I took my two sons to the library. As they played in the children’s section, I searched for books to read to them. Once I gathered all of the books, my youngest son ran up to me and placed a book in my hand. I looked at it and did not think it was worth reading. It was a simple looking book with a pig and elephant on it. I was only willing to give it a try because of my son’s enthusiasm. He said, “Daddy Daddy, I want to read this one!”
I checked the book out of the library and placed it at the bottom of the library book stack. I read all of the books I thought were meaningful first, then I finally got to this pig and elephant book .
Once I read the Willems’ book , both of my sons laughed and laughed! So of course, I read it again and again and again! I couldn’t believe how much they loved the book. Reading one of these books quickly convinced me that Willems was a genius. After reading that one book, Elephant and Piggie books became a permanent part of our reading time experience.
Mo Willems’ Piggie and Elephant book series does four things well. First, these books teach children the importance of friendship. Second, the illustrations capture the emotions like happiness, sadness, jealousy, curiosity, and disappointment in a kid friendly manner. Third, the use of dialogue between characters allows children to develop an understanding of how to engage in healthy communication. Lastly, he uses humor to present complex ideas that are important to children’s development. In sum, Willems’ books allow children the chance to laugh while they learn.
Here are 8 great Piggie and Elephant books to read with your kids!
Let’s Go for a Drive is a must read! The book starts off with Gerald planning a road trip with his friend Piggie. They gather various items to prepare for the trip, but at the end of the story, they realize something important is missing. Without this missing thing, they cannot go on a drive. Instead of focusing what they cannot do, they decide to use their imagination. Making the decision to use their imagination opens a great opportunity to have loads of fun! This is a great tool for parents and teachers to teach children how to use their imaginations to make the best out of situations.
Watch Me Throw the Ball is a great book about having fun. Gerald explains to Piggie the rules of throwing a ball, but all she wants to do is throw the ball. When she throws the ball, it does not go very far, but she does not care because she had fun doing it. This book is a great tool for parents and kids to understand the importance of unstructured play.
Can I Play Too? is a book about how to be fair and kind while playing. Piggie and Gerald are throwing a ball, then their friend snake comes along. They quickly realize that he cannot throw the ball because he does not have arms. Gerald and Piggie must find a way to include snake in their game. In the end, they create a way for all of them to have fun. This is a great book to start the conversation with kids about how they can create inclusive games where all kids can play.
My New Friend Is So Much Fun! is a good book for teaching about friendship. Piggie is playing with a new friend, but her best friend Gerald begins to gets jealous. This jealousy leads him to fear of losing their friendship. This book is a great tool for parents and teachers to teach kids that friendship is not a zero-sum experience. This is a #MustRead
Dr. Nosakhere Griffin-EL is the President of The Dreamocracy Learning Lab and Founder of The Young Dreamers’ Book Club. His work focuses on creating innovative programming, content, and initiatives to inspire children to view reading as a tool to create and build their dreams. Dr. Griffin-EL’s fundamental belief is that meeting children at their dreams is a powerful way to teach them the importance of reading. Follow him on Twitter @drgriffinel