I am invited to a party

I am Invited to a Party

Title: I Am Invited to a Party!

Author: Mo Willems

Age: Early Elementary/Elementary

Description: Piggie is invited to a party! He asks Elephant for some help because Elephant…he knows parties.


  • Social skills
  • Emotions
  • Body Language
  • Perspective Taking
  • Inferencing/Predicting
  • Narrative Language
  • Written Language

Why I Like This Book: There isn’t an Elephant and Piggie book that kids don’t love, and they all help me to address a number of goals.

Ideas for Use:

• A great story to address reading emotions and body language. The characters are very expressive. Have students identify emotions, act out, etc. Pair with other emotions apps for further understanding and work on emotions such as: ABA Emotions App, Emotionary App, Feel Electric App

  • Have students act out the story. Can they replicate the emotions with their face and body? Video record and have kids self-reflect. Did their bodies and voices match? This is great for a collaborative activity too. Can they work together to act out the story? Negotiate? Plan?
  • Add/cover up thinking/speaking bubbles within the story. Have students generate what characters are thinking and speaking
  • There are lots of opportunities for predicting what might happen next as Piggie and Elephant get ready for various types of parties. What will they need and wear for a pool party? For a fancy party? etc.
  • Good context to discuss party “etiquette.” Pair with Social Behavior Mapping from Social Thinking© What is expected at a party? What is unexpected? Role play situations in individual or group sessions if necessary (i.e. greetings at a party, giving and receiving gifts, playing winning/losing games, etc.).
  • A great story for character descriptions to develop narrative and social skills. Pair with Mindwing Concepts products. Here’s a great post by Sean Sweeney discussing these character descriptions.
  • Working on written language or hand writing? Use this opportunity to have student write invitations to others for a party. There are lots of apps that would provide a context for generating an invitation as well.
  • There is an example of some figurative language as well….a “pun” “We will make a splash” (with attire for the pool party). Good for discussion of this humor as well.

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse

Title:  The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse

Author:  Miriam Norton

Illustrator:  Garth Williams

Age:  Early Elementary

Description:  An abandoned kitten is adopted by a  mouse family.  The kitten grows up believing he is a mouse until the children of the house get involved.


  • Theory of Mind – both cognitive and emotional
  • Narrative development
  • “s” sounds
  • Body language and emotional inferencing
Why I like this book:  This book is wonderfully illustrated and the story lends itself to lots of discussion of Theory of Mind and perspective taking.
Ideas for use:
  • While reading this book aloud, talk with the kids about what the kitten “thinks” and what the other animals “know.”  Once you reach the part of the story where the kitten is held up to the mirror, discuss how seeing himself changed what the kitten thought.
  • For kids who don’t yet understand that the kitten “thinks” he is a mouse, try acting out the story and focus upon all of the actions that the kitten does that are “mouse” actions and how those would be different from “cat” actions.
  • For kids who may understand the cognitive Theory of Mind (i.e., thinking vs knowing), this story is also great for discussion emotional Theory of Mind (i.e., how the kitten feels during the different parts of the story).
  • For an even higher level challenge, this story can lead to a discussion of deception and the motives for that deception as well as how all of the characters feel as a result.
  • On a lighter note, for kids who simply need some articulation practice, this book is filled to the brim with “s” words.
  • This story is also wonderful for use with the Story Grammar Marker from Mindwings for story retell and narrative development.

Submitted by:  Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP

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country mouse

Country Mouse and City Mouse

Title: Country Mouse and City Mouse

Author: Based on an Aesop’s Fable. App by McGraw-Hill

Illustrator: Joyce Hesselberth

Age: preschool, elementary school

Description: A mouse that lives in the city visits a mouse friend who lives in the country.  Although they both enjoy the visits, they long for their familiar homes.

• Perspective taking
• Trying new experiences
• Flexibility
• Managing the unexpected
• Being kind even if you don’t like someone else’s ideas or things

Why I like this book: I have always liked this story and recently discovered that it is also available as a sweetly illustrated e-book which did not disappoint! I remember reading this book or hearing it read to me when I was very young and was intrigued by how different the city and country environments were from one another. I enjoyed seeing the various activities each mouse shared with the other. I love this book today for the same reasons!

Ideas for use:
• Great story to read before a play date. Talk with your child about the fact that their friend has had different experiences and may have different ideas about play.
• Play a game called “If You Like” with a group of children after reading the story. For example, “If you like snow, jump to the wall”. Discuss and affirm differences as well as similarities.
• This is a great story to act out. Split the group into Country and City mice and have them use materials around the room as props and sets. Have them invite the other group over to visit. The visiting mice will need to follow the lead of the “home” mice and then switch.
• Acting out the story provides a wealth of opportunity to experience movement, deep muscle input and tactile sensations. Rolling down a hill, sliding over ice, and climbing up a tree are a few of the actions that can be mimicked.
• The e-book presents different sounds for the country and the city. Discuss and explore sensory input that can be experienced through the senses in each setting. For example, traffic noises can be heard in the city and birds chirping in the country. You might find bakery smells in the city and smell flowers in the country.
• Split the kids into 2 groups and have each group create sets for either the Country or the City. Then have the kids write a script and make sock puppets for a puppet show.

• Lots of downloadable worksheets and more ideas for use are available on line. Here are just a few:

Scholastic Printables

Lesson Pathways

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Submitted by: Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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join in and play

Join In and Play

Title: Join In and Play (Learning to Get Along®)

Author: Cheri J. Meiners, M. Ed.

Illustrator: Meredith Johnson

Age: preschool, elementary school

Description: One in a series of books by free spirit publishing that gently and effectively teaches young children foundational social skills

• joining play
• managing rejection
• interpreting body language
• understanding facial expressions
• building general social skills

Why I like this book: I often think books that directly teach social skills are written from an adult perspective in a way that makes them less relatable for kids. This book breaks that mold for me. The body language and facial expressions are realistic. For example, when a group of kids tells a girl she can’t play with them, it is clear that they are playing 4 square and all squares are full. It is clear that they aren’t being mean. And yet, looking at the expression on the girl’s face, it is also clear that she is a little sad and wondering what she should do next. The book gives multiple realistic solutions to this situation that kids encounter every day.

Ideas for use:
• Talk about body language and facial expressions as you read the book
• Before reading the page, ask kids what they think is happening in the pictures. Each page contains lots of visual information!
• Many kids think it’s wrong to say “No” and not let others join in and yet, there are times when it is not possible or desirable to let others join. Talk about when and why and how to gently say “No” to a friend.
• Discuss tone of voice with discussion of each scene that takes place.
• Act out ways to effectively join a group of children who are playing.
• Act out solutions when kids are told “no” they can’t play.
• Don’t forget to discuss feelings throughout. Acting out the scenarios helps remove some of the fear, anxiety, sadness and anger that often accompanies rejection. It’s a great way to try out ways to manage rejection when the stakes are not so high.

Submitted by: Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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Dog’s Colorful Day

Title:  Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting

Author: Emma Dodd

Description: Throughout the day, a dog accumulates various different colored spots on his body.


  • Basic Concepts/vocabulary (colors and numbers)
  • Early Sequencing
  • “why” questions (simple, highly contextualized)
  • “s” blends (spots, squish, squash, splash, swish)

Why I like this book: An adorable, simple story for early story telling/retelling.

Ideas for this book:

  • Great to pair with counting and coloring apps to help children learn these early concepts. See app stories like Kindertown Apps to search. Lots of activity ideas from other websites such as Making Learning Fun or a whole pintrest page dedicated to ideas here.
  • Make colors spots like in the story. Have kids “retell” the story using the colored spots. Can they remember the order and where the spot came from (i.e red was the jelly when he was waiting under the table at breakfast time, blue was paint from the front door, etc.). Encourage kids to use temporal markers such as “first, , next, then, last”
  • Help teach/model “why” questions. Why does he have a green spot? BECAUSE he rolled in the grass. Why does he have a gray spot? BECAUSE he splashed in the mud, etc.
  • lots of opportunity for /s/ blend practice. Have kiddos repeat the stimuli. Great to pair with articulation apps for more drill work such as Articulation Station or Artik Pix

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Sea Otter Cove

Title: Sea Otter Cove

Author: Lori Lite

Description: A relaxation story that will bring calmness even to the most
dysregulated children (and their adults)!

• Stress release
• Learning deep breathing sequence
• Relaxation
• Visualization
• Learning from friends
• Body awareness

Why I like this story: Repetition of the deep breathing sequence gives children
the opportunity to practice. The visual images and rhythm of the text facilitates
relaxation in a very natural way.

Ideas for use:
• Great bedtime story
• Read to children after recess or a particularly over-stimulating time
• If possible, have the children lie down as they listen to the words
• Guide children to create pictures in their minds as they listen. Words
and phrases such as “swirling colors”, “center of the earth”, “rocks”, “sea
gulls”, “feathers” create many opportunities to visualize
• Encourage children to attend to physical sensations such as sounds, warmth,
smells, and the active movement of the belly rising and falling
• Using a weighted blanket can facilitate relaxation during the story
• Placing a bean bag on the children’s bellies can help them experience and
understand diaphragmatic breathing
• Have kids practice blowing a feather to illustrate belly breathing
• Teach idioms used in the book such as “clear your mind” and “wandering
• Talk with kids about how relaxation breathing can be used when they are
angry, nervous, scared, or over-excited

Submitted by: Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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The Duckling Gets a Cookie

Title:  The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

Author: Mo Willems

Description: Another adorable Pigeon story, where he doesn’t understand why HE doesn’t get anything he wants. A little Duckling helps him out (and himself) in the process.


  • Perspective Taking
  • Tone of Voice and Vocal Volume
  • Social Skills
  • Question Asking
  • Prosody

Why I like this book: Mo Willems never disappoints. I love the characters expressions (great for teaching body language) and the humor that keeps kids entertained while addressing some goals.

Ideas for this book:

  • A great book to have kids act out (adult can be a character if necessary). Practice the body language, facial expression, tone of voice, etc. Use thinking bubbles to discuss each characters perspective (i.e. How is the duck feeling when the Pigeon is yelling in his face?)
  • A great book to practice “Tone of Voice” with kiddos. Stress HOW you say something. Use voice recording apps like Quick Voice and have kids listen and analyze how the pigeon is speaking.
  • Lots of examples of various vocal volume. Pair with the Incredible 5 Point Scale for understanding of various levels the Pigeon uses. Was his volume appropriate?
  • A great story to elicit question forms. Have kiddos formulate questions for the Pigeon. He states that he asks for many things (i.e to drive the bus, for hot dog parties, etc.). Have them generate how the Pigeon would ask? What words would he use? Who would he ask? Role play.
  • Carry over the idea above for more perspective taking. Who would he ask? What might the person say back? Why? (i.e. asking a parent to stay up late- what might they say? Why?).
  • Pair the 2 ideas above with a great post by Sean Sweeney M.S. CCC-SLP at on using fake texting to take both perspectives. Kids love it.
  • Click here for a funny YouTube clip of the Pigeon being interviewed about the book and title. Mo Willems is involved.
  • I use these Pigeon books for my more advanced kiddos with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) to work on stress patterns for prosody. Lots of examples of increasing stress on words, or changing intonation patterns to demonstrate questions vs. comments. Again, you can use the voice recording to help with understanding.
  • A good book for general discussion of social skills (as highlighted above). How to communicate with friends, thinking about others feelings and desires, friendship skills, etc. What were some things the pigeon did that may have made the duck think negative thoughts (i.e. tone of voice, body language, body space challenges, vocal volume, etc.)
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Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Grin and Bear it

Grin and Bear It

Title:  Grin and Bear It

Author:  Leo Landry

Description:  Bear wants to be a comedian but suffers from stage fright.  He and his friends come up with a creative solution to his dilemma.


  • understanding humor
  • reading non-verbal communication through body language and facial expressions
  • gaining comfort in learning that many people get nervous
  • problem solving
  • inferencing and predicting
  • handling discouragement and failure
  • valuing friendship from giver and receiver perspectives
  • understanding theory of mind

Why I liked this book:  The bear with stage fright is relatable to kids and adults of all ages.  When Bear is embarrassed, his friends help him problem solve rather than laugh at him.  The first four chapters are titled:  A Dream, A Plan, Ready, and Showtime depicting steps we want our kids to follow for any challenging assignment or task.  The illustrations make me want to hug this book!

Ideas for this book: 

  • Read the 7 short chapters over a period of several days to allow time to explore all this book has to offer.  Discuss the steps to accomplishing something that the kids want.  Have them create the idea, make a plan, and prepare before diving in.
  • Discuss words and terms like “stage fright”, “embarrassed”, “rehearse”, and “nervous”.  This is a great opportunity to also discuss physiological responses to anxiety and ways to help decrease it through deep breathing, yoga, visualization, and other ideas.
  • When Bear falls apart, ask the kids to offer suggestions on how to solve his problem.  What should he do?  Give up?  Try again?  How could he be more successful the next time?
  • Discuss what good friends would do if they saw someone struggling like Bear.
  • Have kids practice and tell jokes to one another.  It’s a great way to help them understand humor both through spoken words and body language.  What makes a joke funny?
  • As always, I love having kids act out stories and this is a great one for that.

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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Spot Bakes a Cake

Title: Spot Bakes a Cake

Author: Eric Hill

Description: It’s Spot’s Dad’s birthday, so he plans to bake a cake for the occasion


  • Early Sequencing
  • Pretend Play
  • Early basic “Wh” Questions
  • Speech Production: “k” initial and final word positions

Why I like this book: Every little kid loves Spot. The flip book quality is always entertaining and keeps kids engaged.


Ideas for this book:

  • Make visuals for kids to sequence: shopping, mixing, baking, decorating, eating
  • A great story to use to help kiddos who are struggling with pretend play. Can read the story and then “act” it out. I’ve been using a bowl, spoon, plastic “easter” eggs, a box for an “oven,” and a pretend cake (MelissaandDougpretendbirthdaycake). We act out the story, complete with singing happy birthday. Can build and expand on the pretend play scheme: before making-make the shopping list, drive to the store, shop. After: wash the dishes, put dishes away, etc.
  • Great for early exposure to “wh” questions. Where will they buy the ingredients? Who is hiding? Whose birthday is it? Why are they making a cake?
  • Lots of practive of “K”: cake, bake, cook, clean, cupboard, card, coloring, crayons, etc.
  • Great to pair with apps: Cakedoodle or BirthdayParty. Can do before or after the activity
  • Youtube has several Spot episodes as well

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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The Runaway Bunny

Title: The Runaway Bunny

Author: Margaret Wise Brown

Illustrator: Clement Hurd

Age: preschool, early elementary, elementary

Description: A little bunny decides that he wants to run away from his mother. However, she won’t allow it, and finds a way to always follow him wherever his imagination takes him.


  • why questions
  • inferencing/prediction
  • descriptive language
  • “if, then” sentence structures, causals
  • early narrative- retell

Why I like this book: Most children can relate to strong message of love and commitment of the mother bunny.

Ideas for use:

  • A great story to model “why”/”because”: Why does the mother follow the bunny? Why did she want to be a fisherman? Why did she want to be a mountain climber? etc.
  • Have children make guesses as to what the mom would become when the little bunny decides to find a way to get away (i.e. he says he’ll be sailboat and sail away- what could mom become (wind)?; He says he’ll join a circus and fly away on a trapeze- what could she be to catch him?(tight rope walker))
  • Read the story to the child, without showing the colorful picture scene. See if they can visualize ( (great to pair with the Visualizing and Verbalizing program)- What do they envision? Have them draw what they picture. For example, the circus- Help them develop the scene: what would they see (clowns, crowds), hear (lions roar), smell (popcorn), etc.
  • The story models “if, then” syntax throughout the story. During retell could also model causals (i.e. the mommy said she’d become a mountain climber beacuse the bunny wants to be a mountain)
  • Use the pictures, and have students “retell” the story. Encourage temporal markers (first, next, then after that). Can make boardmaker pictures to go along, and have students sequence and then re-tell.
  • Have students add to the story to address narrative generation, as well as sentence structure practice. What else could the bunny do to “get away”, and what would be mommy do? (i.e. If you run after me, I will become a horse, and ride away…..the mommy would become a cowboy, and ride the horse back to the stable.) They can illustrate the story

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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