Monday, February 15, 2016

Picture books for older readers

I was given the opportunity to run a workshop with English language arts students who are looking to teach at the secondary level.  The instructor requested exposing the students to literature with the broad focus around diversity and keen to use picture books.  I asked if I should pull novels and other secondary level literature to which she causally said sure, if I could match them up with the picture books.

The game was on.

I must admit I didn’t really start with the idea of matching my picture book selections with novels, nonfiction, poetry, plays, etc. but once I began making connections with  a few of the books then it became a challenge to try and match them all.  It was really fun.

And I came up with quite a list of items.  If you’re keen to see the list of paired picture books and non-picture books visit the library guide where I’ve attached it.

I felt the session went well and some of the students we’re sold on the idea of using picture books in classrooms beyond elementary.  It was a new thought for some. After reviewing some of the reasons why picture books can be a good resource for the higher grade levels such as:
      ·         Accommodates differences in reading abilities
·         Increases motivation of students by going deeper into a single topic (versus a textbook which is usually takes a more cursory approach)
·         Presents a child’s or young person’s point of view making it more relevant to the reader
·         Explores universal themes, literary devices, parts of speech, etc. with short texts that accommodate short class time
·         Develops visual literacy and appreciation for the aesthetic of picture books
·         Provides models/patterns for students to base their own work on
·         Provokes discussion

We moved on to looking at the strength behind pairing fiction and nonfiction texts. This allows for much greater depth of understanding to be developed for the readers.  So with all this in mind it was time for some browsing action.

A good part of the session was dedicated to the students looking through many of the groupings and discussing their observations with their table companions. Later we discussed practical concerns they had about bringing ‘non-authorized’ resources into the classroom and some of the books that got them excited.

Here are few of the groupings that are my favourites. Picture books are listed first:

*14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy and *In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman

*Terrible Things by Eve Bunting and *In the Land of Punctuation by Christian Morgenstern

*Rose Blanche by Roberto Innocenti (both the American and British editions) and *Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

*A Man Called Raven by Richard Van Camp 
and *Super Indian by Arigon Starr

*The Girl in Red by Roberto Innocenti and * Red Ridin’ inthe Hood by Patricia Santos Marcantonio ALSO Lies, Knives and Girls in RedDresses by Ron Koertge ALSO *The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli


*Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and *When Everything Feels Like the Movie by Raziel Reid ALSO *October Mourning by Leslea 

I could list so many more but encourage you to visit the link above to view the whole list. 

Also, you might be interested in visiting a new Pinterest board I created that lists picture books suited for older readers. 


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