Maria Walther's Top Ten Spring Picture Books
Fresh ideas for read-alouds
PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
In this article, teacher Maria Walther shares her favorite new books for spring. Enjoy!
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De la PeÃ±a and illustrated by Christian Robinson (Putnam, 2015)
CJ and his grandmother are taking the city bus to a soup kitchen on the other side of town and along the way Grandma teaches CJ some important life lessons. I paired this book with Something Beautiful (Wyeth, 1998), and we had a conversation that led to inferring the theme or “big idea” of the two stories.
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Houghton Mifflin, 2015)
Stick and Stone become friends when Stick stands up to Pinecone, who is bullying Stone. Book trailer video and activity kit are available on Tom’s website www.tomlichtenheld.com, or follow him on Twitter @tlichtenheld.
Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Houghton Mifflin, 2014)
Discover why thorny devils are spiny and sun bears have long tongues in this engaging nonfiction picture book. Use this as a mentor text to inspire writers to pen their own nonfiction pieces about animals.
Rooting for You: A Moving up Story by Susan Hood and Matthew Cordell (Disney/Hyperion, 2014)
Bud, the seed, is reluctant to sprout and grow until his underground friends support him and cheer him on.
Sick Simon by Dan Krall (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
Do your students sneeze and cough all over the classroom? If so, then this book is perfect for them! Watch your kids’ faces as you read about Sick Simon’s “best week ever!” The illustrations are disgusting, but they get the point across.
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson (HarperCollins, 2015)
Rabbit and Mouse plant seeds, but their selfishness leads to trouble. They discover that planting a seed of kindness is much sweeter. A few of my other favorite books with similar themes are Horsefly and Honeybee (Cecil, 2012) and Each Kindness (Woodson, 2012).
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and illustrated by Mike Boldt (Doubleday, 2015)
This amusing story, told all in speech bubbles, is about self-acceptance. A small frog is convinced he no longer wants to be a frog, but his wise father and a hungry wolf set him straight. Pair with The Mixed-Up Chameleon (Carle, 1975) or the humorous pop-up book The Wide-Mouthed Frog (Faulkner, 1996). Thanks to Margie Myers-Culver, librarian extraordinaire, for this suggestion. Follow her on Twitter @loveofxena.
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Chronicle, 2015)
I’m saving this uplifting collection of good wishes to read on the last day of school. It would also be a wonderful gift for a graduate!
The Dandelion’s Tale by Kevin Sheehan and Rob Dunlavey (Schwartz & Wade, 2014)
Dandelion has one wish, to be remembered. So, before her seedpods blow away, she tells her stories to Sparrow. After a storm blows all her seedpods away, Sparrow remembers Dandelion and tells her tales to her children. This book celebrates the power of storytelling. It would also spark interest in doing some research about dandelions by reading a nonfiction book like A Dandelion’s Life (Himmelman, 1998).
Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker and illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss (Holt, 2015)
Henry Colebourn, a World War I soldier and veterinarian, adopts a baby bear and brings her to training camp in Quebec and then to England. Once in England, Henry is called to battle, so he takes Winnie to the London Zoo where a young boy named Christopher Robin meets her, and the rest is history!
For more book recommendations by Maria Walther, check out Transforming Literacy Teaching in the Era of Higher Standards and Month-by-Month Reading Instruction for the Differentiated Classroom and follow her on twitter @mariapwalther.