I don’t know how often this has happened to you, as parent or teacher or librarian, but it’s happened to me more and more over the last several years. I pick up a new book. It is the size, shape, and thickness of a picture book for little kids. It has gorgeous or cool illustrations like a picture book for little kids. It might even be shelved in the little kids’ picture section of the library.

It walks like a duck, sounds like a duck–but heads up, folks! It ain’t no duck.

It’s a picture book for elementary kids–and not just the youngest ones of even that set! 🙂

I love these books! Most are so well done. Most tell such awesome stories. And they all give us the chance to read aloud to an older kiddo, something that read-aloud experts like Jim Trelease say older kids still need. But they often get lost in the little kids’ picture book section and never reach their intended audience, the older kiddo.

How do you find them? Well, unless your library does some special cataloging for them (mine does ;-)), it’s not easy. You have to keep your eyes open for them. Check the new shelves. Ask your children’s librarian. Often the title will give it away. You’ll think, “That doesn’t seem like a topic for a four year old.” Or you’ll flip through them and see looooots of words on each page. Or you’ll read it and think, “That’s a really (thought provoking, heavy, subtle, different kind of humor, pick your phrase etc.) book for a four or five year old; maybe it’s not meant for a four or five year old!” Voila! You’ve found one!

Here’s a list of a few to get you acquainted with this breed. Once you find one, you’ll start spotting others!

Molly Bannaky by McGill
The Goat Lady by Houle
Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation by Sherman
Abe’s Fish by Bryant
One Candle by Bunting
Rabbit Pirates by Cox
The Pirate meets the Queen by Faulkner
A Big Cheese for the White House by Fleming
Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Krensky (I’ve read this one aloud to 6th graders!)
An Outlaw Thanksgiving by McCully
Little Flower by Rand
Mailing May by Tunnell
Wolf Wanted by Machado
Summer Birds by Engle
Bird by Elliott

I’ll try to post some more of these in the future as well.

Read on (even to your 1st-6th graders who can read on their own!),