Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 Books to add to Your Play (#pb10for10)

Today is The Second Annual August 10 for 10. Each participating blogger is asked to share 10 picture books she wouldn't want to live without. Bloggers are sharing over at Cathy and Mandy's blogs.
Last year I had a new baby in the house, so I shared my best 10 books for baby's library. This year, I am sharing 10 books to add to the play areas of your home. I am trying to infuse literacy into our home this year!
My first book pick for my 10 on 10 list of 2011 inspired my entire list.
Follow the Line to School (Viking Press USA)Follow the Line to School by Laura Ljungkvist. While reading this book, which literally traces the path through a classroom, I began to picture the "areas" of my home which are similar to the areas of the classroom. I began to think about the books that belong in those areas, and this post was born! This is a fun book for reading 1 on 1 with your children. It's also great for back to school. The child follows the line through words and through drawings as he explores each area of a school.
Here are the books that I have recently added to our play:
2. The Dot (Irma S and James H Black Honor for Excellence in Children's Literature (Awards))Writing Center- The Dot by Peter Reynolds. Although this book is set in an art class, it works well for a preschool writing center too. (Our writing area and art area are generally the same place at home). In fact, in Pam Allyn's latest book, Your Child's Writing Life, she quoted from this book. "Just make a Mark and see where it takes you."  There are two reasons I enjoy reading this book to my young writers. First, it encourages my son to try and write his name with pride. Second, it reminds me to celebrate all of his writing and his art... and maybe framed it in swirly gold!
3.Blue Chameleon Art Center - Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett With a simple, large picture per page and a focus on textures as well as colors, this is a must add to our art center. We have lots of color naming books. The thing that made this book stand out to me, is that it uses words like stripy and spotty. Using these words encourages my kids. They aren't creating representational drawings yet. I can encourage the drawing time by showing a picture of the swirly snail and asking them to create swirls.
4. The Pout-Pout FishSnack time - Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. This book has nothing to do with snack time, except the Pout Pout fish is hanging out in an empty peanut butter jar while talking to a jelly fish. The story line of a fish stuck with a pout-pout face who is magically transformed by a kiss will keep your kids at the table long enough to finish a slice of cheese or a pile of noodles-- guaranteed!
5. WaveSand/water table- Wave by Suzy Lee My three year old has been fascinated with water this summer. He is interested in pouring, squeezing, blowing. He is interested in what sinks and what floats. He is interested in evaporation (though he doesn't know what it's called). He is obsessed with jumping into swimming pools and going under water. Although we don't live by an ocean, we have visited many pools with different water features and he is so interested in how the water moves. I watch him being mesmerized by it, and I think of the liitle girl in Wave. This is a wordless picture book of a little girl who spends her day at the beach playing with a wave... and finally getting doused by the water. Just make sure to place this beautiful book a safe distance from the wetness of the water table!
6. Mrs. Muddle's HolidaysCalendar/ message center--  Mrs. Muddle's Holidays by Laura Nielsen There are so many books about the days of the weeks and months of the year. There are so many books about certain holidays. I love this book because it is a reminder to us that every day can be celebrated. In this story, Mrs. Muddle helps her neighbors find a new holiday to celebrate every day of the year. Put this one in a basket near your family calendar or message center. It will brighten any day!

7. LMNO PeasKitchen- LMNO Peas by Keith Baker. If you have magnetic letters on your fridge, you need LMNO Peas on your kitchen table. Our kitchen table is grand central station. It's not just where we eat, it's where we craft, color, write, read, etc. This is a great book to pull out while fixing supper. Each page has a large letter of the alphabet surrounded by "peas" who are illustrating a job beginning with that letter. Ask your child to trace each letter. Throw out some magnetic letters from the fridge and have your child  find the letter to match the one on the page... better yet, have them go get it off the fridge. Relays with magnetic letters are sure to work up an appetite.

8. Dig Dig Digging (On the Go)Blocks- Dig, Dig, Digging by Margaret Mayo Our block corner and our truck area all sort of melt into one... along with a workbench right in the middle of it. As you can imagine, things are constructed and torn down on a daily basis. Dig, Dig, Digging is a book that explores machinery that "can work all day". It  is the perfect fit for this creative (and loud) corner of our house!

9. ChalkOutdoor Play- Chalk by Bill Thomson We love to take books outside and read. This book is great to not only read while you are outside but also to inspire outdoor play. This wordless picture book tells the story of 3 children who find a bag of magical chalk. They draw a sun and the rain stops! Then, they discover that their drawings will come to life. This is a fun when butterflies come to life but scary when a dinosaur comes to life!!

10. Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken IdentityBedtime- Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems. Choosing our best bedtime story was HARD! Of course, then I looked over my list and realized my favorite author was missing... so then it got a little easier. We love the entire three set of Knuffle Bunny books, a series about Trixie, a little girl who can not live without her favorite bunny. Since Logan can not go to sleep without his smelly blankey, he can relate to Trixie. This is our favorite book in the series right now. Logan and Trixie, they are in the same place in this story... Logan is ready to go out and conquer the world, making new friends. But when he comes home with mommy and daddy for the night, he wants to have his security object!

Try adding some books to your home play areas. These books reflect the age and interests of my particular children. Think about what will work for the types of play that interest your child. If you need some help choosing great books, you are in luck. Go visit the Picture book 10 on 10 event at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community or Enjoy and Embrace Learning or follow along on twitter #pb10for10. Just plan on your book wish list to grow by leaps and bounds today!


  1. Great post, Jackie! Super ideas, as always! And I LOVE the new look of your blog!!! You did such a fabulous job. Congrats! :)

  2. I just read Wave by Lee last night and absolutely loved it. It's so fun and playful. Great choices! Thanks.

  3. Pout Pout Fish looks like good fun. I'll look it up.
    Thanks for your recommendations.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  4. Love your list and I love your is so important for our kids.

  5. Thanks for joining us today. I too have had books out at home in different play areas. You have a great collection here.

  6. So many great books on your list.
    Follow the Line to School sounds like one I need to get for my library.
    I am still in shock that Chalk did not win a major award last year.

  7. Just found your blog through 10 for 10 and am so glad. Thanks for sharing this fun list!