Books About Space

space books for kids There is something completely magical about space. I don’t think I have ever met a child who didn’t have at least a small interest in the subject. For me space is a wonderful gateway into science for young kids as well as a fun theme for fictional stories. Here are 16 books about space we have reviewed. Some are great and some are a little odd… but odd isn’t always bad.

All our book lists include affiliate links.

draw me a star

Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a christian view point , to me it’s about the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star , and hits all the right points in between.

Comets

Comets by Melanie Chrismer surprised me. This little book was not only full of facts about comets but it also kept my 3 year old’s attention from cover to cover. The facts are simple, and presented in small bits with illustrations . The straightforward approach was perfect to support an introductory activity about comets.

math books for preschoolers

On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations , simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!

Stargazers

Stargazers by Gail Gibbons is a good choice of book to teach about stars, constellations, telescopes, and more.  My son sat listening to this book and every now and then was engaged but it was a bit lengthy and a little too in depth for him ( he was almost 3 at the time of reading) however the book is great , it explains complicated scientific information in a really accessible way.  I even learned a few new things about telescopes!

how to catch a star

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers is a sweet story about a little boy who wants a star of his own. I loved the bright and simplistic illustrations and the message about holding on to your dreams, working for them and figuring out that sometimes things come to you in packages you don’t expect. Great book!

the way back home

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy , a martian, and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique and the emotions he manages to convey are amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the feeling we all have when it’s time to say goodbye to something we don’t want to let go of. Grab anything written by this author and you will be happy!

Hush Little Alien

Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk is a quirky updated version of the classic lullaby. So many bedtime books are super sugary but this one is funky and bright! I love the space theme and the illustrations are great! The rhymes are funny and kept my son interested in the lullaby much longer than the traditional one which he deems a “baby song”.

spaceboy

Space Boy by Leo Landry is a sweet book about a little boy who needs to get away from everything at home so he climbs in his rocket and blasts off. I think we can all relate to this story, having to escape from the annoying things in our life for some alone time, if only we all had rockets the moon would be a busy getaway. The book started off really simply , then a few pages in the middle had much more text which was hard for my toddler, who’s interest was lost. I rounded him back up , skipped a few lines and we finished and enjoyed the book.

if you decide to go to the moon

If You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty was not what I expected, but what is that they say about judging a book by it’s cover? Yeah. I enjoyed the book but it was really long, even I was sorta wondering ” How much more?” half way through. However when I finished the book I was glad I read it all and the huge amount of information inside. The book is truly packed with information about space travel and the environment on the moon, for 3-4 year olds I would read it in parts, perhaps throughout the same day but I don’t think many would sit with full attention for this whole book. Older kids should have no problem especially if they are interested in space. Older children will also appreciate the message that we need to keep Earth healthy so our planet remains vibrant and full of life and not cold, dusty, and still like the moon.

Another Day In the milky way

Another Day in the Milky Way by David Milgrim made me giggle. The story is about a little boy who is stranded on a weird planet where things are very strange and he doesn’t know how to get home. It’s never scary because it’s simply too weird to ever get scary. People with too many arms, donkeys and chickens dressed as horses, and finally the realization that it’s all a dream.  The humor was rather dry although kids will probably take it as goofy . My favorite part was the little alien dog that transforms into a regular one in the end of the book when the little boy wakes up.

Our Stars

Our Stars by Anne Rockwell is another wonderful non fiction book from this author illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets, and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddler’s head you can simply skip that page, until they are ready for more facts. The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.

the moon might be milk

The Moon Might Be Milk by Lisa Shulman follows a little girl and her animal friends as they all share their opinions of what the moon is made out of. While reading this with my son years ago he kept saying “No no not milk, shaving cream!”  because we’d just made our shaving cream moon craft. The story has a cute ending and I like how no opinion is made fun of or wrong. When I asked my son what he liked about the book he ignored the moon and said “The cat”. There you have it, a cute book about a moon but the cat stole the show.

moon

Night Goes By by Kate Spohn is a book that explains how the sun goes down and the moon comes out and the cycle continues. The sun, moon, and a star are all very cheery and enjoy their lots in life. The star and moon play all night! The book is simple and while I wasn’t too into it, my son who was almost 3 when we read it really liked it. I would suggest it for toddlers and young preschoolers.

themoon

The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Tracy Campbell Pearson is a beautiful book. The poem was written in the 19th century but my two year old loved it paired with these stunning and warm illustrations of a family’s adventures at night. I really am so impressed with how well the words were put to life by the pictures, and my son loved it. It’s inspired me to find more classical literature and poetry to share with my son.

A is For Astronaut

A Is for Astronaut: Exploring Space from A to Z by Traci N. Todd is a typical themed alphabet book that is atypically funky. The vintage illustrations and historical photos from NASA makes this book stand out from other similar books. Each letter represents a number of space related items and the historical photos are so powerful in this because it bridges the gap from being a story to being information that children are eager to dive into further. There is something so powerful about a photograph to make that connection that this really happened, these guys really walked on the moon in ” the olden days” as my son calls any time before his birth in 2006.

moon man tomi ungerer

Moon Man by Tomi Ungerer is an odd, heartwarming, entertaining story. My son loves this story about the man on the moon who wants to be a part of the action on earth and decides to visit himself. Of course as is the custom on earth we are afraid of outsiders and he is thrown in jail. Luckily as he goes through the phases he manages to slip out through the bars.He finds someone to help him return home where he belongs, even though he is sad to go. I couldn’t help but think of ET… but that’s just me.

Picture Books About Immigration

books about immigration I am an immigrant. My transition from my home country of Canada to the US was not traumatic but it wasn’t a walk in the park either. There are differences, there are adjustments and there are the blank stares when I say something like ” She dropped her soother.” to another mom at the park and realize after the awkward silence that I should have said pacifier or binky. Times like that make you feel different from everyone else.  I know that as far as immigrating goes I have had it easy. That makes me even more passionate about opening children up to stories about immigration and adjusting to life in a new country. These picture books are all wonderful. Most are specifically about immigration while others are about children who are trying to balance the two often conflicting cultures in their life.

Our book lists contain affiliate links.

How many days to america

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Storyby Eve Bunting made my heart beat fast and stomach tie in knots. I was so worried for the young family that was fleeing their homeland in a small fishing boat. The book doesn’t tell you exactly where the family is from although it seems like they are from somewhere in the Caribbean. What it does do is provide readers with a sense of the urgency, sadness, and the trials along the way when you are a refugee.

Greenapple

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting is a treat. Sometimes learning about the world means learning about people next door to us.  The book is not about apples really at all, instead it’s about Farrah a little Muslim girl who has come to the United States from an unnamed country and her first day at school. The day is spent on a field trip to an orchard , where the children picked apples and made apple cider.The melting pot analogy is turned into an apple cider one as all the children throw their apples in and work together to press it into cider, even Farrah helps.

The Name Jar

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi is such a lovely book. The main character is Unhei a little girl who has just immigrated from Korea. She is trying to decide on an easy to pronounce American name and her new class helps by offering up suggestions and places them in a name jar. As she gets used to her new surroundings and develops friendships she realizes she doesn’t need an American name after all.  I really loved this book because there are so many great lessons about being yourself, about being supportive of friends and about being brave in new situations.

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.the blessing cup

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco made me cry. This book is the story of the author’s great grandmother and her family fleeing Russia as a child during the progroms. There are scary bits when the Czar’s soldiers are attacking the synagog but they are imperative to read. If you decide to read this story with your children you can’t leave them out. The brutality isn’t graphic but it’s important for children to understand why the family had to leave Russia. The goodness they encounter on their way to America will take your breath away and the tea cup that comes to represent this will make you look at your mom’s fine china in a different light. This book is long but appropriately so, I would share it with children in kindergarten or older who can have thoughtful conversations about such a thoughtful book.

My name is yoon

My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits is a book about a little girl from Korea who is adjusting to her new life in America. When her father shows her how to spell her name in English she doesn’t like how it looks. It’s different, just like she is in her new country. At school she doesn’t write her name even though she is able, instead she experiments with other words wondering how her teacher will react when she does. Her teacher is patient and Yoon eventually decides that while her name may look different it is still her name and still has the same meaning. The illustrations have an amazing dreamlike perspective to them and balance out the big emotions in the text.

suki

Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki has been on my shelf for years. I really really like this book, the message is fantastic! Suki loves her Kimono, she doesn’t care that her sisters think it’s not cool to wear traditional clothes to school, her grandma gave it to her and she likes it. I love that she is depicted as confident but not 100% sure of herself, it allows readers to really connect, recognizing those times when we are putting up a brave face even if inside we aren’t so sure. Being yourself is hard and the author connects to that while still creating a strong lovely heroine.

Grandfather's Journey

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say is a lovely book that combines simple text with breathtaking illustrations to immerse readers into its story. The story is about a young man in Japan who goes off to see the world. He sees many things, meets many people and decides to settle in California. Eventually his heart brings him and his family back home to Japan and the war changes their lives yet again. His stories of California inspires his own grandson to travel and after he does he understands his grandfather’s longing for both places. I think this is such an important point. Immigrants don’t lose the love of their homeland just because they have made another country their home. It’s a complex experience but this book nailed it.

Angel Child dragon child

Angel Child, Dragon Child by Michele Maria Surat is a heart wrenching and honest look at the struggles of a young girl from Vietnam as she goes to school in America. The story talks about her mother being far away and as a reader you think that maybe it’s because she is back visiting family in Vietnam. After being put in detention for fighting with a bully it comes out that they didn’t have enough money for all the children and mom to join their father. The bully turned friend helps raise money to bring her mom to America so the family can be reunited. It’s a great lesson for children about being empathetic and realizing that others may be facing struggles much greater than they let on.

apple pie fourth of july

Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong is an awesome book. I am always awed by authors who can tackle complicated “adult” issues in the pages of a children’s book successfully. In this case the issue is first generation identity and immigration, at least that’s my take. The little girl in this book is sulking around her parent’s store on the 4th of July. They are busy making Chinese food for customers she is sure won’t come, she wonders who would want Chinese food on such an American holiday? Of course there are layers about her connection to her ancestral culture and her own national pride. As a proud owner of a green card and a Canadian passport I relate to this story and think there are many children who will as well.

all the way

All the Way to America by Dan Yaccarino is a wonderful story about immigration and family tradition. My kids both liked the story of the Yaccariono family and how they came to settle in America from Italy. Throughout the story there is one little shovel that gets used for all different things generation after generation. It’s a great symbol for how family roots can stay strong even if how we express them changes. I liked being able to compare it to my own immigration to the United States and how different it was for me in 2003 vs the author’s great grandfather over a hundred years earlier. Good book to talk about how people came to the United States and why people move from country to country.

Books About Santa

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christmas books for kids

I love Santa. My kids love Santa and nothing gets us more excited for his arrival than books. Here are some of our very favorite books about Santa to share with your kids. All books lists include affiliate links.

Babar and Father Christmas

Babar and Father Christmas  by Jean De Brunhoff was one of my very favorite Christmas stories as a child. As an adult I have had some great belly laughs at some of it’s writing .Babar books in general beg to be pre read , just trust me. In this book  Babar goes looking for Father Christmas because he wants to ask him to visit Elephant country. He searches all over Paris and finally ends up in the North Pole and finds after much effort Father Christmas. I love the details in this book, as a child I would lay looking at the pictures of Santa’s workshop and imagine what visiting it would be like. As an adult I appreciate the smallest details like how Father Christmas’s flying machine ( not a sled) has P.N #1 on it , meaning of course Pere Noel #1.

Peter Claus

Peter Claus and the Naughty List by Lawrence David. Peter Claus hopes to follow in his dad’s footsteps someday. But then he ended up on the naughty list. Peter doesn’t think the naughty list is fair. He takes his dad’s sleigh and gathers all the kids on the list and bring them to the North Pole to explain to Santa why they did some of the not so nice things. One-by-one Santa takes the kids home while listening to their tales. He agrees if the kids do one nice thing to make up for a naughty thing they still might find a gift under the Christmas tree. This is a great story that realizes it’s hard to be good all the time, but that doesn’t make them bad. ‘All people do naughty things once in a while. It can’t be helped,” Santa explained. “Saying you’re sorry is what matters most.” ( review by Carrie Anne )

guess_whos_coming

Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? by Tomie dePaola is a funny book about the classic family gathering. I don’t know about you but our family Christmas dinners were more comical than Norman Rockwell and I related so well to all the different family personalities, and quirks. My son thought the fact that one of Santa’s friends brought a polar bear was hilarious, but was perplexed by the absence of any elves.  I like that Santa is exhausted by his family but in the end happy he hosted such a large family gathering.  My son liked it, and loved the illustrations  but it is a longer book so take a flip through it to see if your child is ready yet.

Oh-What-a-Christmas-282x263

Oh, What a Christmas!by Micheal Garland is a sweet story about how Santa made do when the unexpected happened. As we all know reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh but when the reins break and Santa comes crashing down they are nowhere to be seen! Luckily a rag tag group of farm animals step in and save the day. The message that it’s not the reindeer but rather the magic that makes the difference is loud and clear . I like how this book can also open a dialog about how even special days can have unexpected bumps and you make do with what you have , just like Santa in this story.Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning by Cheryl Ryan Harshman  wasn’t what I expected , it was more. It’s written in the spirit of ” The House That Jack Built” and the text builds and builds starting with snow falling on a house as children sleep and ending with Christmas morning. What I wasn’t expecting is that the author tells the story of The Nutcracker , albeit a very simplistic version, in the rhyming text as well.  The illustrations of the Rat King is a little frightening but nothing that will prevent you from reading it.

How Santa Got His Job

How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practical story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job.  It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he acquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty,  develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig!  There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book  jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!

Santa Duck Cover

Santa Duck and His Merry Helpers by David Milgrim is really funny. Santa duck is the duck liaison to Santa and he goes around to find out what all the other ducks want for Christmas. His younger siblings want in on the action too and start telling ducks that they can get them bigger and better gifts in an effort to out Santa Santa Duck.  Santa Duck explains that bigger and better gifts is not what Christmas is about . Christmas is about giving and sharing with your family. My son who is 6 and I both laughed at the smart alec ducks and while rude and annoying in many ways they were right when they said Santa Duck was hogging all the fun by being the only duck allowed to dress as Santa and be his helper.  Cute book !

Santa Kid

Santa Kid by James Patterson is a favorite library book in our house this year . My son inherited his love and curiosity of the inner workings of the North Pole from me and this book feeds that wonder. It also taps into something preschoolers are often seeking, power and a voice that gets heard. In the story Santa’s daughter saves the North Pole and Christmas from a corporate take over. I liked this book, and my son did too. It doesn’t focus on the religious celebration but rather on Santa and it doesn’t take a very sophisticated kid to know it’s make believe, 3 pages in my son said ” Mommy, this is a made up story right? Santa isn’t a regular Daddy, that’s silly!”  What it does is focuses on giving kids power to save something. Maybe it’s just my 4 year old but he spends all day pretending to save the day and this book spoke right to that desire to be powerful and good!

Santasaurus

Santasaurus by Niamh Sharkey is my new favorite Christmas book.  It’s perfect for all the dinosaur crazy kids and ones not even into dinosaurs will still enjoy the sweet story. Ollie, Molly and Milo are dino siblings who are getting prepared for Christmas by making decorations, eating treats and writing letters to Santasaurus. Milo asks for a trip on Santasaurus’s sleigh and on Christmas Eve he sneaks down to find Santasaurus waiting for him. I love this book because as a child I couldn’t think of anything more magical than going with Santa on his sleigh, well maybe hanging out in his toy shop, either way this brought back that wonder. The illustrations are bright , fun and add to the magical feeling of this book.

How Santa Really Works

How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow is a great book to go along with this activity. The book is styled as an expose about how Santa and his many many elves get all the work for Christmas done. I will caution you now that this is a long book, with even longer asides. I made my son head up to bed with me and the book early in order to get it read and still have time to chat about it after. I love the “insider” feel about this book and so did my son. There were many asides that made both of us giggle especially the comment about how many requests Santa gets for ponies each year. I loved that it encouraged kids to write to Santa but I have to say I sorta miss that it didn’t include much about magic. Still I can’t tell you how much my son loved this book ( I knew he would) and how impressed I was when he asked me if I thought this was how it worked. That opened a great discussion about how we imagine the North Pole and how stories and movies are just one person’s imagination and no one knows the truth .

hurry santa 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

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-Small-Christmas

A Small Christmas by Wong Herbert Yee is about as perfect a Christmas book as my son could ever read. My son is obsessed with firefighters, he rescues his baby sister all day long and the sound of sirens are pretty much a given day or night in our house. Fireman Small is a tiny firefighter that children immediately relate to because he is little. His heart is big though and so is his courage. In this installment though it’s not a fire he rushes to but Santa’s aid.  Your child doesn’t need to be as nuts about firefighters as my son is to enjoy this sweet holiday book.

What book about Santa is a favorite at your house?

 

Books About Music For Kids

books about music for kidsMusic is so much more than entertainment. The connection between music lessons and better performance on IQ tests has been accepted for a long time in the education world. My focus is not on boosting my kids IQ by 7 points so much as offering them rich and diverse experiences with hopes that something will strike their fancy and turn into a passion or pastime. Learning to play an instrument takes dedication and for me that alone is a wonderful take away. Books are a great place to start exploring different instruments with very young kids from the comfort of your own home. If you live in an area with a symphony check to see when they might have child friendly performances and workshops to see the instruments in action.

Here are 15 books about music for kids to check out at your house. The book title will take you to Amazon.com via an affiliate link.

Tuba Lessons by T.C. Bartlett is a book about a little boy walking to his tuba lesson and all the things he encounters along the way. The book has very limited text but tells a sweet story perfectly  without it. Younger children will need a parent to help spark the story with questions about what’s happening but even my 2 year old clued into the music notes getting bigger when there was a louder sound and smaller when it was quiet. Grab it and see what I am talking about.

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt is my new favorite book. The book updates the classic children’s song “This Old Man” and inserts all different men in a jazz band, however at the end of the book it explains that each jazz man is actually a real person including Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and more! I love the bios at the end of the book because I want to learn more about jazz too. OK back to the book, the book itself is a counting book,and my son eats it up, he loves calling out the number and instrument as I read the rhyme. He has had me read it countless times today and I haven’t minded one bit,the pictures by R.G. Roth are adorable, and all in all I just love this book!

I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara S. Garriel was an instant favorite with my son. The text is a reworked version of “An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly” but this guy has a hankering for musical instruments. My son giggled through the book, and was very adamant that no one could swallow a harp but this fellow did ! I liked this book because it’s a fun and absurd, as well as educational. If your wee one is as into instruments as mine, you have to read this book.

 

Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes is a good resource for teaching about musical instruments. The book goes through many instruments found in an orchestra with a sizable description for each. Animals are used for the musicians and my son thought that was funny and actually learned a bit about them as well. It was really too long for us to sit and read cover to cover but it’s easy to break up and read one or two instruments at a time if it’s too much for your child in one sitting. Also there is some figurative language that young kids will not get at all. Helpful for teaching but I don’t expect it to become a favorite to snuggle up with.

Edited: This has been the bedtime book of choice for over two weeks now, I take back my comment about it not being one to snuggle up with!

Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora is a simple but profound book about one little boy’s dreams. Ben loves jazz, his favorite is the trumpet and he spends much time alone playing his imaginary trumpet and listening at the door of a local jazz club. When other kids make fun of his imaginary trumpet he stops playing, that is until the trumpeter himself steps in. I like this book and as a mom of a little boy who plays an imaginary trumpet often I love that it gave him something to relate to and confirm that dreaming and imagining is good for the soul.

Music over Manhattan by Mark Karlins was longer than I expected but when I read it to my very overtired , no nap today 2 year old he happily listened and pointed out the instruments, and sky scrappers. The story is about a little boy who is overshadowed by his high achieving and nauseating cousin. A musician uncle plants the love of music in him and he strives to become as good as his uncle who floats in the air when he plays. Something I loved about this book was that the little boy works very hard, he practices all the time ,and slowly gets better. He had talent to start with but still had to work hard to achieve his goal. A great lesson for all children.

punk farm

Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka . I wanted to love this book but it was just meh. I like the idea for it very much and some of the details were hilarious like horse acting as a bouncer for the punk show but the meat of the book just didn’t do it for me. Most of the book is a variation of Old MacDonald with different instrument sounds and by the second animal I was so over singing this song, maybe I just don’t like that song… I have been teased with it most of my life.  My kids liked the book and we all loved the illustrations.

m is for music

by Kathleen Krull is a wonderful book, however it’s style and illustrations by Stacy Innerst while funky aren’t as literal as I had hoped. This isn’t an issue for older children at all, and I really enjoyed the book but the nuanced illustrations were just too hard for a toddler to make the connections . My son still liked many of the pages especially the G is for guitar one. I would use this book for teaching about music more so than as an alphabet book teaching letters.

Mole Music

Mole Music by David McPhail is a beautiful book about the power of music, trying hard ,and not giving up on your dreams.  The story is about a mole who sees a violin on TV one day and decides to get his own and play. He is terrible at first but sticks with it. His music becomes beautiful, and over the years he thinks only he can hear and enjoy it. In reality his music is nourishing a grand tree above the ground that serves roles in great things including as a mediator in a battle where both sides end up coming to a peaceful agreement instead of warfare. Now yes I think that one little mole’s music ending a war is a rather large statement but if you break it down, music and the arts are vital and do transform people’s lives the way they transformed Mole’s.  My favorite part is in one illustration Mole is playing and in another tunnel you can see his old TV discarded and tipped over, I like that message.

Sunny

Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman  is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground.  My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the Broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.

zin zin zin a violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduces musical instruments with it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the backseat with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .

max-found-two-sticks

Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney is a great book for any kid that likes to drums or stick, or drum sticks. So that pretty much means all kids. Max isn’t a talker but he can express all sorts of things by thumping and banging the sticks he finds on different things. I like how he imitates the changing sounds in his environment and my son loved the marching band . Great tool for teaching about sounds, music ,and self expression.

moose music

Moose Music by Sue Porter is a goofy book about how what might sound like a racket to you, may indeed be music to other ears. Moose finds a violin in the mid and picks it up, and plays it. The sound is not music to the animals and people in the forest. They get angry, they threaten to chase him, and he doesn’t stick around. He doesn’t stop playing though he plays with all his heart and finally someone appreciates it. My son thought this book was hilarious . It’s a cute lesson about following your heart even in the face of adversity.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane by Carol Boston Weatherford is a fascinating book for my son who discovered “Johnny Coltrane” on YouTube while asking me about saxophones a year ago. What I like about this book is that it allows young children to relate to someone so inaccessible, and untouchable like John Coltrane. My son immediately grabbed onto the idea that is explained in the book that all the sounds and music Coltrane heard as a child turned into music he played later on. Later that day we got into a deep and very long winded “Is that music Mama?” conversation and I wasn’t always sure what to say. I wasn’t expecting to get stumped by his questions so soon. Either way when a book sparks questions like that it’s a keeper!

jazz baby

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler had my son clapping and be bopping in his jammies before bed. This book is so fun to read, the musical words are impossible not to dance to. My son loves jazz, and his only disappointment was that there were no trumpets in the book. He didn’t understand that the family in the book , which included grandparents, aunts , uncles and cousins were listening to a record. I tried to tell him it was like a cd but the illustration was clearly a record player and he wasn’t buying it. Still we loved this book , the family was loving and I loved that the older brother was holding the baby, not common in kids books to see a boy holding a baby. Great book even without a trumpet.

Fall Board Books

fall books for kids The leaves are already changing on our trees outside so I thought it was time for a good fall book round up. These aren’t just any old books there are great fall books for babies and toddlers because they are all board books. Yes they are bulky but they are also chunky enough for not so nimble hands to hold and strong enough to stand up to your toddler who like to chew things like books. Here are some of our favorite fall board books.

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Big Fat Hen

Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker is a cute little counting book that has a few layers of reading and learning in it’s pages. The text is the familiar 1, 2, buckle my shoe rhyme but it’s the illustrations that will blow you away. They are so autumnal and they also correspond to each number in the rhyme. My 3 year old and I had a great time trying to find the items then count each one. While the text doesn’t speak of fall specifically the colors and illustrations will make you feel like you are visiting a farm in autumn.

halloween books

Maisy’s Halloween by Lucy Cousins is a cute board book for toddlers that follows Maisy’s search for the right Halloween costume. There is something about this little mouse that children just love. My daughter will reach for a Maisy book over just about any other if given a choice. The story is also a cute introduction about the fun we have dressing up for Halloween.

InMyTree

In My Tree by Sara Gillingham is such a sweet book I wish my daughter would let me read it to her . The book is all about a little owl and what that owl does in it’s tree. The novelty is that the pages have cut outs in them and the owl is a finger puppet that is in the middle of the cut outs . My daughter who at the moment is 6 months old, only wants to grab and try to bite the owl. Do not let this turn you off, it’s such a pretty little book and my 4 year old loved it. Perhaps when my daughter is done teething I will read it to her again! UPDATE Now that my daughter is 3 she thinks this is a great book and no longer tries to chomp down on the owl.

where_is_babys_pumpkin-300x300

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?by Karen Katz. Is a Halloween favorite at our house and has been for years. I don’t think the book has ever been really put away since buying it when my son was a toddler. Karen Katz’s lift the flap books are more than just cute , the flaps and different textures keep little hands busy and little bodies calm enough to sit for the whole book.

it's pumpkin day mouse

It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse! (If You Give…) by Laura Numeroff is a Halloween themed book about emotions. Mouse is busy painting his pumpkins and paints different faces representing different emotions on each. This is a great little book that gives parents a wonderful opener to talk about different emotions when things are calm. There is one scary pumpkin but I doubt it will frighten any readers.

my little pumpkin pie

You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie by Amy E. Sklansky is a cozy book that will have you craving a pumpkin spice latte for sure. It’s simple rhyming text is a good length for toddlers but older preschoolers will enjoy it as well. The books shows babies and their parent(s) in all different fall settings from the pumpkin patch to snuggling by the fire and of course eating pumpkin pie. The illustrations by Talitha Shipman are perfect and showcase a diverse set of families. Lovely book but don’t think I was joking you will be aching for a fall treat after reading it.

fall leaves

Fall Leaves by Liesbet Slegers is a little book that covers all different parts of fall from the perspective of a child. Boots, raincoats, nuts, squirrels and of course falling leaves are all covered. The book itself is not a story but rather a collection of pages devoted to these different parts of the fall season kids can expect to encounter. It was cute and and my daughter liked it well enough but I wouldn’t rush out to buy this.

Leaves

Leaves by David Ezra Stein is such a sweet book about a young bear who doesn’t understand what is happening when he sees leaves falling from the trees. He even tries to put them back on but it doesn’t work.  Eventually he lays down for a nap and hibernates until Spring when he happily notices that there are new tiny leaves budding on the trees. Both my kids loved this book. I got it out of the library for my toddler who loved it and while reading it to her I had to start over so her almost 6 year old brother could listen from the start. We each took our own things from it, my daughter has been noticing the changes of Fall for the first time just like the bear in the story. My son took the chance to tell me all about hibernation and everything he knows about it . I thought it was bittersweet, and related to how quickly the years seem to pass and how quickly my little bears are changing too. A really lovely book!

The Busy Little Squirrel

 The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri is a great book for babies and toddlers. The readers follow along with a squirrel as she gathers nuts , seeds and berries for the winter. As she hunts for her treasure she encounters many animals who all make their respective sounds and ask her to play, of course she is too busy and continues on.  Even though the idea is not groundbreaking  I like that this book can be used to introduce animal sounds without simply sitting down with let’s say flash cards and teaching them to your toddler. Even if you have no real animals near by books like this one are a great way to authentically teach very young kids.

Owl Babies

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell was an instant hit with my son. I knew it would be, much like little Bill the smallest of the three baby owls my son is fond of saying “I want my mommy”. The three birds are distraught when they discover mama owl is not there. I love how they huddle together, and worry a lot before mama Owl returns nonchalant about the fact that she’s back. The illustrations of the owls are so expressive , which with very few facial features is impressive. Patrick Benson did a wonderful job bringing all three owl’s personalities out visually as well as making the setting ominous without being frightening to young readers. Great book!

apple farmer annie board book

Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington is a simpler version of the full size Apple Farmer Annie. The board book follows Annie who is an apple farmer and what she does with the apples she grows. Baking, cooking but most of all selling the apples at the farmer’s market. I have always loved this book because when you ask a child who a farmer is I bet you they will say it’s a man who lives on a farm. There are no mentions of men, husbands, or fathers it’s just Annie the apple farmer. I LOVE it.

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