Looking For a Good Book?

To start the school year, I always pick a random selection of books for my classroom bookshelf.  Nothing theme-y, just good literature.  Poetry, rhyming, humor, old favorites and new award winners.  So take a look, go reading, and get lost in a good book.

I collected the books late in the afternoon, the day before children arrived.  Most teachers had left for the day, so I was alone in the library at school.  I felt like one of the children in the book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  The only difference was that I was in a library, not a museum.

When I placed the books on the shelf, I wondered which one the children would like most.  I thought Otis, or Dr. Seuss.  Yet, I never second guess or underestimate children, as their minds are always one step ahead.

And the children’s first favorite?  Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.  As you can see, children are crammed together, because they desperately want to hear this story read aloud.  They can’t get enough:

As we read aloud over the next few weeks, every book on this bookshelf will become a favorite.  They are some of the best.  Each time we change and add books, the pattern and thrill will be repeated all year long – new books, new favorites.

“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books.”  -Roald Dhal-


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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65 Responses to Looking For a Good Book?

  1. beetleypete says:

    Another year of education begins. I am looking forward to hearing about the delights to come. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Opher says:

    There’s nothing like the power of a story.

  3. Léa says:

    Have you tried Bijou, Bonbon & Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas? By Joan Sweeney and a real treasure. I picked it up some years ago in the gift shop at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, a baby gift for a friend. 😊

  4. I’m having a ball coming to your class again this year. 🙂 Always excited to see what you are reading.

  5. mimionlife says:

    My first children’s book was just published. Licky the Lizard is available on Amazon. There is a great message of kindness shown in the story. 🙂 http://a.co/d/965kXyX

  6. Darlene says:

    How exciting for you and the children!

  7. #1 Grandson had his 1st visit to the school library yesterday and checked out his first school library book! He’s allowed to keep it one week. He selected Mouse count! It’s a cute story. I wondered which book will end up being his favorite from this year’s trip to the school library, and which will be his favorite that the teacher reads out loud to the class from her classroom library?

  8. What a great plan, Jennie. 😀

  9. FYI: I often grab a ‘kids’ book or YA novel at the library if I’m in a rush and just need a little read to stave off the reading hungries.
    ps-ever read aloud ‘The Stinky Cheese Man’?

    • Jennie says:

      Children’s books and YA books are some of the best. I want to read all the Newbery Award winners. Right now I’m on “Bud, Not Buddy”. Honestly, these winners are usually far better than adult books. It’s hard to believe that “Charlotte’s Web” came in second place, not first. “The Stinky Cheese Man” is okay. Good, but not a favorite. It’s probably better suited for K to 2. Thanks, Laura! 😀

  10. Dan Antion says:

    This is clearly one of the best things you do in your classroom, Jennie.

  11. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is another wonderful post from an excellent teacher!

  12. Jennie, don’t be surprised that I’m following your blog. I thought I had signed up for it ages ago and lately started missing out on your posts. So I’ve clicked to follow it AGAIN. Hope it works now.

    • Jennie says:

      That has happened to me twice before, Anneli. Suddenly a blogger I follow seems to drop off the face of the earth, and I realize I’m no longer listed as a follower. Go figure! Thank you for being there. Much appreciated. 🙂

  13. Your magical post has me wanting to head down to my library even though I was there just yesterday!

  14. srbottch says:

    Great quote. When crossing ‘my kids’ at close of school yesterday, I urged t to do several things over this 5 day break: go outside and play, exercise, have fun and read a book! I hope they heed my advice.

    • Jennie says:

      Excellent!! And please keep them coming, as I will want to post a collection, much like I did last year. Will you ask them about it on Monday ? A 5 day break??

      • srbottch says:

        Whoops! It’s only a 4 day break. Monday/Tuesday is Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, so, in deference to the Jewish community in town (Brighton, a suburb of Rochester, NY) the public schools close. Yom Kippur, thé following Wednesday, is another Jewish holiday and it’ll be a 4 day school week, then.

  15. I can just picture you choosing those special books. And it’s so great to see all those children crowded around the book. A great start to the year, Jennie.

  16. Norah says:

    Many of those on your shelf are among my favourites too, Jennie, though there are one or two I don’t know. Mo Willems has a way of captivating children, doesn’t he? The children have much fun in store. Love the quote by Roald Dahl. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks, Norah. Let me guess… was the book you didn’t know “After the Fall” with Humpty Dumpty on the cover? I will be doing a book review blog post on the book. Let me know others so I can quickly tell you a bit about them. Like you, I love the Ronald Dahl quote!

      • Norah says:

        “After the Fall” is one I’m not familiar with, Jennie. It’s funny. I wrote a story called “The Accident” about Humpty Dumpty. It is an explanation for Humpty’s fall. I use the Nursery Rhyme as a stimulus for writing in the readilearn collection.
        There are a few others I don’t know: “Outside Your Window”, “Zinnia and Dot”, “Big Wheels” and “Sheep in a Jeep”. I miss the library at school. Perhaps I should spend more time in my local library. 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        “After the Fall” is about being brave, getting back up after you’ve fallen down. It’s well done. “Outside Your Window” is a thick book of poetry, beautifully illustrated. It’s the one poetry book kids like. “Zinnia and Dot’ are two chickens who fight all the time. When a weasel breaks into the chicken coop and steals the eggs – all but one – they have to work together. A bit wordy, perfect for kindergarten, and well done. “Big Wheels” is simply about trucks and other big vehicles. “Sheep in a Jeep” is one of the best rhyming books. Always popular. So as you can see, I always have a wide range of books on the shelf. I want it to be like a library, not a classroom of books all on one theme and at one reading level. Make sense? I love to go to the library and just read. I always find something good and new! I highly recommend it. 😀

      • Norah says:

        Thank you for so patiently explaining all the titles to me, Jennie. They sound delightful. And I agree with you about having a variety of books in the collection so it’s more like a library than a selection of books on a theme. I always had the books to support the work we were doing, but each week the children would choose two books each from the library to add to our shelves too. When we returned from the library, I would always read (at least) one of the books chosen by the children to take home for the week. Every child begged for their own book to be read. How I wish I could have done that! 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        I love this story and what you did for children. You empowered them by allowing them to pick books and take them home, and then reading aloud one of their picks. Oh yes, if only you could have read them all! I often wish I could visit every preschool classroom and help them set up a library. 😀

  17. And you just never know where things will end up… I remember reading “Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz, which a customer just bought in my bookstore telling me how she had been looking for the book for years after remembering it from her childhood…I told it was the one book I can track back to my early years that probably is singularly responsible for making me a Horror writer…It scared me to death then…And I love it now…

    • Jennie says:

      See what a good book can do? Both of you had memories and the book somewhat shaped your lives. Yes, you never know where things will end up. The Eric Carle Museum had an exhibit of authors and illustrators and the book that influenced them most, or that they loved most when they were young. It was so cool! Best to you, KC. 🙂

  18. The power of a good story is huge, Jennie.

  19. Looking at you efforts and you ideas i wish to go back to school, with you as teacher. 😉 Such a teacher i really missed all over the time We had teachers in the feeling of “law and order”. Seems to be a very German thing till today. Best wishes, Michael

  20. Pingback: A Little Bitty Party | insearchofitall

  21. And the adventures begin, dear Jennie.

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