Impact Stories

  • Noel Briceno

LPIE Tips For Raising Readers & Lafayette Principals' Favorite Children's Books

Now in its second year, the LPIE Read-a-thon has already become a beloved tradition amongst our students and families. In celebration, we asked Lafayette principals for their all-time favorite children’s book recommendations. Many of them found it impossible to limit themselves to just a single title and as one principal proclaimed, “There are so many good books!”

We’ve also rounded up some of our favorite ways to encourage reading and literacy throughout the year.

Keep Your Picture Books

The editor of the New York Times Book Review and author of How to Raise a Reader, Pamela Paul, argues that picture books aren’t actually something children outgrow. Instead, picture books are valuable to all ages as they are a powerful tool for building “visual literacy.”

Ms. Paul writes, “The elements [of picture books] tell another story, and even kids who haven’t mastered the alphabet can read them, gleaning from the sequence of images how one event leads to another, discovering subplots within. This is why kids tell you not to turn the page yet, or to go back; it’s why they ask for the story to be read over and over again. They learn that you have to look closely to ferret out clues and derive meaning. They are also learning to read deeply.”

Countering the “Decline by Nine”

According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report, 64% of 6-year-olds report reading books for fun more than 5 days a week. By age 9, this decreases to 35%. Despite this decline, 57% of 9-year-olds report that reading for fun is still very important and thus helping them find the most engaging books becomes even more pressing.

What do children look for in books? Across all ages, 60% of children want books that make them laugh (and so do Lafayette principals, based on the most-recommended Drew Daywalt titles in the list below!). But children also want books that help them understand the world: 40% seek books that allow them to explore places and worlds they’ve never been to.

It’s Never Too Soon to Introduce the Classics

Too often the most seminal works in literature are known as much for their literary relevance as they are for their intimidation—but this doesn’t have to be the case. For example, there are adaptations of the Odyssey that are engaging and digestible for both elementary and middle school audiences. Thus, by the time students are reading the real Odyssey in high school or college, they’re already familiar with the general plot line and characters. Not only does this make the original text more approachable, it serves as a great reminder that the best stories can be revisited time and time again.


Meredith Dolley, Principal, Burton Valley Elementary

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt

The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi

A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory

We're All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Shayna Peeff, Principal, Happy Valley Elementary

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon by Patty Lovell

The Dot by Peter Reynolds

Ann Kim, Principal, Lafayette Elementary

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Pollaco

Mette Thallaug, Principal, Springhill Elementary

The Skippyjon Jones books by Judy Schachner

Betsy Balmat, Principal, Stanley

Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

The Night Circus by Eric Morgenstern

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Eric Shawn, Principal, Acalanes High School

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

The World According to Garp by John Irving

The Broken Earth by N.K. Jemisin

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

The Road (and anything) by Cormac McCarthy

These books, and more, can be ordered from LPIE Business Partner Reasonable Books in Lafayette.

LPIE is proud to support literacy and reading by funding Classroom and Library books at all Lafayette public schools.