Battle of the Picture Books
(Last years books!)
“And the winner of the 2013-2014 battle of the picture books is…Henry’s Freedom Box!” There was so much applause and high fives amongst both of my classes after this announcement was made that my neighbor had to poke her head in to see if everything was okay! Last year was the first year I held a March Madness-themed battle of the picture books and it quickly became one of the best projects I’ve done the last couple of years. The students loved reading the variety of books, falling in love with many of the characters from the pages of these books. The fell in love with the beige crayon from “The Day the Crayons Quit,” they had debates about what happened to the little fish in “This is Not My Hat,” they shared their own experiences of the dark after reading “The Dark,” and they wanted to find out more about Clara Lemlich from “Brave Girl: Clara & The Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909.” By the time we began the voting the excitement had been building for a month and a half. Students clearly had their favorites, were persuading others to agree with them, and even created posters for some of their favorite books!
Although I have seen many different versions of this project, I only have 90 minutes with each of my two classes for reading and writing. Therefore, I tried to keep it simple and all about the books.
*The students need to read one picture book a day.
*The students will read their picture book at the beginning of their independent reading time (I usually give the students at least 30 minutes for independent reading).
*The students will check the book off a list that I give them, and record the book’s title, author, and genre. To help them remember the book, they will also write down brief thoughts about the book.
*New this year…I’d like to create a Padlet for each book where the students can share some of their thoughts about the books with their classmates.
Last week of February
*There are 32 books…16 fiction and 16 nonfiction. I will give the students the titles of the books in four groups of eight andthe students will rank the books 1-8, 1 being their favorite and 8 their least favorite. (This will help me create the board. After adding up all of the votes, the book that receives the lowest number will be the 1 seed, the book that receives the highest number will be the 8 seed.)
*Over the next couple of weeks we will vote. We’ll go from 32 books to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 to the winner! Unlike last year, one side of the bracket will have all of the fiction books while the other side will have all of nonfiction books. This way, the finals will have one of each!
*Below is this year’s list. I tried including as many 2014 picture books as I could, but a few other books snuck in including last year's winner! I'd love to hear what others are doing for this project and some of the books you are using.
Let the Book Battle begin!
Battle of the Picture Books
List of 2014-2015 Books
(Please check off as you read each one!)
__ “Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla” by Katherine Applegate
__ “Mr. Ferris and His Wheel” by Kathryn Gibbs Davis
__ “The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus” by Jen Bryant
__ “A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream” by Kristy Dempsey
__ “Creature Features” by Steve Jenkins
__ “Red Kite, Blue Kite” by Ji-li Jiang
__ “A Splash of Red” by Jen Bryant
__ “All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom” by Angela Johnson
__ “Henry’s Freedom Box” by Ellen Levine
__ “Neighborhood Sharks” by Katherine Roy
__ “Tarra & Bella: The Elephant & Dog Who Became Best Friends” by Carol Buckley
__ “Little Melba and Her Big Trombone” by Katheryn Russell-Brown
__ “Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World” by Steve Jenkins
__ “Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas” by Lynne Cox
__ “The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos” by Deborah Heiligman
__ “On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein” by Jennifer Berne
__ “Carnivores” by Aaron Reynolds
__ “My Teacher is a Monster” by Peter Brown
__ “Ninja” by Arree Chung
__ “A Perfectly Messed-up Story” by Patrick McDonnell
__ “The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma” by Diane and Christyan Fox
__ “Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads” by Bob Shea
__ “The Troublemaker” by Lauren Castillo
__ “The Farmer and the Clown” by Marla Frazee
__ “Sam and Dave Dig a Hole” by Mac Barnett
__ “The Pigeon Needs a Bath” by Mo Willems
__ “Blizzard” by John Rocco
__ “My Pet Book” by Bob Staake
__ “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat
__ “Peanut Butter and Cupcake” by Terry Border
__ “Emily’s Blue Period” by Cathleen Daly
__ “The Girl and the Bicycle” by Mark Pett