These are children's books meant for all grade levels (everyone deserves to be read to), with an emphasis on nurturing writers.
Harold and the Purple Crayon has been around for more than 50 years, but the power of a pen - or in this case a purple crayon - still sticks with me.
The dot is a cute little book about a student who does not feel like an artist until her teacher "publishes" her art and has her own it by signing it. This recognition spurs her to do better and in the end she is able to mentor a child who also does not believe in his abilities. Yes it's about art and not writing, but the students get it and it sets a good tone for writing expectations and the kind of environment they can expect to work in.
These two books by Doreen Cronin clearly and humorously show the power of writing. Try not to make any Animal Farm comparisons.
Frederick the mouse may look like he does not understand his kuleana to his fellow mice, but he understands his gift and as the poet he brings warmth and light in the cold of winter through the power of his words.
I love to use this book as a jumping off point for writing about names, about memories, about metaphors. It's also a great way to get them to create character baskets for their summer novels in the secondary classrooms.
Have a wonderful year!