March 16, 2011 2:57 PM EDT
To Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting is a book that I used last week with my students. It really helped students who had no idea about the Japanese Relocation Centers learn about them. I read the book twice-once to most of my 4th graders and the next day to a student who wanted to hear it because he had been absent. Each time I got to the grandfather's grave--I began crying and barely was able to finish the book. It happened at the same place the second day, and I had another student finish the book. In an extention activity, each student wrote a poem--some included that fact in the poems.
March 22, 2011 8:05 AM EDT
I use Julious Lesters From Slave ship to freedom road (slightly altered) to teach about slavery. I do a dramatic reading of it - and inevitably, every time, kids say - I thought I knew what slavery was - but that puts it in a whole new perspective - or "I studied slavery for two months in 5th grade - but I got more out of this one book." Of course they also say they are amazed it is a "kids book" so it creates discussion about genre choices as well. Great Book!! I teach a lot with kids books - for different reasons - looking at plot line - looking at themes - as models for projects - for inspiration etc.
April 21, 2011 7:14 PM EDT
LOVE YOU LESTER! YOU'RE THE BEST!! SATURDAY AND TEA CAKES HAS MADE ME A BETTER AUTHOR, READER AND PERSON. COMPLETELY CHANGED ME. I NEED TO MEET YOUUU! XOOXXOX- your biggest fansss jamie-beth <3
June 16, 2011 3:07 PM EDT
Hi Lester, I was just in your Lakota workshop and as you finished the your talk about being your best self it reminded me of a new book. It is called, Why Am I Here? A story about being the best version of yourself. It is by Matthew Kelly, a local author/ speaker. I doesn't follow the rules of a picture book, but is really does a great job of teaching being your best.
June 16, 2011 5:37 PM EDT
Saturdays and Teacakes for teaching author's craft, of course! We also use My Rotten Red Haired Older Brother by Patricia Polacco because it meets a lot of our content standards, too.
June 18, 2011 12:47 PM EDT
Thanks you guys. I love your input.
June 22, 2011 5:53 AM EDT
It is so hard to name only a few favorites....there are hundreds. :) I love Thank You, Mr. Falker. It is not only beautifully written but it helps to show children how bullying hurts others, and ultimately shows that anything is possible no matter what struggles you face. (I can't ever get through it without tearing up.) I also love Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Gray. It is a wonderful story that personally reminds me of what makes a great teacher and shows children that it is okay to be different and how children can help someone, even though they are small. I also love In November and Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant. The language is incredible and it helps to teach children about personification and taking the perspective of "someone" else. And, I also love the Diary of a Worm, Spider and Fly books by Doreen Cronin. My students and I adore the humor in these books. They can't get enough of them and even extended this idea in their writing. I had students writing their own...Diary of a Dog, Diary of a Caterpillar (which included real facts bc we had just studied the lifecycle of a butterfly) and Diary of a Teacher. Some of my best memories of this past school year! Thanks for letting me share....I could go on and on and on. :)And thank you for the great work you do! You are amazing and the world is a better place because you work so hard to spread what you know about kids and what really matters!
Melanie Henderson, K teacher-Helena, AL
September 20, 2011 5:42 AM EDT
i like saturday teacakes was that your experinces with your grandma
October 10, 2011 7:50 AM EDT
Lovieya, Yes. The story of Saturdays and Teacakes is a true account of time spent with my maternal grandmother in Heflin, AL.
November 01, 2011 8:04 PM EDT
I'm not sure if they "count" as picture books, but Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck are both visually stunning and intellectually stimulating. I have read Hugo aloud to both fourth and first grade students - amazing what the first graders came up with that fourth graders didn't! - and used it to teach every comprehension skill and writing skill I can think of! I just finished reading Wonderstruck and can't wait to mine its treasures as well.
Amanda P, Indianapolis
December 17, 2011 6:48 AM EST
Hi lester, I just heard you in Ashburn on Monday Dec. 12th and you were oh so inspiring. On Tuesday, I told my kids to stop raising their hands and I started my own personal writer's notebook. Favorite Picture books to use during writer's workshop: The Art Lesson by Tomie DePaola and Wilfred Gordon MacDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. Thank you so much for doing what you do. I am telling everyone I know about you!!
March 06, 2012 2:14 PM EST
gotta do a class project 4 this AWESOME book satudays and Teacakes already LOVIN it GREAT job MR.Lester
September 05, 2012 1:28 PM EDT
Hi Lester,I loved listening to you when you visited Finley Road Elem. years ago. I am trying to break into writing. Do I need an agent? I need all the advice you have to give.
February 22, 2013 11:16 AM EST
I just discovered a wordless book, Unspoken, by Henry Cole, who did such a nice job on your Three Hens and a Peacoock. It's about the Underground Railroad, and a great book to "read the art", and also to discuss how small children can take a stand and make a difference. It is absolutely beautiful, and a great jumping off place for writing and/or illustrating by young children. I teach First Grade.
March 15, 2013 1:08 PM EDT
I noticed that you were writing a book that had to do with bullying. I can't wait for it to come out. Thank you for allowing us to share one of our favorite books. I use Madonna's book Mr. Peabody's Apples at the beginning of the year. It helps to set the tone in my classroom when I'm talking about respect and rules. "Mr. Peabody's Apples" is about the power of words, and how we must choose them carefully to avoid harming others. My mother (who was raised in the south) always taught me to treat others the way I want to be treated and talk to others the way I wanted to be talked to. So this book brings back those memories I hold fondly from my mother, but also teaches a valuable lesson to children. I also love the art work by Loren Long.
May 15, 2013 7:03 PM EDT
I use The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau to start every year. I start the first day by explaining to my kids that I am not just here to teach them how to be important when they grow up. If we are alive, then it is our job to do our part to make this world a better place, and they are certainly old enough to make a difference in the world NOW! They learn immediately that every single day I will expect 2 things from them; they will be expected to learn and to help others. Learning alone will never be enough! I use The Quiltmaker's Gift to help them see that selfishness doesn't create happiness, but bringing other people happiness will always bring you happiness too. I also use the old folktale The Big Turnip as well as Horton Hears a Who for examples of little helpers who make a big difference (the mouse and Jo-Jo). The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater is also a great book for the beginning of the school year when we are focusing on how wonderful diversity is and how BORING life would be if we were all alike. Then we all create our own dream houses on paper or on the computer. Yes, I do too!