October 21


Ten Loud Picture Books that Speak Volumes by Jackie Leathers

A while back, I wrote a post entitled, Ten Quiet Picture Books that Speak Volumes which described ten books that quietly deliver strong messages.  Some books whisper, but some books shout.  Here are ten picture books that are loud in one way or another.


The Loud Book by Deborah Underwood (Houghton Mifflin, 2011)

Deborah Underwood introduced us to the many kinds of quiet in The Quiet Book. In The Loud Book, she describes the different ways of being loud. There’s embarrassing loud (burp during quiet time loud), happy loud (walking-to-school song loud), scary loud (thunderstorm while you’re in the pool loud), and getting in trouble loud (deafening silence loud) to name a few.  Renata Liwska’s illustrations perfectly capture each kind of loud.


Finn Throws a Fit! By David Elliott (Candlewick Press, 2009)

A series of natural disasters are metaphors for what happens when this toddler is in a mood. There’s “thunder in the nursery”, “lightening in the kitchen”, and “tidal waves in the living room”. Finn’s fit “lasts until it doesn’t.” Then he’s back to normal.  I think we all know this toddler!


No, David! By David Shannon (The Blue Sky Press, 1998)

Here’s another kid we all know – the irrepressible David.  David is loud in every way. He’s impulsive, destructive, and a bit gross, to be frank, yet he always manages to endear himself to adults. There’s something about those loud kids…


Hey You! C’mere- A Poetry Slam by Elizabeth Swados (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2002)

By its very nature, a poetry slam is loud. This collection of sixteen poems is introduced by a poem that begins, “Banging on a garbage can/Bam bam bam,/Mattie says it’s time/For a poetry slam.” With poems about tough kids, crying, monsters, spaghetti, and ice cream, there’s something for everyone in this book. Kids love it.


When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang (Scholastic, 1999)

Sophie is happily playing with her stuffed gorilla when her sister interrupts, declaring it’s her turn. When Sophie’s mother takes her sister’s side, well, the illustration on the book’s cover shows how angry she gets. “She kicks. She screams. She wants to smash the world to smithereens…Sophie is a volcano, ready to explode.” Then she runs, cries, and is finally comforted by the calm of the natural world around her. It’s the calm after the storm.


Buddy – The Story of Buddy Holly by Anne Bustard

Anne Bustard has written a book that absolutely must be read out loud to be appreciated.  The book begins, “A time or two ago, out West Texas Way, where tumbleweeds rolled down flat, dusty streets and the sunny sun and the starry stars shined brighter than bright, a good-hearted family howdied their newest young’un into this ol’ world.” Not your run-of-the-mill biography! The onomatopoeia throughout makes this story about a rock & roll legend as loud as his music. And, Boy, howdy! The illustrations by Kurt Cyrus really capture the spirit of the time period.


Shake, Rattle & Roll – The Founders of Rock & Roll by Holly George-Warren

“Back in the 1950s, there was a musical earthquake called rock & roll that shook everything up.” So begins the (very informative!) introduction to this book of biographical sketches of fourteen men and women who contributed so much to the world of music. The lives of the following musicians are included: Bill Haley, Fats Domino, LaVern Baker, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley, Carl Perkins, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Wanda Jackson, Richie Valens, and James Brown. Lyrics from the most famous songs bythese famous song writers are woven into the sketches, making the reader want to break into song. “One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock ROCK…” “A wop bop a loo bop a wop bam boom, tutti frutti, oh rooti!”


Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco (Paper Star, 1990)

Master storyteller, Patricia Polacco, tells the story of how her grandmother helped her to overcome her fear of thunder. At the beginning of the story, Patricia’s grandma orders her out from under the bed (where she’d retreated out of fear) and teams up with her in a race against time to make a “Thunder Cake” before the storm arrives. If the cake doesn’t make it into the over before the storm, it’s not a real “Thunder Cake”.  In order to make the cake, the young girl has to gather the eggs from “mean old Nellie Peck Hen”, get some milk from “old Kick Cow”, walk through “Tangleweed Woods” to the dry shed for chocolate, sugar and flour, and climb a high trellis to pick the secret ingredient (luscious tomatoes). In the process of gathering the ingredients, the girl’s grandma teaches young Patricia that she is braver than she thinks. Punctuated by a series of thunder boomers, this story is loud! But as the young girl learns, loud isn’t scary after all.


Yo! Yes? By Chris Raschka (Orchard Books, 1993)

This beautiful story about friendship takes the form of a loud conversation between two boys, one outgoing, one more reserved. The more outgoing of the two initiates a conversation with a simple greeting, “Yo!” The other boy replies with a tentative, “Yes?” and so begins a friendship.  Sometimes it really is that easy.


Martin’s BIG Words by Doreen Rappaport

In the author’s note, Doreen Rappaport writes that Martin Luther King’s big words are “simple and direct, yet profound and poetic.” The same can be said for Rappaport’s writing.  Her words and Bryan Collier’s magnificent illustrations tell the story of the civil rights era in a way that summarizes without oversimplifying, tells of hate yet fills the reader with love. Dr. King might have been whispering in Rappaport’s ear as she wrote, but his words shout out the truth on every page.


Jackie Leathers is a reading specialist at Alton Central School in Alton, New Hampshire and an avid reader of books that have loud messages.