Literature to Inspire…picture books

Last weekend I attended a wonderful early ed. montessori conference, Children Change the World in Calgary, Alberta.  Inspiring presenters, dedicated teacher attendees, and superb organization all contributed.

Here is the reading list for my Literature to Inspire Program. It’s weighted to younger readers, but many of the titles are suitable for older children too, so read, share, enjoy, and continue to add wonderful books that you discover to this reading list.

Sheryl’s Literature to Inspire Reading List


*** Here is a broad selection of picture books that will round out any library but be sure to keep adding more titles


Fairy, Folk, Myth 

a) Modified Traditional

Rapunzel byPaul O. Zelinsky

The McElderry Book of Aesop’s Fablesby Michael Morpurgo

Greek Mythsretold and illustrated by Marcia Williams

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

How Raven Stole The Sun by Maria Williams, illustrated by Felix Vigil

The Dragon’s Pearl by Julie Lawson, illustrated by Paul Morin

b) Fractured Fairy Tales

The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs! By A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Dog Tales by Jennifer Rae, illustrated by Rose Cowles

c) New Tellings Dressed in Old Forms

Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals and Beastly Fables by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

War and Peas by Michael Forman

Doing it Write: Books that engage readers

a) Wordless Wonders

Flotsam by David Wiesner

Chalk by Bill Thomson

Window by Jeanie Baker

b) Draw and Tell

Draw-And-Tell by Richard Thompson

Tell and Draw Stories by Margaret J. Olson

c) Puzzle Books

Animalia by Graeme Base

Twelve Ways To Get To 11 by Eve Merriam, illustrated by Bernie Karlin

d) Feel or Find Books

Look-A Likes Jr. by Joan Steiner

A Pod of Orcas by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin

Perfect Poems

a) Chanting Charms

Gifts by JoEllen Bogart, illustrated by Barbara Reid

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

What’s That Sound? In The City

What’s That Sound? By the Sea

What’s That Sound? At the Circus

What’s That Sound? On the Farm by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Kim LaFave

Did You Say Pears? By Arlene Alda

b) Building Refrains

This is the Dog by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Chrissie Wysotski

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz

c) Rhymes Without Reason: Nonsense Rhymes

Once Upon a Twice by Denise Doyen, illustrated by Barry Moser

The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss,

There Were Monkeys in my Kitchen! By Sheree Fitch, illustrated my Marc Mangeau

d) Prose Pleasers

Going to the Fair by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Sheena Lott

Moonsnail Song by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Sheena Lott

Waiting for the Whales by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Ron Lightburn

Me and Mr. Mah by Andrea Spalding, illustrated by Janet Wilson

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: books about the past, the present and the future

A) Past Perfect

In Flanders Fields by Linda Grandfield, illustrated by Janet Wilson

Belle’s Journey by Marilynn Reynolds, illustrated by Stephen McCallum

Lumpito and the Painter from Spain by Monika Kulling, illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner

b) Present Tense

Mile-High Apple Pie by Laura Langston, illustrated by Lindsey Gardiner

No Two Snow Flakes by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Janet Wilson

That Magnetic Dog by Brue Whatley

Jessie’s Island by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Sheena Lott

c) Fabulous Fantasy

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

d) Playful Possibilities

Giraffe and Bird by Rebecca Bender

My Sister Gracie by Gillian Johnson

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeanie Baker

Student Additions

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw

Red is Best by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Robin Lewis

My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards, illustrated by Shirley Hughes

Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel

Mole Music by David McPhail

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Play, Mozart, Play by Peter Sis

Pete the Cate: I Like My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean

Peter and the Wolf  by Sergei Prokofiev, illustrated by Charles Mikolayck

Musical Max by Robert Kraus



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