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Picture books that changed you/made you feel something

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There are some picture books in our house that if the place were on fire and I knew they were the only copies left in the world I might just brave a bit of smoke inhalation to go grab them (knowing, of course, that if there's a fire you should just get the heck out!)...

These are picture books like FANNY'S DREAM by Caralyn and Mark Buehner, WHAT! CRIED GRANNY by Kate Lum, BEWARE OF THE FROG by William Bee, FINE AS WE ARE by Algy Craig Hall, BIG BEAR HUG by Nicolas Oldland and several others that I can't see from where I'm sitting so have momentarily forgotten.

I'm intrigued to know which picture books have moved you to the point where you couldn't bear to part with them? And why?

My 'whys' in case you're interested: Fanny's Dream - it's a poignant story about what you wish for and what you get in life but it's hilarious too (and the illustrations are wonderful!); What! Cried Granny because it's such fun to read aloud and makes us laugh every time; Beware of the Frog because the MC (the frog) is a lovely little rebel; Fine As We Are because it's a beautifully illustrated and told story about sharing love with your siblings; Big Bear Hug because it's hilarious, has a great environmental message (care for the trees!) and a human one too (hugging can solve so many problems).
#1 - January 04, 2013, 05:16 PM

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Being a fourth grade teacher moved me to read, Thank You, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polaco, every year after I discovered it. Every child should have it read to them, but especially those with a learning disability or difficulty in school. Polaco tells her own story of not being able to read until 6th grade. I choke up every time I read it. It's that powerful for students, seeing what they can accomplish despite a problem, and for teachers, seeing the power they have to influence others' lives for the good.
#2 - January 04, 2013, 05:34 PM
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My choice will sound silly...but silly it is and that is its magic.  My book is Pickle Things by Marc Brown.  I taught 3 year olds for five years and the beginning of the school year was always filled with a lot of tears and anxiety.  Leaving Mom can be so hard.  For some reason the children loved this book.  I read it often in the month of September.  Sometimes when I was working with the whole group, my assistant would take a crying child unto her lap and quietly leaf through the book to soothe the child cuddled against her.  My older son loved it as a child and when he had his own son 7 years ago I bought him a copy.  He laughed when I took the book over to his house, because he had already bought a copy himself.  Finally, I was teaching ESL to a delightful young mother from Korea and one day she came to her tutoring session all upset   Her son wanted her to come to school and read a book to the class for his birthday...just like all of the other moms did.  She was beside herself with anxiety.  She didn't want to disappoint her son and not read, but she also didn't want to read a book and embarrass him.  You guessed it...for weeks we practiced reading The Pickle Book together.  We even found "scratch and sniff" pickle stickers for her to pass out to the children after she read the book.  She was a big success and made her son proud.  The Pickle Book came through once again.  It is sitting quietly on my book shelf right now, but I know that it is only biding time until I ask it to work its magic once again! :love5:
#3 - January 04, 2013, 05:49 PM
I've always said I'll write someday...my someday is now.

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If my house catches fire, I better not be anywhere near it or I will probably be drug out screaming that I need to save one more thing.  I know they are only things, but between books, family pictures, etc... let's just say I would stand there and choke on smoke.

Picture book - I had to finally by my own copy when I was an adult - Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.  I was told in first grade I had to stop checking it out of the school library (how rude!).  I love this book because with his purple crayon Harold can draw himself whatever he needs from sidewalks, to friends, to food and finally back home to his bed.  Somehow it always reminds me that we can think ourselves out of whatever problem there is (especially if we have a purple crayon in our feety pajamas!)

Then there are my Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew books that hooked me on mysteries for life. 

In fact I am now trying to go through my old ND books looking for quotes for my current MG mystery - it is related.  I am also having a blast reading and laughing at the books.  (back in the early 1960 editions Nancy always wore dresses and gloves - so veddy proper.  I wore slacks when I got away with it and used to steal my older brothers flannel shirts.  :yup
#4 - January 04, 2013, 07:06 PM
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Oh come on, just ONE? Here are my four tops...
"Close Your Eyes" by Kate Banks, illustrated by Georg Hallensleben, 2002, Frances Foster Books.
 (Quiet, gentle, loving, lyrical, gorgeous illustrations)
"Down by the Cool of the Pool" by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees, 2001, Orchard Books.
(Fun, bouncy, great to read aloud, kids love it)
"Pog and the Birdies" by  Jane Simmons, 2005, Orchard Books.
(Great story, gentle humor, lovely illustrations and nice theme)
"Some Dogs Do" by Jez Alborough, 2003, Walker Books.
(fun, great to read aloud, I love the way that something impossible is simply portrayed as an everyday event)
#5 - January 04, 2013, 08:30 PM
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Cekster, I'm with you.  I first read that story sitting on the floor of our local bookstore and I started to cry--in front of all the customers.

I have a copy of THANK YOU MR. FALKER and a few others. But that's not the one I'd save because I could replace it. I'd probably save my small collection of signed picture books.

Franzilla, those books sound great.  I'm going to order a few from the library. Yours too, Julie.  And everybody seems to love that pickle story. 
#6 - January 04, 2013, 08:44 PM
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 10:06 PM by Betsy »
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Surely you didn't mean one book, but one armful of PBs--right? 
#7 - January 04, 2013, 09:47 PM
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Surely you didn't mean one book, but one armful of PBs--right? 

I never said one book! That is an impossible ask!! Like asking which family member you'd save, impossible to answer... Also, note that in this scenario there are no replaceable copies... So those signed books might not be your first choices?

I have put some of these on order already. Excited! Thanks!
#8 - January 05, 2013, 04:02 AM

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Oh how I love picture books. The marriage of words and pictures is so wonderful when it works. Sometimes I sit in my favorite chair and smile at the shelf of picture books right by my elbow, looking at each spine and thinking of the stories. Time well spent.

As for grabbing in a fire, there are two that come to my mind right away. First, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. I just bought an owling flashlight because of that book. I get a peaceful feeling every time I read it. We have an old paperback from when my kids were little, and my school librarian just gave me a hardback that someone had donated. Made my day.

The other is Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams. It's about an African boy who makes a toy from throw-away wires and strings, which he has to hunt for. We loved reading that, and it always reminds me of how very little I really need in life.

Of course, on my way out I'd grab an armload of Jan Brett books because I wouldn't want that artwork to disappear from the world. And I'd definitely go back into the smoke for Riptide by Frances Ward Weller, one of my favorites, based on the life of a real dog - a rogue golden retriever who rescues someone from the ocean. I can't help loving that dog. And on the way out I'd grab A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, because it always makes me smile.
#9 - January 05, 2013, 05:51 AM
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 05:57 AM by JFriday »

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If I still had it--The Moon Singer, by Clyde Robert Bulla (about a boy and his art). Also Circle Unbroken by Margot Theis Raven, ill. by EB Lewis (about South Carolina sweetgrass baskets--and family connections). And Grandfather's Journey by Allan Say (about being split between two cultures, like our family), and The Three Golden Keys by Petr Sis (a Czech heritage book--my dad is Czech). Maybe they wouldn't hit someone else like they did me, but these are my special ones.

There are some books where I would want them for the illustrations, but I already have them memorized from reading so many times, so I would still have the story in my head to retell. Hop on Pop, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Where the Wild Things are, for starters. :)
#10 - January 05, 2013, 05:57 AM

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SOMETHING FROM NOTHING by Phoebe Gilman because it reminds me of my mom and how resourceful she had to be while raising 8 children.

http://www.phoebegilman.com/something.html
#11 - January 05, 2013, 06:03 AM
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...the "only copies in the world"?  So this isn't a fire, but a nuclear bomb?  I'd have way more things to worry about in that case. 

I live in So. California and we had a fire here about 20 years ago. And even though I live in one of the safer parts of town (near the beach) the fire was only a few miles away and coming in our direction very fast. So this is a very real scenario for me.  At the time, picture books were the farthest thing from my mind.

But O.K. O.K., I'll play by your rules. I happen to just love the Dillons (illustrators) and I have a few of their books. I'd save those--including the one of mine they illustrated (Earth Mother). And, of course, Thank You Mr. Falker and maybe Snowflake Bentley and (I'd want to save all of Jan Davey Eillis's books too)...and...  Oh, forget it!  I can't do this exercise.  Sorry. 
#12 - January 05, 2013, 11:09 AM
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I never said one book! That is an impossible ask!! Like asking which family member you'd save, impossible to answer...

Yup yup yup. I hope you will excuse my being a little facetious earlier. The thought of favorite PBs does that to me.
#13 - January 05, 2013, 12:44 PM
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...the "only copies in the world"?  So this isn't a fire, but a nuclear bomb?  I'd have way more things to worry about in that case. 

I live in So. California and we had a fire here about 20 years ago. And even though I live in one of the safer parts of town (near the beach) the fire was only a few miles away and coming in our direction very fast. So this is a very real scenario for me.  At the time, picture books were the farthest thing from my mind.

But O.K. O.K., I'll play by your rules. I happen to just love the Dillons (illustrators) and I have a few of their books. I'd save those--including the one of mine they illustrated (Earth Mother). And, of course, Thank You Mr. Falker and maybe Snowflake Bentley and (I'd want to save all of Jan Davey Eillis's books too)...and...  Oh, forget it!  I can't do this exercise.  Sorry. 

Ha ha ha ha, yes! It is an impossible request really... I just wanted answers that included books that people really felt a connection with, which I think I have. I am ordering many of these!

How dreadful to have been threatened by a real fire situation. Friends of friends watched their house burn to cinders on Christmas Day this year. An unattended candle. They had insurance but it made me ponder on what is valuable to me in our home. Obviously in a real emergency the only thing I'd stop to grab would be my kids and husband!

Julie, not facetious at all! I was just worried people might find my near-impossible question even more impossible to answer!

If I had to save just one picture book I think I'd just break down and cry instead.
#14 - January 05, 2013, 05:25 PM

Ooooh, so many suggestions to take notes on here! I'll second HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON as a long-time favorite, and add Liz Garton Scanlon's ALL THE WORLD, for the beauty of the text and to revel Marla Frazee's artwork; Charlotte Pomerantz's THE PIGGY IN THE PUDDLE, for its laugh-out-loud silliness and drawings by James Marshall to match; and Uri Shulevitz's DAWN, for its almost zen-like beauty and magnificent marriage of story and pictures.
#15 - January 05, 2013, 06:00 PM

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Has anyone mentioned MISS RUMPHIUS yet?
#16 - January 05, 2013, 07:19 PM
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What a thoughtful thread, Franzilla. I'm definitely going to take notes! It's funny but as I start writing new pb's in 2013 I have been thinking about just this topic! What picture books resonate with me, and why? And how can I infuse the same feeling into my own stories?

I love HERO CAT by Eileen Spinelli (warm, wonderful narrative based on a true story) and A BALLOON FOR ISABEL by Deborah Underwood (Wonderfully fun story about a porcupine who desperately wants a balloon, but can't have one for obvious reasons! It's delightful watching Isabel discover a solution to her problem.)
#17 - January 05, 2013, 09:33 PM
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 09:36 PM by SunflowerScribe »

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This is a tough question but I'd grab:

Mrs. Biddlebox and When Moon Fell Down -- both by the late Linda Smith and
The Little Blue Truck by Alice Shertle
#18 - January 06, 2013, 05:38 AM
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When we were moving last year, I had to give away so many books. I still have one entire shelf packed tight with PBs. So many wonderful titles already mentioned. I'll add -- Great Joy by Kate diCamillo, Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, Click-Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin.

Oh, so many more!
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#19 - January 06, 2013, 10:24 AM
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I second Click-Clack Moo.  And thanks for mentioning Alice Shertle, Andi. I always feel that Alice doesn't get all the attention she deserves. She's an amazing writer.
#20 - January 06, 2013, 11:41 AM
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