I count Mo Willems among my favourite children's books. My fanaticism began with Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus! and now includes all the Pigeon books, as well as Piggie and Gerald books. My grade 1's love these. Willems was (or is?) a writer for Sesame Street and that style of writing worked really well for 6 and 7-year olds: they instantly became expressive readers with no prompting required! We used them to talk about speech bubbles, question marks, exclamation marks. We also talked about facial expression and reenacted what was happening in each picture. So many possibilities with these ones; I know we've only scratched the surface. :)
I can't start the year without the Kevin Henkes "Mouse Books"-Chrysanthemum, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Chester's Way and the list goes on. They are great for the beginning of the year with applications to all subject areas.
I used to do an author study on Kevin Henkes when I taught 2nd grade. It was called "Characters With Character." I got the idea from his website. There's an interview there where he was asked to describe each of his characters in one word. Good stuff!
I have been crazy about children's books and young adult books since I was a kid trying to read my way around the library. My favorites change constantly, but here are some: (as soon as I hit "Add Reply" I'm sure to think of dozens more)
Frog and Toad (series) by Arnold Lobel (great connection to Rules - see previous posts) How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Twilight (and sequels) by Stephenie Meyer (Can't WAIT until the next book comes out - August 1 at midnight)
Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling Warriors (series) by Erin Hunter Lightning Thief (series) by Rick Riordan The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Can you tell that when I love an author, I LOVE an author?