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Picture Books for Making Connections When Reading

Making connections when reading is an important comprehension skill. The suggested picture books will help your students use their prior knowledge and experiences to make sense of the text.

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Why Read Picture Books For Making Connections?

Picture books will give students the needed time and practice to master the skill of making connections when reading and digging deeper into a text. Benefits include:

  • improving understanding of the text
  • having a better chance of retaining information
  • becoming more engaged with the text
  • critically thinking about the text while making connections
  • making links to other comprehension strategies

Click these links to go straight to the book you are interested in.

Picture Books For Making Text To Self Connections

Making text to self connections helps your students personally relate to a book. Children with varied experiences will find it easier to make meaningful connections than those with limited experiences. For these students, their connections will be more general while they practice developing text to self connections.  

When choosing books for making connections, look for ones your students will be able to make connections to. Initially, topics could include school, families, friendships, and emotions.

Text To Self Prompts and Questions
These prompts and statements will help your students think about their own connections to a book:

  • What does this remind me of? / This reminds me of when …
  • How is my life similar/different to [character/event]?
  • Has something like this ever happened to me?
  • How does this relate to my life? / I relate to [character/event] because …
  • What were my feelings when I read this? / As I read this story, I felt …
  • How do I relate to [character]? / If I was [character], I would …

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

A family is afraid of a large black dog outside their home. As they each spy a dog through their window, it grows in size and menace. It is the smallest member of the family who discovers the dog is not what the rest of the family imagined. A book to promote a growth mindset, open-mindedness, risk-taking and courage.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Liam’s curiosity leads him to explore an elevated train track. He discovers dying flowers and begins to nurture them. His dedication pays off when the flowers grow and start spreading over the city. Promotes the environment, patience and a sense of community.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever found something surprising, like Liam?

Giraffes Can't Dance Giles Andreae

Giraffes Can’t Dance? Or can they? Gerald is determined to take part in the annual Jungle dance. While the other animals laugh he shows perseverance, determination, and confidence to follow his dream.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever tried to improve at something like Gerald?

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English

On a humid summer’s day two girls, Kishi and Renée, sit on their separate front porches. It is best-friends-breakup day. While they wait for each other to apologise, they hear the sounds of other children playing in the street. They soon forget about being mad at each other and join in a game of jump rope.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is determined to jump off the diving board but his confidence wanes as he nears the ladder. His patient father reassures Jabari that it is okay to be scared. With new determination, he climbs the ladder and jumps.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

When a boy finds a penguin at his door he sets out to help the sad-looking bird find its way home. After dropping the penguin on the ice he starts his journey home. It felt strange to be on his own so he searched for the penguin. After a fruitless search, the boy sets off home only to discover the penguin searching for the boy. Promotes compassion, loneliness and a sense of belonging.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

A girl and her canine assistant adjust, examine, tweak, fasten, fix, straighten and study to create the most magnificent thing. But not everything works out the way she imagines. Promotes creative thinking, self-management, perseverance and a growth mindset.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

When Unhei moves from Korea to America her classmates can’t pronounce her name. She wants to choose a new name that is easier to pronounce but decides she likes her name just the way it is. Reinforces themes of acceptance, identity, integrity, open-mindedness, principled and tolerance.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

Saturday by Oge Mora

Ava waits all week for the weekend to arrive as Saturday means special mother and daughter time. She is disappointed when things don’t quite go as they planned, but she learns that things will work out.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

What If…? by Anthony Browne

Joe is nervous about attending a birthday party and he imagines all sorts of “what ifs” scenarios. As he arrives he realises he had nothing to worry about. This book reinforces the themes of overcoming our fears, confidence and being a risk-taker.

Text to Self Connection
Have you ever been afraid of something?

Click these links to go straight to the book you are interested in.

Picture Books For Making Text To Text Connections

Text to text connections takes more practice than text to self connections. As your students read more, they use their knowledge to find similarities and differences with other texts you have exposed them to.

Plan out connections ahead of sharing two books so you can guide your students in making text to text connections. They may include: 

  • author and illustrator
  • genre
  • illustrations 
  • characters 
  • plot
  • message, lesson or moral

Fairy tales work well when making text to text connections, as most will have a fractured version to relate to. You can find more ideas for text to text books here. 

Text To Text Prompts
These statements will help your students think about text to text connections between different books:

  • This reminds me of [book] because…
  • This is different/same as [book] because…
  • The text/illustrations remind me of [book] because…
  • The text/illustrations remind me of [author/illustrator] because…

The Bad Seed by Jory John

When a “bad seed’ overhears negative comments he decides to change his ways. He doesn’t change his behaviour overnight but takes it one day at a time. Promotes a growth mindset, self-management, self-awareness and social awareness.

Text to Text Connection
Can you think of a character in another book that made big changes in their life?

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum loves her name but on her first day of school, she gets teased for its uniqueness. When her music teacher reveals she is naming her baby Chrysanthemum, everyone wants to change their name to a flower. Promotes identity, friendships and self-management.

Text to Text Connection
Can you think of another book by this author?

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

The dark frightens Lazlo. When his nightlight goes out the dark beckons him to come to the basement. Lazlo tentatively goes into the basement where he thinks dark lives, and the dark leads Lazlo to a drawer full of light bulbs. Promotes confidence, risk-taking, perseverance and overcoming fears.

Text to Text Connection
Do you know another book where someone is afraid of the dark?

Into the Forest by Anthony Browne

A boy visits his grandma by travelling through the forest, against his mum’s instructions. He meets fairy tale characters in strange circumstances. Afraid, he runs to his grandma’s house where he finds a surprise.

Text to Text Connection
What do you notice in the illustrations that remind you of other books you have read?

Michael Rosen's Sad Book by Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen writes an emotional and honest story based on the death of his own son Eddie. Rosen discusses the effects of his emotions and shares his strategies for coping, like seeking out someone to talk to. Reinforces themes of self-management, bereavement and resilience.

Text to Text Connection
Have you read another book about an author’s personal experiences?

Neighbors by Kasya Denisevich

A girl moves into a new apartment and wonders who her neighbours are and what they are doing. Her mind is full of possibilities as she falls asleep. These possibilities expand when she leaves her new home for her new school. Use to discuss curiosity, moving home, perspectives, making connections, and asking questions.

Text to Text Connection
Do you know another story that is set in a city?

No Voice Too Small by Lindsay H. Metcalf

Fourteen poems honour the actions of fourteen young Americans making a difference in their communities and across the world. These activists include Viridiana Sanchez Santos, who used her quinceañera to demonstrate against the anti-immigration policy in Texas, Mari Copeny who protested against the contaminated water in Flint and Marley Dias who collected books with characters who looked like her as part of her #1000BlackGirlBooks initiative.

Text to Text Connection
Does this book remind you of another book that focuses on making a difference?

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Red’s label says red but no matter how hard he tries he can only create blue. Red’s new friend, Berry, suggests he casts aside his label, opening a whole new world to Red. Deals with adaptability, identity, self-awareness and acceptance.

Text to Text Connection
Does this book remind you of another book?

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts

Observant Sally notices everything, particularly bullying in the playground. Despite being small she makes a big difference by standing up to the bullies. Read during back to school to discuss bullying, compassion, being principled, respect, tolerance and character traits.

Text to Text Connection
Do the illustrations remind you of an illustrator you have seen before?

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

When Floyd got his kite stuck in a tree he throws his shoes to dislodge it. That doesn’t work so Floyd attempts to use more and more outrageous objects (and people) to free the kite! Will Floyd ever get his kite back? Read this cumulative story to discuss cause & effect, problem-solving, perseverance, problem & solution, character traits and resourcefulness.

Text to Text Connection
Do the illustrations remind you of other books you have read?

Click these links to go straight to the book you are interested in.

Picture Books For Making Text To World Connections

Text to world connections are more challenging than the other two and better left until students have mastered text to self and text to text connections. Text to world involves connecting what you have read or listened to with real events; past or present. 

This may include historical or current, local or international events, something seen on TV, or in a magazine. 

It is useful for you to connect to previous topics studied in the classroom.

Text To World Prompts

These statements will help your students think about text to text connections:

This reminds me of [topic] studied in class …

  • This reminds me of [event] in history … / What’s going on in the world right now…
  • This reminds me of [current event, global issue] … 
  • This is similar/different to [world event] in the news …

The Brontës: The Fantastically Feminist (and Totally True) Story of the Astonishing Authors by Anna Doherty

The Brontë sisters grew up in Yorkshire during a time when women ‘didn’t’ write books. The sisters’ determination and imagination lead to their feminist writings becoming bestselling authors. Read this biography to discuss remarkable women, determination, overcoming adversity and writing.

Text to World Connection
Does this remind you of another book about female authors?

Coming to England by Floella Benjamin

Baroness Floella Benjamin recalls her journey from Trinidad to London as part of the Windrush generation. The ten-year-old grew up to educate millions of children on TV and become a member of the House of Lords. Use to discuss overcoming adversity, hope, and determination.

Text to World Connection
Does this book remind you of something you’ve seen on TV or read in a magazine?

House on the Mountain by Ella Holcombe

Based on the experience of the author. A family loses their home in the Black Saturday bushfires. They experience a range of emotions, including loss, grief, anger and despair. Lose and damage surround them, but as they rebuild their lives, they see hope raising from the ashes. Use to discuss natural disasters, overcoming adversity and hope.

Text to World Connection
What real-life event does this book remind you of?

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes

Explore the story of the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American to become Vice President of the United States. Read how Kamala Harris’ immigrant parents instilled her with a passion for freedom and justice. Promotes gender roles, female role models, empowerment, social justice and equality.

Text to World Connection
What does this remind you of [current event, global issue] …?

King of the Sky by Nicola Davis

A lonely, Italian boy moves to the Welsh countryside. An unexpected friendship with an old man who races pigeons helps him feel like he is no longer a stranger and that he belongs in his new home. Reinforces themes of belonging, friendships, immigration, loneliness, and patience.

Text to World Connection
Do you know someone who has moved to another country?

Malala: Activist for Girls' Education by Raphaele Frier

When fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban for her right, and that of all girls, to an education, they tried to kill her. Her injuries didn’t stop her activism, and she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her inspiring work.

Text to World Connection
Does Malala remind you of another young person who is championing human rights?