I’m a firm believer in using picture books with readers of all ages. Picture books can seem simple and be aimed at young readers, but many stories are perfect for older learners as well. Picture books allow you to share interesting stories on many topics, they can be used to discuss the format of imparting information and they can serve as a sample for older students’ own writing while learning about beginning, middle, end and voice.
Here are some wonderful picture books that work on many levels for students of all ages. If your school library does not have these titles, you can always try finding them on www.betterworldbooks.com which has new as well as used books. Not only do they ship free of charge anywhere in the world but they also donate to literacy.
Rain School by James Rumford
School. What if you get to school on your first day of the school year, and there is no school? What if you have to first build your school from scratch if you want to learn something?
James Rumford paints a beautiful picture of children going to school in the African country of Chad. The children help to build a school from mud bricks and thatched roof. They may not have many resources but they soak up the knowledge shared by the teacher. This story can be an eye opener for many students. ISBN 978-0-547-24307-8, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Percy’s Perfect Friend by Lana Button, with illustrations by Peggy Collins, is aimed at kindergarten students who can have trouble making new friends when entering a new classroom. Percy does not know anyone but a stuffed animal soon helps him to make friends and play with them. A gentle story to share with new, hesitant students. The book also offers information on social interaction for parents or educators. ISBN 978-1-77278-281-3
Malaysian Children’s Favourite Stories by Kay Lyons and Martin Loh, is collection of folk tales from the rich treasure trove of legends and historical stories in the lush Southeast Asian country of Malaysia. This book is a collection of tales about brash animals, brave villagers and of course handsome princes and beautiful princesses, all set in strange and exotic locations. The stories are widely retold and much beloved by children and adults throughout Malaysia to this day. Lyons and Loh have retold these stories for the first time for an international audience. The beautifully illustrated tales will give children insights into the traditional culture and rich natural environment of Malaysia and be a fun starting point for writing their own legends. ISBN 978-0804835909, Tuttle Publishing
Where We Live, Mapping Neighborhoods Around the Globe is a book that I wrote after visiting many international schools around the world. Each double spread is a map of a child’s neighborhood in vastly different locations: one child lives on a houseboat in Amsterdam, another one walks to school in her village in . There’s a small school in Antarctica which Bruno attends. And .. lives on an atoll in the South Pacific. The book shows a few words in each language and can be used to discuss both cultures and map components.
By Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Wenjia Tang ISBN 978-1525301377, Kids Can Press
Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author who conducts presentations at International Schools anywhere: www.margrietruurs.com