1) Lena's Shoes Are Nervous by Keith Calabrese
Lena might be ready for school, but her shoes have some reservations.
2) I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
This book is outstanding! Everyone should read it.
3) Fry Bread: A Native American Family Tradition
by Kevin Noble Maillard
"Fry bread is time . . . fry bread is us." This picture book would be an excellent mentor text for student writers.
4) The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer
What happens to a book that was once popular and is now past its prime?
5) Muddy As a Duck Puddle and Other American Similes
by Laurie Lawlor
A simile from A to Z!
6) My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks
by Hanoch Piven
Family members are depicted with every-day objects and compared in similes; this book begs to be emulated with student examples.
7) The Missing Donut by Judith Henderson
A collection of short stories using a celebration of "big" words, which are combined in the final tale.
8) A Place to Grow by Stephanie Bloom
If a seed floats, can it still grow?
9) Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle
Rhyming wordplay guides readers through a thunderstorm.
10) Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez
A boy saves Grandma from the octopus. That sounds odd, and it is, but you'll like it.
11) Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration
by Samara Cole Doyon
This book contains gorgeous descriptions and illustrations - possibly too much description for young independent readers. It's a book that can definitely stand up to repeated examination as a read-aloud and mentor text.
12) I Am the Storm by Jane Yolen
This book explores extreme weather conditions and how to prepare for them.
13) A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis
Each page offers a riddle and metaphor about things found outside.
14) There Are No Bears in This Bakery
by Julia Sarcone-Roach
A cat named Muffin investigates a mystery.
15) Betty's Burgled Bakery: An Alliterative Adventure
by Travis Nichols
Zoo animals work together in this comic book mystery.
16) Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
"Black are the braids in my best friend's hair,
Black are the bottoms of summertime feet."
Gorgeous illustrations and impressive back matter
17) Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne
Simile, Hyperbole, Onomatopoeia
This fractured fairy tale contains fewer examples of each type of figurative language than some of the other books on this list, but readers will find lots of descriptive language throughout.
18) Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher
This book is probably best suited for examination of writing craft; descriptive language abounds.
19) Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Be warned - the ending may alarm sensitive readers.
20) The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors
by Drew Daywalt
This funny picture book is a mock origin myth about why kids play Rock, Paper, Scissors.
21) Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise
by Sean Taylor
This picture book is super funny, with an unreliable narrator, repetition, some rhyme, and plenty of great imagery as hoot owl stalks prey.
I've had the privilege of working with hundreds of students and families in IA, CT, NC, MO, TX, and Canada. I love being a teacher-librarian!