“My favorite children's book, which I rediscovered with my daughter, is ‘The Little Engine that Could’ by Watty Piper. Paired with beautiful illustrations, the story takes readers on a journey through frustration and disappointment - when big engines won't or can't help- to cautious optimism, with the support of the ever-hopeful little clown. The Blue Engine herself serves as a model for children and adults alike when, despite any initial uncertainties, she recognizes her help is needed by the community and so she sets her mind to the task and succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain."
— Anna Brady, associate dean of education
“My favorite children's book is ‘What Do You Do with an Idea?’ by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom. I love how this book tells a story of how to care for and grow your ideas so you can change the world! We use it to frame the work our QUADS High School students engage in. It is an inspirational book and great for all ages because anyone with an idea can see themselves in the story!"
— Cindy Kern, associate teaching professor of education
“One of my current favorite children's books is ‘We Are Water Protectors’ written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade. It won the 2021 Caldecott Medal for art and illustrations in a children's book. I love this book for a number of reasons. Written in response to the Dakota Pipeline protests from 2016-17, it is essentially about protecting the earth's precious water and the rights of indigenous people to their land and resources. It is written from the perspective of an Ojibwe girl by a woman who identifies as Anishinaabe/Metis and Ojibwe. The language is descriptive and moving and the illustrations are truly stunning. A definite must-read!"
— Julie Dwyer, associate teaching professor of education
“As a bilingual educator and someone who taught English learners, I loved ‘Same, Same But Different’ by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. In my former role as a superintendent of schools, I would visit classrooms to do a 'read-aloud' and talk about how we have similarities and differences. Children would light up and share about their culture and traditions. It was so joyful and reminded me that children inherently accept others, which we should always strive to model and reinforce. The illustrations are beautiful, and the book's theme is timeless."
— Hamlet Hernandez, assistant teaching professor of education and director of educational leadership program
“My favorite children’s book is ‘Extra Yarn’ by Mac Barnett. This book has all the things I love – a persistent female protagonist, a beautiful menagerie of creatures and the joy of making things by hand. The message is simple - when we share our creative gifts with others, we can quite literally brighten a dark world.”
— Kristen Bourgault, associate teaching professor of education
“I have many favorite children's books as I spent many years in early childhood education. One of my favorites is ‘Giraffes Can't Dance’ by Giles Andreae. It is a beautiful rhyming picture book with a general theme of self-esteem and celebrating differences. There is also a theme of anti-bullying and acceptance which makes it perfect for discussions!"
— Nancy Defrancisco, practitioner in residence
“My favorite is ‘A Chair for My Mother’ by Vera Williams. This book, originally published in 1982, tells the story of loss and recovery through the eyes of a small child who is surrounded by a supportive and loving community. The beautiful folk art-inspired illustrations pair perfectly with the book's uplifting message."
— Judy Puglisi, part-time faculty
"My favorite children's book when I was a child, was 'Chrysanthemum' by Kevin Henkes. It is about a young girl named Chrysanthemum. She grows up loving herself, and her name, but when she gets to school she is ridiculed for it. It is a beautiful story about self-love, teachable moments, learning and unlearning. As an educator looking back, this story has important themes still relevant today, especially around the importance of one's name being said and spelled the way the owner of the name intended."
— Alex Novak, part-time faculty
“One of my favorite books of all time is the ‘Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams. I heard the story of the Velveteen Rabbit first when my mom read it to my sisters and I when we were little. It stuck with me over the years, reading it to my little kindergarten students year after year as well as my own little boy, now 40, as well as my three grandchildren. It's a beautiful story about a special stuffed rabbit who became real out of a little boy's love. There's a special part of the story that has always brought tears to my eyes and when reading it in years past to my kindergarten students, son and grandchildren — and even now— I call them happy tears."
— Barbara Cofrances-Nana, part-time faculty
“One of my favorite children's books is ‘The Book with No Pictures’ by B.J. Novak. This is a fun book for kids of all ages and is especially fun when being read aloud by an adult. Presented in a typical picture book format, the premise of the book is that although there are no illustrations, everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. This includes nonsensical words, silly sounds and outlandish songs. It introduces younger students to concepts of print and makes older students laugh with glee. As a special education teacher who works with the blind, it is equally amazing for non-disabled and neurotypical students."
— Michael Pompano, part-time faculty
“’The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein, has always been a favorite of mine with my 4th graders and 6th graders. Students at almost any level get to learn about friendship, trust and acceptance.”
— Gary Wachtelhausen, part-time faculty
“One of my favorites is ‘Frederick’ by Leo Lionni – it is a story that centers on community, creativity, diversity and love. It reminds me to slow down, listen deeply and to remember that all of us have something to share."
— Christina Pavlak, associate professor of education and director of master of arts in teaching program
“My favorite children's books growing up were 'The Great Brain' series by John Dennis Fitzgerald. The stories focus on a family's eldest sibling who, while very smart, landed the group in endless predicaments. It took the eldest's brain power along with his family's help to unravel the shenanigans. The stories are compelling enough to pull young readers along through challenging vocabulary and eight books worth of adventure.”
— Russell Dallai, part-time faculty
“My favorite children's books growing up were ‘The Great Brain’ series by John Dennis Fitzgerald. The stories focus on a family's eldest sibling who, while very smart, landed the group in endless predicaments. It took the eldest's brain power along with his family's help to unravel the shenanigans. The stories are compelling enough to pull young readers along through challenging vocabulary and eight books worth of adventure."
— Russell Dallai, part-time faculty
“My favorite children's book is ‘Please, Baby, Please’ by Spike Lee and Tonya Lee and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This main character is an adventurous toddler exploring the world while their parents gently redirect and protect. The illustrations are glorious and the story captures the heart of the bond between babies and parents.”
— Summer Payne, part-time faculty
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