune to Bobbettes bullying. They will be able to stand up to her tell her that she is being bully and they even tell their teacher what is happening. Eventually Bobbette admits that she was bullied at her old school and that she thought if she was the bully then she wouldn't get bullied. This is a great book to introduce bullying either on the first day of class or within the first week. You can even set up a system where you have a jar of bully beans in you classroom and every time a student is getting bullied they can go get a bully bean and write down who is bulling them on the "Bully Slip" that will be beside the jar. They will then place the slip in another jar and then you can look at the slip and talk to the student who is bullying and it is completely anonymous. You can get to the root of the problem without causing any problems between students. You can do many different activities with this as well as a writing activity where they write about a time they were bullied, or you can even do some sort of math activity with "bully" beans to help reinforce a math lesson. This can be used for grades first through fourth. 

Olivia

Olivia (Board Book) - Ian Falconer

Olivia, by Ian Falconer, is about a very adventurous and enthusiastic little girl who is good at many things. She's good at dancing, singing, and very good at changing her clothes to fit her personality. Olivia goes on a trip to the art museum with her family and decides that she can be an artist. So Olivia goes home to become the artist she knows she can. Olivia is a great book to use for many activities, you can set up different activities that have to do with the activities that Olivia did in her story, or you can make the book about knowing that you can do anything if you just believe in yourself. Olivia believes in herself so she accomplishes everything she wants to do. If you use this book to show children that they can do what Olivia does by believing in themselves like her than you can make this into a self-esteem esteem. This book can be used for grades kindergarten through third grade. It might not have a lot of words, but the message is very clear and will get across to the students. You can also use this book as a creative writing lesson where you can get your students to write about something they are good at. 

Love Monster

Love Monster - Rachel Bright

Love Monster, by Rachel Bright, is a phenomenal book that teaches you that being different doesn't mean you want find someone who loves you for who you are. The love monster doesn't seem to fit into his town of cute and cuddly creatures and he yearns to find someone to love him for who he is. The love monster searches for someone throughout the book, until finally he gives up and decides to go back home. When he gives up is when he finally meets someone to love and that is just like him who wants to love him for who he is. I believe that the love monster can be used from kindergarten through third grade. You can use this book during Valentines day as a shared reading and then let them do some activities following the reading. Their are two activities that I would do, one would include the love monster print out where the students get to make their own love monster and decorate/color him/her how they want to. The second activity would have them trace their hand on a piece o construction paper and then cut it out, Then I would give each student a heart to place in the center of their hand and on the heart they will write one thing that they love about the person who loves them for who they are. After they write what they love about their person they will then glue down the two middle fingers of their hand and make it look like the word love for sign language. They can then take their love monsters home for themselves and give their hand to the person who loves them for who they are as a Valentine. I believe that this is a great book to do for shared reading because you can also in cooperate the lesson of how important it is to love yourself for who you are, and by loving yourself for who you are other people will love you for who you are as well. 

Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies

Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies: What Are Irregular Plurals? - Brian P. Cleary, Brian Gable

Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies, written by Brian P. Cleary, is a great book that helps children with understanding plural nouns. This book is not necessarily a story book, but the characters in the book do grab students attention and the word play does as well. This book is mainly used to help students with plural nouns, but it would be a great book to read during shared reading and then do a lesson and activities with plural nouns after. This book can be used for first through third grade. You can do graphic organizer activities, anchor charts, interactive worksheets, and even incorporate technology with this book. This would be a great book to use in the classroom or even at home. 

The Little Red Pen

The Little Red Pen - Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel

The Little Red Pen, written by Janet Stevens, Is about a little red pen who is struggling to finish grading a pile of papers. The little red pen asks the pushpin, stapler, highlighter, etc. to help her finish the papers, but the others do not want to help because they believe the pen is to strict. Well when the little red pen falls into the pit of no return (trashcan), the others have to come together to find a way to help her get out of the pit. This is a great story to teach children about helping others and working together with others. It is also a book that appeals to Spanish speaking students because the pushpin speaks Spanish throughout the book. This book is a great book to read during shared reading time, and to guide a discussion of working together, and helping others in need. I would use this book from first through third grade. This is also a great book to help incorporate activities, such as re-telling the story with the characters from the book.  

Because of Winn-Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie - Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie, by Katie DeCamillo, is about a young girl, named Opal, who moves to Florida with her father who is also a preacher.Opal goes to Winn-Dixie one day and finds a dog in the parking lot, she immediatly falls in love and names him Winn-Dixie and takes him home. Winn-Dixie helps Opal make friends with many local people including the librarian, a local blind woman, and an ex-con. Opal spends her summer with her new friends, Winn-Dixie, and learning things about her mother from her father. The story is about Opal growing up and learning the importance of friendship and letting go of the past. I absolutely LOVE this book, this a great book to have your class read together throughout a few weeks, or take home to read on their own. After the whole class finishes to book a great lesson to have them complete is writing an essay on the importance of letting go of the past, and accepting the future and great things that can come from meetings of circumstance. This is a great book for grades third though fourth, and can be a great way to incorporate writing and language art's. This is a great book to get older children to fall in love with reading and to get their imaginations flowing. 

Me on the Map

Me on the Map - Joan Sweeney

Me on the Map, written by Joan Sweeney, is about a young girl who shows readers herself on the map. She show them her street, city, state, her room, and her country. The book uses bright illustrations and colorful pictures to help explain the maps. The young girl the story centers around explains the difference of certain maps and why it is important to know what a map is. This is a great book to read for shared group reading and you can do a picture walk before reading the book aloud to get the students excited and interested. After reading the book aloud you can then incorporate  Geography by providing them with a graphic organizer where they will draw what their state looks like, town/city, room, street, and country. Allowing them do make their own graphic organizer it is a great way to formally assess what they learned from the book and it also keeps them interested and engaged. This lesson can be used from first grade through fifth grade. I believe it can be used in so many different grades because even though it is a basic story it is still a great way to incorporate geography and even art into reading.