Top 5 Picture Books for Upper Grades

"A picture book can be just what every human needs".- Ramona Recommends. I hope you can feel my passion for picture books for humanity because it feels so right to me. My 5th grade classroom is filled with picture books. Older kids need picture books just like Chocolate Chip cookies need milk.  I have teamed up with 3 other teachers to bring you an incredible blog series debuting picture books at all levels. Over the next couple weeks, you will be hearing from:

Primary Elementary (K-3)

Ramona Recommends- Courtney Hinshaw
Upper Grade Elementary (4-6)

The Whimsical Teacher- Jessica Martin
*blog update coming soon
Middle School (5-8)

The Superhero Teacher- Brittany Wheaton
High School (9-12) 

Picture books allow students to be kids again. Whatever happened to the sweet moments of mom, dad, grandma, or the adorable librarian sitting down and reading a picture book? Is technology wiping away those moments? My hope is that all teachers will truly take these posts to heart and dedicate time in their classrooms to OPEN THE MAGIC with picture books. 

I promise  your students will remember this more than a fractions worksheet. Like Jen Jones said, "Reading pictures IS reading." The book featured above is called How to Get Your Teacher Ready, by Jean Reagan. An adorable read if I say so myself. #informationalwriting

Below, I am going introduce 5 picture books that I love to use when teaching 5th grade. They can be read in any grade level, but this is how I use them in Room 20.

Are you having one of those days where your students just need something funny? We all get caught up in teaching to the test, but sometimes it is good for everyone's soul to read a picture book just for fun. While I say just read for fun, there is a always a lesson to be learned in a picture book. Lesson Learned- Be yourself and enjoy the little things. 
When I read this to my students, it is usually right after a boring lesson where they need some laughter in their life. Yes, sometimes I do have to teach boring lessons. #truelife
Want to see my nephew crack up while reading this book? Open the Magic --> HERE
I recommend reading this book before you read it in front of the students, because there are some "I don't really know what this says" moments.
 The Apple Orchard Riddle 
This read is great for when you are teaching your narrative unit. One of the first lessons I do is  from Miss Radka classroom website years ago. I have modified to pull in apples for September. The Apple Orchard is about a class that goes on a field trip to an apple orchard. As you progress through the story, we learn about the process of apples and what happens to them during the picking frenzy and upon finding a new home. I have my students pretend they are an apple. How does this apple feel? We brainstorm different feelings from which Miss Radka provides a great list. We talk about what does each feeling look like. This is hard for students, but with the help of picture books and the movie Inside Out they are becoming better at this skill. Once they have chosen their feeling, they draw their apple from the orchard and the feelings from the apple situation. For example, an apple going into a warm oven for apple pie. Feeling-Scared (sweating, red cheeks, big eyes, and nervous tummy).

All the close to my heart feels with this book. Thank You Mr. Falker is about a little girl who is dyslexic and can't read...yet. Her teacher sees the beauty in her and they work together to teach her how to read. I read this story on the second of school to introduce myself to the students. I am dyslexic and I want them to know you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. School growing up for me was tough, but I have learned strategies and showed grit to fight through it all. I think it is important for students to know that we are human and that we too have challenges to overcome.  
I also bring this book out again when we do our character analysis unit. The students and I created a flow map that charts change over time with the main character. Did you know the main character of this book is the author Patricia Polacco? I can't tell you enough how much I love this book. It really is my jam.

I bet you love when students use words in their writing that clearly came from the top search of thesaurus. It is kinda one of my favorites; is that bad? I find it comical when they use a word that means the same as the word they want to change, but makes no sense in the sentence. Lexie The Word Wrangler shows the students how to correctly use "bigger" words when beefing up their writing. Writing is one area that I would like to grow in this year. I can't wait to use this book to help my students understand the power of word choice to make their writing lasso me in.

The Name Jar
Looking for another cultural diverse book to add to your bookshelf? The Name Jar is one of my all time favorites to teach students about acceptance of different cultures. Unhei has just moved to the states from Korea where she is worried the students will not pronounce her name correctly. I have this worry on the first day of school because many of students come from different backgrounds of my own. Here is how I handle this. I explain that I might say their name wrong, not because I want to, but because it is new to me. I have them say it to me 3 times very slowly and then practice all day. I ask them to share about their different holidays they celebrate. I love this time because they get so excited that I want to know. 

As always, OPEN THE MAGIC with your students this year. Use picture books to ignite or reignite the passion for reading. Lets keep the magic going and build leaders.  *Amazon Affiliate Links Used

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