Top 10 books That Had Me At Hello by JoEllen McCarthy

Tough question, are you a geek or a nerd? I have been going over that thought in my head for years.  It was with pride that I considered myself a literacy geek.  You know the type: obsessed with books, pd and all things literacy.  Often people would laugh and smile, but most didn’t really get it.  But then something happened… I found Twitter.  Twitter is an amazing PLN of educators and I consider it my latest addiction. Actually, it wasn’t until I attended a workshop (thanks to @colbysharp, @donalynbooks and other Nerdy Book Club Members)  that I became aware of this huge population of fellow lit geeks and nerds.  Now I wake up in the morning, and check Twitter feeds before my morning coffee.  I follow and learn from members of the Nerdy Book Club on a daily basis.  I make book purchases, find new mentor texts and head to the library after #titletalks, #bookaday and #kidlit.  I get absolutely psyched when I see the posts of fellow nerds.  Does this happen to you?

You know you are a member of the “NBC” when….you wait with baited breath to hear the latest reviews from @MrSchuReads.  You know you are a NBC when you read things like @jillbellomy’s recent post on book crushes and you are adding to the list as you read.  You know you are a NBC when you can’t wait for the newest top 10.  If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you get it…nerd/geek it is all relative.  The bottom line is if you are reading this then you belong to this fabulous community of learners.  It is with gratitude for the Nerdy Book Club members that I offer this post for fellow geeks and nerds.

Top 10 Books  That Had Me at Hello


As we come to the end of the summer and anticipate the exciting start of a new school year, I would like to reflect on some of my favorite books as “co-teachers”. These are a few of the mentor texts that I like to use during the launch of our reading and writing workshops. We all have favorite books that can serve as mentor texts and be co-teachers, but these seem to be titles that belong in another category…”They had me at hello.”  These tend to grab lit geeks and most educators too.  I hope that you enjoy the list and I look forward to hearing from fellow Tweeps about your favorites too.

Book choice:

We’re Going on a Book Hunt by Pat Miller  offers a song/chant for finding a good fit book.

Goldie Socks and Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins demonstrates the “just right” finger trick.

Joe Bright and the Seven Genre Dudes by Jackie Mims Hopkins illustrates “genres” through “dudes” in this fractured fairy tale.

Have I got a Book for You by Melanie Watt is great for “selling” a good book and  can inspire book talks and reading minutes ala Kelly Gallagher.

Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller helps with conversations around setting goals for readers and writers and is great to support Reading Resolutions ala Donalyn Miller.

Poetry  Matters (collections for launching)

I Am the Book is a great collection from Lee Bennett Hopkins these poems are favorites for mentor texts and support reading workshop.

Book Speak! by Laurie Purdas Salas another “must have” coteacher of fabulous literacy related poems.

Word Choice:

Thesaurus Rex by Laya Steinberg offers a cute way to explore synonyms.

Lion’s Lunch by Fiona Tierney

There’s a Frog in My Throat! by Loreen Leedy

Writing from the Heart

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter offers  tips for writers that are great analogies like the chef’s reference to spicing up or the dancer’s tip to stretch the truth.

The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli offers more advice for writers…and tells us the best stories come when we write from the heart about what matters most!

In My Heart by Molly Bang shares a story about what is inside one’s heart with great visual representation of a heart map.

Reading/Thinking: Reading Detective Work

Duck! Rabbit!  by Amy Krause Rosenthal is also a must have for many reasons: showing evidence of thought, point of view, adding to one’s illustrations/words.

I Hate Reading by Arthur and Henry Bacon is great to discuss the difference between real reading and fake reading.

Building Community

The OK Book by Amy Krause  Rosenthal has a great message that empowers all by celebrating different strengths and weaknesses.

Plant a Kiss both by Amy Krause  Rosenthal is a simple text that demonstrates the beauty of paying  it forward.


Dot  by Peter Reynolds  AND Ish by Peter Reynolds…the list would not be complete without highlighting these classics. Peter Reynolds’ messages encourage all to try their best (Ish) and to never be afraid to make their mark (Dot).  I can’t wait to read his next,  Sky Color which is coming soon!

Here’s hoping  “This School Year Will Be the Best”- Kay Winters.

JoEllen McCarthy is a teacher and life long learner who now spends her days working in K- 8 classrooms as a regional staff developer outside of NYC.  She is obsessed with picture books, has recently become addicted to Twitter, and continues to be inspired daily by the learning community she has found in the Nerdy Book Club.  She is always learning and hoping to be blogging soon. You can find her on Twitter as @imalwayslearnin.