“It’s Snowing!” by Olivier Dunrea is a beautiful book , that I read twice in a row because I just loved the magical flow of it and the stunning art work. My son was not too interested which doesn’t surprise me , the story is slow and I should have introduced it at bedtime for someone as young as he is. It is definitely worth a look and I am looking forward to reading this again when my son can sit a little longer and is interested in something other than bulldozers and dump trucks.
“Stella : Queen Of The Snow” by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.
We shouldn’t teach great books;
we should teach a love of reading.
– B.F. Skinner
I love doing dynamic learning activities, using all different senses, textures, materials but the one thing that all of us must be doing with our children is reading. I am not talking about teaching letter recognition or phonics right now I am just talking about instilling a love of reading, and the wonderful places books can take you! After a busy week a friendly reminder about how important turning off the tv, closing the laptop and snuggling in with a few books is exactly what I need. Here are a few books that are favorites of mine.
“Wemberly Worried” by Kevin Henkes is a favorite of mine, the author has real talent for identifying with children’s emotions and he doesn’t skip a beat with this book. Wemberly is a little mouse who worries all the time, everything makes her sick with worry and nothing as much as the first day of school! What I love about this book is how her parents seem so supportive and caring about her anxiety, and how it still takes a little time for Wemberly to warm up to school, it’s realistic. Also check out the details in the illustrations, my favorite is grandma’s high top sneakers!
“The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz . You may know Karen Katz from her very popular board books, but she has written a number of great picture books too! Lena is learning about mixing colors with her artist mom when she announces that “brown is brown” her mom knows better though. On a walk around her neighborhood she sees that all the people she knows are all different and all beautiful shades of brown. What I like about this book is that it recognizes that we are all different, kids , especially little ones can be really confused when we tell them “We are all the same” they don’t understand what we mean because they can SEE that we aren’t. This book celebrates the diversity while also celebrating the beauty of each color of us.
” the alphabet tree” by Leo Lionni is a stunning book and the first time I read it to a class , at the start if the Iraq conflict was rather poignant. The book is all about letters that come together to make words and then after a caterpillar informs them that they need to say something they join together to make sentences. Up to this point the book is a brilliant teaching tool , but for me the best part is yet to come. When the words get together they decide to say ” Peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and then the caterpillar asks them to jump on his back so he can take the words to the president . Considering it was written in 1968 it’s quite the statement. A fantastic activity to do with your child after reading this would be to ask them what they would write to the president ? For younger children using letters on leaves you could spell out easy 3 letter words like they do early on in the story. All in all a brilliant book.
Cuddle Up With
I want you all to have plenty of time to check these books out of your local library, so even though it’s not yet December this is just the tip of the holiday book iceberg.
” Hurry, Santa!” by Julia Sykes is an okay book. I wanted to like it more than I did. The pictures are cute, the idea of Santa being late for Christmas morning has a lot of potential and the author tried but it just never gelled for me. I would still check it out from the library and test it out with your child, but I won’t be adding this to my must buy list.
“McDuff’s New Friend” by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story .
” A Plump and Perky Turkey “ by Teresa Bateman is such a cute and funny book about a town that needs a turkey and the lengths they go to to find one. The town is sadly outwitted by the turkey and end up eating shredded wheat for thanksgiving. The illustrations kept my little man interested even though the story’s humor was above his head.
“The First Thanksgiving Day : A Counting Story” by Laura Krauss Melmed is a stunning gem of a book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it before, normally great books like this go through teaching circles like wildfire. The book has so many layers it will keep toddlers and preschoolers alike busy and engaged. The text explains the first Thanksgiving while counting 1-10 in rhyming poetry and the illustrations by Mark Buehner have hidden treasures, see if you can find them! After I return this to the library, I will be buying it for sure!
” Thanksgiving is for giving thanks” by Margaret Sutherland is book that explains what Thanksgiving is, and gives lots of examples of things to be thankful for. I like this book although I could go without the page where the narrator is thankful for lollipops, all the other things are wonderful like a teacher’s encouragement, grandma’s hugs, and sunny days and to me the lollipops sorta fall flat. Easily skipped over if you are not keen on it but the book as a whole is valuable teaching tool about thanksgiving.
“Dem Bones” by Bob Barner is sort of two books in one. The superficial layer uses the words of the ever popular old time spiritual with fun Halloween inspired skelleton illustrations. There is also a second layer that has longer text for older children that goes into the anatomy of the bones the song sings about. Great way to keep a Halloween theme strong while teaching about the human body!
” Big Pumpkin” by Erica Silverman is a staple in most preschool classrooms. It’s a cute story about a witch who is desperate for pumpkin pie but her giant pumpkin is too big for her to pick up! Luckily she enlists the help of a ghost, vampire, mummy and bat and with a little teamwork they save the night! The rhyming text is almost like a song and kids love it!