Annotated Bibliography For Picture Books

Annotated Bibliography


1. Picture Books: Picture books should be colorful and catch the reader’s eye. It is important for the pictures to follow the story in a way that the story can be followed without the text. It is especially important to have interesting characters and a story that uses imagination.

2. Non-fiction Books: Non-fiction books should contain factual and accurate information. Non-fiction should be organized in a way that is clear, concise and organized so that the reader can clearly find the information they are looking for. Non-fiction often contains headings, bold or italic printed words of importance, and a glossary or index so that information can be easily accessed. 

3. Poetry Books: Poetry books should consist of a variety of poems that are either related by subject or organized in some way that makes sense to the reader. The poems within a book should be similar in style to some degree. Poetry books for children should contain rhyme and imagery if at all possible. Humor is also an appropriate element in poetry for children.

4. Novels: Novels should all contain a setting, plot and characters. The plot should have a problem that needs to be solved in order for the novel to be really good. Novels for children in the classroom should be educational in some way. That is, children should learn a moral, lesson or something of historical importance. Good novels should have good characters that are of interest to children. 

Picture Books:

1. Author: Maurice Sendack

  Title: Where the Wild Things Are

Publisher/Year: HarperCollins, 1963

Type of book: Picture story book

Reading level:  Grades K-2

This story promotes the imagination of the child. Through the mind of a child, the reader is taken to an alternate world that is full of mysterious things, but always makes it back for dinner. The pictures in this book are particularly interesting and eye catching for the reader. 

Noteworthy: Caldecott Winner. The illustrator paid good attention to detail and color.

2. Author: Chris Van Allsburg
Title: The Polar Express

Publisher/Year: Houghton Mifflin, 1985

Type of book: Picture story book

Reading level: Grades K-3

Late one Christmas Eve, a boy boards a mysterious train: The Polar Express bound for the North Pole. Once there, Santa offers the boy any gift he desires. The boy asks for one bell from the harness of a reindeer. The bell is lost. On Christmas morning, the boy finds the bell under the tree. The boy's mother admires the bell, but laments that it is broken for you see, only believers can hear the sound of the bell. 

Noteworthy: Caldecott Winner

3. Author: Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

Title: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Publisher/Year: HarperCollins, 1985

Type of book: Picture story book

Reading level: Grades 1-2

This is a story about a boy and a mouse.  The mouse wants a cookie and when the boy gives him a cookie it leads to a long list of other things the mouse will want to have. 

Noteworthy: This book has won numerous lesser known awards. This is a great book to use for predicting and sequencing. This is also the first book in a series of similar books which is great for children to build fluency.

4. Author: Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Title: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


Type of book: Picture story book

Reading level: Pre K-1st grade

The rhyming and tissue-paper collage illustrations in this classic picture book make it a favorite among children. On each page, we meet a new animal who nudges us onward to discover which creature will show up next: "Blue Horse, Blue Horse, What do you see? I see a green frog looking at me." 

Noteworthy: This pattern is repeated over and over, so the reader can chime in with and easily predict the next rhyme. This book is great for predicting and building fluency in beginning readers.

5. Author: Hans Christian Anderson adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Title: The Ugly Duckling

Publisher/Year: HarperCollins, 1999

Type of book: Picture story book

Reading level: Grades K-2

Jerry Pinkney's detailed watercolors recreate the Hans Christian Andersen classic in such a beautiful way. This "duckling" is teased unmercifully by his apparent siblings but loved by the mother duck. Eventually he runs away, and as the seasons turn, the fledgling has a series of adventures, from a close encounter with a hunting dog to getting trapped in ice. All the while he is growing, transforming, and in the triumphant ending, he finds peace and happiness when his real identity is revealed to himself and to readers.

Noteworthy: Caldecott Honor Book

Non-fiction Books:

1. Author: Mervet Akra Sha'ban, Galat Fink, Litsa Boudalika 

Title: If You Could Be My Friend: Letters off Mervet Akram Sha'Ban and Galit Fink

Publisher/Year: Orchard Books, 1998

Type of book: Compilation of letters

Reading level: 4th grade-7th grade

A series of letters written during the Palestinian intifada between 1988 and 1991 between a 12 year old Palestinian Arab girl living in a refugee camp, and a 12 year old middle class Jewish girl living in Jerusalem ten miles away. Contains commentary about the political events surrounding the context of the letters. Both girls hope for peace but hold deep anger toward the other’s people. 

Noteworthy: This is a great book to teach historical events and the importance of political, religious and social tolerance.

2. Author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti 

Title: Kids on Strike!

Publisher/Year: Houghton Mifflin, 1999

Type of book: Informative non-fiction

Reading level: 2nd-3rd grade 

This book is about the children who fought back against the oppressive work conditions in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This book contains photographs and quotes from primary sources. This book is particularly useful because of its use of primary sources and the relation in age between students reading the book and the children in the book. 

Noteworthy: This book could lead to discussions and extension activities in writing.

3. Author: Sy Montogomery

Title: Temple Grandin: How the girl who loved cows embraced autism and changed the world

Publisher/Year: Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt, 2012

Type of book: Biography

Reading level: 3rd grade-5th grade

When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism.While Temple’s doctor recommended a hospital, her mother believed in her and sent Temple to school instead.Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Her world-changing career revolutionized the livestock industry. As an advocate for autism, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make. 

Noteworthy: This biography takes us inside her extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism. Extraordinary book for any class, and especially a class that may include an individual with autism.

4. Author: Paula Young Shelton

Title: Child of the Civil Rights Movement 

Publisher/Year: Schwartz and Wade, 2009

Type of book: Memoir

Reading level: 3rd-5th grade

Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child’s perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle, Martin Luther King, Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family, and thousands of others, in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. 

5. Author: Jim Murphy

Title: The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution

Publisher/Year: Scholastic Press, 2010

Type of book: Informative Non-fiction

Reading level: 4th-5th grade

This book describes how George Washington led America to victory during the American Revolution. This is an informational text that would be best suited for teaching about the contributions and life of George Washington as well as the American Revolution.

Poetry Books:

1. Author: A.A. Milne

Title: When We Were Very Young

Publisher/Year: E.P. Dutton, 1924

Type of book: Poetry collection/musical verses

Reading level: K-3rd grade

This is a collection of poetry, some of which are verses set to music by Harold Fraser-Simson. The book begins with an introduction entitled "Just Before We Begin", which, in part, tells the reader to imagine for themselves who the narrator is. This collection also includes the first appearance of the beloved character, Winnie-the-Pooh. These are simple and classic poems that can be read to younger children and ready by older children.

2. Author: Shel Silverstein

Title: Where The Sidewalk Ends

Publisher/Year: Harper and Row Publishers, 1974

Type of book: Poetry Collection

Reading level: 3rd-5th grade

This is a collection of some of Shel Silverstein’s funny and quirky children’s poems. The use of imagery is fantastic and there are simple illustrations included. This is a classic must-have to introduce children to poetry.

Noteworthy: The National Education Association rated this book one of the top 100 books for children. 

3. Author: Jack Prelustsky

Title: The New Kid on the Block

Publisher/Year: Harper Collins, 1984

Type of book: Poetry collection

Reading level: 3rd-5th grade

This a collection of 100 humorous poems accompanied by silly illustrations. These are poems that pique the interest of a child and get them reading poetry and spark the idea that they too can write poetry.

4. Author: James McDonald

Title: Rainy Day Poems

Publisher/Year: House of Lore, 2012

Type of book: Poetry collection

Reading level: 1st-2nd grade

This book is full of funny poems that can be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. Most of these poems are relatable to children and deal with good and bad situations children typically face throughout childhood. 

5. Author: David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad

Title: Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes

Publisher/Year: Sterling, 2006

Type of book: Anthology

Reading level: 5th-6th grade

This book is part of a poetry collection series and is the first African-American themed book in the series, featuring the poems of the extraordinary Langston Hughes. Edited by the two leading experts on Hughes’s work. This anthology includes annotations from two leading experts in their field as well as amazing illustrations. This is a great historical collection that students should be familiar with.

1. Author: Harper Lee 

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

Publisher/Year: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2002

Type of book: Historical fiction/Literary Classic

Reading level: 5th-8th grade

This book is a literary classic that teaches children about segregation and civil rights. The story is about a black man who struggles to find hope after being falsely accused of raping a white woman. This book chronicles the hardships African Americans endured during this time. This book has a heart-wrenching ending and captivates the reader by eliciting feelings of sorrow for the black man wronged. 

Noteworthy: Pulitzer Prize Winner. This book is profoundly exceptional, but this book needs to be used for readers who can appropriately handle the subject matter and approved before using it in the classroom.

2. Author: Louis Sacher

Title: Holes

Publisher/Year: Random House Children’s Books, 2001

Type of book: Mystery/fiction

Reading level: 5th-7th grade

This book is about a boy who attends Camp Green Lake instead of jail as punishment. Little does he know that this is not your typical camp. His job at this camp is to dig holes all day, everyday. The reader follows Stanley through his trials and hardships as he tries to create adventure out of a miserable situation. This is a popular favorite among high level younger readers.

Noteworthy: National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Newberry Medal for “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”.

3. Author: E.B. White

Title: Charlotte’s Web

Publisher/Year:Harper and Brothers, 1952

Type of book: Fantasy/Fiction

Reading level: 4th-5th grade

This story is about the unlikely friendship between a pig named Wilber and a spider named Charlotte who hatch a plan to save Wilber from going to the slaughter house. Their friendship and love for one another make this story captivating and heart warming. 

Noteworthy: Newberry Honor Book, Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, Massachusetts Children’s Book Award.

4. Author: Roald Dahl

Title: Matilda

Publisher/Year: Penguin, 2013

Type of book: Fiction

Reading level: 3th-5th grade

This story is about Matilda, a little girl from an unfortunate family. Matilda loves to read and do well in school, but her parents are less than supportive. She soon discovers she has special powers and can move things with her eyes. She begins to use this special power to her advantage. This book is a good because Matilda is a relatable character with average problems, but her special powers add special interest to the story.

5. Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Title: The Little House on the Prairie

Publisher/Year: HarperCollins, 1989

Type of book: Historical Fiction

Reading level: 3rd-4th grade

This is a story about a family that moves to Wisconsin to live on a prairie. The story follows the children as they adjust to their new, hard life on the prairie. There are relatable ups and downs that many families experience, but this book provides a great window into the times of the past and what life may have been like.

Noteworthy: ALA Notable Children’s Book

6. Author: Lois Lowry

Title: Number the Stars

Publisher/Year: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1989

Type of book: Historical Fiction

Reading level: 3rd-5th grade

The story centers around ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen, who lived in Copenhagem, Denmark in 1943 and was caught up in the events surrounding the rescue of Danish Jews. She risks her life to help her best friend, Ellen by pretending that Ellen is Annemarie's late older sister. The story's title is taken from a reference to Psalm 147, in which the writer of the book relates that God has numbered all the stars in the universe. This reference is meant to tie into the Star of David, specifically to Ellen's necklace, which is symbolic to the story. This is a great book to teach the Holocaust in a more connected and interesting way.

Noteworthy: Newberry Medal Winner

7. Author: Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games

Publisher/Year: Scholastic Press, 2008

Type of book: Fiction/Modern Fantasy

Reading level: 5th-8th grade

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, which is made up of the Capital and twelve outlying districts. The Capital is harsh and keeps the other districts in line by forcing them to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the death that is televised for all to see. One boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen are selected by lottery to play. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games. This book is well-written and has great imagery. This book has the potential to spark great discussions or writing assignments about different types of governments and their control of the people.

Noteworthy: Best-seller, popular among this age group

8. Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Title: The Secret Garden

Publisher/Year: Children’s Classics, 1911

Type of book: 

Reading level: 3rd-5th grade

Mary Lennox needs some magic in her life. Her parents have died, and Mary has been sent to live at her uncle’s estate,a strange and mysterious. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. She has no friends and no happiness until she finds the key to a wonderful secret garden. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty and soon shares that with her miserable and invalid cousin.

9. Author: L.M. Montgomery

Title: Anne of Green Gables

Publisher/Year: Signet Classics, 1908

Type of book: Realistic Fiction/Literary Classic

Reading level: 5th-8th grade

Anne Shirley arrives on Prince Edward Island in Canada where she is to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on their farm, Green Gables. But the Cuthberts are expecting a boy whom they had wanted to help with the heavy chores around the farm, and Anne has to convince the older couple not to send her back to the orphanage. Neither Marilla nor Matthew can resist the child's enthusiasm and soon they can hardly imagine Green Gables without her. This is a heart warming class that still stands as one of the best pieces of realistic fiction I have ever read.

10. Author: C.S. Lewis

Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Publisher/Year: HarperCollins, 1950

Type of book: Folk Tales/Fantasy Fiction

Reading level: 3rd-5th grade

Air-raids over London during WWII lead four siblings to be sent away from the city to the house of a Professor who lives in the country. There is much to discover in the country: woods, mountains, numerous animals. But the children will soon discover that the Professor's large house is even more mysterious. It is a house filled with unexpected places, including a room which holds nothing but a large wardrobe, which Lucy opens one rainy day, never dreaming that the wardrobe is a passageway into Narnia. This story is filled with vivid imagery and adventure that children are sure to love.

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