My first book I want to share is a picture book called The Cinder-Eyed Cats by Eric Rohman. I am always on the lookout for great books to teach asking questions, and this is a perfect choice.
It begins wordless for the first few pages. On these pages you see a young boy climb into a sailboat floating in the sky above a dock. You see him sailing high above the ocean. Finally, the sailboat drops anchor near what appears to be a tropical island. Then the words begin. The illustrations are amazing and you can see when he lands on this island, the tails of the cinder-eyed cats hiding amid the foliage of island. He builds a fish out of sand and falls asleep leaning against the fish. The cats come out at night, the sand-fish comes alive and all the fish from the ocean leap from the sea and dance around the sky. The animals of the ocean dance and play all night with the cinder-eyed cats. With the morning sun, the creatures return back to the sea, and the boy is left alone on the island with just the cinder-eyed cats. The boy sails off and leaves the cinder-eyed cats asleep on the beach. Being a cat-lover that's my favorite picture- 5 enormous cats stretched out and curled up next to each other asleep.
This book is perfect for asking questions (RL.3.1) because you really don't understand what is happening in the story in the beginning. I plan to show the first few pages to my 3rd graders and then have them write down questions they have. After that, we will talk about their questions, make predictions and try to make meaning of the first few pages of the story. Then we will continue reading the story, stopping every few pages to talk about what is happening in the story- all the while focusing on the questions we ask to help us understand the story. We will also focus on the illustrations (RL.3.7) and how they contribute to our understanding of the story.
This is a great story and I can't wait to share it with my 3rd graders!