September 1, 2014

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Resources for Award-Winning Picture Books │JLG’s Booktalks to Go

With the award season in full swing, how can you make the best use of the wonderful books you’re adding to your collection? Take a look at these videos, author websites, and interviews for Aaron Becker’s Journey, David Wiesner’s Mr. Wuffles!, and more. As your wish list continues to grow, the following booktalks and accompanying resources for these acclaimed picture books will surely get you started.

review of the day journey by aaron becker Resources for Award Winning Picture Books │JLG’s Booktalks to GoBECKER, Aaron. Journey. Candlewick. 2013. ISBN 9780763660536. JLG Level: P : Primary (Grades K–1).

A lonely girl uses a magical red marker to create an adventure through a lantern-lit forest to a dock, but there’s no boat. She sketches a red vessel that transports her to a venetianlike castle. Using her newfound power, the child goes on a journey that leads her to an unexpected find.

Teachers sometimes find it difficult to use wordless picture books, so direct them to an article at Early Childhood News which explains the value of using this genre. Reading Rockets provides a letter to parents with tips for sharing books for visual literacy. Follow Kylie Meyer’s Pinterest board on teaching voice in writing & wordless picture books. A lesson plan for creative writing with this genre can be found on ReadWriteThink. Publisher resources include an interview with the author and a book trailer. For more wordless picture books, read my ”Wordless Picture Books That Speak Volumes”.

Current recognition includes: 2014 Caldecott Honor, SLJ Best Books 2013, Picture Books; New York Times’ Best Illustrated Award; Best Books of the Year 2013: Ages 3-5 (Picture Books); Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2013.

exclamation point Resources for Award Winning Picture Books │JLG’s Booktalks to GoROSENTHAL, Amy Krouse and Tom Lichtenheld. Exclamation Mark. Scholastic. 2013. ISBN 9780545436793. JLG Level: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K–2).

“It seemed like the only time he didn’t stand out was when he was asleep.” He was different, no matter how hard he tried to fit in. When an inquisitive question mark asks him more than he can handle, he finds his voice, shouting, “STOP!” It feels good to shout, so he tries something else―accepting himself.

Rosenthal, “a person who likes to make things,” is the author of more than 20 books for children. Be sure to visit her website, which was named one of the best official author websites. Visitors get a real inside look at her creative genius. While you browse, you can even decide what mood you want to experience by changing the weather and sound on the bottom of the page. Lichtenheld’s website is a must-visit as well. The bestselling illustrator has links to activity guides for his books, downloadable bookmarkers for Exclamation Mark, and .many links to his website appearances (including a tour of his studio). Listen to him talk about his name on Check out the book trailer. Where did the idea for the story come from? Scholastic interviewed the dynamic duo. For more ideas about teaching punctuation, follow Lindsey Irelan’s Pinterest Lesson Plan board.

Current recognition includes: SLJ Best Children’s Books 2013, Picture Books; Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2013.

review of the day battle bunny by jon scieszka and mac barnett 224x300 Resources for Award Winning Picture Books │JLG’s Booktalks to GoSCIESZKA, Jon and Mac Barnett. Battle Bunny. illus. by Matthew Myers. Simon & Schuster. 2013. ISBN 9781442446731. JLG Level: HE : Humor Elementary (Grades 2-6).

Not every grandma knows just the right gift for her grandson, and Alex is sure his own is among them. Birthday Bunny is not his kind of book. What he wants is a book with adventure, pirates, and action. He wants Battle Bunny! So he takes a pencil and begins to draw―right inside his grandmother’s gift.

First things first. How do you say his name? Check out his website at JSWorldwide, which includes the “official online how-to-say-Jon-Scieszka Pronunciation Guide.” Learn about his Guys Read program. Find out the latest wild-and-crazy happenings of Coauthor Mac Barnett. Don’t miss the hilarious trailer for the title. How do you teach a book that is (gasp) drawn in?! A curriculum guide connected to CCSS is available. Battle Bunny has its own website―a must-visit destination because kids can create their own bunny story. Why not use your interactive whiteboard for classroom discussion? Kids will want to study every inch of the pages, so the use of a visual projector is suggested.

Current recognition includes: Bulletin Blue Ribbon 2013, Picture Books. And many 6 starred reviews.

Mr Wuffles Resources for Award Winning Picture Books │JLG’s Booktalks to GoWIESNER, David. Mr. Wuffles!. Clarion. 2013. ISBN 9780618756612. JLG Level: E : Easy Reading (Grades 1–3).

Cats have a mind of their own, and Mr. Wuffles seems especially hard to please. Ignoring his store-bought, still-tagged playthings, the cat finds one particular object to be of interest. Surprisingly, it is a real spaceship with aliens who wage war with the feline, damaging their ship. Lucky for them previous combatants are willing to join forces in the fight against the beast.

Another essentially wordless picture book, Wiesner’s work is punctuated with alien dialogue bubbles, leaving readers to decode the compound symbols. A sophisticated tale, readers will want to slow down to interpret the new language, as well as the history of pictures found on the walls of the insect civilization, which shows the unity of cultures in the face of adversity. Visit his website for a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the story. Watch the book trailer. Ideas for using the title (and other books he’s published) are also available.

Current recognition includes: 2014 Caldecott Honor; SLJ Best  Books 2013, Picture Books; Best Books of the Year 2013: Ages 3-5 (Picture Books); Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2013

Additional Resources

In an effort to organize these links, I have created a LiveBinder. All websites will be posted within the LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources will be added. Simply go to JLG Booktalks to Go where you will see LiveBinder blue tabs. Each blue tab is a book title. Under each blue tab are gray subtabs with links to media, websites, and other related documents. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Please visit JLG’s new LiveBinder, JLG Booktalks to Go.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)



Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.



  1. Thanks for so many wonderful links. I especially enjoyed the book trailers. So very useful….

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