Friends, I am so excited about today's blog post because we are going to talk about one of my favorite parts of teaching....picture books!

This past year, I started doing #classroombookaday, which was created by Jillian Heise. Look her up on Instagram and then look up the hashtag #classroombookaday. Basically this is an idea where you read one picture book each day with your kids. This is life changing! Let me tell you, I was worried about how my kids would respond to this at the beginning. I mean, I teach 5th grade and I'm having them sit on the rug and listen to me read like it's kindergarten story time. I thought I was going to have to convince them to do it everyday and deal with the eye rolls, but y'all, they absolutely LOVED it and quickly let me know if we had forgotten to do it one day.

Now, the idea is to read a book a day, but sometimes our schedule didn't allow for that. Yes, I realize there's always time for a picture book, but sadly if we were on a short schedule and HAD to cover something that day, I had to let the read aloud go. It's okay. though! We still read a ton of new picture books that we wouldn't have otherwise if we didn't do the #classroombookaday

Since adding this part of our class, I have started researching picture books and really it's just become an obsession LOL. Today I'm going to share my top 10 favorite picture books that we read this year.

If there was an award for the cutest book ever, this one would win it. This is the CUTEST, SWEETEST story about a rotten potato that has A LOT of self confidence and decides to enter a beauty pageant. Your kids will be rooting for Rot and loving this one!!!!

Not only are the illustrations in Last Stop on Market Street unique and gorgeous, but this book has such a great message that isn't obvious for children to understand. I love using this one for theme. It made my kids stop and think. 

Henry's Freedom Box is one picture book that everyone needs! You'll notice in my favorite selections that I tend to navigate towards fiction. I love getting lost in a story and I much prefer that type of book to a true story filled with facts, but this book is the exception. I would love to find more narrative nonfiction like this. My kids were HOOKED. They were fascinated with hearing about Henry's escape from slavery. SUCH a good one to add to your collection!

Talk about a complete shock! I got this one in a pack of free books from Scholastic and I didn't think anything about it. I didn't realize I would love it as much as I did and the kids loved it too! Thelma the Unicorn has a wonderful message about loving who you are and not trying to be someone else. Our 'idiom of the day' the day we read this one was "The grass isn't always greener on the other side" and this fit in PERFECTLY! Such a good book for theme. 

Call me crazy, but I'm thinking about buying another copy of Gaston and cutting out the pages and having them framed for my house. Y'all, the artwork in this book is just perfection. The story is also really good. It's about a little dog who doesn't fit in with his family because he looks different. Then he gets lost in the park and realizes that even though he might not look like his family, he loves them anyways. There is a sequel to this one called Antionette and it's also adorable. 

Those Shoes was a book that lots of my kids connected to and loved. Again, it has the perfect message about fitting in and being accepted by your peers. This is one that is so relevant to our kids' lives. You will definitely have an engaged class when you read this one. 

Do you notice how I'm continually saying how these books have a great message? While reading all these picture books, I've discovered that it helps with teaching theme SO MUCH! I've found that picture books provide great examples of themes in a short format that is engaging to kids. 

Nerdy Birdy is another great one for theme! This one is about a bird who doesn't fit in because it looks a little "nerdy" and isn't cool like the other birds. This one has a shocking twist that my kids literally gasped at! Don't you just love when kids are so invested in a story that they actually gasp when something surprising happens! Love! 

When I first read Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, I was worried it was too "young" for my kids to fully appreciate it, but I was wrong. This book is perfect for teaching rhyme scheme, figurative language, and sequence. It also contains a rich vocabulary that I loved because it made the kids question the meaning of unfamiliar words. 

The Gardener was one of the more serious read alouds that we read this past year, but it was the perfect story for upper elementary. If you're discussing characterization, the uncle in this story is a great example for inferring character traits. Another great one for theme as well. 

And my number one favorite picture book from this year (and all time!) is The Paper Bag Princess. Y'all, Princess Elizabeth is a strong female character that is smart and brave and self confident! This one is super short, but packs a lot in! I recommend this one for the beginning of the year because it is so short and it will give your kids practice for how to sit and behave during a read aloud. This one had my kids laughing at the end. It's just the perfect little book. 

Okay, now I want to know YOUR favorites! Share below so we can get even more ideas! If you want a post about which books I use for different skills (teaching plot, conflict, character traits, cause/effect, etc.) let me know and I'll work on that! :) 

That's it for today's Teacher Tidbit Tuesday post. Here's what topics are coming up. 

Top 10 Favorite Picture Books (this post)

Your Teaching History

Your Summer Rountine

Favorite Instagrammers

Classroom Design Plan

Top 10 Favorite Movies

Favorite Phone Apps

Happy List

Fictional Character Role Models

Workspace Must Haves

What's in Your Teacher Bag?