In a recent blog post I wrote about my first ventures last year into using picture books with high school students. The biggest benefit of using these titles with students that are clearly older than the primary intended audience is that they are fun. Picture books lighten the mood, create smiles, and set a positive tone for the class period and maybe beyond. With that in mind, the list I’ve made here leaves out many excellent books that are darker or more serious. These titles are just for fun, although they frequently lead to important ideas.
Thanks to everyone who commented and added suggestions on the earlier blog post. Some of your suggestions are included here.
Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell: I haven’t yet used this newer title, but many high school students know Angleberger from his Origami Yoda series, and I know it will go over well.
Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky: This one makes everyone smile.
Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown: When students need some help remembering what it was like to be a little kid, this book will do the trick.
Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd: Margaret Wise Brown’s classid Good Night, Moon is satirically re-fashioned for digital natives. This one can be used as an example of both parody and satire.
Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yacarino: One of my favorite themes of recent picture books reminds students that actual people can be at least as cool as electronic playthings.
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers: This is another one that I haven’t used yet, but I look forward to reading it and then asking my favorite post-picture book question: “What the heck was that even about?”
I Want My Hat Back / This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen: Two books, same idea. Big pictures make these ideal for reading to a large class. These two books were probably my students’ favorites last year, and they led to the best discussions.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri: I can’t explain the appeal of this one, but after we read it once, the requests for it kept coming.
Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss: Bring your A game to read this one out loud! I like to pretend like it’s wearing me out and then hand it to a student to try a page. Instant appreciation.
It’s a Book by Lane Smith: This one offers students gentle, humorous reminders about the advantages of a print book over electronic devices.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems: Anything from the Pigeon series is fun to read out loud, and everyone in the room enjoys it.
Well, I managed to squeeze twelve books into my Top Ten list, but what can you expect from a guy who uses picture books in high school?
Please let me know how these books go over with your students, and thanks for reading!