2017: The Year of The Picture Book Read Aloud

There is nothing like reading a picture book aloud to children. Each day with my third graders ends with me reading them a picture book on the carpet. It is the perfect way to end a school day.

Friday afternoons Margie Culver visits my classroom and reads aloud to my students. My students adore her, and LOVE listening to her read aloud. I knew that she would be a huge hit with my students. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would love her read alouds. I rarely have the opportunity to sit in a classroom with a bunch of kids while a Read Aloud Master shares a book with kids. Margie is crazy good at reading aloud.

I feel like 2017 is filled with tons of great picture books to read aloud to kids. I can’t tell if 2017 is a really strong year, or if I am just noticing more great read alouds because I’m getting a chance to be on the receiving end of read alouds more this year.

Here are some 2017 picture books that are great for read alouds.


Written by: Rob Sanders

Art by: Dan Santat


I read this book to 3 of my kids on Saturday. It was a hoot. They were flipping out. If you read this one aloud to kids, don’t do it cuddled up in a chair. You’ll need to stand up, and get really into it. Rodzilla reminded me of the first Lego Movie. I’m really looking forward to reading it aloud to my third graders.

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Written by: Drew Daywalt

Art by: Adam Rex


Margie read this one to my third graders on Friday. They were all about it. Rock, Paper, and Scissors demand that you read their characters to life with charisma. I can’t think about this book without smiling.

By Quiet!

Words and Art by: Ryan T. Higgins

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If you haven’t read this book, this is what you need to do.

  1. Pick up two friends
  2. Drive to your favorite independent bookshop. (I recommend Bookbug)
  3. Find the book Be Quiet!
  4. Each of you select a mouse
  5. Perform a reader’s theater for everyone in the bookshop


Word by

Art by: Erin Stead


Thirty years ago people would have thought that this book was gorgeous. Today people think this book is gorgeous. Thirty years from now people will think this book is gorgeous.

Animal Ark

Words by: Kwame Alexander

Photographs by: Joel Satore



It feels a little bit like Kwame Alexander is taking over the world.

Can an Aardvark Bark?

Words by: Melissa Stewart

Art by: Steve Jenkins


Beautifully written text: Check

Amazing illustrations: Check

Outstanding design: Check


I asked my pals on Twitter to share some of their favorite 2017 picture book read alouds. You’ll find their responses below.

The Best Part of My Day Volume 2


Yesterday was pretty special. We had the opportunity to attend a field trip at our county fairgrounds where the focus was agriculture. I LOVE when my students have the opportunity to learn together outside of our classroom. My favorite station was the one about goats. Goats are so interesting!



I’d love to know the best part of your day. Share it on Twitter using the hashtag #BestPartofMyDay, leave a comment or send me an email (colbysharp@gmail.com).


The Best Part of My Day Volume 1

My third graders seem to always be talking about YouTube channels. They are obsessed with DanTDM. One of them even went to an event with Dan himself. Crazy. A handful of them have even started their own YouTube channels.


My new students book box. The kids were so excited to share their favorite titles with him.

I’m always trying to find ways to understand and relate to the world that they are living in, so I decided to dust off my YouTube account. I’m going to try and regularly vlog about the best part of my school day.


15 Second Book Talks Take 1

I am really digging the Stories feature on Instagram. It seemed like a good idea to see how I could use this feature to work on my book talking skills.

What I have to work with:

  • 15 seconds of video
  • Instagram Stickers, Emojis, and Text
  • My Voice
  • 140 Twitter Characters (I don’t have these when I post to Instagram, but I can use them when I post the video to Twitter)

Creating a good book talk using all of my tools in such a short amount of time is way harder than I anticipated. I had to reshoot the video a bunch of times for each book talk. Hopefully, I’ll get better with a little practice.



Chapter 1: Why I Bought These Books

We have a dinosaur bank in my classroom that loves to eat change. Most of the change that he eats comes from my pockets, and sometimes my students throw a quarter in his mouth. Yesterday I emptied him out, and took the change to the grocery store where they traded me for $24 in cold hard cash.


I thought it would be fun to start a little series on my blog where I share why I buy the books that I buy for my classroom library. Maintaining a classroom library is something that I think about each and every day. It is an evolving process that changes based on my current students, and (hopefully) growing understandings about children’s literature and teaching young reading.


I had enough money to pick up three books yesterday at a book shop. My students are going to be so excited to read them!

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

By: Stephan Pastis


The Timmy Failure series is one that many of my third graders don’t read until the second half of the school year. Many of them aren’t quite ready for it at the start of the year. A few weeks ago, one of my students fell hard for the series. He has read all of the books in the seires that I had, and he has been pestering other educators in the building for books in the series that I don’t have. I use to have them all, but a couple of them have gone missing. Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made will be sitting on his desk when he walks in this morning.

Olga And The Smelly Things From Nowhere

By: Elise Gravel


This book just came out a few weeks ago, and it is crazy hot in my classroom. Our copy is already starting to age, and the demand for the book is so high that we needed a second copy. By the end of the year, most of my kids will end up reading this book (at least once!).

The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable

By: Aaron Blabey


I have two copies of book one in The Bad Guys series, and my students are absolutely crazy about it. During fall conferences I had a 10 minute conversation with a parent about how much he loved reading the first book at home with his child. Hearing about a parent reading one of our classroom library books with one of my students was music to my ears.


What new books are you brining into your classroom/school library? I’d love to know how you decide what books to purchase.

Ryan T. Higgins Visits The Village

Yesterday, author/illustrator Ryan T. Higgins visited the students of Parma Elementary. It was a magical day.

We kicked off the day with a free breakfast for all Parma Elementary families. Our PTA purchased $1000 worth of Ryan’s books for us to give away to students. We gave each family that attended the breakfast a copy of one of Ryan’s books. It was a perfect start to our day. We had more than 200 people go through the breakfast line!

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Ryan did two assemblies in the morning. He was able to meet with 400+ students. Ryan is a captivating speaker. I think each and every child (and adult) left feeling inspired.

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One of my favorite parts of Ryan’s visit was when he created art in front of the kids. He had them give him a bunch of different animal suggestions, and then he mashed them together to create a new creature. My first grade daughter went back to her classroom and created a giraffe/hippo/penguin creature. Author visits inspire kids to create!

After the visit I interviewed Ryan for The Yarn, and Ryan and I did a Facebook Live video on the Nerdy Book Club channel FB page (below).