I’ve written before about how I use children’s picture books in class with my ESL students, but I’ve discovered some more great picture books, and I really wanted to share them! You can read my original post to find out how exactly I use the books in class and to see some of my recommendations. Here are a few more books that my students and I have enjoyed recently:
This might be my favorite book to use for ESL students. The language is already fairly simple, and the pictures do a lot of the “telling” of the story, so it works well even with lower-level students (with teacher support). It’s about a young astronaut who goes to Mars, determined to find life there, and he gets a surprise at the end! The story is very cute and made my students laugh.
This is a fun story in which each page alternates between sentences starting with the words “fortunately” and “unfortunately” (It starts out: Fortunately, one day, Ned got a letter that said, “Please come to a surprise party.” Unfortunately, the party was in Florida and he was in New York. Fortunately, a friend loaned him an airplane. Unfortunately, the motor exploded. Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane…and so on) As I read the book aloud and showed the pictures, my students quickly caught on to the pattern of the story and started spontaneously yelling out their predictions for the next “fortunately/unfortunately” scenario. Afterwards, my students wrote their own stories in the same “fortunately/unfortunately” pattern. They came up with some great ideas—some wrote fictional stories, and some wrote true stories based on their own lives.
Not So Different by Shane Burcaw
I didn’t use this book as a whole-class read-aloud, but I did read the first few pages to my class of higher-level students to give them a preview of it, and I set it out as an option for them to read during our free reading time. It’s written by Shane Burcaw, a young man who has spinal muscular atrophy. In the book, he answers some of the most common questions that people ask him about his disability. The book is informative but also very light-hearted and entertaining. The vocabulary would probably make it very difficult for lower-level students, but I think it’s great for students at the high-intermediate level or above.
Elephant in the Dark by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
This is a re-telling of the classic “Three Blind Men and the Elephant” story. I had thought about just orally telling my students this story and drawing pictures on the board, but I loved the illustrations in this book, so I decided to use it to tell the story. A great classic!