D’Souza, N. (n.d.) Windswept. Retrieved from: http://lightupyourbrain.com/stories/audio-story-windswept/

This story is about a beautiful Copperpod tree who is envied by all. When the wind begins to blow, the Copperpod tree demands that it stop blowing its leaves off! It does, but in the end the Copperpod tree realizes he needs the wind after all!

Grade level: PreK-3rd

Genre: Fiction

Readers who would like this: Children who enjoy audiobooks, children who enjoy stories with strong morals, children who enjoy stories with fantastical elements.

Rating and response: 3; I thought this audiobook was good, however the read was a bit boring to me. The storyline was quite simple and I feel like there are better children’s books that depict the selfish-turned-appreciative character. The thing that I did like about the book is that it had a pretty clear-cut moral for young students. Overall, it was a bit lackluster to me.

Question: What is the value of appearance?

Reading Strategy: Picture Carousels

For picture carousels, the teacher selects images that are related to the literature and posts them around the room for students to explore. The students try to figure out a common theme within the pictures. A modification of this activity for older children could be to make inferences about the pictures posted.

This strategy would work well for this book due to the lack of images present with the literature. Placing pictures around the classroom would give students concrete examples of the moral depicted in the story.


Martin de Porres: A Rose in the Desert

Schmidt, G. (2012). Martin de porres: A rose in the desert. New York, NY: Clarion Books.

This story tells the upcoming of a hispanic-african poor boy who begins doing amazing things as part of the church, and eventually reaches sainthood!

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade level: 2nd-4th

Readers who would like this book: Children who have some religious background, children who enjoy historical fiction based on true stories, children who enjoy vibrant illustrations.

Rating and response: 4; I really enjoyed this book. I had never heard the story of Saint Martin de Porres (the first African saint in the Americas) before, and I realized how important a story it is to tell. The illustrations in this text match very well with the story and overall, it provides a clear, easily understandable story for children! I think the illustration in this text was also very successful in helping with this, and conveyed a clear picture of “mood” for children.

Question: What is a saint?

Award Winner: Pura Belpre Award for Illustration

This book was awarded the Pura Belpre Award for an outstanding Latino illustrator who celebrates the authentic Latino culture through illustration in a piece. Specific criteria for “outstanding illustration” are listed below.

  • Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed
  • Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept
  • Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept
  • Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting mood or information through the pictures
  • Positive and authentic portrayal of Latino culture
  • Excellence of presentation for a child audience


First the Egg

Vaccaro Seger, L. (2007). First the egg. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.

Genre:  Concept Book

Grade level:PreK-2nd

Reader’s who would like this: Children who enjoy science, children who enjoy vibrant yet simple illustration, children who enjoy nontraditional concept books

Rating and Response: 5; I love this book! At first when I read it, I had a hard time classifying the genre because it is so unique. Upon realizing that it was a concept book, I fell in love with it even more. The simple die cut illustrations in this book pair perfectly with the concept of “transformation,” and the clever ending will sure to be one that makes children want to reread this text! I love it and this will definitely be going on my shelves shortly!

Question: What does it mean to transform? To change?

Award Winner:Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Named after the infamous Dr. Seuss, this award is given yearly to the most distinguished American book for beginning readers. This status is based on a demonstration of creativity, imagination, and excellence in literary and artistic achievements.



Along Came a Dog

DeJong, M. (1958). Along came a dog. New York, NY: HarperCollins Children’s Books.

This Newberry Honor Book tells the tale of a lonely dog searching for a home who finds friendship in a hen. This book is told from the point of view of the dog as well as from the point of view of the hen he protects!


Grade level: 3rd-6th

Readers who would like this:Children who enjoy realistic animal stories, children who are interested in animal behavior, children who enjoy stories of friendship.

Rating and response:4; This book was really sweet. At first, I did not think that I was going to like the book due to the fact that there is really no conversation  and it doesn’t really tell you the animals “thoughts,” however upon reading deeper into the story it is really a perfect exemplar of loyalty, staying true to one’s self, and belonging. It did seem a little repetitive when I was reading, however I think this is a good thing for the target age range, especially for those just transitioning into longer books!

Question: Have you ever felt like you had to protect something? What? Why?


Officer Buckle and Gloria

Rathmann, P. (1995). Officer buckle and gloria. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Gloria the new police dog LOVES to show off fun tricks when Officer Buckle gives his safety presentations, almost as much as Officer Buckle likes presenting the safety tips themselves! When Officer Buckle finds out that the excitement about his presentations is due to Gloria, his spirits become dampened and he no longer wants to continue on with his job. In the end, true friendship prevails and Officer Buckle and Gloria turn out to be the most wanted duo around!

Genre:Fiction Picturebook

Grade level: K-3rd

Readers who would like this: Children who want to become police officers, children who like dogs, children who enjoy the theme of friendship.

Rating and Response: 5; I absolutely adore this book. The emotion and feeling conveyed through the illustration alone is enough to completely capture a reader’s heart! The relationship between Officer Buckle and Gloria also exemplifies some of the more complex notions of friendship, and I think the books “problem” is solved in a way that models a sort of realistic friendship issue. I also did my fourth book kit on this book, and there are an endless amount of activities and fun projects to do that can be very useful to the classroom! Overall, I totally loved it!

Question: Have you ever gotten into an argument with a friend? How were you and the friend able to solve the problem?



Yo! Yes?

Raschka, C. (2007). Yo! Yes?. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

This 34-word picturebook describes the story of two boys who meet and become friends through simple conversation.

Grade level: PreK-2nd

Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Readers who would like this: Children who are just beginning to read, children entering into a new situation, children who enjoy the dialogue based aspect of books such as comics.

Rating and response: 5; This nearly wordless book showcases a simple, understandable, yet powerful depiction of friendship. By being nearly wordless, the illustrations become all that more important to the overall aura of the book; I think that the illustrations in the book  are heartwarming and reflect the diversity that is present in today’s world. I love how this book showcases the fact that friendship is not a one way street, and that it both simplifies and complicates the idea of friendship at the same time. This is such a creative book, and I still cannot get over the fact that the story is told in only 34 words!

Question: What are some ways in which people make friends?


Owen and Mzee

Hatkoff, I., Hatkoff, C., & Kahumbu, P. (2006). Owen & Mzee: A true story of remarkable friendship. New York, NY: Turtle Pond Publications LLC.

This is a true story about how a baby hippo stranded due to a tsunami ends up away from his “family” and into an animal sanctuary where he befriends a 130 year old giant turtle.

Genre: Nonfiction

Grade level:K-5th

Readers who would like this: Children who like animals, children who enjoy nonfiction, children who enjoy stories that depict unlikely or unique tales.

Response and rating:4; I love this book because I think it does two wonderful things. The first is that the book teaches readers that friendship knows no bounds- the differences that separate us are not stronger than those that unite us. Second, the book teaches children the value of friendship at a time of hardship or need, which can truly be a lifesaving message. The photography in the book was great as well, however I think this book is a little bit too text-heavy for some younger readers who might thoroughly enjoy the story otherwise.

Question:When I say the word “friendship” out loud, what image comes to mind? What does friendship look like?


A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Stead, P. C. (2010). A sick day for amos mcgee. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a story that shows that friendships can come in all shapes and sizes. Amos McGee, a regular visitor to the zoo, stays home extremely sick one day and misses his regular visit. His friends at the zoo miss his dearly, and decide collectively to go help their friend in need.

Genre:Animal fantasy

Grade level: PreK-2nd

Readers who would like this: Children who like the zoo, children who enjoy animal fantasy, children who enjoy unique illustrations

Rating and response: 5; I think that this book is fantastic for teaching children about friendship because it shows that friendship is about support and caring. It shows that friendship, as a concept, has much more depth than many may think, as is much more complex than just meeting and being friends. The illustrations in this text, coupled with the text itself, do a fantastic job of implicitly teaching about the deeper qualities of friendship that come to play when someone is in need, especially through the emotions of the characters in the book. This book is one of my favorites to date!

Question:What are some ways in which you might help a friend who is in need?


Harriet the Spy

Fitzhugh, L. (1992). Harriet the spy. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

Harriet the Spy keeps detective notes on EVERYONE, even her friends! When Harriet loses track of her notebook and it ends up within the grasp of those she writes about, she must find away to piece her friendships, and her life, back together!

Genre: Mystery novel

Grade level:3rd-5th

Readers who would like this: Children who keep a journal, children who enjoy mysteries, children who are enduring life hardships.

Rating and response:5; Although this book is old, I had never read it and had heard some pretty harsh criticisms about it. After finally deciding to read it, I must say I loved the book and think that it involves MUCH more than most give it credit for. This book is not simply about a girl who writes bad things in a notebook about her friends and then when her friends find it and read it, tragedy ensues. This may be the most superficial reading of the book, but deep down this novel involves the tragedies of loss, the hardships that come with class, and the struggle of staying true to one’s own personal beliefs and characteristics. In a way this book is a sort of contemporary realistic fiction; the realistic peer interactions in the book especially led me to discover this. I think children of all backgrounds would be able to relate to and would love to read this book.

Question: How does it feel to be isolated from a friend group? what are some ways in which we can avoid isolating others who we are friends with?


How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?

Yolen, J., & Teague, M. (2006). How do dinosaurs play with their friends?. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

This book explicitly instructs children on how to be a good, competent friend through the use of rhyme and fun exciting characters;dinosaurs of course!

Genre:Animal Fantasy

Grade level: PreK-1st

Readers who would like this: Children who like dinosaurs, children who enjoy instructional text, children who enjoy rhyming text.

Rating and response: 5; This book bases itself on the most basic aspects of friendship. I think this text would be great for children who are beginning school or a new situation who might not yet have the proper social skills to cooperatively make and engage with friends. As a new-found super fan of Yolen, I couldn’t help but fall in love with her “How Do Dinosaurs” books; they are witty, creative, and the illustrations are equally fun!

Question: What are some manners that are important to use when playing with friends? Why?

Reading Strategy: Guided Reading

Guided Reading is a strategy in which students develop fluency and comprehension. During this strategy, students read a familiar text to themselves in a small group setting with others of their similar Lexile/reading level.. The teacher is present during this activity, and may signal to students that he/she wants to hear the students (one at a time) read aloud by placing a hand in front of the student. The student would then whisper read to the teacher to give the teacher an idea of how well the student is coming along with their development of fluency and comprehension in regards to the text.

I think this strategy would work well for How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends because of the utilization of rhyme and pattern to convey the book’s message. Students would be able to practice fluency with ease through the use of the rhyming text, and this would also help teachers identify the level of fluency and comprehension that the student is achieving during the activity. The text is also short, which might help beginning readers keep track of the plot/events in the story-again relating back to comprehension!