Monday, August 10, 2020

Picture Book 10 for 10 Day - Books for Starting the School Year With New Routines - 8.10.2020

Thank you Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine 
and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning 
for organizing this day.

I can’t believe it’s time for Picture Book 10 for 10 Day (#PB10for10)!  It’s always such a fun day to celebrate picture books and the many ways we can use them with young readers.

This school year is going to start differently than any other year - both in the years I’ve been teaching (starting year 25!) and the years I was a student.  Some of us will be distance learning.  Some will be starting the year with a hybrid approach.  And some schools will be full of students but may have other rules and regulations in place that are new.  No matter how the year is starting, there are always books that can help you and students have conversations about what is happening.  So this year, I’m sharing books to use when starting the school year with different routines.

If I Built a School

If I Built a School

by Chris Van Dusen

This book has ideas for many different ways to construct a school.  What Fall 2020 is telling us... school is going to look very different than it has in the past!  This is a different first day of school discussion - what does your “school” look like compared to your fellow classmates?  

I Am Every Good Thing

I Am Every Good Thing

written by Derrick Barnes

illustrated by Gordon C. James

This is the year to celebrate some positive identity!  It is the start of a new year and new possibilities.  Let your students know that they are worthy, they are appreciated, you’re happy they are there, and that you see them.

Your Name Is a Song

Your Name is a Song

written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Another book about positive identity. Celebrate what makes each child unique and the special ideas they bring to a class.

Don't miss this video that has author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, pronouncing each individual name in the story.

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

The Arabic Quilt

written by Aya Khalil

illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan

Each of our students will be approaching this year differently than in the past. Some may have experienced trauma or stress since they were last inside a school. Teachers should be respectful and understanding of each student's identity and background. Read this book and let students share about who they are to whatever extent they are comfortable with, even if this just means listening to others for now.

Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper

Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper

by Miri Leshem-Pelly

As we think about how we want this school year to look like, please include your students in the discussion, especially when talking about norms and expectations of the class. Please think about what you know about your students and what you learn from your interactions with them in the first few weeks of school. As you have these discussions, remember which voices you hear, and which ones are quiet. This book is a reminder that not all rules work for everyone. Decide together what is fair for this class.

A Little Space for Me

A Little Space for Me

by Jennifer Gray Olson

After you've been in class for a week or two, you may want to talk about taking some grace. There comes a time when an individual says, "I need a break." How do we say that? When do we need to do that? What does it look like? Just like the young girl in the story, we all need to find a space to just be.

It Is (Not) Perfect

It Is (Not) Perfect

written by Anna Kang

illustrated by Christopher Weyant

This is the year to admit, things are not going to be perfect and that is ok. Just like the characters learn, sometimes we can find a new idea, a new possibility, when we take some steps back and reevaluate. And sometimes, with help from our peers, we can achieve something completely different.

Happy Right Now

Happy Right Now

written by Julie Berry

illustrated by Holly Hatam

The rest of the books focus on mindset. This year is really going to need a growth mindset!

In this book, we see a situation that is initially perceived as negative, until the character thinks about the situation in a positive way. I like that this book also mentions that sometimes things don't go the way we planned and it makes us sad, and it's ok to have those feelings too.

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

written by Kat Zhang

illustrated by Charlene Chua

Have you ever tried to make/create/do something and you know how you want it to end up, but it ends up very different than how you planned? Welcome to 2020! This year is not working out how we had at all planned, but we pivot, and try something new! Perfect book for growth mindset!



written by Minh Lê

illustrated by Dan Santat

This book has it all - being content, getting upset when things don't go your way, figuring out something amazing, sharing it with others. This year is going to have us experiencing so many emotions, but let's experience it together and lift each other to new heights!

Regardless of where you are teaching this fall, I wish everyone a happy new school year and hope for many positive new experiences for you and your students.


  1. We have a couple of overlapping titles. I just read Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper last night - so creative! A Little Space for Me is one I need to check out.

  2. I am so looking forward to reading Lift. So many have praised it! I have others on your list & bookmarked the rest. It's a nice idea to group for the "start". I used "names" often when I began the year, would have loved "Your Name is A Song" I'm sure. Thanks, Michele!

  3. Michele,
    I can always count on your for great book recommendations. I have put myself in line at the library for a few of these titles that are on order. This year will be different - but these titles sure will help.