Text-to-Self Connections

Book Reviews - Books for Building Your Library

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Roberta brings you another spectacular collection of books for building your classroom library. This list of titles will start your school year off with read alouds that will help your students connect to stories and to each other.

Thank You, Mr. Falker

This classic example of Patricia Polacco's artistry and storytelling serves as a tribute to Mr. Falkner and all educators who use skill, compassion, and patience to help children overcome challenges and reach their fullest potential.

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Click here to view this book in Amazon +

My Name is Yoon

Break out the markers so that students can practice writing Yoon using the "dancing" Korean symbols displayed in the book.

Dear Teacher

He locates a missing explorer, treks to the pyramids, and must walk the plank after being attacked by the "Pirate King." The design of the book features a clever vertical layout with an envelope flap just like a real letter! Your students will beg you to reread this book by Amy Husband.

Click here to view this book in Amazon +
Click here to view this book in Amazon +


Ling Sung is full of exuberance and confidence when he teaches everyone in his class this special skill. The brightly hued mixed-media illustrations featuring Ling Sung glowing and full of pride are affectionate and children will be eager to share their own unique talents and accomplishments.

It's Back to School We Go

Anton lives in Kazakhstan and at recess he often plays a racing game called Bayga. Each of the eleven profiles are highlighted by earth-toned pencil and watercolor illustrations. Add this multinational selection to your back-to-school reading list; it's perfect for comparing and contrasting schooling narratives.

Click here to view this book in Amazon +
Click here to view this book in Amazon +

How I spent My Summer Vacation

Round up the kids and share real stories about your summer escapades after reading Mark Teague's rollicking tall tale featuring vivid acrylic full-page images. This is a winner for back-to-school storytelling sessions.

First Day Jitters

"Excitement, anticipation, jitters!" Don't we all get them the first day of school? The opening spread features Sarah cowering beneath the covers, nervous and fearful about attending a new school. She is cajoled and encouraged the whole way to her class. Julie Danneberg's sharp, colorful illustrations with hilarious details add to her storyline. Children will immediately connect to the character's emotional pangs, and will adore the surprise ending. This one is a must-have, and is perfect for teachers and students to make connections with each other.

Click here to view this book in Amazon +
Click here to view this book in Amazon +

Once Upon An Ordinary School Day

"Ordinary boy" flies with the birds and rides a wave with an enormous whale. With the boy's imagination overflowing with possibilities, Mr. Gee proposes that he should write a story. This book is a hidden gem and is a testament to the power of creative, inspirational teachers.

Only One Year

This story is a window into the world of one Chinese-American family. The author's note provides an explanation of distinct cultural norms within Chinese families, a glossary, and pronunciation key. Andrea Cheng's tender story is an excellent read-aloud choice that will prompt discussions about families.

Click here to view this book in Amazon +
Click here to view this book in Amazon +

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Reader in Every Child

Every tool box needs a hammer, and every teacher needs The Book Whisperer to help build a community of readers. Using the interest of the student, a can-do spirit, and high expectations, Donalyn Miller shares viable strategies for connecting students with books and creating lifelong readers.