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  • Writer's picture Clara Maria Fiorentini

10 Picturebooks for senior primary shelves

It's the one thing I'm asked about most frequently and I definitely have shared plenty of posts on my old website but I thought it was time for a fresh one...because every day brings with it a new picturebook discovery!

Picturebooks are, and will always be, my favourite resource. There is one for absolutely every topic and that goes for our senior primary classes too. Picturebooks are the most ideal and incredible mentor texts for so many writing skills and reading comprehension skills. Picturebooks themselves act as the most wonderful themes for learning - they deserve to be revisited, reused and reread! However, it's important that we don't let our collections become tired. While our oldies are goodies for a reason, it's also essential that we continue to add and grow our shelves, to enable rotation in selection but also to create diversity on those shelves.

Manfish by Jennifer Berne

The story of Jacques Cousteau, the deep sea explorer. A fabulous text, with a rich narrative, ideal for 4th - 6th.

Themes: adventure, the sea, exploration, France, fish, discovery, journeys, the environment

Locomotive by Brian Floca

A stunning piece, detailing the steam-engine railroad journey experiences in the 1860s on America's transcontinental rail road. Fabulous illustrations and wonderfully crafted nuggets of informational text embedded within the illustrations. Would fit nicely into the shelves in 3rd - 6th class respectively.

Themes: journeys, transport, travel, trains, America, inventions

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum

Curiosity tells the true story of the Mars rover that touched down on Mars in 2012. Told from the perspective of the rover herself, this is a fabulous account of the rover's experiences and discoveries. The perfect accompaniment to an exploration of space in SESE. Perfect for 3rd - 6th.

Themes: journeys, transport, travel, Space, planets, Mars, inventions, vehicles, discoveries

Joey by Dr. Jill Biden

A figure many of the children will have heard of in recent months...but do they know the life story of U.S. President Joe Biden? A poignant account of the life of the current U.S. president, written by his wife, Jill. Empowering and motivating promoting a message of resilience and the power of determination. Another one suitable for 3rd to 6th.

Themes: America, Presidents, leaders, Joe Biden, dreams, resilience, empowerment

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

A firm favourite on my shelves and one I only with I had when I was teaching in 4th, 5th & 6th. A striking account of a young Korean girl who joins a new school in America only to find that her name stands out causing her to question it and ponders whether she should change it in the hopes of fitting in. An important exploration of identity, diversity and respect. Suitable for 3rd - 6th, but you will find it acts as increasingly valuable conversation stimulus the older the pupils are.

Themes: diversity, inclusion, names, identity, Korea, school

What do you do with an idea? by Kobi Yamada

I was surprised to see this pitched at 4-8 years recently on Amazon. Yes, it would work but the true engagement with the illustrations, the plot and the message really deserves the opportunity to be explored with more mature readers. Try it with 3rd - 6th, you won't be disappointed.

Themes: ideas, sharing, self esteem, confidence, mindfulness, identity, community

The Rhythm of the Rain by Grahame Baker Smith

A fabulous depiction of the water cycle through a series of a scenarios across the world. A non-fiction must-have. The illustrations alone will open up endless extension opportunities.

Themes: water, the water cycle, the sea, nature, rivers, weather

The Man Who Walked Between The Towers by Mordici Gerstein

A text depicting the phenomenal tight-rope pursuits of Philippe Petit. An enticing account of the 1972 tight rope walk performed by Petit across between the World Trade Centres, an adventurous plot concluding with a subtle but poignant nod to the World Trade Centre atrocity.

Themes: adventure, France, America, recounts, measures

Icerberg by Claire Saxby

I'm not sure I ever came across a story before where the iceberg was the main character, until this. A fabulously clever depiction of the life of an iceberg while subtly raising the discussion of climate change and global warming. A fabulous text to illicit deep discussion and critical thinking.

Themes: Antarctica, icebergs, sea life, climate change, food chains, seasons, animal migration

On Wings of Words by Jennifer Berne

Finishing the list with the same author I began with. Jennifer Berne creates a beautiful account of the life of Emily Dickinson through a light and lyrical plot. A perfect invitation into the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Themes: poetry, Emily Dickinson, nature, imagery, courage, self-belief, self-esteem, hobbies

Happy reading!


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