More about Picture Books for Middle and High School

This book contains reviews of 529 picture books!

Many titles are in my personal library, or I have read them at the public library or Barnes & Noble. Most all have been reviewed on Amazon.

Amazon offers the option to look inside the book and get an idea of the text and the artwork. It also provides a summary of the book as well as reviews by publishers and journals. A list of the awards each book has achieved is provided. Amazon customers who purchased the book can also leave reviews.

I have organized the titles by seven subject areas: science, math, history, language arts, the arts, character, and miscellaneous. Some categories have sub categories for further clarification.

I am particularly interested in the sophistication of many picture book titles and I have done several workshops for schools on using picture books in middle and high school. Most all of the teachers in the workshops were not aware of the complexity of the picture books available or how they can be used with older students.

Many well-known authors of books and programs regarding the teaching of reading and writing use picture books as mentor texts. It is easier to pick out examples of writers’ craft in a picture book because there is much less text and there are major clues within the illustrations. This also can generate more discussions because of easier understanding. Since they are short and appealing and can be read in one sitting – they are easy to incorporate into any lesson.

Picture books are especially useful as models for writing. A wordless picture book can be used for individual students to create their own stories. The writing style used for the text can become a formula to help students develop a written story. The unusual perceptions and illustrations can spark ideas for creative writing. The illustrations are often of art gallery quality. Visual literacy – the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image – is enhanced through the vibrant illustrations in picture books.

These particular books, including many listed here, are not suitable for the preschool – elementary school student but are more appropriate for middle and high school students. The point that is often overlooked – because it is unknown – is the sophistication, viewpoints, and perspectives of some picture books. There are those that detail the suffering of war, slavery, civil rights, immigration, poverty, homelessness, bullying, and mental illness.