2021 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

20+ Spooky Halloween Books

WHY These books?!?! 

1. Pick a Pumpkin- for the beautiful illustrations, diverse characters, and rhythmic style. Click here for Pick a Pumpkin Resources

2. Skulls!  -This smart, funny story helps to dispel any fears that kids might have about skeletons and change their point of view of skulls from scary to fascinating and cool. 

3. Stumpkin - Clear pictures and simple text about a stemless pumpkin who has big dreams of becoming a Jack-O-Lantern. 

4. Crankenstein - for the hilarious, intense frustrations, and moody outbursts that will make your readers laugh out loud both adults and kids! Click here for Crankenstein Resources. 

5. Bonaparte- The sweetest book with amazing illustrations highlighting the significance of great friends, problem solving, and overcoming fears. Click here for Bonaparte Resources

6. Too Many Pumpkins- A humorous light hearted read that's not your typical Halloween book! It's a heartwarming book about generosity, frugality, and community. 

7. Big Pumpkin - A great plot based on a Russian fairy tale, with rhythmic text, and amazing illustrations! Click here for Big Pumpkin Resources

8. Pumpkin Soup- Beautiful illustrations and carefully crafted text make this book just pure enjoyment from the beginning to the end.  Click here for Pumpkin Soup Resources

9. How To Make Friends With a Ghost- Amazing illustrations and a carefully crafted message about friendship and accepting people for who they are on the inside! 

10. Picnic at Mudsock Meadow- A magical ghost story which will keep you laughing throughout the entire book, with beautifully crafted illustrations. Click here for Picnic at Mudsock Meadow Resources

11. Stellaluna- A classic book for children about recognizing the importance of being yourself.  Click here for Stelaluna Resources

12. Creepy Carrots!-An adorable, humorous short picture book for kids of all ages! Click here for Creepy Carrots Resources

13. Room on the Broom- A light witty story with rhythmic text and fun illustrations.  Click here for Room on the Broom Resources

14. If Your Monster Won't Go To Bed- Incorporates alliteration and word play in a funny discourse amongst the characters all while trying to get an unruly monster to bed! Click here for If Your Monster Won't Go To Bed Resources

15. Substitute Creacher-  A funny cautionary tale told in rhyme with cartoon-like illustrations that are colorful and will entice all readers. Click here for Substitute Creacher Resources

16. Creature Features- Great informational text packed with cool facts and visuals on where certain animals live, what they eat, and why they look the way they do! Click here for Creature Features Resources

17. Quit Calling Me A Monster!- Beautiful illustrations and a funny picture book that speaks eloquently to how stereotyping and labels can make others feel. 

18. How to Catch a Monster- The rhyming text flows well with bright illustrations that will keep you laughing throughout the story. 

19. D is for Drool-A whimsical alphabet book that is playful, creative, and a very fun read!  Click here for D is for Drool Resources

I Need My Monster- Gorgeous illustrations, fun whimsical storytelling which will create infectious laughter throughout.  Click here for I Need My Monster Resources

How I Met My Monster- The Prequel to I Need My Monster, with the same gorgeous illustrations and funny perspective on the monster under the bed.  Click here for How I Met My Monster Resources

Hey, That's My Monster!- Another fun and creative book in the I Need My Monster series that will keep you laughing with the perfect balance of giggles and shivers. 

20. The Spider and the Fly- A cautionary tale from the 1800s with stunning illustrations. A perfect skill to drill home several ELA skills from an in-depth look at setting to rhythm/rhyme or even drawing conclusions.


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Monster Letter Freebie

 Kids just love the My Monster book series! I mean, can you blame them? Gorgeous illustrations, goofy creatures, and a child that overcomes fears! 

In fact, I love the My Monster books so much that it was used in the VERY first month of Rooted in Reading about 7 years ago! 

Well Amanda Noll has done it again. She came out with an alphabet monster book for our youngest readers and it is just as fantastic as the others!


After Smith and I read D is for Drool, I decided that I should make a few practice pages since he has been so hard at work on his letters himself. 

You can snag these free printables in my store by clicking the image below: 

You can find all of Amanda Noll's amazing My Monster books linked in my Amazon store below: 


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25 Must Have Narrative Nonfiction Books

If you have spent anytime at all talking to me about books, than you know that I am pretty obsessed with picture books, but more specifically, the genre of narrative nonfiction. I love the idea of combining real life factual events and putting it in a format that flows nicely and pulls in readers who may not typically go for nonfiction books. So to that point here are 25 nonfiction narrative books that I love for elementary classrooms! This post does include affiliate links. 

1. The World is Not a Rectangle 

Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing buildings. At the time, there were not women architects. Hadid did not give up and now you can see her stunning buildings around the world. 

For activities related to the book, click on the pic below!

Dashrath Manjhi used basic tools and a lot of determination to drill through a mountain so that his village could access hospitals, schools, and more! This act took Manjhi 20 years!  Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if they refuse to give up!

For activities related to the book, click on the pic below!

This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change.

For activities related to the book, click on the pic below!

Temple Grandin 

When Temple was diagnosed with autism as a child, no one expected her to talk. Little did they know that she would become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Temple's visual thinking enabled her to improve the quality of life for animals all over the world. 

For activities related to the book, click below: 

5. Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum

Bubble gum was invented in 1928, when an enterprising young accountant at Fleer Gum and Candy used his spare time to experiment with different recipes. Use this book to learn the history of one of their favorite treats!

For activities related to the book, click below: 

6. Ticktock Banneker's Clock

Benjamin Banneker was born a free man in Maryland at a time when most African Americans were enslaved.  At the age of 22 he taught himself how to build a clock. This amazing book does a wonderful job giving a timeline for how long an invention can take and the amount of perseverance required to succeed. 

7. On a Beam of Light

The true and inspiring story of Albert Einstein and his struggles as a young student. 

Click below for activities related to the book: 

8. The Boy Who Grew a Forest 

 As a boy, Jadav Payeng was worried about the destruction of the forest and the erosion of the land around him so he began planting trees. What began as a small patch of bamboo, grew over the years into 1,300 acre forest filled with native plants and animals. 

Click below for activities related to the book:

9. Whoosh

Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the super soaker water gun. 

Click below for activities related to the book:

10. I Dissent 

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg learned to argue and defend people at a very young age. 

Click below for activities related to the book:

11. Trombone Shorty 

 Today, Troy Andrews is a Grammy-nominated musician who tours the world with his band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. He inspires hope for the next generation in New Orleans and for music lovers everywhere.

Click below for activities related to the book:

12. The Darkest Dark 

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut exploring the universe. Only one problem: At night Chris doesn't feel so brave. He's afraid of the dark.

But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is - and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

Click below for activities related to the book:

12. Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor

While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere--she even brought a crocodile to school!
When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious Komodo dragons. 

Click below for activities related to the book:

With the help of his wife, Betty, Richard James took this ordinary spring and turned it into a plaything. But it wasn’t just any old trinket—it was a Slinky, and it would become one of the most popular toys in American history.

Click below for activities related to the book:

15. Henry and the Cannons 

 In 1775 in the dead of winter, a bookseller named Henry Knox dragged 59 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston - 225 miles of lakes, forest, mountains, and few roads. It was a remarkable journey and lesson of determination. 

16. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind 

When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail.  William spent his days in the library and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Against all odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.

Click below for activities related to the book:

17. Mae Among the Stars 

Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents' encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.

Click below for activities related to the book:

18. One Plastic Bag 

Isatou Ceesay teaches women how to take trash and make something useful out of it. Through her ingenious idea Isatou has employed many women who may not have had opportunities otherwise. 

Click below for activities related to the book:

19. Me...Jane

 As young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals", until one day she finds that her dream has come true.

Click below for activities related to the book:

 As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way due to a deformed leg. He rode an astonishing 400 miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. 

Click below for activities related to the book:

21. The House that Jane Built 

Ever since she was a little girl, Jane Addams hoped to help people in need. In 1889, she bought a house in a run-down Chicago neighborhood and turned it into a settlement home, adding on playgrounds, kindergartens, and a public bath. By 1907, Hull House included thirteen buildings. And by the early 1920s, more than 9,000 people visited Jane's home each week. 

Click below for activities related to the book:

22. When Marian Sang 

This book follows Marian Anderson from childhood to concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, which drew a crowd of 75,000 people. 

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23. Finding Winnie 

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

 Click below for activities related to the book:

24. Salt in His Shoes 

Michael Jordan wasn't always a basketball legend. When he was a kid on the playground, he was the boy that people didn't want on their team. Michael works hard, grows a couple inches, and grabs the opportunity to show the boys at the playground his skills! 

Click below for activities related to the book:

25. The Tree Lady 

Katherine Sessions grew up in northern California surrounded by trees and then moved to the southwest part of the state to become a teacher. She missed her trees and began an effort to transform San Diego. 
Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city.
Click below for activities related to the book:


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