Bibliography of Recommended Children's Literature Books
The following is a list of children's literature titles that I recommend.
Each entry has a picture of the cover of the book, a description of the book,
its grade level suitability and links to the BC Curriculum.
A Multicultural Book
Suki's Kimono by Chieri Uegaki, Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
Suki's Kimono is a story about a young Japanese girl named Suki who despite what others think is determined to wear her kimono, a gift from her Obachan (Grandma) on the first day of school. It sends the message that it is okay to be yourself! The beautiful prose of the story is enhanced ever further with its beautiful, vivid watercolour illustrations (as seen on the right), that bring the story to life.
Grade Level Suitability: K- 4
Links to BC Curriculum: This book would tie in great with the grade 2/3 social studies curriculum with regards to creating and demonstrating awareness of British Columbia and Canada's diverse heritage.
A Non-Fiction Anthology
Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul is an anthology of non-fiction, inspirational stories for children. The book is written for kids by kids and provides personal accounts of how children have dealt with some difficult issues. The book is divided into the following sections, On Love, On Friendship, On Family, On Attitude and Perspective, On Death and Dying, Achieving Dreams, Overcoming Obstacles, On Choices, Tough Stuff and Eclectic Wisdom. Each section includes stories or poems on the given topic.
Grade Level Suitability: K-7, It is great to use for read alouds!
Links to BC Curriculum: The stories in this book deal with a variety of topics ranging from friendship to family to drugs and alcohol. This would be a great book to integrate into personal planning as it deals with a lot of the issues raised in the K-7 personal planning curriculum. The stories are also great to use as a basis of discussion on tough issues such as child abuse, gangs, drugs and alcohol and death. What I love about these stories is that they are non-fiction and they are written by kids. I think that these stories provide opportunities for students to really engage and connect with what they read as the fact that it is written by a child makes it that much more relateable.
The following are links to 2 stories from Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul.
The Girl Who Dare to Wish: http://www.chickensoup.com/stories/Xmas_Stories/LittleGirlWhoDared.html
Dear God, This is Charles: http://www.chickensoup.com/stories/kids/charles.html
An Informational Concept Book
Stella Princess of the Sky by Marie- Louise Gay is a wonderful story about a little girl named Stella and her little brother Sam. This story is one in a series of four books in which Stella and Sam explore the natural world. In these stories Marie-Louise Gay tells the story through the eyes of Sam and Stella and presents a very realistic and true representation of how a child makes sense of their world. The result is a charming, sometimes comical story in which I found myself laughing, as so much of what Sam and Stella say are things that I have heard children say. The story has beautiful , rich illustrations that enhance it even more. The following is an excerpt from Stella Princess of the Sky. In this part of the story Sam and Stella are seeing a sunset, although they don't know that it is actually a sunset.
"Stella!" cried Sam. "Stella! Look! The sky is on
"No it isn't, Sam," said Stella. "The sun is just going to sleep."
"Why is it so red?" asked Sam.
"Can't you see? It's wearing red pajamas."
"Pajamas?" said Sam. "Like mine?"
"Of course," said Stella, "and when the moon rises, it wraps the sun up in a big starry blanket."
Other stories in this series include Stella Fairy of the Forest, Stella Queen of the Snow
and Stella Star of the Sea.Grade Level Suitability
: K-2Links to BC Curriculum
: This story is a great basis of class discussion and could be easily integrated into the science or social studies curriculum. It would be a great way to introduce a unit as the story promotes inquiry as it discusses the way a child makes sense of what they see. The unit itself could then explain what those things really are. For example, using the excerpt from above you could have a discussion about what the students think Sam and Stella are seeing and what it really is.
A Book of Poetry
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is a book of drawings and poems and is a great for introducing children to poetry. It would also be great to use as a read aloud. The book includes rhymes, songs, poems and riddles and awakens a child's imagination. This book is one of many poetry books by Shel Silverstein, others include A Light in the Attic and Runny Babbit.
Grade Level Suitability: K-7, I think children of all ages enjoy this book.
Links to BC Curriculum: The poems in this book could be easily integrated into language arts, used in a unit about poetry or transferred into a Reader's Theatre script. The poems in this book also make great read alouds and leave your students thinking about what the author is talking about. Here is one of my personal favourites from Where the Sidewalk Ends.
Sandra's seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins' gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I've had to make myself.
By Shel Silverstein
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce is a wonderful story about two brothers Damian and Anthony and their father, a recent widow. The book is told from Damian's point of view, a young boy that is obsessed with saints and has an interest in world issues. One night Damian is locked out of his house and says a prayer to God. Damian is surprised when a very large amount of money falls into his hands. Damian wants to spend the money helping sick and poor children and Anthony can only think of himself. Thus, the brothers begin an adventure in which the one thing they want is something that no amount of money can provide.
Grade Level Suitability: Grade 5-7
Links to BC Curriculum: This book would be an excellent choice for a novel study in language arts or for literature circles as there are some interesting moral decisions that would be a great starting point for class or small group discussions. World issues are also discussed. This book was also made into a movie that came out this year and a great activity would be to compare the two.
Contemporary Realist Non-fiction
Made You Look How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know by Shari Graydon is a non-fiction book that introduces students to the power and influence of the media. It looks specifically at advertising and discusses the many techniques and strategies used by advertising companies to persuade child and youth consumers. The book also discusses the use and effect of gender and cultural stereotypes in the media.
Grade Level Suitability: Grade 6 and up
Links to the BC Curriculum: This is a great book to use in social studies in a unit on the media in society. This book could also be integrated into language arts as it encourages students to critically analyze both the media and the text itself.
*Shari Graydon is also the author of another book of this type entitled In Your Face The Culture and Beauty of You which examines the role of the media in creating perceptions of beauty among girls and boys.