I love finding new things to use in the classroom. On my latest trip to the bookstore, I found four awesome picture books that seem just perfect for back to school. Hope you like them also!

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann
You are going to love Rose, the sweet little star of this book. All she wants is to get a little validation from her teacher. Don’t we all? The book begins… “I WILL NEVER get a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard. Mrs. Benson gives stars for stuff like spelling or neatness or raising your hand and saying the right answer. Not for doodling or daydreaming.” This is a wonderful book to set the stage for a caring, inclusive classroom where everyone is seen as unique and appreciated. I think there is also a caution for teachers in this clever book to be ever so careful about reward systems. View them through the eyes of children before putting something in place.

The Spelling Bee Before Recess by Deborah Lee Rose
What could be better than a story about a spelling bee told to the rhythm/pattern of The Night Before Christmas? Students will have a ball learning new words and playing with rhyme all at the same time.  (See what I did there? LOL) This is a keeper! My favorite line in the book that makes the whole story memorable… “So in spelling (and life) if you want to succeed, the best thing of all you can do is to READ.”

Billy’s Booger: A Memoir (sorta) by William Joyce and his younger self
This book is a winner for upper elementary students or middle school kids. This is William Joyce’s memoir about becoming a writer. As a kid, he didn’t exactly fit the mold of a traditional student and writing was the way he expressed his personality. This book tells the story of a writing contest he entered. It is actually a book within a book because there is a copy of his entry, Billy’s Booger, inside the picture book. The humor is very off beat and older kids will love it. You can also download the Billy’s Booger app and have the students interact with the story there as well. This would be a good one for introducing personal narratives, memoirs, or autobiographies in writing.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Love, love this one for introducing Maker Space, Project Based Learning, or Genius Hour to students. Help students understand the importance of never giving up and learning from our mistakes. This book will help build an attitude of risk taking and empowerment in your classroom. No tears when things go wrong and don’t quit when it isn’t perfect. Lessons I need to remind myself of on occasion. See the video below for an amazing student video based on this book.