I love when other teachers recommend books that they think are special, unique, and will have the kids LOVING reading. I have teamed up with Scholastic to bring you a few BACK TO SCHOOL picture books that are perfect for building community and building laughs within your classroom. 


I truly believe in the statement above. EVERY kid deserves the right to read. It hurts my heart when I hear educators say, "But, I don't have time to do a read aloud". Teaching our students that reading for fun is a priority is a common goal that I share in my classroom. If we want our kids to read academically, we must first give them opportunities to see themselves as a reader. They will not love reading if all they do is annotate passages. Give them REAL BOOKS and allow them to dive head first and learn about themselves.

I share the following with my parents to highlight the value of Scholastic Books

"Dear Parents of Awesome Readers,
       This year, I hope all of my students will bask in the glory of good books. I am a true believe that readers get to go on many free vacations and learn more about themselves through the eyes of book characters.  Scholastic Book Clubs is one of my favorite companies that does so much to support school libraries and teachers. The prices of all the books are quite reasonable and they give many free books to classrooms. The more the kids order the more free books I get to hand select for my classroom. Reading is one of my favorite moments each day because I see my students grow as people and readers. "

If you only get 5 books in the month of September for your classroom, here is what I recommend! Please note I am looking at all of these books with a 5th grade lens. I will read these books during OPEN THE MAGIC and to facilitate content. I have linked all about the books for you to easily find on Scholastic's website.

Adam Rex
Why I LOVE: I thought about how many kids say they do not like school and how I can fix that. I think when something is new many kids turn to frustration before trying. This book gives great examples on how to overcome the uncomfortable. It is great to teach multiple perspectives. 

Ame Dyckman
Why I LOVE: ALL teachers need this book in their classrooms! ALL. So many times kids are misunderstood or given titles from previous teachers. Real Talk: This book gave me a wake up call. I promised myself this year, I was going to see every kid with a new beginning no matter what I have heard before. This goes for kids as well. All kids deserve a new chance with each other. This book will be in my first 10 picture book reads this year during OPEN THE MAGIC. 

Nick Seluk
Why I LOVE: I am always looking for informational texts for Science that will intrigue the students. This one is perfect for our 5th grade planet unit. The illustrations are fun, but it is chalked full of great information about the Sun and planets. 

Brad Meltzer
Why I LOVE: Here is another informational text that is rich with information, but in a fun and artist way. Kids learn from these books because they are kid friendly. There are many more books in this series- definitely one to have in the classroom for our Native American unit.

The Bad Seed- Jory John
Why I LOVE: I mean when you see Aaron and Jory...that is enough. Anything by these two authors I just love and so do the kids. Both of these are great back to school reads. I plan to use both of these books when I talk about "new year new you". Kids need reminders not only from their teachers and parents, but also from books that you always have the power to change. Both of these books would be perfect also for characterization and how a character's actions change over time.

Do you use Scholastic Book Clubs in your classroom? If you don't, what are you waiting for?

Looking for great Valentine's books? Come hang out with me on Teachers Who Love Amazon as I share some of my LOVES.


There is something magical about a well told story. Every word read is a sparkle in the air about to touch your heart. Memories of Rakestraw Books in Danville, California, multiple trips to the local library, and tons of nights laying in my parents bed as my mom read every picture book from the well loved stack has developed me into a reader. The story I just told isn't the gift that every child unwraps.

The strong push for complex texts, common core, non-fiction, annotation, AR tests, vocabulary development, fluency, phonics, dibels, standardized tests...the list could go on forever has diminished the love of reading all over the world.  While I understand the importance of former reading lingo, I am afraid the love of reading will continue to loose sight in the eyes of children.  Now, don't get me wrong; there are still plenty of students who love to read, but there are TOO many who are still on the side of caution.

Did you know as a kid I did not like to read? It was hard, the words jumbled, my head felt foggy, and I just wanted to give up. BUT! I had parents and teachers who modeled what reading does for a child. Read alouds, libraries, books all around, English teachers, book lovers, magazines, book stores, and book celebrations showed me reading a book can be a special gem. This is one of the main reasons I feel so passionate about opening the magic in a classroom.

OPEN THE MAGIC is my way of sharing with my students that reading is a magical gift that we all deserve no matter how many pages. There are many layers to my vision of Open the Magic. Any time I use a picture book we are opening the magic. My choice is to use picture books, but maybe in your classroom you use chapter books or magazines. You can create OPEN THE MAGIC how you see best fit for your readers. When my students see OPEN THE MAGIC on the schedule, there have been sightings of dance parties at their seats. Room 20 loves picture books. Why? Because I have made it a PRIORITY in my classroom to share that picture books can ignite magic inside a reader.

What is Open The Magic with some FUN?
It is my way of spreading my love for reading and picture books in hopes my students will in turn find themselves to be a reader. A special set time where Miss Hinshaw (that's me) reads a picture book to her class just because. NO strings attached. Just 30 fifth graders and me hanging out reading a picture book. Whether you believe me or not, THIS develops readers! THIS develops students who LOVE to read. The more your students see you reading, the more they will be intrigued to pick up a picture book, a chapter book, a magazine, an owner's manual, a recipe card or a textbook. Honestly, I use picture books for everything! When I am teaching adjectives, you bet I have found a picture book to help me guide the lesson.

What is the PURPOSE of OTM?
To spread my love of reading, I take this time to connect with my students. This is such a special time in my room where I reach all students.  I want them to see themselves inside each picture book that I read. Every picture book I select there is a lesson. Not an academic lesson, but a life lesson.

 As the kids listen to the story, I know they are creating connections inside their brains, filing away words for their next narrative writing piece, or remembering a favorite part to share with their families when they get home. If you are still on the fence about the power of a picture book, share this with your students, teacher friends, and parents. What can a picture book do is a blog post I wrote sharing a picture book can be for every human. 

It is not a time to make the students do annotations, take a test, ask a million in one reading comprehension questions, or write a reading reflection.Please know that I do believe annotating texts and learning from text is very important and crucial in today's world. I just worry (I seriously do) that the love reading is losing, lets get it to become an equal!  *Don't worry; I still do this with other picture books during academic lessons. Pretty much whenever I am reading a picture book for any reason, the kids and I call it Open the Magic. #Truth- One day I read a picture book for every lesson. It was epic!

If you are interested in how I use picture books in my academic lessons, click the following blog posts to learn more:

What books I use for Open The Magic:
Before you continue to read, check out my post on how to get books for free or at a reduced price! I know; I want all books too. {Where to get Books}. Below here are some of my new 2018 reads that I will share during Open the Magic....
There are many educators who share their love reading through picture books. Check how they open the magic:

 Jillian Heise, creator of the hashtag #classroombookoftheday, encourages you to read 1 picture book every day for 180. Yes, please do this!!! I think it is so awesome and a great way to OPEN THE MAGIC in your classroom. Check out her post! I love that we both think the power of a picture book for older kids is a must do!

Lauren from @happily.ever.elephants

Michelle from @the.book.report

Amazon Affiliate Links were used in this post to help me purchase more books to share with you!

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