Read & Go : 25 Family Outings with Books To Match

books for field trips

Over the summer we go on a lot of family field trips. We hit up museums, zoo’s aquariums, go swimming, the science center… you get the idea. Whenever we go somewhere I like to pair it with a great book before and after we go. We can talk about expectations and get excited before and compare our experience with that of the characters in the book after. Here are some of my favorite books that match with popular family outings for the summer.

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Read & Go Library

This is my very favorite outing and I highly recommend reading Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn before you go. The book is delightful and perfect for preschoolers eager to go check out their own books. Read & Go ZooThe Great Escape from City Zoo  by Tohby Riddle is a cute book to read to your kids before heading to the zoo.It’s perfect for school age kids home for the summer, the humor might be lost on younger ones. For little guys try Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann , it’s the perfect book to read after a day at the zoo.

Read & Go Ice cream

I love any excuse to learn more about any subject and Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons teaches more than you ever knew you could know about ice cream!

Read & Go Fire Station

In I Want to Be a Fire Fighter (Sesame Street) by Linda Lee Maifair Grover visits his uncle’s fire station and he learns all about what life is like for firefighters. Don’t discount this book because it uses a familiar character. Sometimes these TV or movie characters books knock it out of the park!Read & Go To The Pool

Kids love the pool, except when they don’t. Ease worries and pump your kids up for pool time with Splish, Splash, Splat! (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotten.

Read & Go Fly a kiteThis is such a simple family outing although if you have ever tried to remember how to fly a kite with a three year old trying to help you at the same time you might want to prep them with Kite Flying .

Read & Go Ballet

When I was a little girl we went to the ballet a lot. Brontorina by James Howe is such a great book to add on to a trip to see all the “perfect” ballerinas. I love the lesson this book shares so much it makes me tear up every single time I read it, and we read it a lot. Read & Go Amusement Park

I know many of you will be visiting amusement parks this summer and maybe a few of your children will go for their first roller coaster ride too! Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee will delight whether they are the daredevils or keen observers.
Read & Go Road Trip

I love this book because it isn’t about a family that gets into the car and sings songs happily until they arrive, it’s a road trip, with kids. Little Critters the Trip has frustrated parents, bored kids, and even some trouble with directions. I like using it to talk about how we will try to avoid all of this every time we take a road trip.
Read & Go Symphony

This is one of my favorite books about instruments because it takes time to introduce them one by one. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is so much more than that though, it’s a lovely rhyming book that your kids will love. Read & Go Camping

S’mores are just one of the things about camping that  S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet (Alphabet Books) covers and as an added bonus it’s an Alphabet book too!
Read & Go Plane Ride

Some books are useful and some should be required reading. Preschoolers excited or hesitant about an upcoming flight will love Going on a Plane (First Experiences).
Read & Go Japanese Garden

One of my favorite places to go as a little girl was the Japanese Garden The Falling Flowers by Jennifer B. Reed is a great companion for a trip to see cherry blossoms  whether you are in Toykyo, Vancouver BC or somewhere else. Read & Go Dinosaur Museum

Whether you read How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum before or after seeing some dinosaur bones in person it’s a great book to dive deeper into the subject!
Read & Go Science CenterThe Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature is my pick to be paired with a trip to the science center. Science centers cover so many aspects of science and so does this book. Read & Go Beach

Kids worry so much more than many adults realize and even though they learn very early on to try to handle those worries themselves having a book with an over the top character speak about the worries is totally refreshing. Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt does a bang up job and entertaining and soothing worries through the giggles. Read & Go Farmer's Market

I love the farmer’s market for the produce, my kids love it for the ice cream. Read  Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert before you go and brush up on some of the less frequently eaten veggies then see if you can find them at the market, Read & Go U-Pick BlueberriesBlueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is the perfect pick for blueberry picking. You may want to reassure your kids that there will be no bears at the blueberry farm and decide before you go if you will be sampling the berries as you pick.

Read & Go Art Museum

I bought Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes by Davis Goldin at our local museum and my kids love reading it feeling like they are getting a behind the scenes tour with every page.Read & Go BaseballLet Them Play by Margot Theis Raven will make you think twice about baseball just being a game. It’s more than that and never more apparent as when kids are kept from doing what they do best- play!

Read & Go PlanetariumOur Stars by Anne Rockwell is a simple non fiction book that would be a great match for a trip to the planetarium or observatory.

Read & Go Aquarium

Around here we have lots of little and big aquariums and I chose Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae as the book for a trip to the aquarium because it covers so many different creatures in its rhyming text! Read & Go 4th of July

I adore 4th of July which tickles my kids since I am Canadian. Still my adopted home has charmed me especially our small town parade where more of the town is IN the parade than watching it.  Hats off for the Fourth of July   will help you prepare your kids for the festivities. Read and Go Farm

Do you have a farm close by to visit? I hope you do because seeing a real farm first hand is a great experience for young kids. Sally Goes to the Farm is a fun look at farm life. Of course you could also go with  Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown but it won’t make you laugh like Sally will! Read and Go Apple Orchard

I have never taken my kids to an apple orchard but I have taken my fair share of field trips with other people’s children to them. Apple Farmer Annie by  Monica Wellington  is a great choice whether you are reading it with your own or other people’s kids!

Picture Books About Mothers

mother's day books

Mother’s Day always sneaks up on me. I usually have just enough time to tease my kids about telling their dad to go to Tiffany to buy me diamonds. Really all I want are a few homemade cards and no one banging on the door while I have a bath, although I would never say no to diamonds. The other thing I want to do with my kids is to read about other moms and kids and talk about how special a relationship this is. I can’t put into words how I feel about being a mom other than it just feels like I am finally doing what I was meant to do even on the days when I question my sanity. These books give me pause to think about all different aspects of motherhood while connecting with my own kids. I hope you discover a book about moms from our list that will find its way into your heart and onto your shelf for years to come.

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mama in out

Mama Outside, Mama Inside by Dianna Hutts Aston was a delightful read. This is a story about a mama bird and a human mama as they prepare and care for their new babies. Each page shows how the birdy mama does something then how the human mom does. My son loved it and when I flipped the page that talked about feeding babies, my son saw our favorite part before I did. The human mama was nursing and my little man said ” Look mama, baby has boo boo! ( his word for nursing) like me!” I melted and was so happy to see a mom nursing and it being treated as simply the way babies eat. As a nursing mom I appreciated that. Great book for toddlers. { originally reviewed in 2009 }

A mama for owen

A Mama for Owen by Marion Dane Bauer makes me cry every time I read it. It’s a true story about a baby hippo who lost his mama in the Tsunami that so many other babies both creature  and human did . The story is one about friendship , about adoption and about love. See Owen the little Hippo finds Mzee a big old giant tortoise and even though they are different species, and Mzee is a boy, Owen treats him like his mama.

my mom

My Momby Anthony Browne made me giggle. It’s a cute book narrated by a child who is listing off all the wonderful things about his or her mom. With every turn of the page a new fantastic skill or talent is revealed. Of all the revelations my favorite was that she is “The strongest woman in the world” which was paired with a great illustration of her carrying bags and bags of groceries. The narrator tells us that his/her mom could do anything but instead she is his mom. Which no matter what we moms do is exactly how our kids will and should see us.

her_mothers_face

Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle is not really a book for very young children, but I loved it. I would read it with a child who is 6 or older , the text is long, the humor is subtle but the message is fantastic.  Set in Ireland , a little girl is silently suffering from her mom’s passing. She doesn’t tell anyone she is sad, she doesn’t tell anyone she can’t remember her mother’s face or that she can’t talk to her dad about her loss. A chance meeting with a young woman in a park changes things for her in the simplest of ways. As the years pass her pain lessens and eventually she is able to talk to her dad who clearly misses her mother desperately too.  I like that this book wasn’t about the moment her mom passed away, but rather years later, about how she was trying to hold on to the memories and deal with her grief.

is your

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino is a classroom favorite, I don’t know many preschool teachers who can’t recite this book by heart . Readers follow Lloyd the llama as he riddles his way through a bunch of animals until he find the one he calls mom. I like the mix of animals in this book, a little different than your average zoo or farm collection.

mama do you love me

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse is a well loved book. I have read it many times but never reviewed it. There are a lot of books about children testing their mom’s unconditional love but this one stands out for me. In it the little girl seems to go out of her way to aggravate her mom and really test her love. The mother is fantastic because she isn’t gushy or sickeningly sweet, she says she would get angry , worried, sad depending on what her daughter tests her with. However after each honest answer she follows it up with how she will always love her. Kids need to know even if they make us sad or angry it doesn’t change the depth of our love for them.

did I tell you

Did I Tell You I Love You Today? by Deloris Jordan is a very practical yet heartwarming look at all the ways parents show love to their children everyday, from feeding them healthy food to praying after they go to bed. My son loved all the big boy things in the book like, the school bus, basketball and the playground. I teared up reading the book, but I cry at American Idol so that may not be indicative of anything!

where is baby's mommy

Where is Baby’s Mommy? by Karen Katz is the perfect book for your tiniest book lover. It is bright, cheery and will grow with your child from the first few months through their toddler years. The story is simple, a baby and mom are playing hide and seek, you play along with them by lifting the flaps to reveal where mommy is. My daughter has loved these books for years and even though we read much more complicated books now that she is almost four we go back to these old favorites a lot.

 

mamas saris

Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani is a simple yet rich story about a little girl and her desire to dress in her mama’s clothes. I think I would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t remember watching in awe as her mom got dressed for a special event and wanting to dress just like mama. The narrator is Hindu and her mama wears a sari for special occasions and she is stubbornly trying to get her mom to let her wear one for her 7th birthday. The illustrations are beautiful, especially the jewel tones of the various saris. This book would be a great one to read before playing dress up or other pretend play. The story is touching and although it’s too long for toddlers, it’s a great book for preschoolers.

Everywhere Babies

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee .This  book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

someday

Someday by Alison McGhee was suggested by a reader and I can see why. It’s a sweet story probably a little more for grown daughters and mother’s than children but they will like it too. The book opens with a mom and a baby, the baby grows into a child and then continues on with the mother’s hopes for what her daughter will experience someday. Some are good, some are sad but all are things that we all must face as we grow older. This would be a great gift for your mom.

love you forever

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is perhaps the classic tear jerking picture book. I read this for years and years to children and had no problem getting choked up, it never bothered me, then I gave birth and I can’t read it without sobbing. The premise is simple, a mom sings this simple song to her son as he grows ” I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as you’re living , my baby you’ll be.” until she can’t sing it anymore and it’s his turn. For days after I read this I tear up as I lay my son in bed. * Edited to add that many readers have commented that they do not like this book at all! What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us!

Mommy, Mama and Me

Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman is a book about everyday life of a family with two moms.  What I love about this book is that it showcases parts of the day that young toddlers through preschoolers can relate to easily. They have bath time, they go to the park, they cook dinner, in other words they are a family like any with a small child.  My son loved this book and related easily to the baby in the book and to the experiences that they share.The book makes no political statement, no explanation of two mommies and it shouldn’t, it’s a book targeted to toddlers about one loving family and nothing more. There is also a version with two dads called Daddy, Papa, and Me .

2 mommies

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager got my kids out of their seats at the table and glued next to me because they wanted to be that close to the illustrations by Mike Blanc . They were so vibrant and the perspective was so great that both my kids ( 6 and 3 ) were immediately smitten. The story is great too, it’s really a collection of questions from two friends asking a third about how  his family with two mommies work. Sometimes adults go straight for the deep big issues when really kids just want to know which mom is the one to coach little league and which one bakes cakes. The overall feeling readers are left with is that this little boy’s life isn’t all that different at all. There is also  A Tale of Two Daddies which is very similar with dads and a daughter.

kishand2

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book. See how perfect is this, mostly for me this week, I hate leaving my son, letting go is good for me but man I miss his snuggles when I am away! {This was originally reviewed in 2009 – My son liked this book but my daughter fell in love with it. At 3 when she went off to preschool she read this book every day for weeks. Books this good become a part of your family and this one is well worth that spot! }

Back into mommy's tummy

Back into Mommy’s Tummy by Thierry Robberecht made both my son and I laugh hysterically, mostly because it was incredibly relevant to us. When we first read this book I was very pregnant with my now 3 year old daughter.  In the book a little girl asks to go back into her mommy’s belly for her 5th birthday.  She wants to stay close to her mom, never have to go to school, stay up as late as mom does and even tells her mom if she wants to see her she can go get an ultrasound and she’ll wave hello. The absurdity is awesome, and the sentiment is bang on. Late in the book we discover that mom is expecting and she asks if her daughter is worried about her loving the new baby more. I love how the author and illustrator Phillippe Goossens use humor to get to the heart of it all. My son was incredibly attached to me at the time of reviewing this book and it really opened up a great dialogue about having to share my snuggles, and love.

Hair For Mama

Hair for Mama by Kelly A. Tinkham is beautiful. The story is about a little boy who is desperate to find some hair for his mama who has lost hers to chemotherapy. Marcus wants mama to be in the family photo but she doesn’t want to be the way she looks. His mission comes to a climax when he shaves off all his own hair hoping to give it to his mama. When the barber sweeps it up with the other hair on the floor Marcus is heart broken and goes home in tears. I was sobbing reading this, I knew it was a story about a mom having cancer but the way the author wrote it , it was magical. The complex emotions this little boy felt for his mom and she for him, jumped off the page and you can’t help but cry. I wasn’t sad ,I was touched by the love and desire to fix his mom and make everything better, and his parents tenderness to his feelings. I can’t recommend this book more highly. I should note that this is not a book for toddlers, I would probably wait until a child is 4-5 before reading them this gem.

piglet and mama

Piglet and Mama by Margaret Wild is a mother’s day book I would suggest for the under 3 crowd. My son loved it.when he was 2. Piglet is searching for his mom and even though all the other animal mommies offer for him to join them and their babies he wants his mom! The illustrations by Stephen Michael King capture the warmth between a mama and her baby beautifully . My son had the “Mama” scream perfected and quite enjoyed seeing the little piglet do the same thing for her mama when we read this book. Even if separation anxiety isn’t something you are dealing with at your house this is a sweet book.

chair for my mother

A Chair for My Mother 25th Anniversary Edition (Reading Rainbow Books) by Vera B. Williams is another classic mom book and it deserves to be called that. A sweet story that includes 3 generations of women who are all working hard to save money to replace furniture lost in a fire. The comfy chair they are planning to buy really represents the comfort and safety they are trying to rebuild in their new home after such tragedy. I love the sense of collective good in this family, in our “Me me me !” world I like seeing books like this.

 

mama always comes home

Mama Always Comes Home by Karma Wilson was a last minute grab at the library that I am so thankful I saw. It starts off with animal mother’s leaving their babies, for all different reasons . A bird gathering food, a dog greeting his master and more. The animal mothers leave, but they also always return to their babies. Then it switches to a child and mother. She reassures the child that she will be back and we watch her leave, and return . I loved this book because my son isn’t the best when I leave him, he related to this book immediately and was repeating ” Mama always comes home!” half way through. { I originally reviewed this in 2009 and have since read it many times to my daughter who also needed those gentle reminders that I would always return. }

18 Picture Books About Food

books about food for kids Do you have a picky eater? What about a future chef? The thing about food is that it’s something all of us have in common. Even if our menu is different the ritual of mealtime is something we can all relate to.  These picture books about food can serve so many purposes from teaching about healthy eating to learning about other cultures. One thing they all have in common is how much fun they are to read.

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Princess and The Pizza

The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza!

vintage children's books

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett has long been a favorite. This book will take you to another dimension in the way that is usually reserved for longer books or movies. In just a few pages you will dive into the land of Chewandswallow and it’s magical weather. See Chewandswallow is a place where the food falls from the sky. Instead of rain or snow they get hot dogs and a drizzle of soda, or peas and carrots! Things started going wrong in Chewandswallow though and the weather went nuts! I love asking children what food they wished fell from the sky and why after reading this book.

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar  by Eric Carle . I remembering being amazed that the caterpillar turned into that huge colorful butterfly! In university while studying elementary education I chose this book as the literary inspiration for a cross curricular unit study for grade 1.  I made math lessons with fruit, science lessons about observing insects and the butterfly life cycle and health lessons about smart food choices. Then teaching preschool I used this awesome book to teach the days of the week, basic counting and more. When I was pregnant I chose this book along with a few other favorites to be my son’s nursery theme. Now that my daughter is 3 we often pull down the Very Hungry Caterpillar felt board and play with it as we read the story just like I did with her brother. To me this book is a given, and for every stage of my life, student, student teacher, teacher, mother it has come along for the ride!

everybody_cooks_rice

Everybody Cooks Rice  by Norah Dooley is a fantastic book! The book follows a sister who is looking for her brother in their San Francisco neighborhood. As she goes from door to door each neighbor invites her in to eat some of their supper. Everybody is having some sort of rice dish even though they are all from different countries. My 6 year old really enjoyed this book and understood the message well , my 3 year old sat through it no problem too. There are so many future lessons about geography, nutrition, and travel packed in this one little book! Awesome find.

eating the alphabet

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire and perfect for a letter F since it’s all about food!  Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page. This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you hungry.

Alphabet soup

Alphabet Soup by Scott Gustafson is a treat! I read a lot of alphabet books and this one stands out for so many reasons. Otter is hosting a potluck and his animal friends are all bringing something to share. Each page is devoted to an animal with a coordinating food item and more. This book is reminiscent of Graham Base’s Animalia but much more toddler friendly. Where Animalia is great for older children because it’s so full of detail, this book brings it down a notch but still enchants you with stunning illustrations and fantastic coordinating text.

monstersbook

Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks is a really cute book about what monsters will and won’t eat. They will eat wheels and tractors, they will not eat broccoli. My son got into the repeating refrain ” Fum, foe, fie, fee, monsters don’t eat broccoli!”  In the end the monsters are really a set of siblings with all sorts of food on their plates including broccoli. It was fun way of opening up a talk about what foods we like and why trying new things is a good thing. Halloween is filled with treats and I’ll sneak veggies in wherever I can including bedtime reading!

The duchess bakes a cake

The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl. I had to search this book out, I had forgotten the title and author all I remembered was that there was a child named Gunhilde! Thank goodness for Google! The story is very sweet with the Duchess giving her staff the day off because she wants to bake a cake for her family. Unfortunately things go awry and the cake ends up huge with the Duchess stuck on top of it high in the air! Luckily the Duchess finds a solution and things are fixed in the end. I loved two things about this book as a child, the idea of everyone eating a giant cake to save the Duchess and that the Duchess was taller then the Duke, I remember thinking that was funny and I didn’t know that a wife could be taller than her husband. That’s the beauty of books, even picture books open children up to new experiences.

Pinkalicious

Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. I was initially told about this book and it’s authors by another mom who’s son loves this book. So don’t think that just because the cover looks rather feminine that your boys won’t love this book too! The little girl eats far too many pink cupcakes and before she knows it she has turned pink! To return to her normal self she needs to eat her vegetables! I like this book, and can see why kids do too. I don’t think that all characters can be perfectly pious meek and mild but I do understand when parents are leery of introducing characters that they see as disobedient to their kids. Seeing other children behave in ways that are not allowed at their house is a fantastic lesson  for readers. It opens a dialog with you and your child.Blurberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is a true classic, written in 1948 it’s a simple tale about a little girl and her mom collecting blueberries to can. While mama pics them , Sal eats them and wanders off but they aren’t the only mama and baby out gathering blueberries. This book is chill and sweet and the black and white illustrations make the readers feel like they are on the top of the mountain gathering blueberries too.

yum yum dim sum

Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger is a book that makes me crave dumplings something fierce but my daughter seems to like the rhymes and pink and red colors throughout. The book explains in a zippy text all about Dim Sum . It’s a board book targeted to babies it’s really useful to use to teach children about foods they may be unfamiliar with. There is even a little appendix with Chinese words for all the items mentioned in the book like tea, rice and tarts.

carrot_soup

Carrot Soup by John Segal is a cute book about planting a garden, in this case carrots, tending it and then reaping the rewards…. or maybe not. Rabbit carefully planned out his garden, took care of it but when it was time to gather all the carrots they were all gone!  Throughout the pages there are hints to where the carrots might be, your child will likely figure it out before Rabbit does. My son liked this book and I loved reading it with him as he was rather exasperated that the Rabbit couldn’t figure out the mystery!

seuss green eggs and ham

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss . All of Dr. Seuss’s books are worthy of praise, and children really do love the melodic and brilliant rhymes. I love that often you can’t quite tell if a character is a woman or a man, and they have no obvious race which makes them universal and inclusive. I love “Green Eggs and Ham” because of it’s limited wording , there are only 50 words used in the whole book, and easy rhymes make it a great choice for learning about rhyming. Also the words used are so simple that it’s a fabulous book for emergent readers.

little red hen makes a pizza

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philomen Sturges is a great retelling of the classic story. Kids will be able to relate to this hen not getting any help for all her hard work. Luckily her friends realize their mistake and do the dishes after she shares her yummy pizza. Since originally recommending this book it’s made a move from the bookshelf to the dresser pile of books that are in rotation for before nap and bedtime reading. A sure sign it’s kid approved!

cookie baker

Mr. Cookie Baker  by Monica Wellington was an instant hit at our house. The book is about who else, Mr. Cookie Baker and it shows the reader how he makes cookies from scratch, ices them and sells them. It’s a great book to explain baking and bakeries. My son loves the part where Mr. Cookie Baker eats a cookie after a long hard day and then says goodnight. I like the illustrations, they are bold and detailed without being cluttered and can almost tell the story all by themselves. Be warned though reading this will almost definitely make you crave a cookie or two.

Pizza at Sally's

Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington is another great look at a small business owner , and how she does her work everyday and feeds the masses with her yummy pizza! I like how it not only explains how to make pizza but it also looks at the ingredients and how they are grown and processed.  Of course it’s not explained in depth but it is explained enough to start a dialogue with interested preschoolers for further investigation.  My son loves the cat in this book, the same cat is in many of the other books but for some reason he particularly loves it’s presence in this one. It’s inspired me to make the dough from scratch with my son next time we have pizza!  A lovely book!

the pigeon finds a hot dog

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!by Mo Willems is a funny tale more about sharing that about a hot dog. The Pigeon finds a hot dog and is about to eat it when he is interrupted by The Duckling who is curious and full of questions. Kids love how frustrated The Pigeon gets and parents will appreciate the lesson about sharing. I love reading this book to groups of kids and always get a good laugh when I ask them if they think that eating a hot dog they find on the street is a good idea. Every time kids will offer up stories about things they ate that they shouldn’t have. You can’t go wrong with this series of picture books.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jan Yolen is a book all about eating in the popular and well loved series of dinosaur books . My son loves these books, he likes that the dinosaurs always misbehave in such over the top ways before the reality of how they really behave, well mannered , listening to their parents and eating all their food. What I like about this is that kids relate to the dinosaurs and I have never had one question why the parents are human. I like that children are encouraged to sit still and say please and thank you. What I don’t like is that the dinosaurs are encouraged to clean their plate, never drop anything and try everything put before them. I know some parents will love these rules but for our house it doesn’t work, we don’t encourage plate cleaning or force bites. The book still served a purpose, as my son said loudly ” I’m a boy I don’t have to eat everything, right?” and we had a good talk about eating.

 

Picture Books About Community Helpers

books about community helpersFirefighters, police officers, doctors, dentists, teachers and more!  These are all people in our community that our kids see and can understand easily what they do to help our communities work. There aren’t too many books about human resource managers, real estate developers or writers because young children relate to what they know and have experienced. Here are some of our favorite books about community helpers for kids.

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dentist

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a classic. I remember reading this as a child and was so pleased to see how much my son enjoyed reading it too. The story is simple, but they cover a lot of the questions a child who has never been or hasn’t been to the dentist in a while may have.  I like that the tooth fairy is giving out dimes for teeth, what’s the going rate now?

First Day Jittersby Julie Danneberg has a special spot in my heart. It’s a book about not wanting to go to a new school, the first day is always the hardest and it’s easier to just stay in bed! The beauty of this book isn’t just the recognition of the anxiety about the first day but in the end the twist is that it’s the teacher who has the jitters not a student. I love this book and the power it has to help anxious kids, I have read it more than once to a jittery child and see how it can help first hand.

librarian on the roof

Librarian on the Roof! by M.G. King made me cry. The true story is about a librarian who did what she needed to do to raise enough money to make a functional children’s section in the oldest library in Texas. What she did was stay on the roof of that library for a week, and it worked. I loved the message that libraries are vital, that books open doors , and that providing access to information to those who can’t afford to get it on their own is a worthwhile cause. This book made me want to cheer, it had me spouting off lessons left and right to my kids , and it absolutely captivated all three of us. Go read this book and learn more about RoseAleta Laurell the real librarian on the roof.

books about firefighters

Firefighters to the Rescue by Kersten Hamilton is a beautifully illustrated look at the heroic happenings of a group of firefighters. Unlike many of the other books on this list we never bought this one, because we took it out from the library so often.  The retro  illustrations are so beautiful and the refrain of “Firefighters to the rescue!” is so fun that my son was absolutely drawn to it.  It’s simple and doesn’t go into too much detail which makes it a good choice for kids under 4.

Miss Mingo and the first day of school

Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper is a delightful book. Miss Mingo is a flamingo and teacher who wants to know about her students on the first day of school. She starts the exercise by sharing some fun facts about being a flamingo , like why she is pink, and before you know it the whole class of different animals are sharing. This book not only shows kids that it’s okay to share about themselves but it is full of fun facts about animals in the fine print. I learned something I never knew about a Narwhal! It is a bit long for a toddler but each page highlights new animals and it’s easy to skip a few for those that aren’t ready for a book of this length. This is going on my buy list!

road-builders-b-g-hennessy-paperback-cover-art

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a 4th birthday gift for my son and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of Lego that was taking over our house… however it has since been adored by both my son and daughter. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless .

Busy People

Joe Kaufman’s Book About Busy People and How They Do Their Work by Joe Kaufman was such a big part of my childhood that I was nervous sharing it with my son, worried he’d reject it. He gobbled it up even though it is terribly out of date ( I think it was when I read it too!).  The book is all about different jobs and all the responsibilities of them. My favorite was Trudy Teacher and like my son who’s favorite was Fred Fireman I skipped Carlos the Clown. Even as outdated as it is, it’s useful for learning about community helpers and I didn’t notice the diversity of the jobs , and people in the book as a child but appreciate it as a parent.

day in the life of a garbage collector

A Day in the Life of a Garbage Collector by Nate Leboutiller was my son’s favorite book when he was my daughter’s age ( 3.5). This book focuses on the sanitation workers that make it all happen. From what time they have to get up, the safety measures they take, clothes they wear and how they drive the trucks it covers it all. Perfect for kids like mine that were always curbside waving at the garbage collector every week!

policeman small

Policeman Small by Lois Lenski was first published in 1962 and is retro in all the awesome ways. Cute and cheery it’s like a little Rockwell painting in a book! Policeman Small is about a policeman in a simpler time, a time that is perfect for little readers not looking for the reality of what police work is, instead looking for something simple. A big hit with young toddlers.

Dr. Meows Big Emergency

Doctor Meow’s Big Emergency by Sam Lloyd was taken out of the library late last week and has been read at least twice a day since, we both know it off my heart.  In the book readers meet Dr. Meow and her trusty ambulance driver Woof as they care for patience and rush to the aid of Tom Cat who has been injured falling out of a tree. Really it’s a story about being kind to others and forgiving, as Tom Cat learns not to pick on little Mr. Bird and in turn Mr. Bird forgives Tom Cat for his mistakes.  Both my son and I loved the little cheeky details, humor, and fun little world that the author illustrator created in this book.

dig-dig-digging

Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo is one of the few books we have that we have bought twice. Our first copy was so well loved that we knew when it could not be read anymore that it would be immediately replaced. This book is imbedded in my brain ( and heart) because both my children have gone through a phase where it’s their absolute favorite. The book takes readers through different vehicles like firetrucks, rescue helicopters and of course bulldozers. The text is repetitive and will get stuck in your head for days but it’s OK because your kids will recite it along with you.

tomas

Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora was another really touching book about the difference a library and caring librarian can make in the life of a child. Tomas’s parents are migrant workers and in the summer they travel from Texas to Iowa to work the fields for the summer. While in Iowa Tomas discovers the local library and befriends the librarian who signs books out on her own card for him. He reads all summer, shares the books with his family and develops a love of reading because someone took the time to reach out. I loved this book and so did my son who was interested in the story but much more interested in learning more about migrant workers and what being poor is like. We have had very interesting conversations about these topics since. I love it when a book does that.

Delivering Your Mail: A Book About Mail Carriers by Ann Owen is a simple book about being a mail carrier. The text is to the point and perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers learning about mail carriers for the first time. It focuses on not just what the mail carriers do but how it impacts the reader, which is paramount for young children who see the world through their perspective only. Cute beginner book!

Firefighter FrankFirefighter Frank by Monica Wellington was a huge score at the library. My son and I both love this author/illustrator and have read many of her books , but this one has never been available, and I can see why. The author has a knack for sharing information with her readers in a fun, simple way that is perfect for preschoolers. This book is no exception to her other great books. I particularly enjoy some of the vocabulary she uses in this book about Firefighter Frank, words like shrill, intense, and exhausted. They aren’t obscure words but they are not often seen in books geared to those as young as this one, and the context is supportive so that even a young child can help decipher the meaning of the words. The book itself tells a simple( and common) story but between the author’s ability to tell the story better than other authors, and the bright and beautiful illustrations this books stands out from the firefighter crowd.

george

Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margaret and H.A. Rey .  I adored this book as a child and even though hospitals have changed a lot since this book was written the story still rings true.  I remember reading this book before having to go to the hospital as a child and finding comfort in it. George gets into some trouble with a puzzle and ends up in the hospital with a bad tummy ache. It turns out that he swallowed a piece! The meat of the story is really the inside look at what happens in a hospital and how it’s really nothing to be afraid of.  It’s a great book to read when you need to calm fears before a hospital stay. I am not the only fan of this book in our house in fact it’s one of my three year old daughter’s favorite books right now .

Calling All Cars

City Adventures, No. 3: Calling All Cars! (Lego Reader, Level 1) by Sonia Sander was the first Lego book we checked out from the library a while back. We quickly bought the book because when my son was learning to read he could read this one  without any help.  The story is a simple one about a bank robber and the police that must save the day. Stories like this really appeal to young kids because they are so black and white. The bad guy stole money , now the good guy will get him! What I love about them is that they involve him even more in the Lego world, and after reading he does go and create more.

trashy town

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha is my favorite garbage truck book , and yes I have read a lot. Mr. Gilly is a hard working garbage man with one task, to clean up Trashy town. The text is so melodic I find myself singing while reading ” Dump it in, Smash it down, drive around the trashy town” . It’s not all trashy time for Mr. Gilly though, after a hard days work cleaning up Trashy town he gets into his bubble bath ! My son loves that this big garbage collector has a bath just like him. Super sweet and colorful book that explains garbage collection is a nice way.

Earth Day Books

earth day books Earth Day is April 22nd but these books work year round. They focus on real ways kids can change their habits and help the environment, on how and why we should recycle and provide cautionary tales about what could happen if we don’t. Earth day books ? Yes but they are everyday books too.

All book lists include affiliate links.

Don't Pollute (anymore)

The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (Anymore) by Stan and Jan Berenstain provides an excellent overview of a whole bunch of concerns for our world. It touches on recycling, deforestation, air pollution and more. The text would be far too long for the younger crowd but Kindergarten on up would be an appropriate age range for an unedited reading.

plasticbottle

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches is awesome! I only wish that my son was old enough to enjoy it as much as I did. It’s not aimed at 2 year olds at all, but he did like to open it to the page with the recycling truck and point out all the parts to me. The book itself takes the reader through the complete process from crude oil, to bottle and then to synthetic fleece. I am not too proud to admit I learned s a few new things and had a few good laughs along the way with the books little bits of humor too. I think most 5 year olds would enjoy this book, and it’s easy to break it down for those unable to sit for this much text. Also the book was printed on 100% post consumer waste paper.

why do we recycle

Little Pirate: Why Do We Recycle? by Innovative Kids is a really fun book about recycling with a pirate theme. Yes a pirate theme. Readers learn about recycling, composting and garbage along with two young pirates who need to clean up their ship. The pirates ask questions about different waste and the wise parrot fills them into the facts like the best bag to use while shopping is a cloth one, and what happens to the metal, glass and paper after we put them in the recycle bin.

The Whole Green World

The Whole Green World by Tony Johnston was an unexpected hit with my son.  Today reading it he learned that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, he saw the book in our pile to read and wasn’t taken with it, but I suggested maybe just reading the first page and he was hooked. The book is really about appreciating the whole world, from the view point of a little girl who grabs some seeds, plants them , waters them and savors the beauty all around her. My son loved the sing song text and the ultra detailed illustrations by Elisa Kleven. Which my son would study with every turn of the page asking me ” Mommy which bird? Which book? Which cake is your favorite?” making reference to the illustrations . It was a wonderful book to snuggle up with !

it-s-earth-day

It’s Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer . In this book in the Little Critter series, we follow along as Little Critter tries to make a climate change machine to reverse the effects of global warming. Along the way other green choices are explained like taking the school bus instead of each child being driven in their own cars, not letter water run, and the three Rs.

dinosaur woods

Dinosaur Woods by George McClements was my favorite pick from our latest library trip. I laughed all the way through this book because of it’s snide remarks and funny asides . I made a huge mistake though, I told my son how hilarious it was and oversold it to him. The humor went right over his 5 year old head. Oops! Luckily the story is great on it’s own . It’s about a bunch of forest friends who are trying to save their home from developers and get a great idea to make a dinosaur since no one would ever take a home away from a dinosaur. It’s really a book about conservation but it’s funny ( I stand by that) and sweet and a new favorite of mine.

EcoMazes

 EcoMazes by Roxie Munro is a book that was sent to me by the publisher for review. The idea of this book is to showcase different ecosystems like wetlands, the tundra, desert and more through both a maze and search and find game. This book is not designed for preschoolers although my son loves it. We do the maze together as that is far too complicated for him, but he loves to find the animals on each page and has learned a lot about them too. What is awesome for older children ( 7-10) is that along with an answer key to the maze and pictures there is a full page of information about each ecosystem in the back of the book. This doesn’t talk down to the reader and gives great information using sophisticated vocabulary.

the earth book

The EARTH Book by Todd Parr is a great Earth Day book for preschoolers and young elementary aged kids. It focuses on small everyday steps kids can take to help the environment as well as how these little everyday measures help. The way the text is written it begs for discussion whether you are reading it to a class of 25 or in bed with your only child. Add om Parr’s wonderfully whimsical, bright, bold illustrations and you have a super Earth Day book.

Seuss Activities - The Lorax

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is a classic book about conservation. The rhymes will enchant you but it’s really not a book for preschoolers. Some preschoolers will sit for it but it’s a long book and a great pick for school age kids. If you aren’t familiar with it has a dark beginning and then as the story progresses it’s cautionary tale takes shape. It’s hard to try to explain to young kids how protecting the environment isn’t just a nice thing to do but a responsibility we have and this book helps get that point across.

love your world

Love Your World by Dawn Sirett is a how to manual for kids who want to be good environmentally responsible citizens of the earth. The text is lack luster at times but the message , tips and overall presentation is still worthwhile . It is a little longer and doesn’t have a warm fuzzy story book feel but would be great to kick start a unit of teaching for 4-8 year olds about conservation.

barbapapa

Barbapapa’s Ark by Annette Tison is a childhood favorite of mine and has a definite vintage flair to it but the bones are strong. The story is about how the gentle Barbapapas protect sick and hunted animals providing them with refuge eventually taking them on a rocket ship to another planet until Earth can be cleaned up.

Trash and Recycling

Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of  recyclable garbage from this book!

Gabby and Grandma go green

Gabby and Grandma Go Green by Monica Wellington is another wonderful book from one of our favorite authors. In the book Gabby and her Grandma spend a day together  dedicated to going green. First making a great reusable bag and then using it all around town. I love that they go to the library and that is portrayed as a way to go green as well as a place to learn more about environmental efforts. Also showing ways to make a difference at the grocery store is perfect for young kids who are often tagging a long with parents on these errands. I can’t end the review without also mentioning the baby sibling who is sleeping in a sling at the end of the book , I love seeing baby wearing in books!  This is a great environment themed book that works all year round not just for Earth Day.

earthdaybigearth

Big Earth, Little Meby Thom Wiley is a cute introduction into an environmental theme for toddlers. The book is a lift the flap format and the pages are extra sturdy for fumbly toddler fingers. I love the illustrations by Kate Endle they bring the super simple text to life, and get across the point that even little kids can help the earth. I read this last night to my almost four year old who loved it still.