Picture Book Brain

Sign up for the MEMBERSHIP 
cropped Header
start here icon
Start here
about me icon
Games icon
Book Lists
shop TPT store
membership button to click to join

A Picture Book A Day Challenge Week 3 Recap

Picture Book Day Challenge Week Picturebookbrain

3 Weeks of a Picture Book a Day

3 weeks into my a picture book a day challenge, and another week closer being a dad.  Here I’ll recap the picture books I read this week and the grade levels I think they would be most appropriate for.  Honestly, though, depending on your questioning and support, any picture book could work for any grade level. 

Most of these picture books are also great bilingual read alouds or Spanish read alouds for dual language bilingual classrooms!  The books available in Spanish are noted.

There are affiliate links in many of the posts on this site. This means your purchase supports myself, my business, and my family when you click through to buy – at no additional cost to you.

Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting

Book 15: Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting

WHOA!  That’s what I said after I read this book.  There was a time when upper elementary teachers sneered at picture books.  Books like these are ones that would convert even the most suspecting, chapter-book-only upper elementary teachers.  Gleam and Glow tells the story of the Bosnian War as seen through the lens of a child experiencing it and shows that a chance is all anyone or anything needs.  You need to keep hope.

I love this book for teaching theme and close reading Eve Bunting’s beautiful, descriptive language.  Perfect for grades 3-5.

Check out the full lesson plan and activities HERE

The Polar Express

Book 16: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (El Expreso Polar in Spanish)

Believe it or not, it snowed this week in Wisconsin, and I still have snow.  More importantly, my school librarian put out this book which I didn’t even know was available in SPANISH!  I’m that guy at staff meetings or professional development who always asks (or already knows) “Is that book available in Spanish?”  So often I have a hard time finding quality literature in Spanish, and seeing this classic in Spanish made me snatch it right up.

We all know the story.  Since the movie was released I have really liked reading the book and talking about the mental images that Chris Van Allsburg helps us form with his language using the five senses from the sound of the train to the taste and feel of the hot chocolate.  Some say this book is best for K-2, but I think it’s great all the way up through fourth grade with upper elementary kids’ ability to get more in depth with their analysis of word choice.

Check out the full lesson plan and activities HERE


Book 17: Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio (Gastón in Spanish)

Families are changing and the experiences that kids are having so young in their lives are changing.  If you have students who are adopted, new to school or just feel different this book is a must read.  Gaston is a bulldog in a family of poodles and he has to try really hard to fit in with the poodles, but he doesn’t mind.  His mother poodle realizes one day at that park, though, that there was a mix-up with the bulldog family.  The bulldog family has a poodle in it!  The poodle and bulldog mothers decide to let the children decide who they want to live with.  Gaston goes to live with the bulldogs but quickly finds that he prefers the poodles because he acts like the poodles.

Just because you may look different, doesn’t mean that you are different.  I also love that it’s set in Paris and we get some French phrases thrown in.  A beautiful book for any grade, but especially good for K-2.

Check out the full lesson plan and activities HERE


Book 18: Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio (Antoinette in Spanish)

After I read Gaston, and loved it so much.  I immediately picked up the sequel: Antoinette.  This book continues on a similar vein as Gaston, but follows his switched at birth poodle friend Antoinette who lives with the bulldogs.  All of Antoinette’s bulldogs brothers are good at something, but Antoinette hasn’t found anything she’s good at.

After one of Gaston’s poodle sisters goes missing, Antoinette tracks her down and finds something she is good at in the process.  This book is great for teaching growth mindset and the power of YET.  Also a great text for building background knowledge as this book is again set in Paris and we get to see the Louvre Museum’s Winged Victory sculpture.  Perfect for K-3.

Check out the full lesson plan and activities HERE

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Book 19: Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

Music teachers will love this one.  It provides a context for the Underground Railroad song by the same title.  I would teach this book in a historical fiction unit or for Black History Month or for providing some context and background for the Underground Railroad.  This is one of Jeanette Winter’s earlier books and is unlike many of her more recent nonfiction stories, but still follows Jeanette Winter’s characteristic style and ease for explaining complex topics in a way that even the youngest learners can understand.

Check out the full lesson plan and activities HERE

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

Book 20: The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

(El increíble niño comelibros in Spanish)

If your students are feeling stressed…or even you are, this book is perfect.  It reminds us that even though we may feel like we need or want to do everything quickly and gain recognition, we need to slow down and enjoy life.  Oliver Jeffers’ beautiful collage style makes the illustrations just as engaging as the text.  Despite the seemingly ridiculous premise, a boy who eats books and learns from eating them, it is one that kids can relate to easily.  It also is a great way to start a conversation about what it means to be smart.

Just like all of Jeffers’ book, it is accessible to Kindergarteners and deep enough for adults to analyze (seriously, we analyzed it at a literacy professional development).

Check out the full lesson plan and activities HERE

Joan Procter Dragon Doctor

Book 21: Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor by Patricia Valdez

Felicita Sala’s cover art for this story was really eye-catching.  The colors and the contrast are beautiful and the illustrations inside are no less eye-catching or impressive.  Patricia Valdez’s story-telling and word choice, though, beginning with the title of the book itself really stand out. Her use of similes, rhyme, and anthropomorphism and personification are perfect for analysis while also delighting the students.

This book is perfect for upper grades as part of a study of reptiles/animals, scientists, or Women’s History Month.

Check out the full lesson plan and activities HERE

Great Books From Facebook and Instagram

If you haven’t checked out the Facebook Page or Instagram @joshteacheseverything, you’re missing out!  The community of readers and picture book experts with both teachers and librarians in the JTE community is AMAZING.  Here are some of the books that some of the members were reading this week for the picture book a day challenge:

The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet – perfect for Thanksgiving as it gives the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Plans and Activities Here)

Sarah Gives Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday by Mike Allegra (Plans and Activities Here)

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein – if your kids are turning into interrupting chickens this time of year, this one is perfect (Plans and Activities Here)

What picture books are you reading?

P.S. Look for more freebies next week and every week in my email! Check out my Facebook and Instagram for hints as to what book the freebie may be from next week!

If you’re not signed up for my emails, you’re missing out!  I’m sending weekly freebies during my picture book a day challenge.  This week’s freebie is a descriptive language activity for Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor.  Sign up below to get yours!

Share with a Colleague:

Other Posts You Might Like:

Picture Book Brain Logo

Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

find what you need

become a member

find books you need

Get free training

Have a question?

membership info