The Ohio State University at Lima

Children's Literature Month: Choosing wisely

April 29, 2021

Students in the Intro to Children's Literature share their favorites in small groups

Education professor Leah Herner-Patnode starts every class by reading at least one book, sometimes more.

“I believe it is important to read to children and adults,” Herner-Patnode said. “Engaging in stories is different from the media many children are exposed to these days. Books require thought and frequently, imagination. They can serve as a window to the world and help children to think beyond their own community boundaries. Reading activates a part of the brain that watching videos does not.”

The future teachers in her Introduction to Children’s Literature class are soaking it in and figuring out how they will help their own students develop a lifelong love of literature and reading. That engagement with literature is essential to help the elementary and middle schoolers grow.

Leah Herner-Patnode reads one of her favorite books to her class.

“Children's lit is the foundation of lifelong literary development,” Herner-Patnode said. Children's literature is its own art form and it takes effort to understand its value and impact.”

The children’s literature class exposes Ohio State students to quality children’s lit and helps them to understand criteria for what constitutes quality in a classroom setting. Herner-Patnode presents stories that speak to a variety of human experiences.
The books teachers choose have the additional criteria of meeting state objectives and subject areas, but the basic tenets Herner-Patnode uses can be applied at home.

• Does the book have high caliber, complex plots written for children?
• Is it accurate, respectful and purposeful in terms of character, plot and setting?
• Does it represent facts (nonfiction) or events and people from a culture in a truthful and positive manner?
• Has the book won an award? For example, the American Library Association is regarded as the top selecting group.

“The parents will hopefully pick books they enjoy reading to their children, so it will be an enjoyable experience,” Herner-Patnode said.

You can see some of the favorite books chosen by students in the 2021 children’s literature class.

Just Ask

by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Student: Kaitlyn Allen

Uniquely Wired!

by Julia Cook, illustrated by Anita DuPalla

Student: Hayley Cobb

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Student: Laura Coil

Basho and the River Stones

by Tim J. Myers, illustrated by Oki Han

Student: Breonna Cook

You are Special

by Max Lucado, illustrated by Sergio Martinez

Student: Kacey Dulle

Last Stop on Market Street

by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Student: Xavier Dunifon


by Yuyi Morales

Student: Shylene Giron

We Are Water Protectors

by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

Student: Aubrey Gordon

If You Take Mouse to School

by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond

Student: Hallie Gossard

Each Kindness

by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Dr. Leah Herner-Patnode

Martin’s Big Words

by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Student: Brooke Hunter

All My Stripes

by Shania Rudolph and Danielle Royer, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Student: Makenna Mohler

Student: Samantha Robertson

A Chair for my Mother

by Vera B. Williams

Student: Kiersten Roehm

All My Stripes

by Shania Rudolph and Danielle Royer, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Student: Samantha Roth

The Undefeated

by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Student: Amanda Schultz

We Are All Wonders

by R.J. Palacio

Student: Abigail Smith

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

by James Marshall

Student: Lisa Stripe

Just Ask

by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Student: Konner Van Atta

Who You Were Made To Be

by Joanna Gaines, illustrated by Julianna Swaney

Student: Alli Wilker