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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ten Not-to-Be-Missed Picture Book Reference Sites

Almost daily I receive an email asking for a list of books on a certain topic, or genre, or time period, or skill. Many readers of this blog first came here from Google seeking just that.

Fortunately there are some terrific sites out there that can provide teachers with basic lists of picture books, categorized in almost any way imaginable. The ten sites I've listed below will help you locate "the good stuff." Also be sure to take advantage of the expertise available through your local librarian or media center specialist.

Know of a site that should be here? Email me and let me know!

Dr. Sue LeBeau's Links to Picture Books

This nicely categorized collection of picture books provides a comfortable starting point for any teacher looking to incorporate picture books in a purposeful way. Sue has categorized them by Math, Science, Social Studies, etc. A site worth bookmarking.

Help Readers Love Reading

Here you'll find short and fun reviews of picture books. It's hard to keep up with all the new books out there, so a resource like this is your best bet. Blogger Brian Wilhorn reviews a single book every few days, and he seems to have some passion for it.

Reading Workshop

This site features a list of picture books that you can use to teach specific reading skills and strategies (foreshadowing,, predictions, setting, etc). For those looking for ideas for incorporation, and for those seeking specific titles, this site is an excellent resource.

Writing Fix: Picture Book Prompts

This site is packed with tons of resources, although for our immediate purposes I recommend the 60+ picture book inspired writing lessons (that's what I've linked to). You'll find some of your favorites here, along with complete lesson plans and ready-to-go printables for student use. All free! No registration or membership needed. Equally cool at this site, however, is the chapter book excerpts as mentor texts section, which enables you to use just a few pages, or a chapter at most, of a novel as a writing model.

Storyline Online

Famous celebrities read aloud from popular children's books! A fine and growing collection of favorite picture books.

Picture Book Database

A really terrific online tool that allows you to search picture book titles alphabetically by theme or topic.

Trade Book Matrices

Although it says at this site that these are book for adult learners, many of the titles in these downloadable Word docs are picture books. Books are grouped by topic (Westward Expansion, Civil Rights, Grandparents, Immigrants, etc.) and some teaching ideas are included for select topics.

Book Wizard from Scholastic

At this site, Scholastic provides a really valuable tool called BookALike. This allows you to enter a book title, find the exact grade-equivalent level of that book, and then browse books of similar reading difficulty and topic. What's even more useful is that you can use a "slider" to choose books of slightly greater or lesser difficulty. So if a student loved The Magic Tree House as a second grader two years ago, you can simply enter that title and then slide up two grades to locate appropriate titles for fourth grade.

Database of Award Winning Children's Literature

This database allows you to focus a search for both picture and chapter books as narrowly or as broadly as you choose by selecting such variables as genre, historical period, grade level, and even genre of protagonist. And as the title says, the titles produced in your search are award winners, so you can be relatively sure that they're worth a look.

All Together Now

A really extensive clickable list of themes, read-alouds, values, and topics. So many ways to search similar ideas, and the results are pretty complete! What's really cool is that the list is now online as a wiki, which means you can easily add titles to the list, thereby increasing its value to teachers like you! I personally added a list called Focused Reading Skills, and I absolutely encourage you to add your recommended titles.


Ticia said...

Great list, thanks for sharing!

Brian said...


Thanks for the compliment on Help Readers Love Reading and for the mention on your site. It's truly appreciated ... although I might take offense at that last statement. You wrote "he 'seems' to have some passion for it."

Seems? Man, I better start working harder! I thought my passion for children's books was more evident.

Nah, just kidding. Thanks again. I'll be sure to visit Teach With Picture Books often in the future.


Playing by the book said...

This is a *really* great list - thanks so much for compiling. I have a list of resources for finding fiction books by subject/theme (not restricted to picture books, though including them):
In particular I like the literature database at the Helping Books/Helping Families Program and also the Miami University database that you also list.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

Paul said...

Great site, what a resource.
I've been creating children's books for years and am in awe of their power to stimulate and empower. Dinosaur Roar has always amazed me by it's impact. All children have their own ideas about dinosaurs and somehow the seven year old in me fuelled the book, which is perhaps why it has become so loved.
If you want a glimpse behind the scenes of my children's book world, please do visit
and if you are interested, I have now put loads of my favourite dinosaur characters on baby and kid's clothing, posters, invites, cards and lots more at
www. or follow naughtydinosaur on twitter.

Lisa said...

The reading workshop link is an old page. If you go to you will find lists of books for both reading and writing under teacher resources.