Both of my granddaughters, Lilly and Stassi, are finishing up the second half of preschool. Soon they will be kindergartners! I’d like to share with you a book list I’ve compiled for their parents that you might find helpful. I
Remember, sit alongside your child to view/read the story together. Social interaction is critical when learning to read and write. Talk about the story, make connections to your child’s life or other stories, and mediate their understandings about the themes present in the book.
When selecting picture books, look for those that demonstrate strong themes, such as: hope; acceptance; bravery; perseverance; cooperation; compassion; honesty; kindness; loyalty; friendship; hard work; responsibility; resourcefulness; fairness; preparedness; and respect. It’s often said that “you are what you eat.” I would say the same for books in the early years, “children become what they read.” If you want to raise a reader that emulates the characteristics listed above, then you must expose your child/student to characters that portray them.
Look for books that interest your child, but also choose quality writers, talented illustrators, and stories that teach a lesson or moral. An author that combines all three of these characteristics is Leo Lionni. Most young children love the books he wrote and illustrated, most especially Swimmy. This sweet story about a tiny black fish is really all about solidarity against a bully. Eric Carle is another good choice for your home library, as his characters are memorable. Most children have heard The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar (translated into over 65 languages), but he has over 40 books in print. Visit his website to browse titles such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Pancakes, Pancakes; and Do You Want to be My Friend? Among the books published in Spanish are The Grouchy Ladybug (La Maraquita Malhumorada) and The Very Busy Spider (La Arana Muy Ocupado). His website www.eric-carle.com, has resources for creative activities. Carle describes his collage technique for constructing his illustrations, providing you with ideas for your own art project with tissue paper and glue. I would also add Rosemary Wells, who has written and illustrated the Max and Ruby books that are so well loved. You are able to listen to some of her stories on You Tube. No list would be complete without Chicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert (an author of many books herself!). Lastly, Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama books are just delightful! My favorite is Llama Llama, Red Pajama. This book is perfect for teaching phonemic awareness.
Kindergarten – I chose these books from a fantastic website called “We are Teachers,” (https://www.weareteachers.com/best-kindergarten-books/). It is an annotated list that gives you a flavor for each title. For example, A Busy Creature’s Day Eating by Mo Willems, the author states, “You can never have too many alphabet books in Kindergarten, and a funny one is a huge plus. Eating everything is sight seems like a great idea until it makes you sick!” This alphabet book will have your child laughing through the entire eating adventure. Check out these diverse and inclusive books: Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora, Omu learns about the thoughtful plan her neighbors have to express their thanks for her delicious stew; A Morning With Grandpa by Sylvia Liu, will have kindergarteners standing up and trying out some of Mei Mei’s and her grandfather’s yoga and tai chi moves; My Kicks: A Sneaker Story! by Susan Verde, will relate to kindergarteners who will be delighted with the shoe’s adventures. They might even want to write a story from their shoes’ perspectives; All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, demonstrates how walking to school is memorable for all types of families. This book helps to develop your child’s cultural sensitivity to other ways of being; Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith. Your students might be familiar with the original story of Little Red Riding Hood, and will enjoy this version of the classic tale; Sometimes, kindergarten students just can’t help acting silly. They will enjoy reading about Penelope in We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins. Spoiler alert! Penelope eats her classmates; Pink is For Boys by Robb Pearlman, is a timely book for kindergarteners and explodes the notion of gender specific preferences. You can search the teachers website listed above to review the plots of these books as well: The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier; Izzy Gismo by Pip Jones; Elmore by Holly Hobbie; The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds; The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld; Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza; Winter Is Here , In the Middle of Fall , and When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek; Round by Joyce Sidman; 3×4 by Ivan Brunetti; One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl; How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh? by Alison Limentani; The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson.
Special thanks to Dr. Mary Esposito for finding these wonderful kindergarten books!
The Book Teacher