Top 10 Books for January 2014

This month I am looking at Amazon's top selling children's books from 2013. I have not personally purchased or read any of these books but I figure they are worth looking at since they are the best selling. Please share with us in the comments below if you have or have read any of the books on the list to let us know if they are worth a look.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt looks like a great book. Here is the summary from Amazon.

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.
What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

I can see this being used at the beginning of school, as a character lesson book and the start of some wonderful imaginative writing.

Journey by Aaron Becker reminds me of a cross between Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Chronicles of Narnia. Here is the summary from Amazon.

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

I can see this book being used to inspire a very creative writing lesson.

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea is tops on my wish list. It looks like a must have for any library! Here is the Amazon summary.

Ever since Unicorn moved into the neighborhood, Goat has been feeling out of sorts. Goat thought his bike was cool-until he saw that Unicorn could fly to school! Goat made marshmallow squares that almost came out right, but Unicorn made it rain cupcakes! Unicorn is such a show-off, how can Goat compete? When Goat and Unicorn share a piece of pizza, Goat learns that being a unicorn might not be all it's cracked up to be. And when Unicorn shows his admiration for Goat, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I can see this book being used at the beginning of the school year or anytime throughout the year when students need to be reminded of what friendship is all about. 

This picture book biography, Daredevil The Daring Life of Betty Shelton by Meghan McCarthy fits perfectly into our new Common Core. It looks like a great story and one that should probably be in our library. Here is the summary from Amazon.

In the 1930s most girls were happy playing with dolls. But one girl, Betty Skelton, liked playing with airplanes, watching them fly around outside, and even flying airplanes herself! She lived for an adventure—in the air, the water, and on land—and nothing could stop her, especially not being a girl.
When Betty Skelton was young there weren’t many women flying airplanes or racing cars, but she wouldn’t let that stop her. She was always ready to take on a challenge, and she loved to have fun. Beetty rode motorcycles, raced cars, jumped out of planes, and flew jets, helicoptors, gliders, and blimps. And by the time she was an adult, Betty was known in the press as the “First Lady of Firsts!”

This vibrantly illustrated picture book biography reveals the exciting life of a brave pioneer who followed her dreams and showed the world that women can do anything!

There are endless teaching possibilities with this book!

The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman looks like it will quickly become one of your favorites. Here is the summary from Amazon.

"Pick whatever you like most. Then I’ll tell you its story."
When a little girl visits her great-grandfather at his curio-filled home, she chooses an unusual object to learn about: an old cigar box. What she finds inside surprises her: a collection of matchboxes making up her great-grandfather’s diary, harboring objects she can hold in her hand, each one evoking a memory. Together they tell of his journey from Italy to a new country, before he could read and write — the olive pit his mother gave him to suck on when there wasn’t enough food; a bottle cap he saw on his way to the boat; a ticket still retaining the thrill of his first baseball game. With a narrative entirely in dialogue, Paul Fleischman makes immediate the two characters’ foray into the past. With warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, Bagram Ibatoulline gives expressive life to their journey through time — and toward each other.

I can see this book being used during your heritage study, or simply as a look into the past.

Ol' Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein just looks like a fun little book. Here is the Amazon summary.

Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Stein’s lively tale is a fantastic read-aloud, and feisty Mama Squirrel will have fierce mamas everywhere applauding!
Ol’ Mama Squirrel has raised lots of babies, and she knows just how to protect them. Whenever trouble comes nosing around, she springs into action with a determined “Chook, chook, chook!” and scares trouble away. Her bravery is put to the test, however, when a really big threat wanders into town and onto her tree. But no matter what, Mama’s not about to back down!

This would be a fun book for students to compare their mom (or guardian) to Ol' Mama Squirrel.

I'd Know You Anywhere My Love by Nancy Tillman looks like a sweet story of a mother's love for her child. Here is the Amazon summary.

There are things about you quite unlike any other.
Things always known by your father or mother.
So if you decide to be different one day,
no worries… I’d know you anyway.

Every child is special and unique, but every child also loves to dream of being something different. In I'd Know You Anywhere, My Love, bestselling author and artist Nancy Tillman has created another heartfelt masterpiece celebrating the joys of imagination, and the comfort of always knowing that "you are loved."

This would be a great book to have students think about how unique they are and what they could possibly do to disguise them self so their mother wouldn't recognize them.

Lori Mortensen, author of Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg wrote what looks to be a really cute story. Any story told in rhyme has to be good! Here is the Amazon story.

Cowpoke Clyde’s house was completely clean—he’d even shooed off the horseflies: “Then right behind his cookin’ pot, / he spied one thing he’d plumb forgot: / ol’ Dawg, his faithful, snorin’ friend, / all caked with mud from end to end.” Needless to say, Dawg wakes up and runs. The chase that follows—with page-turn surprises—makes for a hilarious shaggy-dog story involving fleas, a hog, bribery, cats, deception, and a mule. The rhyming stanzas are pitch-perfect, Texas-style, and plumb near cry out to be read aloud. Austin’s expressive acrylic and colored-pencil caricatures of Cowpoke Clyde and his menagerie are priceless. A storytime shoo-in!
Not sure what could be done with this book other than just enjoying it!

Hello, My Name is Ruby by Philip C. Stead looks like a great story about making friends and going on adventures. Here is the summary from Amazon.

Join Ruby, a plucky little bird, as she ventures through life, making new friends, learning new skills and asking questions which may have some very surprising results.
Fearless Ruby's search for adventure, friendship and her place in the world comes to life through acclaimed author/illustrator Philip C. Stead's whimsical illustrations and succinct, charming text.

This could be a great story for the start of school and talking about making friends.

Anna Dewdney has written another great book, Llama Llama and the Bully Goat. Here is what Amazon says about it.

Llama Llama likes to sing.
Gilroy laughs at everything.
Llama sings out just the same.
Gilroy says a not-nice name.
Teacher has some things to say:
calling names is not OK.
Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn't sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?
Taking on a difficult but important part of children's lives, Anna Dewdney gives readers a way to experience and discuss bullying in a safe and comforting way.
This looks like a must have book for any lesson on bullies.


  1. Love your top 10 posts - I always find new books to check out. Happy 2014!!

    1. Thanks! I love coming up with my top 10 list, I also find some new ones. Enjoy the rest of your break!

  2. Almost all new titles to me - thanks! I do have the Crayons one and think it's pretty special, too. I'd have to add The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig to your list because it was the best book I added to my collection in 2013. Well, that and Each Kindness ... and ... might just have to do my own top 10 ... tee hee.



Thoughts and comments are always welcome!