10 Picture Books I Can’t Wait to Share with My College Students #pb10for10


It’s time for one of my favorite blogging events of the year–#pb10for10! Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek host, so visit their blogs for more details. It’s easy to play: simply put together a list of 10 picture books you can’t live without.

I had a lot of ideas for themes this year, but ultimately decided to focus on the ten books I’m most excited about sharing with my students this fall. Inspired by Jillian Heise, I’m planning to add picture #classroombookaday to all of my classes. I can’t wait to spread the picture book love among my college students.

beautiful oops

A book to show us that mistakes and failures are part of the process of making beautiful things.

this is sadie

A book about imagination and creativity and how much richer our lives are when we love books.

cheetah can't lose

In the hopes that “skilly” can become part of our shared vocabulary

most magnificent thing

A terrific book to encourage a growth mindset, this story is therapy for all my many perfectionist control freak students.


Ish is pretty much my metaphor for life—and definitely a metaphor for teaching that I like to share with my students. This is a deceptively simple story with such wisdom and generosity at its center.

story of fish and snail

Somehow I always manage to find a place for The Story of Fish & Snail on every picture book list I make. Because we all need reminders to be brave.

what you know first

A book I first discovered via Katherine Sokolowski and now one of my favorite mentor texts and prompts for incredibly rich student writing.

i want my hat back

One of my favorite books for disturbing the universe. My college students can’t believe this kind of thing can happen in a picture book. Of course I follow up with This Is Not My Hat and their universe tilts just a little bit more.

each kindness

An important story about how we treat others. The unresolved ending leaves so much to talk about.

i didn't do my homework because

So many clever excuses for why the homework didn’t get done—and an even more clever teacher who sees right through them. I can’t wait to use this for a writing prompt.





23 responses to “10 Picture Books I Can’t Wait to Share with My College Students #pb10for10”

  1. Michele Knott Avatar

    I love that you’ll be sharing #bookaday with your college students! And if these books don’t reel them in, I don’t know what will! You’ll have to give us an update later in the fall.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Gladly! I have several students in overlapping classes so I have to decide if I’m doing a different book for every class period or if my students who have me twice in a day just get to hear the same title twice. Who wouldn’t want to listen to Ballet Cat twice?!

  2. carriegelson Avatar

    I love that you use Jon Klassen titles to mess with the minds of your students! My little ones love him! As do I. And I love that they will meet Sadie and think about being “skilly”

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      We usually get good conversations about Sam & Dave too. How I love the skilliness of Cheetah!!

  3. Stephanie Affinito Avatar
    Stephanie Affinito

    I love that you are sharing these titles and the book-a-day challenge with your college students. How will you do this? Are you reading to them in classes? Or challenging them to do it on their own? I teach graduate students in literacy and am participating in the Global Read Aloud Project. Have you considered that too? Thanks for a great post!


    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I read aloud in class. I’ve always shared picture books sporadically, but this fall I’m going to be much more intentional. Last year, I did Global Read Aloud in one of my classes and my students loved it, so this year I’m planning to add it to two more classes. Really love that reading event! Mostly I love any excuse to buy more books, LOL. Thanks for commenting!

      1. Michelle @litlearningzone Avatar
        Michelle @litlearningzone

        Elisabeth, I’m glad that you and Stephanie are connecting! You both do amazing work with your pre-service and grad students!

  4. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    So many of these are my favorites! I love the idea of #classroombookaday with your college students. So amazing!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think #classroombookaday is going to be so fun! I need to start planning my piles of books!

  5. Michelle @litlearningzone Avatar
    Michelle @litlearningzone

    Love that you are planning on reading more with #classroombookaday with your students! Yea to books! So many favorites, but I’m missing that silly Cheetah book! Adding it now!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      The Cheetah book is so funny. I do love Bob Shea’s books.

  6. Melanie Swider Avatar

    You have SO many of my favorite titles here! You picked a great list to share with your college students! I don’t know I Didn’t do my Homework because… so I will definitely check that one out!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I am sure that my pre-service teachers will appreciate the many excuses in I Didn’t Do My Homework… it’s fun! And GREAT illustrations!

  7. Tammy and Clare Avatar

    You have so many of our favorite titles on this list. We can’t wait to read I didn’t Do My Homework Because… – Looks hysterical.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      There’s another one by same author/illustrator team, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School, that I can’t wait to read.

  8. tflander2015 Avatar

    I too work with university level students (teacher prep) and love it when kids books totally take them by surprise. They often don’t realize how sophisticated, intense, wry or beautiful they can be. Klassen is perfect for this! Thanks for your offerings.
    Apples with Many Seeds

    1. Stephanie Affinito Avatar

      I am glad to see another teacher educator in this project! Are you sharing 10 for 10 with your students or trying the #classroombookaday challenge?

    2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      There’s just so much we can do with picture books–they’re absolutely sophisticated and complex. I love using them to teach literary elements.

  9. kelliholden Avatar

    So happy to see you use these books with your students, Elisabeth. I am excited to find “Cheetah Can’t Lose”. I will also be adding “Beautiful Oops” to my Genius list. Thanks!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Cheetah Can’t Lose is a delight–as are all of Bob Shea’s books. (I’m also very partial to Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great and Ballet Cat.) I do think his sense of humor appeals more to a certain type of reader!

  10. […] #pb10for10 list: 10 picture books I can’t wait to share with my college students this […]

  11. Linda Baie Avatar

    Finally time to read some of the #PB10for10 posts. I know these, except for Cheetah Can’t Lose, sounds good, Elisabeth. I do love the new This Is Sadie, and have used What You Know First many times. I do love Beautiful Oops, too. Great list for your students!

  12. […] book list (with numbers and hashtags!) comes in fourth: 10 Picture Books I Can’t Wait to Share with My College Students. And yes, they were all wonderful books to […]

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