I love picture books that have a message. I use a wide variety of books every year and at the beginning of the year I like books that send a message of acceptance and tolerance. Here are three of my favorite titles. The books are simple, the illustrations are amazing, and these books help me teach kids that the only person they need to be in my classroom is themselves. That it’s always ok to take risks and that making mistakes is a natural part of life. (Sometimes the best part of learning.)
Spork by Kyo Maclear: Poor spork. He just doesn’t know where he fits in. He’s not a fork and he’s not a spoon, just a lonely spork. I love this book because it sends a clear message that we need to just be ourselves and we don’t need to change anything to fit in. I also think it’s a great launch for a beyond the book inquiry because who doesn’t want to know where sporks originally came from?
Ish by Peter H. Reynold: Ish is a great book that let’s kids know they don’t have to be perfect. They can be “ish.” Sometimes I think my students are under so much pressure and that they lose the fun of being a kid. Ish sends the message that perfection is not important, experimentation and happiness is. Your students will love Ish!
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg: This is one of my new favorite books. It seems like it would really be for young children but the message is a very sophisticated one. I know my fifth graders will love the interactive nature of this book and the playfulness of the illustrations. Beautiful Oops makes us realize that mistakes are really opportunities, it’s just how we look at them.