Madison's Book Blog

The Polar Express

The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg

Written by: Chris Van Allsburg


This book is about a boy who lies patiently in his bed awaiting to hear the bells of Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve, even after he was told that Santa does not exist, causing the boy to question his own beliefs. Later that night he awakes to see a train outside his window and a conductor inviting him to board the Polar Express train. This is a magic train with dancing and children laughing and having fun. The children on the train are all taken to the North Pole, where Santa is giving away the first gift of Christmas! One of the boy's on the train got picked to receive the first gift, in which he chose a bell off of Santa's reindeer collar. Unfortunately, when the boy returned home, the bell was missing from his pocket. When he awoke the next morning, he found the bell under his tree with a note from Santa himself saying that he had dropped it on the sleigh as he was going back home. 


This is a book my family has always read on Christmas Eve! I love it and the message it brings along with it. I would read this book to K-3rd graders before Christmas break. I think the message of staying true to what you believe is a good lesson students need to learn. They should never let others tell them what to believe in! As an activity, I would have the students all write and draw a picture of what gift they would ask for from Santa if they got chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas! 

The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish - Marcus Pfister, J. Alison James

Written by: Marcus Pfister


This book is about a fish who has to be the most beautiful fish in the ocean and knows it. Because he thinks he is so beautiful, it makes him proud and rude at the same time towards his friends in the ocean. When his friends leave him alone because they get tired of his rude attitude, he starts noticing something is wrong. When he gets advice to share his beauty with everyone, the others start treating him better. The rainbow fish then realizes that beauty on the inside is what makes someone truly beautiful, not what is on the outside. 


This book would be good for 2nd-4th graders. It teaches a valuable lesson on accepting others and treating everyone with kindness. As an activity, you could have each of the students color a scale and place them on the rainbow fish. Then the students could gather around in a circle and throw a ball to each other, telling one thing they like/ admire of another student. 

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

Written by: Shel Silverstein 


This book is about the relationship between a boy and a tree. The tree gives whatever the little boy shade and apples to eat when he is younger and wants to be free. When the boy grows up, his interests change and he no longer comes to the tree to have fun. The boy only comes when he needs something. The tree is so kind and full of love that he gives whatever the boy asks until he is merely a sad stump. When the boy grows old and comes back, the tree thinks it has nothing left to give him when all old man wants is a place to sit. In the end, both are happy because they are both with each other again! 


This is book is great for any age because it really shows the difference of being greedy and sharing with others. You could also teach a lesson on caring for nature and what that entails.

A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon

Written by: David Shannon 


 This book is about a young girl named Camilla Cream and her love of Lima beans. Unfortunately, she worries about what others think of her because she is so different from them. So the moment she wants to fit in, she becomes completely covered in stripes! In fact, she changes into whatever is around her. If fitting in was hard enough for Camilla in the first place, what is it going to take for her to be comfortable in her own skin? 


I LOVE this book. This message is one that all students need to hear and understand. I would use this book on 2nd-4th graders. It is very important for students as they get older to realize that being different is good and that everyone needs to be comfortable with how they are on the inside and outside. These students also need to realize that the only opinion that matters is their own. An activity I would do with my students would be a character trait chart that goes over Camilla's inside and outside traits. I would also give the students a picture of a blank head and ask them to decorate it and create a collage of all the unique faces the students came up with. 

Max The Brave

Max the Brave - Ed Vere

Written by: Ed Vere


This is by far the most adorable book I have read! It is about a cat who is fearless and wants to go searching for a mouse. The only problem: he doesn't even know what a mouse looks like. This book will have you laughing the entire time you read it with your students. 


I would read this book to K-2nd grade. It is a wonderful book to show the power of being brave, even when you don't think you can be. I would make the students cards that had each of the characters Max encounters on his hunt to find the mouse. When it gets to their animal being shown, they stand up and hold their cards up. This keeps them engaged through the reading and more interactive for the students. As an activity, the students could write about a time they were brave and how they felt. They could then draw a picture to go along with their writing. 

There was an old lady who swallowed a turkey

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey! - Lucille Colandro, Jared D. Lee

Writren by: Lucille Colandro 

Illustrated by: Jared Lee 


This is a spin off of the classic story, "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly". You will not believe what she had decided to swallow this time tho! How does she have that much room in her stomach.


I would use this book with 2nd and 3rd grade during Thanksgiving. I would give students different cards with the pictures of items she swallowed on them. During the song when it mentioned their card, they would stand up and sing that part. I would also complete a sequencing activity after, asking students to put the animals she swallowed in the correct order. 

Red: A Crayon's Story

Red: A Crayon's Story - Michael  Hall

Written by: Michael Hall 


This book is about a little crayon, red, that would color blue. He simply could not do anything right and all the other crayons thought it was weird he colored a different color than his name. So they tried to fix him but eventually the other crayons realized that he was different and started excepting him because they knew it wasn't his fault. He actually could help them a lot and figured that out when one of the colors asked him to try to be himself. 


This book is very touching and has such a strong message. I would read this to any 1st-4th grade class. It talks a lot about diversity and how some people may be different on the outside but on the inside are the same as everyone else. This is an important lesson for all students to understand because it is  always good to except people, even if they are different. I would have the students after this activity role play different scenarios dealing with diversity in the classroom. The teacher will ask the students if the situation shown was a correct or incorrect way to handle the situation and why. 

Dragons love Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (unknown Edition) [Paperback(2012)] - Adam Rubin

Written by: Adam Rubin 

Illustrated by: Daniel Salmieri 


This book made me laugh out loud from beginning to end. It is about all the different kinds of tacos that dragons like. This is especially important information for those who are hosting their very first party for dragons. But beware: they hate spicy salsa! So don't bring any of it to the party. What could possibly go wrong with spicy salsa... 


I think this book is good for 2nd and 3rd graders. I would use this as a fun book where the students could plan their own party with a certain animal! They could then mention all the different types of food that animal likes and dislikes. It would be like a mini story the students could write and share with the class. 

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd

Written by: Margaret Wise Brown 

Illustrated by: Clement Hurd


This is a book my mom use to read me all the time before bed! It is about a little bunny who is saying goodnight to all the different items in her room. The pictures are very cute and as a young child reading this book, they will notice new things each time they read. 


I would say this book is more of a bedtime story book OR it could be used as a book to be read right before nap time. To me, it helps students notice things that maybe they are thankful for in their room or classroom. The pictures also flow and get darker and darker as it gets later in the book so it is helping students wind down before nap time or bedtime. I would do an activity with this book where the students write about what they are thankful for in their room or objects in their room/classroom they would say goodnight to!

Bully B.E.A.N.S

Bully B.E.A.N.S. - Julia Cook

Written by: Julia Cook



This book is so fantastic! It is about a bully that frequently will threaten the kids at the school. One day, a student goes home to tell her mother about the bully. The mother gives her daughter the "bully beans". The mother explains to her child that when she eats these beans, they give her the strength to stand up to the bullies.Later on, you find out that the bully is actually getting bullied at home, causing her to act out against other at school.


I think this book is geared towards 1st-4rd graders. It has a very powerful message about how students can stand up to bullies and not be afraid of them. It also explains that some of the bullies might have problems of their own at home causing them to act out at school, which most students may not even know to begin with. This book would be excellent for really helping the students understand bullying and what it actually is, whether or not there is a bully in the classroom. It is always good to know how to help if the students even were in a similar situaiton! I would have the students complete an activity where they are in groups and have to act out different scenarios about bullying. There will then be discussion about what went wrong or right in the situations and how it could be fixed.

Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

Written and Illustrated by: Maurice Sendak 


This is one of my favorite books to read! It is about a boy,Max, who gets sent to bed without dinner and then goes into "another world" where he the king among all these different creatures. He sure does know how to let his wild side out! 


I would use this book with 1nd-3th graders showing that it is okay to be different and to spark their imagination and help the students write stories. I would probably have the students do a similar activity on what they would do if they got sent to bed early without dinner; where would their mind take them?? You could also use this book to teach the lesson on how parents are always there for you, no matter how mad they can get at you. 

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - Simms Taback

Written by: Simms Taback


This was one of my favorite books as a kid! How much could this old lady swallow anyway, from a fly all the way to even worse! Her stomach is clearly an endless pit! The artwork will have you and your students enjoying the book the whole time!


This book could be used with 2nd or 3rd graders. I think the students would enjoy singing the song and reading his book aloud. I would have an activity where students could sequence the order of things the old lady eats. I would also make the book more interactive and give students different cards with pictures of what the old lady eats. When it came time that their animal was called, they would stand up and sing along!

Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody

Frankenstein - Rick Walton, Nathan Hale

Written by: Rick Walton and Nathan Hale 


This is a comical spin off of the classic tale, "Madeline". Frankenstein is the scariest monster in Mrs. Devel's castle, frightening all the animals and parents he comes across. Until one night, he wakes up without a head and has to be taken to the hospital. When at the hospital, he gets screws put into the side of his head and all the other monsters in the castle want to visit him and be like him! 


I would say this book is for 2nd and 3rd graders! It is a fun book to read and many students will be able to see the similarities in the two stories. You could story map this book, helping students see the different characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, problem and solution of a text; or do a compare and contrast chart enabling students to spot the differences and similarities in two different stories!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Eric Carle, Bill Martin Jr.

Written by:Bill Martin Jr.

Illustrated by: Eric Carle 


This is a classic book that illustrates many different kinds of animals using different colors from brown bears all the way to blue horses and yellow ducks. Children will love this book because of its catchy, sing-along text and colorful images!


This book would be good for Kindergarteners learning all about different colors! As an activity, you could have the students add another character to the story and decide on its color and share all the students work with the rest of the class!

Two of Everything

Two of Everything - Lily Toy Hong

Written by: Lily Toy Hong 


This story is about a man, Mr. Haktak, who digs up an old brass pot in his garden. Little does he know that it is a magic pot; so whenever something gets thrown into it, twice as many would come out! 


I would say this book could be for 2nd and 3rd graders learning about doubles in math! My CT read it to her class during my pre-professional block observations and the students enjoyed it a lot! As an activity to compliment the book, you have the students draw what they would throw into the pot and then tell how many more come out.

Click, Clack,Boo!:A Tricky Treat

Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat - Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin

Written by: Doreen Cronin 

Illustrated by: Betsy Lewin 


The book is about Farmer Brown, who does not like Halloween, getting scared by all the different noises he hears outside his window the night of Halloween. Meanwhile, all the farm animals are in the barn having a Halloween party. Eventually, Farmer Brown hears one of the noises and notices it sounds like one of his farm animals, so he goes to check it out and steps into the barn party only to find out he has won the BEST costume!


I would use this book for 2nd-4th grade. It is a cute book to read around Halloween because it has different costumes the animals are wearing and spooky noises that Farmer Brown hears during the night. This book, like Click, Clack,Moo, has much repetition in it. This allows students to become more involved in the reading and want to read it again and again! I think a fun activity you could do with this book is having the students pick out which animal they think had the BEST costume, draw a picture of it, and write why they think that animal should win.