Votes for the Irma Black Award are due!!!

What Animals Really Like

So we were having technical difficulties last week and our voting link went down. If you were unable to get through or haven’t sent in your kids votes there is still time. Send the number of children participating and the number of votes for each title to and I will add them to our […]

All the Way to America

Link to youtube video All the way to america After reading All The Way to America by Dan Yaccarino, we asked the 2nd graders to draw a picture of objects or ideas that are  passed down in families. Some of the objects that came up in the discussion, a hand-cranked coffee grinder, a ceremonial wine cup, […]

What Animals Really Like


This book is a joy to read aloud. The conductor of a chorus of animals has written a song, “What Animals like Best”. He assumes that pigeons like to coo and that cows like to moo. The animals rebel and tell him what “they really like”- ballet, martial arts and skiing. Language of Book Making […]

All The Way To America


  We preface the reading of this book by noting that this is an information book. We ask the students if there are any hints about what the book is about on the cover. Some comments include that there is a trip. (suitcases) That it is about New York. (Statue of Liberty)  When we look […]

I want my hat back!

Third Graders Practicing Readers' Theater-I Want My Hat Back

  Discussion with 1st and 2nd graders. We read aloud I Want My Hat Back! with the 1st and and second graders. Summary- a   bear is missing his red triangular hat. He asks various animals in the forest if they have seen it. They have not. Simple limited language paired deadpan illustrations created in a […]

Irma Black Discussions, What Are We Talking About


Today’s discussion brought up some interesting points… Charting the conversation. What we (the students liked about the book) We liked the way the author put in exclamation points in the sentences. We liked the cartoon illustrations The author showed how excited Lucy was about making a friend. We liked the words in the bubbles so […]

Why picture books redux


Why would I encourage teachers and librarians to participate in the Black Awards for best picture book? The first image that comes to mind is the children in my library. They are  engaged and invested  in the process and the award. I witness six and seven year olds with strong opinions about what makes a […]

High Schoolers Return to Enjoy Irma Black Finalists

High Schoolers Return to Enjoy Irma Black Finalists

If anyone is worried about picture books being too young for their 1st and 2nd graders, may I present you with exhibit A. These high schoolers returned to visit during their Winter Break. They immediately grabbed the Irma Black Finalists and began reading them aloud to each other. I grabbed my IPAD and captured their obvious […]

Why Picture Books?


  Guest Blog Post from Bank Street College of Education School For Children Teacher, Gregory David: Picture books for 4th graders? How about blankies? Or well-worn stuffed animals? Pacifiers? Can we borrow rest mats from the kindergartners? Wrong, wrong, wrong! Our Irma Black picture book study has been the cornerstone of our 4th grade literacy curriculum. […]

Now That We Have Four Finalists

You will be my friend

now? While schools across the nation have registered, are reading and discussing the finalists, our first and second graders are too. The third and fourth graders have made posters proclaiming their favorites.