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Books for Lolly’s children’s lit class, spring 2014

I’ve been asked to share the list of books my class will be reading during our 6-week children’s lit module this spring — and that we will be discussing here on the blog during that time. Here you go!

Class 1
February 27
(book posts will go up Sat., Feb 22)

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Class 2—picture books and easy readers
March 6  (book posts will go up Fri., Feb. 28)

  • This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  • That New Animal by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Pierre Pratt
There Is a Bird On Your Head! by Mo Willems
Ling and Ting: Not Exactly Alike! by Grace Lin
  • Picture This by Molly Bang

Class 3—chapter books and reading aloud
March 13
(book posts will go up Fri., March 7)

  • The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Ann Strugnell
  • Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos
  • The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Class 4—information books
March 27
(book posts will go up Fri., Mar. 14)

  • Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
  • Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier
  • Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate
  • Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Class 5—folklore and poetry
April 3
  (book posts will go up Fri., March 28)

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H. Lippert, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
  • Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
  • Poetrees by Douglas Florian
  • A Kick in the Head by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Class 6
April 10
  (book posts will go up Fri., April 4)

  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams

Throughout the module

  • Various articles related to the books we will read
  • From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books by Kathleen Horning (recommended)


Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.



  1. Thank you so much Lolly!!!

  2. Sara Ralph says:

    Just curious as to why newer chapter books were not included. Will you have any sessions on graphic novels?

  3. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    Choosing the few books we read as a class is such a balancing act. I make up for gaps by bringing in 20-30 additional books to each class session. We have an extended break/browsing time in the middle of the 3-hour class, and just before the break the teaching assistant/s and I introduce the books on the table. One year the students called this the lightning round because we go pretty fast! There’s also a handout listing the books on the table, with room between titles for them to make notes.

    In the adolescent lit module they read two graphic novels. The way these particular courses are set up, there are two 6-week modules. Adolescent lit covers middle and high school and children’s lit covers elementary school. More or less — there is always overlap.

  4. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    I should add that I am always trying to improve these classes, and I find that sharing ideas with colleagues is so valuable! I’m happy to share my syllabus because when I started out teaching, several experienced teachers shared theirs with me. The goal is to keep the classes fresh, but sometimes that is just so hard! A book that works great one year may fall flat the next. If we get a lot of instructors of children’s lit classes reading this blog, I’ll do a post where we can share ideas for assignments, etc. With no pressure, though — I think most people prefer not to share this kind of intellectual property. I certainly understand why, but since I benefited so much from people who were willing to share, it seems only right to pay it forward.

  5. Hope you didn’t think I was criticizing. I have been an elementary school librarian for 11 years, and graphic novels (even for elementary) have exploded! I just want all educators (current and future ones) to realize that this is a valid form of reading, and not just comics.

  6. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    Sara –
    No, I thought it was a really constructive question. And I admit I think of graphic novels as middle school and up — except for some picture book hybrids that are obviously for younger kids. I’m sure I’ve missed some good titles and would love to hear your recommendations.

  7. Great list! Would love the list for the Adolescent Lit module, if possible. Thank you!

  8. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    I need to look into this. Starting this year, I passed the adolescent lit class over to Lauren Adams, a former Horn Book editor who now teaches high school English. She’s been great to work with, but the book list is really hers now. We’re hoping she’ll use the blog the same way I do when next fall comes around. I could put up one of my previous lists, but hers is better and more up to date.

  9. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    We have posted the book list for adolescent lit now, courtesy of Lauren Adams:

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