The school year blazes by after we get back from spring break. During this time I take stock of what I’ve done this year (which is sure to be a blog post in the future) and then, my favorite part, I start daydreaming about the things that I want to do next year.
One of those things is to have more formal author spotlights, especially for the 1st grade. They already study Eric Carle for Language Arts and I did a small unit on Cynthia Rylant but I want to add more next year. This month I did an author study by accident when I picked three different books by the same author in a row. I thought, “oh man, I must really love Kevin Henkes!”
And what’s not to love?? Sweet stories with beautiful and simple illustrations! I haven’t been disappointed yet! Here are some of the books we’ve read in the library by Kevin Henkes:
I read this book to a bunch of different classes and it worked especially well with my youngest students. Toy animals sit on a windowsill waiting for different things like snow, rain, wind, and the moon. There are a lot of opportunities for kids to talk about what they see on the pages (fireworks! icicles!) and to participate in call and response.
A great book, especially for Spring! A young girl helps her mother in their garden and daydreams about what she would grow in a garden of her own (think jellybeans instead of perennials). I loved this book and the great discussion that had after the story about what we would grow in our dream gardens (Pokemon came up a lot)!
We have a copy of this book but I actually showed the video version from Scholastic to my preschool class. They are starting to think about going to Kindergarten and Owen, the story of a young mouse who resists the idea that Kindergarten mice need to let go of some of their playthings, struck home for a lot of them.
The Year of Billy Miller
I don’t know how many chapter books Henkes has written but I hope he writes many more! I loved this book! A simple story about a young boy during the year that he is in the second grade. The book is split into four parts (teacher, father, sister, mother) and looks at his relationships with these four characters. I haven’t found any students who love it as much as I do, its a little hard for most 2nd graders to read on their own and older kids think it is too young because it is about a 2nd grader. But it might be a good book for a read-aloud!
There are tons of other great Keven Henkes books. I mean, I didn’t even talk about the Penny or Lily books! He will definitely be an author spotlight next year!