Feb 13, 2016

Picture Books: Love These Old Friends

Valentine's Day weekend is a perfect moment to celebrate those we love, and have loved, for years. My focus in recent years has been on current releases, and I love shining my meager light on new books with special qualities. But old, familiar picture books have no less value. In fact, they often have more.
All too often new, shiny, bling-y thing-ies, books included, suck all the oxygen out of the social media atmosphere. I contribute to that process. But the true glory of books for young readers, really GOOD books, is that they are timeless. As newer, younger readers find them, many books shine just as brightly as the day they were feted in a launch party, Kirkus review, or library display.
When I was teaching I had SO many favorites from earlier years, although I stretched my budget to its limits  bringing special new titles into  our daily shared spaces because  library wait lists on new releases are quite long. (Isn't that a fun truth to celebrate, too!?!) I dedicate this post to just a few of the books I consistently shared with my reading communities, at any grade level. 

To choose these I didn't search Goodreads, because these were in my life long before I created my account. I didn't do an Amazon search. I went to shelves in my home. Titles there are my "keepers", ones I discuss in workshops, reread to inspire my own writing, and often loan to teachers and others when a topic or issue comes up. "Ooh," I say, "I've got a book you should read/use. Keep it as long as you need, and let me know what you and your kiddos think." 

Would I call them my favorites?  Not at all- not any more than you would name a favorite child. Each offers distinct gifts to readers, to teachers, to writers, to anyone who reads them, but even more to those who share them. They are, though, AMONG my widely diverse and lengthy favorites lists.
Old loves like these may not be shiny or flashy or trendy, but they last. They matter. They wait while we chase the new and trendy. Then, eventually, they are found and opened by someone and the light they hold inside is released into the lives of readers.
The image here can be copied and saved. I included only minimal comments about potential uses. Those few words only "dust" the surface of all that these titles offer to readers. I included brief notes only to indicate how relevant these picture book friends are to current trends in classrooms, reading, and writing. Enjoy. Please!
You will be able to access most of these through libraries, without a HOLD list delay!
Although some are out of print, they can be purchased through resellers online. Before doing that, check with your favorite indie bookseller to see if s/he can access out-of-print titles for you. Seems like a perfect pairing of our love of older titles with an endless love of indie stores.
Whatever strategy you choose, help others find these, and other old loves of your own. 
In fact, please add titles of your personal favorites in comments. I may do more extended posts on some of them!

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Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.