📖Book Lists


The clickable book titles below are ones I have evaluated for author’s & illustrator’s craft. Use these evaluations & picture book lists along with my picture book close reading packet or my picture book evaluation project to engage your students in the process of analyzing parts of speech, figurative language, and literary elements. Both the worksheets and the project engage students in synthesizing these topics while also immersing them in the joy of reading quality picture books! 


From vividly illustrated informational content to artistically crafted narratives of true stories from around the world, these books are excellent to read aloud with young readers and they are especially intriguing for middle school readers. 


  • Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle

  • Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle 

  • Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins

  • Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

  • Hidden Figures by Margot Shetterly

  • I Dissent by Debbie Levy 

  • I Have a Dream painted by Kadir Nelson

  • Jazz by Walter Dean Meyers

  • Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed 

  • Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai 

  • One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss

  • Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise

  • Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh 

  • Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood 

  • Sleepy Snoozy Cozy Coozy by Judy Young

  • The Girl Who Thought in Pictures by Julia Mosca

  • The Tree Lady by Joseph Hopkins 

  • The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond 

  • This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe

  • Ubiquitous by Joyce Sidman 

  • You are Home: An Ode to the National Parks by Evan Turk



Included in this booklist are fiction stories that carry inspiring and easily identifiable themes. This list also includes poetic stories that capture wonder in beautiful and unique ways. If you are looking for books better suited for young children & toddlers, see “Ella & Oliver’s Library” below!




This list includes the picture books that my children love listening 

to again and again. It contains a number of quality picture books that can be examined for the picture book evaluation project; however, this list is primarily a collection of books that appeal to young children and make for great family read-alouds. 


  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. 

  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina 

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. 

  • Curious George Bedtime Stories by H. Rey

  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drives the Bus! by Mo Willems

  • Down By the Bay by Raffi

  • Dozens of Donuts by Carrie Finison

  • Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

  • Everything is Mama by Jimmy Fallon

  • Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

  • If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff

  • I Know a Rhino by Charles Fuge

  • Just Like My Brother by Gianna Marino

  • Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

  • Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney

  • Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

  • Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn

  • Mel’s Diner by Marissa Moss

  • Muffin Mouse’s New House by Larry Di Fiori

  • Please Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

  • Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin

  • The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

  • The Berenstain Bears Storybook Treasury by Jan Berenstain

  • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

  • The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

  • Way Out in the Desert by T.J. Marsh &  Jennifer Ward


This collection contains picture books that have strong examples of a variety of parts of speech. Use these mentor texts to send your students on a word hunt, to diagram sentences, or to add to their word collectors! 



This collection contains picture books that have strong examples of a variety of types of figurative language. Use these mentor texts to identify and analyze the meaning of different kinds of figurative language, digging into the creative word choice to discover deeper meaning. 



This collection contains picture books that have strong examples of rhyme scheme. They are fun to read to little ones to let them fill in the rhyming words, they make for excellent fluency practice for early readers, and they can be used as mentor texts for older students to mimic in their writing!




This collection contains picture books that offer highly engaging opportunities for readers to make educated guesses based on either the words or the illustrations in the story.



  • Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado

  • On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

  • The Donkey Who Carried a King by R.C. Sproul

  • The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross by Carl Laferton

  • You are Special by Max Lucado

  • Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg



  • Heavenly Hosts by Kathyrn Griffin Swegart OFS

  • Light of Sunday by Geena Harrington

  • Saintly Rhymes for Modern Times by Meghan Bausch

  • Sitting Like a Saint: Mindfulness for Kids by Dr. Gregory Bottaro 

  • Story of St John Paul II: A Boy Who Became Pope by Fabiola Garza

  • The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso


  • Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

  • Loser by Jerry Spinelli

  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

  • Tangerine by Edward Bloor

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

  • The Watson’s Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio