I don’t write, illustrate, publish, or edit picture books. I don’t work in a bookshop or belong to a school library marketing team. So what do I do then? I read. I read. I READ.
I read thousands of picture books every year. I’m always searching for the next best picture book. When I find *that* picture book, I feel compelled to promote it during my annual road trip, purchase copies for strangers, blog and tweet about it, feature it on a #kidlit sticker, and encourage every child who enters my school library to add it to their to-read list.
Mr. Colby Sharp attended children’s literature expert Anita Silvey’s session during the NCTE Annual Convention. He tweeted:
Anita Silvey succinctly sums up how I feel about children’s books. (If you’re not familiar with Anita’s work, you MUST follow her Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac.) Most of you reading this blog post are hard at work creating one of the most remarkable things on the face of the earth. Your picture book could change the way a child looks at the world, turn a dormant reader into an avid reader, and even win the coveted Caldecott Medal.
I am thankful my second through fifth graders (150 students) have checked out over 5,000 picture books during Picture Book Month. Treasures that have not circulated in over two years are taking a much-deserved trip in a child’s backpack. I get goose bumps whenever I spot a fifth grader checking out a book he loved in first grade. He usually hugs it and says, “I love this book.” I always pretend the book smiles and whispers, “Hey, I love you, too.”
I wish I found a magic wand in my mailbox with the following note attached to it:
Dear Mr. Schu,
Thank you for supporting and believing in picture books. This colorful wand allows you to send five 2012 picture books to everyone hard at work writing and illustrating picture books. I know you will select books that will inspire individuals to “create the most remarkable thing on the face of the earth.”
Thanks for all you do for picture books.
BOY + BOT. Written by Ame Dyckman. Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Random House, 2012.
HELLO! HELLO! Written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Hyperion, 2012.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS! Written and illustrated by Jeff Mack. Chronicle Books, 2012.
Z IS FOR MOOSE. Written by Kelly Bingham. Illustrated Paul O. Zelinsky. HarperCollins, 2012.
THE THREE NINJA PIGS. Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz. Illustrated by Dan Santat. Putnam Books, 2012.
I cannot wait to share your picture book with my students.
Happy reading, writing, and Thanksgiving!
John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) is a teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, Illinois. John graduated from St. Xavier University with a Masters in Teaching and Leadership and from Dominican University with a Masters in Library and Information Science. He has taught English in Seoul, South Korea, and is in his ninth year at Brook Forest. John serves on AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, the Monarch Readers’ Choice Selection Committee, and the 2014 Newbery Committee. He was a judge for School Library Journal‘s 2011 Trailee Awards and recently became a FableVision Ambassador. In his spare time (ummm…what’s that?) he reads, travels, and blogs at Watch. Connect. Read. John is a 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.
Mr. Schu is giving away not ONE, but TWO books: HELLO! HELLO! and Z IS FOR MOOSE! Two winners will be selected in one week. Just leave a comment to enter (one entry per person). Good luck!