What Would You Suggest?

I had an interesting reference question today from a school administrator of an inner city school with a high percentage of ESL families.

A generous donor is going to buy a book for every child in the school, K through 5th grade, to take home to keep. The donor wants the books to be hardcovers and something they will treasure for years and perhaps read to their own children in the future. What books would I suggest?

After considering beautifully illustrated classics like Alice in Wonderland or modern classics like Because of Winn Dixie, I thought about what I like to give kids that I don’t know. I often choose poetry, because it is something one can revisit, share and revel in. I also wanted to choose books that would be beautiful to hold.

Here’s what I suggested for each grade. What would you pick?


Here’s A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
Retail Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Candlewick – (2007-02-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0763631418 / 9780763631413

First Grade

Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies
Julie Andrews, Emma Walton Hamilton
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2009-10-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0316040495 / 9780316040495

Second Grade

omnibeasts: animal poems and paintings
Douglas Florian
Retail Price: $18.00
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books – (2004-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0152050388 / 9780152050382

Third Grade

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
Retail Price: $22.99
Hardcover: 248 pages
Publisher: Random House – (1983-09-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0394850106 / 9780394850108

Fourth Grade

Poetry Speaks to Children (Book & CD) (Read & Hear)
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks MediaFusion – (2005-10-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1402203292 / 9781402203299

Fifth Grade

Hip Hop Speaks to Children with CD: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (A Poetry Speaks Experience)
Nikki Giovanni
Retail Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky – (2008-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1402210485 / 9781402210488

7 Responses to “What Would You Suggest?”

  1. adrienne Says:

    These are excellent recommendations. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children is one of my favorite books to give as a gift.

    A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms edited by Paul Janeczko would be another great selection for fifth graders. I’ve used that really successfully in a number of programs with kids that age (those poems get kids WRITING), and the poems themselves have staying power.

  2. Kristine Millard Says:

    For poetry, Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein are two of my favorite authors.

    Just a side note, for new babies, I like to give Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Bath. Many people give Goodnight Moon, but this is a book parents might not know about. It is also a tub book, so baby can gum the cover/pages without causing any damage that will worry a new parent.

  3. The Brain Lair Says:

    I love the idea of going with Poetry. I would add This Is Just To Say – we love that book here.

  4. Maggie Says:

    Elizabeth Scanlon’s All the World illustrated by Marla Frazee would be perfect. Appeals to all ages and a message that spans all cultures.

  5. Angela Says:

    Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan et al. – dogs and poetry, you cannot go wrong!

  6. Karen Says:

    I would suggest Shel Silverstein. I know it’s not a unique choice per se, but I think it’s something kids would recognize, love, and actually hold onto forever.

  7. Pam Says:

    Love the titles.

    Another fun, light hearted poet is Kalli Dakos. She has written many titles including
    If Youre Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand. Her titles would also fit your grade levels.