Instead of showing new picture books, today I’m focusing on three books that would make good teacher gifts. I always give books to my kids’ teachers for the holidays and for the end of the year. My favorite book to give was Earth from Above for Young Readers. It’s out of print now, but it embodies my perfect gift for teachers as a book that the adult can enjoy and appreciate, and can also be used in the classroom. That particular title could be used for such a wide range of ages that it was absolutely perfect. Seriously, I bought six of them when they went to a discount price and gave them out for three years straight — and my kids are three years apart.
Here are my new suggestions, and I hope to hear about more perfect teacher titles in the comments. You know you have them.
How to Heal a Broken Wing, by Bob Graham
A pigeon is hurt on the sidewalk, and everyone walks by — except one boy and his mother. They take the bird home, take care of it, and let it fly away. I’m keeping the plot simple, so that I can leave room to say that I have not shown this book to one adult yet who hasn’t been deeply moved by it. Kids may see the simple story first, and then the kindness beneath. Adults can see the deeper levels of helping others, healing wounds, and letting go. Or even, as I told my seventh grader, “that sometimes we’re the bird.” Bob Graham’s illustrations are wonderful, and truly tell the story more than the simple text. It’s a beautiful book and would be great for preschool through second grade teachers. (Or for yourself — trust me on this one.)
One Voice, Please: Favorite Read-Aloud Stories, by Sam McBratney
Elementary school teachers have tight schedules with all the pressures of different tests and required curriculum. It can be hard to fit in reading as much as they might like. But this book is perfect to use in those extra five or ten minutes. Filled with familiar stories from around the world, it can be shared with a few minutes to spare while ensuring kids are hearing the stories that make up our common understanding. (It’s also currently crazy cheap at $8.00 at Amazon.)
Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World, edited by Jan Greenberg
Poetry and art. Multiple languages and multicultural images. This comes pretty close to my new perfect book for teachers, only losing a mark for being too sophisticated for the early elementary kids. The art is amazing. The poems represent a wide range in style and subject. Each poem is written in the poet’s native language, as well as in English. Each page is perfectly illustrated by a related work of art from that area. This is an amazing book that will be enjoyed by the adult who receives it and as a classroom tool. (If you’re dying for a poetry book for a younger classroom, I can never mention Poetry Speaks to Children enough.)