A-Z Storybooks

Like so many good things, this idea came from Elizabeth Foss! Her Storybook Year post was a revelation–that an entire curriculum could be built around picture books caught my imagination. But the idea quickly morphed into something that fit our family and our homeschool. I used Elizabeth’s post as a pattern, instead of a prescription. She wasn’t offering a guarantee that everything will be alright if we just read these books. She was offering a few guidelines and signposts to mark the way.

So I created A-Z Storybooks for my kindergartner! Each week we read a selection of picture books by a single author or illustrator whose name begins with the next letter of the alphabet–A is for Aliki, B is for Marion Dane Bauer, C is for Barbara Cooney and on through the alphabet.

The first time through, when Nicolas was our kindergartner, I really just went to the library and found the A section of storybooks and picked an author who had 3 or 4 books on the shelf–very little planning! Just whatever happened to be on the shelf that day. This time I’ve made a list, but I’ve still got holes! I need an authors or illustrators for Q and U and X and Z.  Any suggestions?

  • A is for Aliki
  • B is for Marion Dane Bauer
  • C is for Barbara Cooney
  • D is for Tomie DePaola
  • E is for P.D. Eastman
  • F is for Marla Frazee
  • G is for Paul Galdone
  • H is for Wendy Anderson Halperin
  • I is for Kazuo Iwamura
  • J is for Oliver Jeffers
  • K is for Steven Kellogg
  • L is for Sylvia Long and Arnold Lobel
  • M is for Robert McClosky
  • N is for Clare Turlay Newberry
  • O is for Iona Opie
  • P is for Patricia Polocco
  • Q is for…
  • R is for Cynthia Rylant
  • S is for Trina Schart Hyman
  • T is for Simms Taback
  • U is for…
  • V is for Charlotte Voake
  • W is for Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • X is for…
  • Y is for Jane Yolen
  • Z is for…

When you read a selection of one author’s work, you can get a sense of the breadth of their work. What’s similar and what’s different? How does Tomie DePaola’s style change over time? How does each book speak to the others? We also found hidden gems. C is for Barbara Cooney. Everyone knows Oxcart Man and Miss Rumphius, but did you know that she had illustrated a book called Chanticleer and the Fox? It’s from the Canterbury Tales. That book led to a fun morning talking about Chaucer and the development of English and pilgrimage and the murder of Thomas Becket and the orange cat that I met at Canterbury Cathedral.

This time reading together isn’t about skill building or assessment. This is time devoted to creating an atmosphere of cozy enjoyment around books. That’s what storybooks give us–a place to be ourselves, belong to each other, and share a lovely experience reading together.

What are you reading together?


  1. Anne Ursu
    Charlote Zolotow
    I would have to figure out a way to get Kate DiCamillo on the list! And Jacquelyn Woodson.

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