Blogger Angela Reynolds

Taking picture books to teachers

Over the past few months, I’ve been part of a Professional Development day for teachers throughout our local school board. They spend the day working on using picture books for reading and writing lessons, and then I come in for an hour and show them how to look at picture books as art objects. My experience on the Caldecott committee really comes in useful here– I have been sharing the books from our 2015 list, because I know those so well. I’ve been able to find something new in the books, to find a different way of looking at the books.

Teachers examine "Nana in the City" - photo by A. Reynolds
Teachers examine “Nana in the City” – photo by A. Reynolds

That’s what surprises me most– to find a new way to look at picture books. I have spent so many years as a librarian looking at the art and storytime potential. Now I also look at the teaching potential.  For instance: I just learned about “thought tracking”. Basically, it is taking one character and teasing out that character’s thoughts. It is a way to get kids to think about the author’s intent, a way to get them to think about their own writing. In this case, we discover that the dog in Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is a perfect candidate — the dog is never mentioned, nor does it have any dialogue, and yet is is a major character. When I looked at the art, I realized this immediately. But I did not think of it as a writing exercise. So the teachers are teaching me while I am teaching them.

Sharing picture books with teachers has been, then, a learning experience for me. It is a win-win, because not only do I get to share new picture books and how to look closely at them, I get to share library resources. I have started to include a “for teachers” segment in my blog posts. My handouts incorporate all our library social media & website address. I give them library card applications. I remind them that the library is there for them with thousands of classroom materials. This has been the start of a great partnership, one that we both get something from. How do you share books with your local teachers?


  1. Jill MacDonald

    It has been such fun to have you be a part of these sessions.
    I have learned so much about how to look at books with kids. It’s about more than just the story!
    Thanks for being a part of our PD!

  2. Pingback: Painting with Primaries - ALSC Blog

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