In my basement storage are four boxes of children’s books that I have accumulated over the past decade and a half that has comprised my teaching career. Since I am about to retire, it should be easy enough to give away or donate these books, but I am reluctant to do so. I love these books as much as I enjoy having a collection of my own favorite fiction and non-fiction (adult) books!
My husband has urged me to get rid of them – after all, what use are they to me now that I am retiring from teaching? Perhaps I’m not ready to let go, perhaps I’m thinking of all the children being born to the next generation in my family who might like to read many of them. On the other hand, I have many children’s books that are in Spanish, which would be of little use to my family members. Over the next few years, as we attempt to downsize, I’m sure I will find homes for these books, but I also will probably keep at least a few of my favorites. I will keep them on my bookshelves alongside my other favorites that I cannot bear to part with.
One of my boards on Pinterest is dedicated to multicultural children’s books, which has pictures of many book covers and usually a short synopsis or review of the book, and I am including a link to that board here.
Besides the books in my basement, one shelf here in my office is dedicated to children’s books, favorites for a variety of reasons. Some of these are:
• Six of the seven Harry Potter books – I’m missing only Goblet of Fire. I have avidly read every Harry Potter book and have been enchanted by their mix of danger, morality and whimsy. The movie renditions of these books I also thought have been quite good, although I’m glad I read the books prior to seeing the movies, because there are details in the books that were left out of the movies, so having read the books helps to understand what is going on in the movies.
• Three books of poetry by Shel Silverstein – written for children, but a delight for adults as well! They are great for sharing with children, whether they be students or one’s own children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews. Here’s a short sample from A Light in the Attic:
Rockabye baby, in the treetop.
Don’t you know a treetop
Is no safe place to rock?
And who put you up there,
And your cradle too?
Baby, I think someone down here’s
Got it in for you.
• Books written by former students, including:
M is for Mexico by Rebeca
A is for Anne Sullivan School by Jaqueline C.
There are several of these ABC books by my ESL students.
Multiple Meaning Words/Palabras con significados múltiples by Mrs. Berman’s 2nd graders Sample pages:
Nuestro libro de $100 por los estudiantes de 2° grado – sample page:
Animals of the Sonoran Desert by Mrs. Berman’s 3rd graders
My Favorite Place: Descriptive Narratives by Bilingual 4th graders
4th Grade Goes to Ellis Island
• Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – I love this book because in graduate school, my Reading professor read it out loud to the class. She used a voice with great expression and humor and even now when I read some of this book, I can hear that professor’s voice in my head.
• Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. A classic – and still used in many classrooms as a read-aloud. The children always love it!
• Happily Ever After…Kid’s Mental Health Stories of Recovery. Each story has a character with a mental illness. The stories are adapted from original sketches performed by the Stars of Light Theatre Troupe. These stories have meaning to me, because I and others close to me suffer from a mental illness or brain difference, such as depression, ADD, or schizophrenia.
• Straight “A” Mad Libs by Roger Price & Leonard Stern. Mad Libs are great fun to do with students – the lesson is to reinforce parts of speech and the kids love the funny stories that result!
• Anno’s Medieval World by Mitsumasa Anno. Anno’s beautiful illustrations enhance this journey of discovery from the Middle Ages to the dawning of the Age of Reason.
• Conoce a Pablo Neruda by Georgina Lazare León from the series Personajes del Mundo Hispánico. In poetry form with colorful illustrations, this is the story of Pablo Neruda as an inquisitive boy –he collected objects and books, he loved birds, and he painted mustaches with burnt cork.
• De la A a la Z: Cuba by Yanitzia Canetti and De la A a la Z por Mexico by Becky Rubinstein F. – because I love alphabet books that tell a story!
• Saguaro Moon: A Desert Journal by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini. Because I love the giant of the desert, the saguaro cactus that is the “tree of life” for many animals of the Southwest.
• The Worry Stone by Marianna Dengler. I love this book because of the wonderful illustrations by Sybil Graber Gerig and the three stories that are woven together into one, the way human lives are connected across distance and time. It is a story of the Chumash Indians of California and the power of folktales.
• Ancient America by Marion Wood. This is a cultural atlas for young people – junior high age or older, about the ancient cultures of North, Central and South America. I have always been fascinated with indigenous cultures, particularly those of the great civilizations of Mexico and South America.
• Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. This is a great introduction of Robert Frost to children, because each line of the poem is given a full-page color illustration by Susan Jeffers.
Others on my shelf:
Because I love loons and Native American folktales
Because I love Jan Brett’s illustrations:This is a great part-cartoon, part narrative about the life of Picasso (one of my favorite artists) – I also have one about Van Gogh.Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page on multicultural children’s books!