You’ve got a friend in me…

How do you find a friend? How do you make a friend? How do you keep a friend? The books in today’s post have that theme in common. They are about ways we, and all creatures, connect and support each other. It’s not always easy but seeing different ways to go about it gives kids a chance to find what works for them. Good information to have no matter your age.

All the books I talk about are checked out from my public library. No advance copies or compensated reviews, neither is there any order in which I post them other than when they become available in my public library holds queue. Many of today’s books I also recorded as a read aloud. You can see and hear the whole book (link at right). As I stated before, the read aloud recordings will stay posted until distance learning is finished.

Scroll all the way down for two curriculum links. One is a list of picture books that can be used to teach “inference”, recently updated to include lots of new and culturally diverse books. Another is a distance learning resource from a picture book author/illustrator.

Rita & Ralph’s Rotten Day by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Pete Oswald. 2020

K-3 *Recorded Read Aloud

“I’m Sorry!” “But he didn’t feel sorry”. How many times have we heard kids say they were sorry and know that it wasn’t real? Accidents and misunderstandings all contribute to hurt feelings. Meaning it when you say you are sorry is not always immediate or easy but Rita and Ralph show how you go “up the hill and down the hill” to get back to high fives, zombie tag and cha-cha-chas. The text and illustrations are a perfect match in this story which makes for a great read aloud.

Snail Crossing written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor. 2020

K-2 *Recorded Read Aloud

Snails and Ants could not be more different but they both, at times, need help. Taking the time to stop and help may prove inconvenient but you never know if, when, or how that kindness will be repaid. The text and illustration show the snail and ant characters with great humor. Another great read aloud.

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. 2020

K-2 *Recorded Read Aloud

Neighbors can be be next door, around the corner or sitting at a nearby desk. Neighbors can be “nosy, a nuisance, annoying” but they might eventually be “fun, friends, family”. It takes some time. You can’t force friendship nor can you expect it to be instantaneous. This is a generational tale that perhaps needs to be read to adults as well as kids.

Packs: Strength in Numbers written and illustrated by Hannah Salyer, 2020.


Last week I posted about a book, Honeybee, which would shine based on its illustrations alone. Then, when the text takes it just a step or so deeper, it becomes something truly special. The same is true of the book, Packs: Strength in Numbers. The subtitle makes all the difference. Take an animal and highlight what those animals do “together” and how it is better than what they can accomplish alone. Take a look at a couple of the pages. The same ideas can be applied to classrooms or communities.

How to Build A Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, illustrated by Giselle Potter. 2018


Years ago a colleague and friend introduced me to the name Temple Grandin as we were just beginning to understand the many ways autism affects our students. More recently another friend and colleague eagerly recommended this book about Grandin’s invention that put her in control and gave her a way to cope with her significant sensory issues.This isn’t a new picture book and, hopefully if you are a K-5 teacher, you’ve already encountered this book. If not, I would say it’s time to add it to your classroom collection as well as making sure it is available for checkout in the library. Students need to see themselves reflected in books. Students also need to understand classmates whose perspective is very different from their own.

Things I found that might be of curriculum help.

This is a book list that author/teacher Pernille Ripp created for teaching “inference”. It is doubly valuable because it was recently updated with the help of other teacher suggestions and it reflects the more diverse books needed in today’s classrooms.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi has created a remote learning support resource connected with both her books and her art. Be sure to scroll down for her free print ready archive supporting writing and illustrating. I love her illustrations and I am patiently waiting for her new book, Gurple and Preen: a Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure, to become available in my holds queue at that library!

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