I love November! The leaves are falling, the temperatures are too, and Halloween has left everyone in a warm and fuzzy sugar coma. But more than anything, I love November because it’s Picture Book Month! We’ve celebrated this literary milestone the same way each year that I’ve been at St. Anne’s-Belfield School, and it has become one of my favorite traditions. Here’s a little background from last year’s post:
Every year, the international reading community comes together during the month of November to celebrate Picture Book Month. This unofficial holiday gives teachers, authors, illustrators, and readers the chance to enjoy and share their favorite picture books, and help to pass that passion on to younger readers.
In the Learning Village Library, we gathered for our second annual Picture Book Month Celebration, one of my favorite activities of the year. Kindergarten and first grade students gathered in the library with sixth grade buddies and enjoyed picture book read-alouds and a story-themed craft.
For the little ones, the fun all took place in one day; but for our sixth grade readers, their preparation started more than a month ago. Mr. Passmore and I collaborated on a picture book and read-aloud unit during 6th grade library time, asking students to dive deeper into the books that they loved when they were little, and to consider picture books from a teachers’ perspective. With standards like fluency and comprehension in mind, we asked students to consider, why are picture books important? How do these special stories make you feel? What about that do you want to share? And how can you use a story that is special to you, to light a spark in a developing reader?
Just like last year, Mr. Passmore and I had a group of sixth graders so excited to share their favorite stories with their young buddies. Cross-divisional activities are wonderful because they bring out the best in everyone: the big kids are determined to set a good example, on their best behavior and using their kindest, most patient voices. The little guys want to be just like the big kids, so they bring their A-game right back! There’s nothing cuter than watching a kindergartener and a sixth grader giggle together over the pages of a book.
And while the cuteness is a reward enough, our Picture Book Month Celebration is extra special to me as a librarian because it’s a reminder of the powerful way that books bring us together. Even the coolest of middle schoolers come alive when acting out an Elephant and Piggie book. And in return, shy and quiet kindergarteners find themselves crawling into laps and intertwining fingers once the narrative begins. Picture books are pure magic, and I love sharing them with readers of all ages.
Congratulations to sixth grade readers on a job well done. You made reading magic for your buddies today, and there’s no greater gift! Happy Picture Book Month to all!