2014 | Peace, Love, and First Grade

Gingerbread Books for Kids!

Hello, my friends!

One of my favorite weeks of the year is Gingerbread Week!

There's just something warm and cozy and downright fun
 about the little cookie men who can't be tamed! 
Even the ones who lose their heads! Ha!

There are so many ways to use the little rebels in the classroom, too! 
Character Analysis, Sequence the story, Cause and Effect, 
Compare and Contrast (versions and characters), Fluency...I could go on! 

This week, Book Talk is a salute to the Gingerbread People of the World! 
Long May They Run!

I've sorted the books into two categories: 
Classic Tales and Alternate Versions

Here are 26 fun favorites!


  by Richard Egielski

  by Paul Galdone

  by Harriet Ziefert
  by Jim Aylesworth

  by Estelle Corke

  by Eric Kimmel

  by Catherine McCafferty

The Gingerbread Man 
(Easy to Read Folktales) 
  by Karen Schmidt

  by Parragon Books

  by Nanci Nolte

Richard Scarry's The Gingerbread Man
by Nanci Nolte


  by Dianne De Las Casas
Ooh, I do love cajun cornbread! This one jumps out of a skillet and sets out through the bayou as an alligator and others try to make him their dinner!

  by Jan Brett
In this version, it's the Gingerbread Baby who gets away! 
While everyone chases the baby, 
young Matti stays home and puts his plan into action! 

  by Jan Brett
This story takes place in a national forest. 
 The wife and daughter of the park ranger bake a gingerbread man,
and, of course, he gets away.

But...the park ranger is quite clever!

  by Janet Squires
This Gingerbread Man rides a horse, need I say more??

  by Jan Brett
In this story, the Gingerbread Baby is looking for a few friends. 
He goes to the bakery with no luck. 
Will Matti help him out again?

The Gingerbread Girl
  by Lisa Campbell Ernst
The Gingerbread Girl is sister to the doomed Gingerbread Boy.
However, she plans to outwit the clever fox. 

by Lisa Campbell Ernst
This time, it's the Gingerbread Girl's birthday. 
Her gift: A box of Animal Crackers.
You can only guess what happens when she opens the box!

 The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
  by Laura Murray
I love the way this book was created in comic book style. 
This Gingerbread Man was baked at school, 
and when the kiddos go to recess,
 The Gingerbread Man gets to play.

  by Katy Bratun
When Mouse's house was destroyed, she must find a new place to live. 
When she happens upon a gingerbread house, she knows she has found home!

  by Kristin Kladstrup
Jim and his mom make Gingerbread Pirates for Santa,
but Jim keeps one for himself. 

After Jim has fallen asleep, the pirate captain goes off to find his crew.

  by Dotti Enderle
When the Gingerbread Man escapes from his Dewey Decimal System spot, 
characters from the library shelves try to bring him back home.

  by Lisa Shulman
This story takes place at Passover as the Matzo Ball Boy jumps out of the pot. Before long, even the rabbi is in on the fun!
  by Ying Chang Compestine
This story takes place on Chinese New Year when a family
decides to make a rice cake to celebrate. 
Nice book about sharing! 

  by Helen Ketteman
In this tale, a little corn cake gordita escapes from the frying pan and leads some hungry characters on a chase around the desert.

  by Cherie Stihler
Written by an Alaskan children's author, this tale has a sourdough loaf on the run as native Alaskan animals try to catch the tasty treat!

  by Peter Armour
This funny story takes place in a deli as a pickle escapes from the jar.
The other deli food items try to stop the runaway pickle!

There are so many wonderful books about Gingerbread now! 
I hope one of these makes you smile!!

The links here are Amazon affiliate links, but some titles are found on other sites.

16 Fun Thanksgiving Read Aloud Books your First Graders will Love

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Thanksgiving is an excellent time to discuss gratitude with kids, and children's literature is the perfect place to start. 

When I began teaching in 1991, there were very few fun and colorful Thanksgiving books for children. Thankfully, that has changed! (pun intended) Today, there are tons of incredible picture books about Thanksgiving and turkeys, in particular. Books that teach kindness and lessons about gratitude and, well, thankfulness. Below is a list of my favorite books to read with children around Thanksgiving. There are lessons to be learned in several of the books, but some are just pure Thanksgiving fun!

The Best Thanksgiving Books for Kids

Here are my 16 favorite Thanksgiving Books for Kids!

Arthur's Thanksgiving by Marc Brown
Yes, I include Arthur and Franklin in all my holiday lists. They are staples in my classroom! In this story, Arthur gets to direct the Thanksgiving play, but he can't find anyone to play the turkey. 

This biography tells the story of Tony Sarg who invented the giant balloons that fly over the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. His story is fascinating and lends itself to many topics-biographies, parade history, balloons, STEM, etc.

by Karma Wilson
Bear invites his friends for dinner but doesn't have anything to offer himself. My little friends love Bear and his friends!
The Best Thanksgiving Ever by Teddy Slater
The fresh and funny story of a turkey family celebrating Thanksgiving.

Cold Turkey by Corey Rosen Schwartz
In this fun BRAND NEW book, Turkey spends the day sharing his clothes with his freezing friends. So what happens when he has nothing left?? 

Franklin's Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois
It's Thanksgiving, and Grandma and Grandpa Turtle are out of the country, which leaves Franklin feeling a little blue. 

What do you do when your father sends you a live turkey for Thanksgiving and you want to keep it as a pet??

My favorite "Old Lady" story. A sweet little old lady is rather hungry and eats way too much at Thanksgiving dinner. Adore this ending!

The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli
You and your littles will laugh as you read about two very different families as they celebrate Thanksgiving.

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman
One of my favorites! The town of Squawk Valley has no turkeys so the citizens hold a contest to trap one. Such fun illustrations!

10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston
A fun subtraction book featuring ten very silly turkeys!

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons by Eileen Spinelli
Celebrate Thanksgiving with the Tappletons, a thankful and hungry family of wolves!

Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler
Runt, the smallest turkey at Wishbone farm, tries to warn his family of the dangers turkeys face at Thanksgiving. So cute!!

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
The Moose family and their animal friends must search for Turkey when he doesn't show up for Thanksgiving dinner. You can't beat Eve Bunting!

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
It's Thanksgiving, and one very clever turkey tries many disguises to save himself from being eaten! My kiddos love this one! There are now five books about this funny little turkey! I love them all!

Don't you love this book??!! The story of eight precious little kiddos who fall in love with some overstuffed turkeys they meet on their field trip to the farm! Love! Love!

I hope you found something to make your holiday celebration fun! There are SO many more books out there! Til' next time! Happy Reading!

The titles listed here are Amazon affiliate links. These books are found on other websites, as well.

12 Not So Scary Books about Scarecrows

There is something about fall that fascinates me!
The colors, the cooler air, the scarecrows...ahh, the scarecrows!
Love a scarecrow!

This week's Book Talk is all about scarecrows!
A few of these titles are brand new!
Hope you enjoy!

Barn Dance by Bill Martin, Jr.
You know him! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Brown Bear!
Barn Dance is just as lovable!
There's music coming from the barn,

 and a young boy sets out to see what's happening! 

The Happiest Hollisters and the Scarecrow Mystery
 by Jerry West
The tried and true! In the tradition of The Boxcar Children and The Bobbsey Twins-If you never had the opportunity to enjoy the adventures of these clean-cut families solving mysteries, here you go! Welcome to the club!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything 
by Linda Williams
This book is just fun!
This very brave lady goes walking in the woods
and gets a little more than she bargained for...

Kiddos love this one!

The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown
If you are unfamiliar with this author, think Goodnight Moon.
The Little Scarecrow Boy thinks he is ready to scare the crows,
but his father assures him he isn't scary enough.
Sweet story.

The Lonely Scarecrow by Tim Preston
A lonely scarecrow would love to have a friend,
but all the animals are afraid of it.
See how all of that changes with the seasons.

Otis and the Scarecrow by Loren Long 
I met Otis the Tractor this summer searching for picture books, and I fell in love!
In this book, Otis and the farm animals try to make a scarecrow smile.

Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant
 Who doesn't love Cynthia Rylant?!
This sweet story shows life as viewed through the eyes of a scarecrow.

Scarecrow Pete by Mark Kimball Moulton
 Scarecrow Pete loves to read!
Need I say more??
This book is sure to enchant all your readers!

The Scarecrow's Dance by Jane Yolen
 Beautifully told story of a scarecrow
who decides to dance through the fields at night.
Sweet and inspiring!

The Scarecrow's Hat by Ken Brown
 In this story of deal-making, a clever chicken enlists the help of her friends to make scarecrow's hat her own. 

The Scarecrows' Wedding by Julia Donaldson
Written and illustrated by the pair from Room on the Broom,
this scarecrow book is a new favorite of mine.
Just read it! You won't be sorry!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed some Leaves
  by Lucille Colandro
It's that little old lady who eats anything. 
She's back. 
This time she's munching on all things fall.
And she burps. The kiddos love a good burp!

That's it for today, folks! 
Hope you found something you love!

Some of the titles here are Amazon affiliate links. These books are found on other websites, as well.


Today I'm sharing a quick and easy idea-
how I make contractions easier for my kiddos. 

I would use this strategy with any child learning contractions OR
children and adults who struggle with contractions.

It's quick, I tell you! 

And they remember it!

Like most teachers, when I teach contractions, I teach one "set" at a time. 
I find "is' and "not" to be the easiest for my students.  
Some find "will" very easy, too.

So, here's how we do it!
TIP-I demonstrate the 4 steps with magnetic letters first and continue to use magnetic letters with those students who need the extra scaffolding.

1-We write the two words that make up the contraction.
2-We cross out the letter that is replaced by the apostrophe.
3-We replace that letter with the apostrophe.
4-We move the two parts together to make the new word.
IMPORTANT-Teach your young friends to explain how they made their contractions, too. 

Here's a quick clip of one of my sweeties explaining her contraction.  
Love first grade vocabulary!
Precious and Powerful! 

That's it, y'all! Super easy and effective.

Want to practice contractions in a fun way? My kiddos love word games! I Have Who Has is a favorite! Find it here!

19 Halloween Books for Kids!

Happy Book Talk Tuesday, Friends!
I don't know about your kiddos, but my little friends are fired up about Halloween! They can't get enough of it, and we're only half way through the month! Oh, my!
Since I believe in using that excitement for good, let's take a look at the books!
Here are 20 fun and spooky treats!

The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich
 "The 12 Days of Christmas" is NOT my favorite Christmas song,
but this Halloween take on the song makes me smile!
Just plain fun!

Arthur's Halloween by Marc Brown
 Arthur makes a visit on all our holidays!
This Arthur story is one of my favorites!
Arthur and his friends are afraid of the "witch" at the end of the street.
Only DW is brave enough to Trick or Treat at her house!
A classic!

At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman
 Patterned after the children's classic poem, "Over in the Meadow,"
this festive book is a fun trip through a Haunted House.
A witch and her wee one welcome you home!

Bone Soup by Cambria Evans
 Finnigin is a hungry skeleton looking for a good meal!
When no one shares, Finnigin comes up with a plan for dinner.
Fans of Stone Soup will love this Halloween treat!

By the Light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson
 This fun book takes place under a bridge
where all sorts of Halloween creatures live.
Back in print after quite a while!
Click, Clack, Boo by Doreen Kronin
 Poor Farmer Brown!
He can't catch a break on Halloween with those animals of his!
The critters from Click, Clack, Moo are back, and the kiddos will love them!

Dem Bones by Bob Barner
 Who doesn't like dancing skeletons?
You know the song so sing along!
"The neck bone connected to the..."

Franklin's Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois
 Another character who visits each holiday!
Love this sweet Franklin story!
Love the animals preparing for the Halloween party!
Just love!

Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson
 Skeleton is off the a Halloween party and he's grooving down the street.
His problem: He loses his bones as he hustles.
Will he make it to the party in one piece?

Halloween Night by Margerie Dennis Murray
 It's Twas the Night Before Christmas, Halloween style!
Such a fun trip through Halloween!
Your kiddos will love it!

The Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey
Oscar's sweet mama bought her "Little Vienna Sausage" a Halloween costume.
Now precious Oscar has to be a hot dog for Halloween!
Oscar is my hero! One of my favorites!!

Inside a House that is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
 In the style of "The House that Jack Built",
this Haunted House is a rhyming good time!

It's Halloween by Jack Prelutsky

If you love poetry, this is the Halloween book for you!
Prelutsky is such a clever poet and speaks directly to children!
He has gems for other holidays, as well.

 Mercy Watson is the first chapter book I read each year,
and the kids are sitting on ready for Mercy's Halloween adventure!
DiCamillo and illustrator Chris Van Dusen invite readers into a colorful neighborhood
with eccentric characters and vivid illustrations. I love this series!!

Monster Mash by David Catrow
 Yes, it is! The song...in book form! Oh, my goodness!
If you are a fan of the song, you'll love this book!
The illustrations complement the text perfectly!
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
 A very generous witch offers animals a ride on her broom,
until tragedy strikes and her broomstick breaks! A class favorite!

Scaredy Cat Splat by Rob Scotton
 Oh, I love Splat!
In this one, Splat tries to be scary, but really, he's just scared!
Can he overcome his fear??
Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell
 Great addition to your Halloween and Math bookshelf.
Count back with these timid ghosts as a witch tries to scare them away from a haunted house! Fun!

 I love that this book is written by Mr. Krieb! Cracks me up!
A group of children are off to find the witch's house, and the lively verse gets readers (and listeners) involved in the story. Great adjectives!

That's it for this week! Hopefully, you found something you love!

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.

20 Pumpkin Books for Kids

Fall is my favorite time of year & what better way to celebrate than with books?! 
Today I'm sharing my favorite Pumpkin books for kids!

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
 I love Big Pumpkin! I love how the well known Halloween characters
work together to pick their pumpkin!
I read this story in October and compare/contrast it to Big Turnip stories in November!
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
 Desmond and Clayton are back!
This time they are trying to find the biggest pumpkin!
If you haven't met these mice friends who work together to win BIG contests,
give them a try!
My kiddos love this series!

From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
I love the Read-and-Find-Out Science series!
From Seed to Pumpkin offers a look at pumpkins as they grow and
includes recipes and fun activities you can do with your kiddos!

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara
 How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin brings Math to your pumpkin unit.
  From estimation to skip counting to measurement,
this book is perfect for a primary pumpkin study!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schultz
 I had to include this precious book that is the childhood television favorite of many!
It's Charlie Brown! You can't go wrong!

 Spookley became one of my favorite characters after my first reading of this book!
My first graders agreed! It's a hit every year!
A story of inclusion and celebrating differences! Adorable!

 Pumpkins by Jacqueline Farmer
This informational book is loaded with facts about pumpkins,
even sharing what pumpkins are called in other countries.
Nice addition to your nonfiction collection.

 This is the lovely story of a field saved from development by one man.
Great read for an ecological unit!

 The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
 Gail Gibbons is at it again!
In her pumpkin book, she shares all you need to know about pumpkins-
from seed planting to harvesting!
Great information!

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by Judy Schachner
 The life cycle of a pumpkin shown through a backyard garden.
Beautiful photographs and fun verse in this one!
Even shows children how to grow their own pumpkin patch!

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell
 This is the story of what happens to a pumpkin once the season is over.
Great for teaching decomposition and life cycles.

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
 Soft illustrations and easy text complement this book
about a young boy's tender care of his pumpkin.

 Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
This is the story of how three friends resolve a problem involving soup...pumpkin soup. Good book for sequencing or "how to" writing.

Includes a recipe for soup.

Pumpkin Town by Katie McKy
 Pumpkin Town is the story of what happens when a town
has an overabundance of pumpkins!
Funny read!

The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
 This is a fun rhyming story of two brothers and a sister
who find a runaway pumpkin on a hill.
In their attempt to get it down the hill, it runs away from them! 

 If you've read my Book Talks before,
you know I love National Geographic's nonfiction books for kids!
This book shares the life cycle of a pumpkin, and the photographs are beautiful! 

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
This is the story of what happens when one little lady
buries an unwanted pumpkin in her yard! 

You can imagine the fun!

The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
 In the style of The Ugly Duckling, Dave Horowitz offers up a fun read
for October or November! Love this one!

The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnson
 The first thing you need to know about The Vanishing Pumpkin is it's illustrated by Tomie dePaola.
That pretty much seals it for me!
If he agreed to illustrate it, it must be pretty good!
Well, my kiddos and I love it, if that means anything!
The story of a sweet little couple whose pumpkin has disappeared!
Just fun!

The Very Best Pumpkin by Mark Kimball Moulton
 The Very Best Pumpkin is the sweet story of pumpkins and friendship.
It celebrates the symbols of the season with very pretty illustrations and as it teaches a few life lessons.

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.

15 Fire Safety Books for Kids

It's Book Talk Tuesday, Friends!

Fire Prevention Week is October 5-11 so this week is all about Fire Prevention! 
Here are 15 fun books to use with your kiddos!

Arthur's Fire Drill by Marc Brown
 Arthur and DW have always been two of my favorites!
In this Arthur book, DW is afraid of fire drills so big brother comes to the rescue!
Funny and informative!

Clifford the Firehouse Dog by Norman Brimwell
 Clifford is a staple in first grade classrooms! 
In this story, Clifford and Emily Elizabeth visit Clifford's brother at the firehouse. 
Of course, Clifford adds fun as he helps the firefighters!

Curious George and the Fire Fighters by H.A. Rey
 Another staple in our class! 
Sweet George is visiting the firehouse and wants to help!
My firsties love Curious George!
Funny little read!

A Day at the Fire Station by Richard Scarry
 I love Richard Scarry and his Busytown friends!
My students are crazy about his Big Word Book.
In this Scarry book, the Busytown firehouse is being painted as the firefighters try to do their jobs.
Neat book with firefighter facts and Richard Scarry fun!

A Day in the Life of a Firefighter by Linda Hayward
 This nonfiction book is perfect for young readers!
Chock full of photographs and labels, it gives children a real look at the life of firefighters!

Also: A Day in the Life of a Firefighter by Heather Adamson

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill
 It's a classic and one of my favorites!
A sweet cat is adopted by a firehouse and learns how to help the firefighters.

Great book for beginning readers.

The Fire Engine Book by Tibor Gergely
 Maybe it's my childhood, but I love a Little Golden Book!
Kids love this Little Golden that shows firefighters actually fighting a fire!
Teachers will love the retro feel!

Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons
 You know you can't go wrong with Gail Gibbons!
Her books are full of information even the smallest learners can understand!

Firefighters A to Z by Chris Demarest
 I love a thematic alphabet book!
This one is great for introducing fire safety vocabulary to kiddos!
The boys, especially, love this one!

I Want to be a Firefighter by Dan Liebman
 This series of books about occupations gives children a look at real jobs.
Most kiddos are fascinated by firefighters.
This book shows them the real thing!
Miss Mingo and the Fire Dog by Jamie Harper 
In the second book about Miss Mingo, she teaches her animal students about fire safety.
Miss Mingo gives us fire prevention tips and animal facts.
Cute read!

 In this funny story, a little girl teaches a fire-breathing dragon all about fire safety.

 Poinsettia and the Firefighters by Felecia Bond
 Poinsettia conquers her fear of the dark and helps save the neighborhood
 in this sweet story by Felecia Bond.

Sparky the Fire Dog by Don Hoffman
 Sparky is the official spokesdog for the National Fire Protection Association,
and this book about Sparky has a ton of information kids and adults need to know!

Stop, Drop, and Roll: A Book about Fire Safety by Marjory Cuyler
 Jessica, the worrywart from 100th Day Worries,
is at it again in this book about fire safety.
Kids love these books by Marjory Cuyler.

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.

21 Apple Books for Kids

Happy Fall, Teacher Friends!

After a month long hiatus, Book Talk Tuesday is back and just in time for fall!

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year!

A cold front greeted us yesterday, and the weather actually feels fallish!

In honor of the first day of fall, I'm sharing my favorite books to use with APPLES!
 Let's get started!

Apple Harvest by Calvin Harris
 I found this book in my school library while searching for nonfiction books about fall. It's part of a series featuring beautiful pictures and easy to understand facts about fall.
If you can't afford this one, tell your librarian. Love this series! 

Apple Picking Time by Michele Slawson
 Apple Picking Time brings a small town to life during its annual fall apple harvest.
Anna and her family take part each year.
Such a charming book!

The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson
In the tradition of The House that Jack Built,
Thompson and illustrator Jonathan Bean give this book a fun retro feel.
The simple sketched pictures remind me of one of my favorite authors, Lois Lenski.
Kiddos love taking part in this one!!

 The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
 Two sisters observe the changes in their backyard tree in this book about the life cycle of an apple tree. A recipe for apple pie is included.

Apple Trees and the Seasons by Julie Lundgren
 This informational book gives young readers a real look at the seasons of an apple tree. Perfect partner to The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree below.

Apples by Gail Gibbons
 Gail Gibbons is a master of nonfiction for children.
From her book covers to the information inside, she always delivers.
This book is just what it says, all about Apples!

 Beautifully illustrated in autumn colors,
this book explores a day at the apple orchard during a harvest. 

Apples A to Z by Margaret McNamara
 Okay, I love an alphabet book, and this is a fun one. 
Chomp through the alphabet with Bear as he offers up kid-friendly apple facts-
one for each letter of the alphabet!

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
 An oldie but goodie! Anne Rockwell has such sweet books.
Kids should just experience them.
This one is about a girl and her family who visit a farm in fall.

Apples for Everyone by Jill Esbaum
 I adore these National Geographic nonfiction books!
The photographs are gorgeous, and the information is perfect for young kiddos! Love!

Bad Apple by Edward Hemingway
 This precious little book is about the friendship of an apple and a worm.
It has nothing to do with life cycles or harvests,
but it's fun and offers another look at friendship and dealing with bullies.
And yes, the author is a grandson of "The" Hemingway!

New in hardback: Bad Apple's Perfect Day
The Biggest Apple Ever by Steven Kroll
 This is the first of Kroll's "biggest" series books I read during the school year.
My kiddos love this series featuring mouse friends Desmond and Clayton. Fun read!
Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore! by Jane O'Connor
 I had to include this one!
Nancy is in search of the perfect Gala apple for her father.
You can always count on Nancy for a fun vocabulary lesson.
How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro
 A Read-and-Find-Out Science book, this one is great for teaching the parts of an apple.

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
  What happens when you want to make an apple pie but the market is closed?
Read this fun book to find out!
Great for a silly cause and effect.
Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg
 Oh, how I love Steven Kellogg!
This book is no exception!
Magnificently illustrated, kids (and this teacher) can't get enough of this book!
It tells the story of the one and only!

Johnny Appleseed: The Legend and the Truth by Jane Yolen
 Perfect compliment to Kellogg's Johnny Appleseed, this book separates fact from fiction. Definitely a read-aloud for the younger set,
but it's written so you can read at more than one sitting.
No Ordinary Apple by Sara Marlowe
 Elliot learns the healthy truth about apples
when he is offered an apple as a snack at a friend's house. 

The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
 Another winner from Gail Gibbons.
We read this one every year.
This book is a nice one to use for a 4 seasons apple tree craft.
Seed by Seed: The Legend of John Appleseed by Esme Raji Codell
 Seed by Seed shares with young readers why Johnny Appleseed is still important today.  Nice book for your collection.

Ten Apples Up on Top by Theo LeSieg
Yes, that one! The fun book from Dr. Seuss we all know and love.
Kids love it!  You will, too!

That's it for today, friends!

Happy Fall!!

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.


It's a Primary Chalkboard YouTube Party, friends!
And YOU are invited!
Have you checked out the awesome BTS video tips at The Primary Chalkboard?

My PC friends and I have come up with almost 30 tips
to make Back to School a little easier.

So, here's my tip! 
I promise my accent is not this thick all the time. 
This was at the end of a very long day!

FYI: This is the my very first video. 
Please have patience with the newbie! :)

Here we go!

Don't forget to head over to The Primary Chalkboard to see
the other video tips!

Have a wonderful year! 

20+ Favorite Picture Book Characters

Hello, Friends! 
It's Book Talk Tuesday! 
I apologize for not posting this last Tuesday, but we were back at school,
and I was suffering through some lower back pain! 
The things teachers do...be careful, y'all!

This week, we're celebrating favorite characters from Children's Lit. 

There are TONS of fun characters out in Bookland! 
But...I limited my list to picture books this week, 
with the exception of Mercy Watson...
because I can't leave out my favorite pig!

The ones you see below are characters my kiddos have loved over the last several years!

Let's jump right in!

Arthur and DW by Marc Brown
  Arthur the Aardvark does everything from taking care of pets to visiting the President!
It always makes me smile when animal characters have pets!
His sister, DW, is one of my favorite characters, too!
She's a true little sister, full of spunk! 

Babymouse by Jennifer Holm
 Have you met Babymouse?
She's been a hit in my classroom ever since I found her several years ago.
Even the boys love Babymouse!
Babymouse stories are set up comic book style

 with pink, gray, black, and white illustrations.
Makes my kiddos feel like big kids!

I introduce her after Christmas each year!

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
 Karma Wilson has created a huggable, sleep-loving character with Bear!
Bear has many good friends and spends his time eating,
trying to fit through doorways, and hoping to stay up for Christmas!
You know, like all bears do!

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo
DiCamillo wrote her first book about these two in 2012.
Completely opposite friends.
Bink likes brightly colored socks and pancakes.
Gollie likes order and royalty!

They both like roller skates and each other!
So glad I happened upon these two sweet friends!

Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
 What's cuter than a precious puppy?
Especially if that puppy's name is Biscuit!
These easy to read books send Biscuit on lots of adventures,
but things always turn out right in the end.

Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child
This is not your typical brother and sister pair!
Charlie is constantly getting Lola out of jams.

I use this series during Author's Craft to show how authors use 
bold words, different fonts, and quotation marks. 
One of my favorites is But I am an Alligator.

Claude by Alex T. Smith
 I just met Claude last year. 
Claude's a dog from Great Britain whose best friend just happens to be a sock. 
They have lots of adventures together. Cue: Laughter from Firsties!
This is a great book for independent readers!

Clifford by Norman Bridwell
Do I have to tell you about Clifford? 
Seriously, isn't he a requirement for early elementary??
Who can resist this larger than life dog and his owner Emily Elizabeth?
I want my own Clifford, don't you?

Curious George by H.A. Rey
A favorite from my childhood! 
I'm so glad my students like him! 
George is another staple in a primary classroom! 
His antics are funny, and things always turn out in the end.

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
If you teach First Grade, run, don't walk, and find Mo Willems' books!
Kidlets love them!
Elephant and Piggie are two very different friends who have the same issues
children have-jealousy, sharing, and bullying. 

Let me just say, once you find these books, you'll be hooked!
 We also love The Pigeon!

Frances by Russell Hoban
 Another childhood favorite! 
Oh, how I love Frances! 
She is a sweet badger with a nice family, good friends,
and a sometimes annoying baby sister. 

By the way, she also loves to sing and writes her own songs! 
I want to squeeze her!

Franklin by Paulette Bourgeois
 How precious is Franklin the turtle?? 
Franklin spends most of his time overcoming fears, and learning life lessons.
There is a calming spirit to these books.
When I read them aloud, my room is silent.
The kiddos are seriously glued to the story.
I love that! 

The illustrations are beautifully detailed, too!

Froggy by Jonathan London
 Froggy is just cute! 
Like many other animal characters, Froggy leads a normal human-like life! 
Loads of friends and a little sister to boot! 
As a little sister myself, I love that!

George and Martha by James Marshall
 James Marshall is brilliant! I adore his books!
First graders love reading about friends,
and Hippos George and Martha are TONS of fun! Ha!

 Okay, that's actually the name of one of their books. 
The thing is, these two don't realize how large they are
and find themselves in all kinds of funny situations! Love them!

Harry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
 I listed Harry on my Color book list, but he fits here, too! 
Harry is one of those classic characters who never goes out of style!
He's a black and white dog who gets dirty,
gets a new sweater, and gets caught in seaweed at the beach. 

Love some Harry!

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
 Mercy Watson is a pig being raised as a daughter by an eccentric couple.
She doesn't talk but she does sleep in a bed, and in one particular book, she drives a car.
I laugh out loud at Mercy and the other characters in these books!
The illustrations by Chris Van Dusen are remarkable! 

You can find a few of her books on Tumblebooks.

Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowley
 I was introduced to Mrs. Wishy-Washy when I taught Reading Recovery years ago. 
At the time, there was only one book. 
My kiddos loved that book!
Now there are dozens of books about this chubby farm lady!
Students feel so successful reading Joy Cowley's books!
The love for her hasn't diminished with time!

Olivia by Ian Falconer
 If you read my blog regularly, you know I love pigs! 
So you can guess, Olivia would be found in my classroom!
Olivia is a free-spirited piglet who wears her Mama out! 
I love her self-confidence and ability to say what's on her mind. 
She sees a painting at the art gallery and decides she could paint just as well...
so she does...on the walls at home.

Pete the Cat by James Dean
 Pete the Cat has been a hit since 2011.
He's the epitome of a "Cool Cat."
Pete is truly a must-have in Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms! 
I love Pete's "I Can Read" series now, too!

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
 Scaredy is an adorable squirrel! 
He's just afraid-of a lot of things. 
Like germs, and bad dreams, and leaving his nut tree. 
But he's prepared with stuff like band-aids and parachutes. 
Will he survive???
Completely adorable!

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
 Cats seem to be all the rage right now in children's lit!
Splat is sure a favorite in my classroom.
He has the same kind of problems my firsties have, and
they love hearing about Splat and his friends. 
Most of these books are available on CD from Scholastic!

SkippyJon Jones by Judy Schachner
 Who would have thought that a kitten who thinks he's a chihuahua
would be a staple in a primary grade classroom??
I love Skippy!
One word of caution, though.
You may want to practice reading these books before you read them aloud. 
They will stump you.
FYI: That's the first time I've ever typed the word "chihauhau,"
and yes, I used spellcheck.

The Henke Mice by Kevin Henkes
 Okay, there really isn't a character or a book by this name, but it sure does fit! 
The mice Kevin Henkes created are some of the most loved childrens' characters today: 
Chrysanthemum, Wemberly, Owen, Lilly, and all their precious friends! 
You'll definitely want to share them with your students!

There are many more characters my kiddos love!
 Check out my "Must-Haves for New Readers" post for more info on these favorites:
The Berenstain Bears
Cam Jansen
Fancy Nancy
Fox and Friends
Frog and Toad 
Henry and Mudge
Little Critter
Morris and Boris
Mr. Putter and Tabby
Oliver and Amanda Pig

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.