A Song for Lena


Bibliographic Information: Horder Hippely, H. A Song for Lena. (2011). U.S.: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Brief Annotation: When an old beggar visits Lena and her poor family, instead of giving him scraps, they give him some of their fresh pie to eat.  In return, he plays a beautiful melody for them on his violin.  This happens at the same time every year until one year when he doesn’t return.

Genre: Free Choice (Picture)

Grade Level: K-3

Readers who will like this: Students who are peacemakers, students who love stories about good people.

Rating/Response: 4. This is a wonderful book with wonderful illustrations.  It actually really tugged at my heartstrings, and I would love to read this in front of a class.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever met somebody who was really in need?  What feelings did you have for that person?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert


The Snowy Day


Bibliographic Information: Keats, E. J. (1962). The snowy day. New York: Viking Press.

Brief Annotation: This is a story of a first snowfall and the magical feeling kids get when playing in the snow.

Genre: Free Choice (picture)

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Kids who like snow!

Rating/Response: 5. This book captures the wonder and amazement of the first snow. It would be great to read around this time when there is lots of snow starting to pile up. The pictures in this book are great and go along with the words. This book also won a Caldecott Award! I think kids will really enjoy this.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: When was the first time you remember playing in the snow?

Posted by: Christina Angell

The Cat in the Hat


Bibliographic Information: Seuss. (1985). The cat in the hat. New York: Random House.

Brief Annotation: The Cat in the Hat makes reading fun in this book! There are lots of words and pictures that kids will love and learn a lot from.

Genre: Free Choice (picture)

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Readers who like rhymes and learning to read

Rating/Response: 5. I loved this book growing up and it helped me learn to read so I think other kids will really enjoy it!

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Do you have a pet cat?

Posted by: Christina Angell

Puff, the Magic Dragon


Bibliographic Information: Yarrow, P.; Lipton, L. Puff, the Magic Dragon. (2007). New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Brief Annotation: Puff the Magic Dragon, living in Honalee, is visited by Little Jackie Paper, and the two of them have many adventures together until Jackie grows up and loses his childish imagination.

Genre: Free Choice (picture)

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Students who have heard the song before, students who value their imagination, students who like dragons.

Rating/Response: 4. An obvious classic.  Students who have heard the song and who haven’t will enjoy this story about Puff and Jackie, and it’s a story/rhyme that every kid should know.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: How many of you have heard the song?  What can you do with your imagination?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert

The Polar Express


Bibliographic Information: Van, Allsburg Chris. The Polar Express. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. Print.

Brief Annotation: It’s Christmas Eve. The train pulls into the front yard, and the conductor calls it the Polar Express and it’s destination, the North Pole.  Through many adventures with other kids his age, one particular little boy learns that believing is seeing.  Seeing isn’t believing.

Genre: Free Choice (Picture)

Grade Level: Grades K-3

Readers who will like this: Any child with some Christmas spirit will enjoy this tale.  Also, students that enjoy adventures will get a kick as the icy trek brings the Polar Express to the North Pole.

Rating/Response: 5. This book does an excellent job capturing the human spirit.  Bringing us through wonder and enchantment as well as doubting what we believe.  Whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, it can teach you a very important lesson.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: How many people would like to go to the North Pole?

Posted by: Natalie Hager


The Little Engine that Could


Bibliographic Information: Piper, W. (1990). The little engine that could. New York, NY: Tuffy Books.

Brief Annotation: “I think I can! I think I can!” This well-loved classic tale of the Little Blue Engine who isn’t afraid to try has and will continue to inspire and generations.

Genre: Fiction (Free Choice Picture)

Grade Level: PreK-1

Readers who will like this: All students will enjoy reading this story because they have or will encounter a time in their life that they need to work through challenges and motivate themselves.

Rating/Response: 4, The Little Engine that Could is a good book for children. It helps them know that they can do anything that they want as long as they put their mind to it and don’t give up.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: How do you help yourself if you run into something you don’t understand?

Posted by: Catherine Brine

Little Bear



Bibliographic Information: Minarik, E. H., & Sendak, M. (1957). Little bear. New York, NY: Harper & Bros.

Brief Annotation: When it is cold, Mother Bear knows just the right coat to keep Little Bear warm. When he flies to the moon and back, she has lunch waiting for him. And of course she has the perfect surprise for his birthday!

Genre: Fiction (Free Choice Picture)

Grade Level:  PreK-2

Readers who will like this: All students will enjoy reading about little bears adventures growing up and learning about his surroundings.

Rating/Response: 4, I remember reading this book as a child and still to this day cherish the story as a whole. 

One question you would ask before a read aloud: If it was your birthday and you could do anything you wanted to, what would you do?

Posted by: Catherine Brine

Ana Cultiva Manzanas


Bibliographic Information: Wellington, M. (2001). Apple farmer Annie. New York, NY: Dutton Children’s Books.

Brief Annotation: Annie is an apple farmer.  What does a normal day look like for an apple farmer?  Well Annie gets up early and picks her apples, makes different things from her apples, then goes to the market to sell it!

Genre: Fiction (Free Choice picture)

Grade Level: PreK-2

Readers who will like this: This book is written in Spanish and in English so anyone who is new to the classroom or the area will enjoy it. It gives the students a basic understanding of the life of an apple farmer and links different languages.

Rating/Response: 5, I really enjoyed reading this story.  I will definitely use it in my classroom and read it in both languages so that students are able to connect the story in both languages.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you think apple farmers do all day?  What can you make with apples?

Posted by: Catherine Brine

The Seeing Stick


Bibliographic information: Yolen, J. The Seeing Stick. (2009). U.S.: Running Press Kids

Annotation: A wise old man helps the blind Chinese princess learn to see by touch through the use of his “seeing stick.”

Genre: Free Choice (picture)

Grade level: K-3

Readers who will like this book: Readers who are missing one of their five senses or know someone who is missing one.

Rating/Response: 4. The illustrations are fantastic, and the words go by in a flowing fashion.  The story is one that people of all ages will love.

One question you would ask before a read aloud? Do you know of anyone who can’t see?  How has that helped them to view their life?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert

The Polar Express

The Polar Express

Bibliographic information: Van, Allsburg Chris., and Allsburg Chris. Van. The Polar Express. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. Print.

Annotation: A boy is lying wide-awake in his bed on Christmas Eve. His night turns into an adventure when a train known as The Polar Express takes him to the North Pole.

Genre: free choice (picture)

Grade level: K-5

Readers who will like this book: readers who like Christmas books about Santa and magic.

Personal response rating: 5- I have grown up reading this story and think it would be a great read around Christmas.

Questions before reading: What are your Christmas traditions?

Posted by: Mikayla Curtis