Guide to Curriculum Materials that Utilize Children’s Trade Books

While many books in the S-Collection are read for pleasure, they can also be used to teach concepts across the K-12 curriculum in a fun and engaging way. In this regard, the S-Collection works together with the Education and Social Science Library’s Curriculum Collection which includes textbooks, curriculum guides, and lesson plans for grades K-12 and beyond. The books below, all part of the Curriculum Collection which is located next to the S-Collection, utilize various trade books from the S-Collection in lesson plans, educational activities, and curricular units.

To find similar resources in the catalog, try doing an advanced search using subject terms for the curriculum area you are interested in (English, social studies, science, etc.) on the first line and “study and teaching” on the second line. Books that start with the prefix CURR. will be most helpful.


Neal-Schuman Guide to Recommended Children’s Books and Media for Use with Every Elementary Subject by Kathryn Matthew and Joy Lowe.
Each chapter of this book references a different curriculum subject (mathematics; social studies; science; language arts; health; sports, recreation, and dance; art; and music) and then breaks those subjects down even further in order to recommend picture books that are subject-specific. Books each have a short summary and citation, and at the end of each subsection there are “Explorations” or ideas for how to incorporate the books into lessons.
[CURR. 011.62 NEASCH 2010]

Picture Books Plus: 100 Extension Activities in Art, Drama, Music, Math, and Science
by Sue McCleaf Nespeca and Joan B. Reeve.
This book lists various picture books for each subject area and then suggests an extension activity for incorporating the book into a lesson. Materials, procedures, and additional extension ideas are listed for each book.
[CURR. 808.899282 AMLIBA 2003]

Curriculum Connections: Picture Books in Grade 3 and Up
by Carol Otis Hurst and Lynne Otis Palmer, et al.
Starts with a chart that lists the trade books it includes alphabetically by author, possible themes and curriculum ties, and each book’s strongest curriculum areas (language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, and music). The books that follow are each given three pages that include a short summary, illustration information, connections (a novel with the same subject material, themes, curriculum connections), various ideas for lessons in
different subjects, and related novels and picture books.
[CURR. 372.132 LINW 1999]

Language Arts and Writing

Using Picture Books to Teach Language Arts Standards in Grades 3-5
by Brenda S. Copeland and Patricia A. Messner.
Broken down into four parts (Sequencing the Plot Favorites, Comprehension Favorites, Story Elements Favorites, and Biography Favorites), this book gives picture book suggestions for third, fourth, and fifth grade. It lists the national language arts standards the book meets, skills it helps teach, and gives a lesson plan for the book, including reproducible graphic organizers.
[CURR. 372.6 LIBUN 2006]

Caldecott Connections to Language Arts by Shan Glandon.
Using eleven Caldecott Medal winners including Lon Po Po, Snowflake Bentley, Owl Moon, The Polar Express, and
Tuesday, this book provides between three to thirteen activity plans for each book. Activity plans include reproducible graphic organizers.
[CURR. 372.6043 LIBUN 2000]

Developing Better Readers and Writers Using Caldecott Books
by Kathryn I. Matthew.
The books in this volume are divided by genre and matched with recommended grade levels, standards for English Language Arts, and Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning (both of which are provided at the front of the book). A lesson for reading and a lesson for writing are then provided for each book, some of which are adjusted for both older and younger students. Brief biographical information about the author is also included with each book entry.
[CURR. 372.6 NEASCH 2006]

Using Literature to Enhance Writing Instruction: A Guide for K-5 Teachers
by Rebecca Olness.
Each of the first three chapters in this book discuss various aspects of writing and the reading-writing connection, as well as giving suggestions of books to use in writing activities, prompts, and assignments. Chapters four through nine each cover one trait of the Six-Trait Analytical Writing Model in depth and offer ideas and strategies to develop that trait including sample lesson plans and an annotated children’s literature bibliography. Chapter 10 includes final thoughts on reading aloud and writing.
[CURR. 372.623 INTRA 2004b]


Teaching Mathematics through Reading: Methods and Materials for Grades 6-8
by Faith Wallace and Jill Shivertaker.
The first two chapters of this book list the information and fiction trade books that are used throughout the lessons. Short summaries are provided. The rest of the book is devoted to various mathematics lesson plans using the trade books. Numbers and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis and Probability are all covered.
[CURR. 510 LINW 2009]

Exploring Math with Books Kids Love by Kathryn Kaczmarski.
Each chapter in this book covers a different kind of mathematics (number relations, systems, and theory; computation and estimation; algebra, patterns, and functions; statistics; geometry; measurement) and then provides between two and eight lesson plans based on popular trade books. An appendix includes the NCTM standards for school mathematics.
[CURR. 511 FULCR 1998]

Math Through Children’s Literature: Making the NCTM Standards Come Alive
by Kathryn L. Braddon, Nancy J. Hall, and Dale Taylor.
Broken down by NCTM standard and then further divided by grade level (K-3 and 4-6), this book provides various activities for each trade book. A section at the end of each chapter lists related book and references for different mathematics subgenres within the larger genre.
[CURR. 511 TEAIP 1993]


Caldecott Connections to Science by Shan Glandon.
Various Caldecott Medal winners through the year 2000 are utilized to provide activity plans that teach science concepts. Between three and thirteen activity plans are provided for each book.
[CURR. 372.35043 LIBUN 2000]

Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, 3-6(expanded 2nd edition) by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan.
Published by the National Science Teachers Association, this book starts out by talking about why it’s important to read picture books in science class, why it’s important to read aloud, and a little bit about how to teach science through inquiry. The National Science Education Standards are then listed before detailed lesson plans for various trade books are provided.
[CURR. 500 NSTA 2010d]

Science Through Children’s Literature: An Integrated Approach, 2nd ed.,
by Carol M. Butzow and John W. Butzow.
This book is written around the concept of the “integrated unit” and chapters 1 and 2 show the reader how to teach with this strategy. The following chapters are divided by topic (seeds, fish, air pollution, nutrition, etc.). Each topic is given one trade book and includes a summary, science and content related concepts, content related words, activities, and related books and references. The book is divided into four parts: Using Children’s Literature as a Springboard to Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Physical Science.
[CURR. 500 TEAIP 2000]

Social Studies

Caldecott Connections to Social Studies by Shan Glandon.
Twelve Caldecott Medal winners are used to teach various social studies concepts to elementary-aged students. Between three and seven activity plans are offered for each book, divided into four sections: engage, elaborate, explore, and connect.
[CURR. 808.8 LIBUN 2000]

Reading the World with Picture Books by Nancy Polette.
This book is divided into eight parts. The first part introduces the seven continents and the last seven parts each cover one of the continents. The parts are then further broken down by country and for each country several picture books about, from, or related to that country are provided with short summaries. An activity that meets various national standards in Language Arts and Social Studies is then provided and applicable standards are identified.
[CURR. 372.4 LIBUN 2010]

Discovering World Geography with Books Kids Love
by Nancy A. Chicola and Eleanor B. English.
Divided into twelve realms (European, Russian, North American, Middle American, South American, North African/Southwest Asian, Subsaharan Africa, South Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, Australia, and Pacific), each realm is explored through sections on location, topography, climate, flora and fauna, and unique features. Several books about or from the realm are then given with detailed questions and activities for each book. Reproducible graphic organizers and blackline masters are provided for several of the books.
[CURR. 910 FULCR 1999]

Other Trade Book-Related Sources in the Curriculum Collection

Picture This! Using Picture Story Books for Character Education in the Classroom
by Claire Gatrell Stephens.
The lessons in this book cover the topics of citizenship and patriotism, courage, friendship, honesty, perseverance and patience, respect for self and others, responsibility and commitment, self-control, and sharing. One to three popular children’s books are suggested for each topic and various classroom activities are provided. There is also a section for each book that suggests ways to integrate the book into the music, science, social studies, language arts, and mathematics curriculum.
[CURR. 370.114 LIBUN 2004]

Teaching Problem Solving Through Children’s Literature
by James W. Forgan.
From the back cover of the book: “…teachers will find 40 ready-to-use lesson plans that focus on children’s literature characters faced with problem-solving situations, empowering students to independently solve problems in their own lives.”
[CURR. 153.43 TEAIP 2003]

Teaching Thinking Skills with Picture Books, K-3
by Nancy Polette.
This book is broken down into various types of thinking skills, such as analogy, brainstorming, comparing, flexibility, originality, predicting, and sequencing. Each skill is introduced with a definition and oral practice exercise, followed by booktalks for one or more picture books and thinking skills activities. Reproducible worksheets are included for most skills.
[CURR. 370.152 TEAIP 2007]

Learning about Winter with Children’s Literature
by Margaret A. Bryant, et al.
Part of a series on the seasons, this book caters to classrooms with all different skill levels represented. Lesson plans use symbols for emerging learners, typical learners, and advanced learners. The books are divided by month, with an author featured for each month. The Winter book features Frank Asch, Ezra Jack Keats, and Rita Gellman. Various curricular skills are addressed through children’s literature, poetry, and music.
[CURR. 808.899282 ZEPHR 2006A]

Learning about Fall with Children’s Literature
by Margaret A. Bryant, et al.
Part of a series on the seasons, the Fall book features Eric Carle, Bill Martin, Jr., and Ludwig Bemelmans.
[CURR. 808.899282 ZEPHR 2006]

Learning about Spring with Children’s Literature
by Margaret A. Bryant, et al.
The Spring book features Mercer Mayer, Leo Leoni, and Robert McClosky. Curricular skills are addressed through children’s literature, poetry, and music.
[CURR. 808.899282 ZEPHR 2006B]

Investigating Natural Disasters through Children’s Literature
by Anthony D. Fredericks.
Covering seven kinds of natural disasters (volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches and landslides, and storms), this resource provides a summary of the book being used, science education standards related to the current unit, critical thinking questions, and several activities using the featured book or concepts taken from it.
[CURR. 904.5 TEAIP 2001]

Information Investigation: Exploring Nonfiction with Books Kids Love
by Laura Turner Pullis.
This book contains twelve units covering various topics in math, language arts, reading, social studies, and the arts. Each unit begins with a short summary of the book being used, themes that will be addressed, and skills that the unit will focus on. The units are then broken down into sections called Investigations, Parent Letter (to get parents involved and let them know what their child will be studying over the next few weeks), Unit Appendix, and Supporting Library.
[CURR. 028.5344 FULC 1998]

Get Up and Move with Nonfiction: Grades 4-8
by Nancy Polette.
Provides “more than 140 fun pre-reading and writing activities to stimulate interest in a variety of subject areas.” Using games and activities that appeal to kids, this book covers topics in science, mathematics, geography, and U.S. history by providing one or two activities and then suggesting a nonfiction title that complements and extends the activities.
[CURR. 028.55 TEAIP 2008]

Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: a Definitive Guide
by Allyson A.W. Lyga with Barry Lyga.
This volume provides a good overview of graphic novels and their usefulness in a school library. It then recommends a handful of good graphic novels for each school level (elementary, middle, and high school). Finally, seventeen lesson plans are provided using graphic novels for elementary through high school.
[CURR. 025.56 LIBUN 2004]

Teaching Science Fact with Science Fiction
by Gary Raham.
Science fiction is full of facts and scientific discoveries, and this book provides plenty of suggestions for finding and adapting science fiction literature to the classroom. Included are detailed ideas and resources for teaching concepts in the physical, earth, space, and life sciences as well as history and mathematics.
[CURR. 500 TEAIP 2004]

Integrating Art and Language Arts Through Children’s Literature
by Debi Englebaugh.
The first part of this book is devoted to teaching popular art techniques and how to implement them and adapt them to a variety of children’s books. The second part provides lessons for over 140 different children’s books covering a range of topics from the technique the illustrator used to the book’s theme or a single subject in the book. Every lesson is a link to language arts because of the literature used, and many lessons provide a specific language arts lesson to go along with the art lesson.
[CURR. 808.899282 TEAIP 2003]

Technology through Children’s Literature: Grades K-5
by Holly M. Doe.
This book is divided into sections on story elements, vocabulary, book reports, making use of the Internet, electronic books, comprehension strategies, and technology across the curriculum. Each section includes various activities that address skills for the category at hand and suggests children’s books to go along with the activities. Extensions and adaptations and additional resources are included for most activities.
[CURR. 808.899282 TEAIP 2003A]

Teaching Literacy Skills to Adolescents Using Coretta Scott King Award Winners
by Carianne Bernadowski.
Twelve Coretta Scott King award winning books are highlighted in this book. For each book, the following information is provided: bibliographic information, annotation, grade level, discussion starters, writing prompts, pre-reading activities, literacy strategies for during reading, post-reading activities, additional information about the author, and additional resources.
[CURR. 372.64 LIBUN 2009]

Curriculum Connections for Tree House Travelers for Grades K-4
by Jane Berner, et al.
Fans of the Magic Treehouse books will appreciate the lessons that incorporate them in this teacher resource for elementary students. The book covers dinosaurs, medieval times, ancient Egypt, and pirates using one Magic Treehouse book for each. Dozens of activities are provided for each topic.
[CURR 372.19 LINW 2008]

Prepared by:
Erin Schramm
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign