Most of my children's books are at school so I just sort of closed my eyes and let titles pop into my head. The first books that came to mind are my favorite two books from childhood, Madeline and Horton Hears a Who. I read these books to my class early each year to talk about my life as a reader. I think it is very important that your kids see you as a reader, so I often share what I am reading. (Probably not a good idea to share if your current book is Fifty Shades of Grey!) Both titles reappear throughout the year for various lessons on characters and lessons on literacy strategies.
A book I use often for lessons is Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. Patricia is probably my favorite children's author, and I use her books often and do an author study every year. Thunder Cake is a great book to use for making connections by talking about a time we were scared or a special time with a family member. It also lends itself well to retelling and as a model for writing a personal narrative.
Another favorite of mine is Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. I love this book as springboard for discussing and writing about how we can make the world a more beautiful place.
Kevin Henkes books- particularly Chrysanthemum- are some of the first books I read each year. I think the kids really relate to these characters as they experience common childhood events. Chrysanthemum is such a great story about being proud of who you are.
Wow, I could go on and on! Each year I discover a new favorite (like Pete the Cat last year.) After hearing Peter Reynolds at Confratute, The Dot and Ish might be this year's new additions. I had to open a "secret" account with Amazon so my husband wouldn't know how much I spend on books! I can't wait to read about others' favorites even though I know it will cost me!