The Cake, written by Dorotheé de Manfreid tells the story of several animals who want to make a cake. They only problem, they can't agree on what type of cake to make! From there the story, told only through dialogue bubbles appearing over the characters head, becomes strange and absurd as the characters argue and never come to an agreement. Because the story is told solely though dialogue it could be a fun introduction to the topic. You could read the story to your students using different voices, or have them take roles and read it together, and then ask them to write their own dialogue driven stories in the same style.
The Adventures of Beekle begins on a magical island where imaginary friends wait to be paired with a human child. Dan Santat's tale of friendship shows us the journey from feeling alone in the world to the warm fuzzy emotions you experience when you finally find your person. One of my favorite parts of this book are the beautiful illustrations rich with color and emotion. Often Santat does not come right out and say what a character is thinking or how they feel, but shows it in the way they are drawn. This would be a great book for making inferences. You could ask students how they feel a certain character is reacting or what they think the general mood of an illustration is.
I first discovered Little Elliot, Big City last year when I got the opportunity to interview Mike Curato and I have been in love ever since. Little Elliot is an elephant who has to navigate himself his life in the big city, 1940's New York to be exact. The illustrations of Elliot's city are full of detail and could be the start of a great discussion on setting. Students could read Little Elliot, Big City and then write their own pieces on a particular place, real or made up.
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell, is a story based heavily on illustrations. On each page there is one sentence that is finished with an illustration of an animal, in place of the animal's name written in text. Dear Zoo could be a great tool for developing vocabulary with younger students. For early writing pieces, you could have students write pieces in the same style using illustrations to move the story along.
With his birthday so close, it seems appropriate to include a read from the Doctor himself. My Many Colored Days has been one of my favorite books for a long time. It does a great job of describing abstract emotions in ways that are tangible and easy to understand. You could use this book for a read aloud and have students act out the different emotions and colors. Using the colors could also be a great way to occasionally check in and see how your students are feeling throughout the year. Every month or so in Writer's Workshop you could ask them to write about their feelings using the colors as descriptions.