Picture Perfect! Teaching with Picture Books

picturebooksThe adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” rings especially true when talking about picture books. Anyone who has browsed through bookstore or library shelves can attest to the fact that a compelling photo or illustration on the cover may entice us to pick up a rather dull sounding book. We may ask ourselves “Why is there a skull and crossbones on the cover”, or “what is that woman thinking, swimming with that shark?”

In addition to making texts more appealing the artwork in picture books can make it easier for readers to make sense of the accompanying (sometimes complex) text. This can be particularly helpful to classroom teachers who are looking for ways to introduce complicated or controversial topics to their students.

Milne Library has a large collection of picture books on various subjects and themes such as: geometry, human impact on the earth, disabilities, grief, and acceptance. Using picture books to introduce these topics can help both the teacher (making it easier to cover difficult to understand content) and the students (may engage them with content they normally wouldn’t choose).

All children’s picture books are located on the lower level of the library in the Teacher Education Resource Center (TERC). A few new titles, with summaries (from the catalog/book jacket), are listed below. For help on locating these books visit this site or contact the education librarian, Michelle Costello ([email protected]).

Titles:

  • Bats on Parade by┬áKathi Appelt — “On a midsummer’s night the Marching Bat Band makes a rare appearance, its members grouped in formations that demonstrate multiplication from two times two up to ten times ten.”
  • A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz — “The renowned cat conservationist reflects on his early childhood struggles with a speech disorder, describing how he only spoke fluently when he was communicating with animals and how he resolved at a young age to find his voice to be their advocate.”
  • Cloud Spinner by — Michael Catchpool “When the king orders a boy to make him a huge wardrobe out of the clouds in the sky, the boy warns him that it is more than he needs but the king does not listen.”
  • Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson — “When Louie’s best friend Amy moves to the other side of the world, Louie must find a way to reconnect with her.”
  • House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser– “Built on a treeless yard by a family who cleared away all the sprouting trees on the property, a house is eventually abandoned and left to deteriorate on a lot that is gradually overrun by wild trees, in a poignant tale of loss, change, and nature’s quiet triumph.”
  • Same, Same, but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw — “Pen pals Elliot and Kailash discover that even though they live in different countries–America and India–they both love to climb trees, have pets, and ride a school bus.”
  • The Tin Forest by Helen Ward– “An old man’s persistent dreams transform a garbage dump into a forest full of life.”
  • Varmints. Part One by Helen Ward & Marc Craste — “When tall buildings and loud noise drown out the sounds of bees in the grass and birds in the sky, one soul cares enough to start over again and help nature thrive.”

 

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