book list from bloggers & friends

Don't you love when you get MORE IDEAS FOR BOOKS from people who love to read books to young children just like you?!
Yes, of course, absolutely, yes!

Here is a list from bloggers and friends via my Zella Facebook Page.
(you can follow me on FB via the button on the right column ... OR JUST CLICK HERE).

Give the list a look, check out on Amazon if the title looks interesting to you or for your child! Add them to your "look for" list during your next library visit! There were only a couple books that I couldn't include on the list because the title given didn't quite match up to a title I could find with an author, so my apologies to any favorites that are missing!
To note: while I am so excited and appreciative of the contributors' ideas on this list, it does not mean I have read all of them and therefore need YOU to be the evaluator of what books you like for your family or your school. Perhaps some are too young, too scary, too commercial, too short, too long...ahhhh, yet perhaps so many are just fabulous and a bit of a treasure to find :)

Special THANKS to book idea contributors:
Natalie Giulianelli, Alida Fernandez Chacon, Learning for life, Jo Pentony, Randi London Albertsen, Angie McLaren, Lucy Kiermaier Michaud, Images of Learning Project, Rachel White, Stephanie West, Courtney Floyd, Playing in Prep, Sara Brooks Long, Maria Navaratne, Rainbows within Reach, Jaana Swanson

Books recommended by bloggers, educators and parents:

Bitsy and the Bear ~ Angela McAllister
Captain Flinn & the Pirate Dinosaurs ~
     Giles Andreae

Charlotte's Web ~ E.B. White
Dear Zoo ~ Rod Campbell

Duck on a Bike ~ David Shannon

Fox in Sox ~ Dr. Seuss
Funny Face ~ Nicole Smee
Go Dog Go ~ P.D. Eastman
Good Night,Me Andrew Daddo
Green Eggs and Ham ~ Dr. Seuss

Hiccup: The Viking who was Seasick ~
    Cressida Cowell
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World ~ Marjorie Priceman
Hush Little Baby ~ Sylvia Long
I Was So Mad ~ Mercer Mayer
Little Rabbit Foo Foo ~ Michael Rosen
Love you Forever by Robert Munsch

Mrs. Wishy Washy ~ Joy Cowley
On the Way Home ~ Jill Murphy
Owl Babies ~ Martin Waddell
Popcorn ~ Frank Asch
Purple, Green and Yellow ~ Robert Munsch
Pussy Willow ~ Margaret Wise Brown

Red, White and Blue ~ Debbie Clement
Remember the Night Rainbow ~ Cooper Edens
Room on a Broom ~ Julia Donaldson
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes ~ Mem Fox

The Giving Tree ~ Shel Silverstein
The Gruffalo ~ Julia Donaldson
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry & The Big  Hungry Bear ~Don & Audrey Wood
The Spiffiest Giant in Town ~ Julia Donaldson
The Very Busy Spider ~ Eric Carle
The Wolves in the Walls ~ Neil Gaiman

Today I Will Fly ~ Mo Willems
Too Many Pumpkins ~
    Linda White
Where is the Green Sheep? ~  
    Mem Fox
Where the Wild Things Are ~ 
    Maurice Sendak
Wild Child ~ Lynn Plourd
Zero ~ Kathryn Otoshi

+ books and poems by:
Eric Carle, Beverly Cleary, Lois Ehlert, Mem Fox, Virginia Lee Burton, Shel Silverstein

CHECK OUT MY Favorite Read-Alouds page
And, of course, I would LOVE to add more books to our great starter list! What are some of YOUR favorite books for young children? Please comment below & offer 1 or 2 or 3...or more!

the ink monster

How to create an ink robot monster while sitting next to your best friend at the art table:
Space Station guys in all yellow ink and Robot Monster in all black ink. Of course.
Start with one black pen, then draw!
[So simple]
Here are two boys who chose to work next to each other at the art table  - they are best friends - and both have their own vision of what will come to life on their paper: their unique vision, their unique hand-eye coordination, their unique motivation to create what they will create.

Doesn't it fascinate you to see what children will create 
when their time is THEIR TIME?
Robot Ink Monster. Completed. Please admire.

Consider the alternative IF I HAD TO BE "in charge" of art time:
How would I know to offer the one boy only a yellow pen and the other boy only a black pen?
How would I know that one paper should be turned wide and the other paper turned tall?
How would I know to direct them to outer space for their vision and to write space terms?


I wouldn't.

Art and time is for the children.
Our job is to provide materials, variety of spaces to create, and time. 
How hard is that? it is not.

[so simple].

no doubt fearless

Children just ARE who they are - absolutely - even at a very very young age. They already have that sense of self, somehow, that brings some attitude, some "of COURSE I can do that", some leadership and charisma.
It is one of my favorite parts of my role as an early childhood educator - to meet 4-year-olds who just "get it" already, can socialize, have opinions, have plans and questions and don't want to miss a second of school life.

Didn't matter to Ava that supplies were high - she always got what she needed!
Here is one such girl. I will call her Ava [yet I change all the names of students in my blog for their privacy].

Ava was a Go-Getter, a Do-It-My-Selfer, and a Nothing Is Too Hard For Me kind of girl.
However, I didn't know that Ava at first.

When her family first visited our school to consider applying, I met with them and with Ava. I loved the family, loved Ava and certainly thought they could be a match for our school.

My concern was that I was a teacher of young-fives at a school where we were the youngest and everything in our school was set for elementary-AGED children and, accordingly, elementary-SIZED students.
Ava was not petite - she was strong and a fast runner and capable - yet her height was far below a typical range for height for 4 or 5 year olds.

I was fearful she would not be able to participate in some things, that she wouldn't be able to climb on the big playground climber, that all the stairs and steps at our big school would wear her out everyday.

However, none of that was a concern for the family. Ava was talkative, busy and full of energy. She was a great match for a young-fives program and would be a great addition to our class culture. We discussed that time would allow us to see how Ava would adapt to school and that we would make adjustments on her behalf if necessary.

Nothing was needed. No changes were necessary. Ava embraced her school environment and it embraced her.

In the classroom, Ava had no issues that kept her from doing what she wanted to do, used materials as she needed, and navigated her way around independently.


Teachers and families often have concerns for their children that are grounded in the right ideals of wanting children to be safe, capable, successful. 
Yet, we often don't realize that we equally must give credit to the child that they can adapt and meet the challenges or expectations of whatever [school, a sports team, a transition]. 

Ava reminds me that each person is THEIR OWN PERSON. 

Ava has been herself HER WHOLE LIFE and never considers anything impossible.

Ava knew she could do school before her family or myself knew she could do school.

OF COURSE Ava could do school...of course.

How many NO DOUBT FEARLESS children have you met?

the torch you carry

Today is the tenth year to pause and reflect on the tragedies of nine eleven.
It is a big day,
perhaps a quiet day,
perhaps a day to count blessings.

I am remembering the day it happened, going to school early for a meeting that was on my schedule with another faculty member. I had heard about the first plane when still home getting dressed; I heard about the second plane while sitting in the faculty meeting before school even started. Stunned.

We still had school that day. We didn't really know the magnitude of it all til a bit later, so we just still had school.

I was with my Young Fives class. When families started arriving, there was this 'upper level' conversation among adults with bewildered looks in the eyes and unsettled shoulder shrugs trying to communicate above the children "what just happened?" ...  as in:
WHAT just happened? 
what JUST happened? 
what just HAPPENED?

We mostly had a regular day at school. Yet, at our morning meeting (circle time) with the students, I decided that we had to have an open chat to see what they knew, what they saw on tv, what they were thinking as they surely overheard their guardians speak of some NEWS.
We had a conversation.
We had honest information shared among 5-year-olds.
We made a prayer poster.

This is a copy of what I wrote in our newsletter that week, sharing with families what happened during our morning meeting with their children. The school is a religious-based school so God and prayers are integral for coping, offering support and seeking strength. The text:

"I have tried to speak to each family over the last number of days as we all deal with the tragic events of Tuesday, September, 11. Most of you know that we had a discussion in class that very morning. I wanted to know what the children knew so far and how they were understanding any of it.
Know that my intent in opening a discussion is never to lecture or inform on specifics, but to provide an arena for a young age group to talk together about something they may be trying to understand in their own way.
The sharing was diverse, with different energy from different children, with different pieces of the morning News: "bad guys flew a plane into a building!" "there was smoke and lots of fire!"
We talked about how it WAS bad guys who flew into the big worker buildings in New York, how it was NOT an accident, how it is a big problem and that the fire people and police and the President are working to help solve it. We looked on the globe to see New York and to see California. We talked about how we are safe here [at school] and in our houses.
And then, we really talked about how the people in the worker buildings got hurt and a lot of them probably died, how we could think good thoughts for them and say prayers together. We talked about making art to help have good wishes for anyone who was hurt and we thought about drawing [cheerful ideas like] rainbows, flowers and hearts. We displayed the poster on the blue wall in the block area. Please, come see."  [to note: the poster remained displayed in the classroom until I left the school in 2007].
The students from this class are 15 years old now. They likely do not recall the actual day of the event or our conversation in class or anything. They probably have a newer, current memory made perhaps in an upper elementary grade when studying history; or via a thoughtful discussion with family; or via a course in high school.

But, the children WERE there, in the moment, and had emotions and opinions and prayers.

For today, I offer a memory of the tragic day that included young children with kind hearts and sincere worry for people they didn't know and for a world they didn't comprehend yet.

I hope you have important discussions with your young students - in the moment that they are important - as the memory ends up being the torch you carry for them & for yourself.

This is the irony of this blog based in reflections and narratives: my personal story of this huge historic tragic event is lodged with my experience with these 5-year-old students and the poster of rainbows, neither of which exist any longer.
Yet, I remain the storyteller, to carry the torch, to be their memory.

listen to me!

nathan calls to me about The Tigers!
One of my most powerful memories of Becoming The Teacher I Want To Be was when I first listened -  really really listened - to my 2-year-old friend Nathan. Read the full story of Nathan and the Tigers here.

In the outside play yard one day, Nathan called to me...
"Come, come...come help me look for the tigers in the big tree! Come, come. The tree tigers are calling to us and we need to find them in the tree! Come, come, come!"

This calling to me changed who I was as a teacher, it changed my relationship with Nathan, it changed how I engaged with children for all the years forward in my career.

Nathan's calling to me made me start to deconstruct what he was telling me and understand better where he was in his development. I could start to hear Relationship, Imagination, Sense of Self, Focused Play, Role Play & Socio-Dramatic Scenarios.

listening to children is a treasure.

Last week in the college course I am instructing with a focus on Math/Science, we explored some quotes that I had collected over the years.

All the quotes had the "LISTEN TO ME!" content that teachers could use as base to extend into inquiries and projects.
Listen to the children to hear:
some math concepts,
scientific theories,
gaps in logic,
attempts at facts, cause & effect,
articulation of time & age,
explanations of things that change,
complex questions...?

"103 is a lot of fish, not a little. It is like 16." rose, 3yo.

"I am two and a half and my sister is seven pounds for a dollar." kevin, 2yo.

"My daddy's car is the color of Nestle's is the color when you first put it in the milk." jessica, 4yo.

"Let me tell you something. When it is all gone, that means zero." evan, 3yo.

train your ear to hear children in Their language.
"What if everything in the whole world, even the planets and stars, were made of pink paint?!" shannon, 5yo.

"Here, read this book first. And, after that one, read this one first." andrew, 2yo.

"When I grow up, I want to be a seagull so I can eat garbage." alice, 3yo.

"Is yellow allergic to brown?" haley, 5yo.

"Medium is near lots, right?" matt, 5yo.

"Birds don't go up to Jupiter or Mars. They just go where the blue is." shannon, 4yo.

Start documenting your listening with children during their open play time. Really listen and you'll start to hear important concepts  - real INFORMATION - that you can use to extend and deepen your students' understanding using intentional teaching methods. You can integrate exploration of these concepts into the richest context that is of value to children: their play.

The children are telling us every day what they KNOW. It just happens to be true that a lot of what they tell us also has what they DON'T KNOW weaved strongly in, as well. It is our job to interpret and deconstruct and support. It is our job, yet really, for me, the partnership with children is what creates such a dynamic learning environment daily, weekly, year after year.
What are ways that you listen to and document what your children are telling you in their play?

friday thank you notes 09.02

Thank you to bloggers this week that continue to make me think and rethink about children, my role, my intentions and also the joy of teaching.

Links worth a visit & a read:

6. Childhood101 'Play Grown Learn' new e-magazine!

have a fabulous weekend! 
and happy reading.