Quote: “It was at that age, that poetry came in search of me.” Pablo Neruda
To help you nurture a love love of words, language, and poetry with children see:
To help you nurture a love love of words, language, and poetry with children see:
Booklist: Beach Reads for Kids, Shared Reading with Children
Planning a trip to the beach with your family? Be sure to pack a few of these beach read books for the day.
Beach reads are typically those books from your to be read pile that you save for down time on vacations. Some favorite beach read genres are adventures, romances, and other light reading that takes you away from your daily routine. Beach reads to share with your children are beach and ocean themed books. Read these books together to build family traditions, enhance travel time, and/or create a knowledge base for young children. Most of all beach reads for shared reading are fun books for your family. Use these beach reads to start conversations with your child.
Before you leave on your trip be sure to share with your children Elise Parsley’s If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t! This book is sure to ease the inevitable negotiations on what to pack and what not to pack for your family’s day at the beach. Just be sure to pack a few extra large zip top plastic bags for safely transporting your books!
For young children, reading a book about a trip to the beach can provide them an introduction to a new experience. Even if your family does not visit a beach, a book about playing on the beach can provide ideas for sandbox play, water play, and spark creative use for other sensory materials like sea shells or boat and float toys.
Talk with your child during the shared reading. When talking with young children use Child Directed Language (CDL). Child Directed Language includes raising the pitch of your voice and having a rhythmic cadence for your speech while maintaining eye contact with your child. It also substitutes simpler vocabulary or even recognizable sounds for more difficult or longer words. Examples include onomatopoeia — “tick tock” for the word “clock” or “time” and using fewer syllables or more descriptive phrases — “train” or “choo choo” instead of “locomotive engine.” Most of all, Child Directed Language builds in expectation and time for responses from the child. There is a give and take. Make it a two-way exchange of communication with your child, like a volleyball passing from team to team instead of a batter hitting a ball to a fielder. This way a foundation for shared communication is built instead of merely a quiz situation between the adult and child.
For babies, when reading use the “point — label — pause” technique. This will provide a pattern, so when your child is able to vocalize and/or repeat single words they will have a structure for learning new vocabulary from the pictures.
For toddlers, point out the sequence of events for the story. This will build the awareness that stories have steps that they follow that are logical and time-ordered. You can do this by reviewing what just happened on the previous page(s) — predicting what might happen next — then discussing if the prediction was correct.
For preschoolers, point out cause and effect in stories. Preschoolers are learning how to understand plot. They can work on identifying how the character’s actions affect the story — bringing a piano to the beach creates problems that are not fun.
Older children can bring in prior knowledge and experience to conversations about the books by adding facts or background experiences to the story (“remember when we …”). Older children can also compare and contrast observations of characters’ actions, intentions, and actual outcomes in the story.
For children with experience visiting a beach, books can be a way of remembering activities. Their prior knowledge with a real beach can enhance discussions on pictures and activities in the books. Use your child’s experience on a beach to compare what is the same and what is different between what they remember and what is shown in the book.
Keep the concepts about beaches and oceans at the forefront of your child’s memories. Reread your child’s favorite book. Then add on other books or experiences to keep the theme going — create crafts/art projects with sand, sea shells, or photos. Create a small scrapbook with mementos to help your child remember their trip to the beach.
The first few books on the list are old fashioned picture books with a beach theme. Parents and grandparents may remember these books from their childhoods. Establish a tradition — now’s the time for the next generation to share in the reading experience.
Just Grandma & Me, words and pictures by Mercer Mayer is a picture book for preschoolers, ages 2-5. Little Critter, goes to the beach with his grandma – a happy day, a few small adventures, and a delightful relationship. Young parents may remember having this book read to them when they were preschoolers.
Margaret Wise Brown’s The Little Island, Leo Lionni’s On My Beach There are Many Pebbles, and Kathy Jackson’s A Day at the Seashore are nostalgic picture books. Some grandparents of young children may have had these titles read to them the first time they went to the beach. These books are great before a short nap under a beach umbrella or after a day in the sun. The retro colors of the pictures are soothing and calming after bright sunlight and exuberant colors found at a day at the beach.
Sturdy board books to share with your baby or toddler at the beach.
Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex’s Chu’s Day at the Beach. Follow Chu’s fun and frolic at the beach.
Karen Katz’s Where’s Baby’s Beach Ball has lift the flaps for babies to explore.
Adam Gamble’s & Cooper Kelly’s Good Night Beach. A great way to end your day at the beach is to transition to your night time routine. Read a about a family watching sunset on the beach.
Preschoolers enjoy sharing books with favorite characters. It provides them with a sense of familiarity and stability. Preschoolers will also enjoy that the characters in the book do the same things at the beach that they do, such as play in the sand and play in the water.
In Daniel’s Day at the Beach, Daniel Tiger goes to the beach with his family and friends from PBS’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Toddlers who enjoy learning social skills from this show will recognize the play and learn format from the videos.
Biscuit’s First Beach Day— words by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, pictures by Pat Schories, will be familiar to preschoolers and early readers who have shared reading experience with any of the other Biscuit adventure book.
In Amy Slansky’s These Little Piggies Go to the Beach the piggies from the childhood finger play “This Little Piggie ____” star in this picture book. With naked toes at the beach this book will be a happy break from playing in the sand.
The following books have gorgeous pictures. Children of all ages will appreciate the artwork when they need a bit of break or quiet time on the beach.
David Wiesner’s Floatsam is a Caldecott medal, wordless picture book. The pictures tell a complicated story of a boy finding a camera on a beach and discovers the camera has recorded its travels around the world and deep under the ocean.
Suzy Lee’s Waveis another wordless picture book. The pictures show the story of a little girl be friending and playing with an ocean wave at the beach. Similar to the opening scene of Disney’s Moana.
Faith Ringgold’s Tar Beach is also a Caldecott winner. This picture book shares the story of a city family spending time together on the roof top of their apartment building, pretending that it is their tar beach.
For elementary aged children, here’s a pair of science themed books for the beach.
The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor, the words are by Joanna Cole and the pictures by Bruce Degan. Teacher extraordinaire, Ms Frizzle takes her class on a field trip to the beach which of course turns into an exploration on the Ocean floor.
Lessons from the Sand: Family-Friendly Science Activities You Can Do on a Carolina Beach (Southern Gateways Guides) — combines science and science activities for families to enjoy together while visiting a beach.
Sand, rocks, surf, and tidal pools – beaches are great places to explore. Discover a little more territory with the following adventures.
In Frane Lessac’s My Little Island, a boy explores a Caribbean island with his friend.
Scott O’Dell won the Newbery award for Island of the Blue Dolphins. In the novel, Karana, a native American girl, survives and thrives on an island all by herself for 18 years. An exciting read for children ages 7 – 10 or grades 2 – 5.
Growing-up to be an actual astronaut is a daunting and competitive career path considering how many astronauts there really are in the world. So why is it that so many children have dreams of working or living in space? Perhaps it is the adventure that challenges the imagination and compels the dreams — equating the vastness of space with the unlimited opportunities it could provide. The following shared reading book list features both nonfiction/biography books as well as fictional works to inspire your child’s interest in adventures in space.
Ask your child questions about the book cover – encourage your child to make predictions about the story or book information based on the cover elements: title, author, illustrator, picture, book blurb/summary. Share any background information you have about the book, for example: our library newsletter said this said this book won an award for _____.
Asking questions is a great way to make shared reading more interactive. Remember to balance the number of questions asked with the flow of the story, so your child maintains interest in both reading and talking about the book.
Also maintain a balance in the kinds of questions asked. Alternate quiz type questions with question prompts for your child’s input about the story or topic. For instance, if it looks like your child is getting distracted, then point to a picture and ask a simple fact finding question (What color is ___? How many ____ are there? Where is ___?) to draw your child’s attention back to the page and story. In order to deepen understanding or clarify concepts, ask open-ended questions it connect your child to the text and encourage critical thinking (Why do you think the character did ___? How would you feel if ___ happened to you? What do you think will happen if ___?)
You can encourage your child to ask questions about a story or book topic by: wondering aloud about ___, pretending to ask the author about ____, or taking turns asking each other questions during a re-read session. Ask your child to share a simple book review: What was their favorite part of the book? Why? Does this book remind them of any other books?
Provide your child with the opportunity to ask their own questions about a story or book topic. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer to a question. Use that as an opportunity to work together find answers. Model for them a simple research process: writing questions down, looking for answers in credible resources, discussing if you’ve gathered enough information to satisfy your child’s question and curiosity, and then writing down the answer as well as any new questions.
Nonfiction Memoir Ages 8 – 12
LeLand Melvin narrates his journey from NFL draftee, through injuries and accidents, to serving as an astronaut on the International Space Station. There is also a grown-up version of the book.
Words by Chris Hadfield
Pictures by the Fan Brothers
Picture Book Memoir Ages 4- 8
Before Chris Hadfield grew-up to be an astronaut, he was a little boy who was afraid of the dark.
Words by Roda Ahmed
Pictures by Burrington
Picture Book Ages 4 – 8
Celebrates Mae Jemison’s persistance to become the first African-American woman to travel in space.
Nonfiction Biography Ages 10 – 14
Traces the journey of Sally Ride as America’s first woman in space with vivid details that share her personality behind the headlines.
Words by Jeffrey Bennett
Pictures by Michael Carroll
Picture Book, Ages 7 – 9
In this book, Max the dog not only goes to a space station, he also saves it! Note the side text boxes with scientific information which can be shared during or after follow-up re-readings of the story. Part of the 2014 Storytime from Space Project when this book was actually read on the international space station. Also, part of an award winning series of books.
Words and Pictures by Leo Landry
Picture Book, Ages 4 – 7
Nicholas takes a picnic adventure to the moon to enjoy the quiet solitude of space before bedtime. Great for children who need a little quiet time in their routine to re-charge and re-group.
Words and Pictures by Tedd Arnold
Picture Book, Ages 4 – 8
Green Wilma, a frog, and Blooger, a baby space alien, accidentally get their places switched between earth and a space ship. Oops! Can they get home again before supper? Children who enjoy the Hi! Fly Guy series will adore this quirky book. This book was also an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice book and a PBS Storytime featured selection.
Graphic Novel, Ages 8 – 12, First of Series
In a universe populated by cats, a brave team of CatStronauts are on a mission to establish a solar energy power plant on the moon.
Words by Lucy and Stephen Hawking
Illustrated by Garry Parsons
Chapter Book, Ages 8 – 12, First in a Series
Professor Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy co-wrote this series. Best friends George and Annie team-up for an across the universe scavenger hunt discovering the wonders of space and space travel. Includes reference information, essays, and photographs from the latest space research.
Words by Mark Kelly
Pictures by C. P. Payne
The story of Meteor, the mouse, was inspired by an actual mouse that flew with astronaut Mark Kelly on the space shuttle Endeavor.
Use poetry and song lyrics to introduce your child to the interesting sounds in language. Explore poetry pieces and nursery rhymes with alliteration, rhyming couplets, and onomatopoeia.
For older children who enjoy structure, patterns, and math try sonnets with iambic pentameter and haikus.
Some children find poems where the printed text falls into artistic shapes that reflect the content of the poem interesting. Children who enjoy graphic novels where the text is part of the artwork find this type of poem appealing.
With so many variations and styles across so many topics, there is a form of poetry that will interest your child. Poetry is the sound bite of language. Snippets of poetry can convey intense emotions and is a fantastic platform for exploring feelings, words, and how to express one’s self.
Children understand more words that they hear than they express or speak. Sharing poems with your child will help them develop their listening-comprehension skills as well as their vocabulary.
Try and read the poem out loud to yourself, in order to find the words you want to emphasize and to adjust to the flow of the words. Before reading, talk to your child about any special words. Point out that word(s) and clarify the meaning in a way that your child can understand if it is a new word. For older children, spend a few moments looking up the new word(s) in a children’s dictionary.
During the reading, ask your child to let you know when they hear the word or have them touch the word on the page if they recognize it. Provide positive feedback, when your child recognizes the new word(s) and remind them of the definition of the new word within the context of the poem.
Celebrate a Poem in Your Pocket day by creating a no -sew fabric poem book: Using fabric markers and light colored bandannas or handkerchiefs or pre-cut quilting squares (hemmed with iron-on interfacing), decorate the cloth with the words of your child’s favorite nursery rhymes, song lyrics or poems. Do one cloth a day for a week, letting your child keep the poem “page”in their pocket to “read” throughout the day. At the end of the week turn the poem cloth squares into a book with a simple binding of safety pins hot glued shut to prevent any accidents.
Write a poem together using poem pebbles. Brainstorm a list of favorite words – nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. Using a permanent marker write a single word on a pebble. Pile all of the pebbles together, then create a poem using your word pebbles to build starter phrases. You can do a variation of this activity using sticky notes or index cards for even more words. For older children, use a rhyming dictionary to create a list of interesting words, for example, see Merriam-Webster’s Rhyming Dictionary.
Lullabies by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by 12 Award Winning Picture Book Artists
Picture Book, Ages 3 – 6
A treasure literally uncovered in a barn, these lullabies by the author of Good Night Moon and other classic children’s books are presented with the artwork unique to each piece by different illustrators. Read one lullaby before bedtime as a part of your night time routine.
Selected by Jack Prelutsky
Pictures by Arnold Lobel
Illustrated Book, All Ages
With 575 poems to choose from there will be a poem, that appeals to your child’s taste in this selection. In addition, there are plenty of poems to experiment with in terms of style and topics.
Poems by Lin Oliver
Pictures by Tomie dePaola
Board Book, Babies and Toddlers
Specifically for babies and toddlers, these poems are simple explorations into the sounds of language on topics familiar to tiny people.
Poems by Robert Frost
Edited by Jay Parini
Pictures by Michael Paraskevas
Illustrated Book, Ages 9 – 12
Poems and Pictures by Shel Silverstein
Illustrated Book, All Ages
One of the classics of modern childhood, this book was the first exploration in to poetry in elementary schools for several generations. This anniversary edition, includes an update with 12 extra poems. Also see by the same author, A Light in the Attic
Poems by Jon Scieszka
Pictures by Lane Smith
Picture Book, Ages 7 – 11
Words by Chris Harris
Pictures by Lane Smith
Illustrated Book, Ages 7 – 11
Laugh out loud poems filled with exuberance and zany wit. This collection is on numerous award and best of lists. You are sure to find something to tickle the funny bone. These are great to read out loud if you can keep from laughing while reading at the same time.
Books were an everyday part of my boys’ life from the time that they were very little. Instead of wanting to sleep with a plush toy, they all opted to sleep with their current favorite book at night. And of course, they all tried the flashlight under the covers to read past bedtime trick. When Son #2 was in elementary school, he was devastated to learn that books were for the serious purpose of homework and learning because until he reached 3rd grade, he thought that books were only for fun like toys. Harsh reality of life for the poor little guy in 3rd grade. To encourage a love of books and reading try a few of these books about books, where books and stories are central to the overall plot.
Review and label the parts of a book including the little noticed sections like the gutter, end pages, and dedications. Books also include information about their publishing including the country where the book was actually printed and the fonts or type used for the lettering. If you have a library book edition, you may notice that the brightness of the inks maybe vary depending on the age of the book – recently published books tend to have more vibrant colors while older books have more muted colors due to advances in printing. Exam some of these usually overlooked details to find out something new about the book and how it was made.
Periodically talk about the importance of stories or books and the role it plays in the overall plot. Also, ask your child how they would feel, if they were in the main character’s place. Would they feel the same way about stories and books?
Look at the back of the book and see if there are any author notes. Some authors write letters to their readers to help the reader connect and understand the book better or the writer’s thought process. Sometimes there are also questions in the back of the book that can be used to encourage discussion on the book.
Make a point to ask your child to share a simple story with the family — about their day, favorite events, challenges they faced. Share a story yourself. All books start out as a story in the imagination of the author before it is written down — your child can be a storyteller or writer as well.
Words by Mac Barnett
Pictures by Adam Rex
Picture Book Ages 4 – 8
Go behind the scenes or rather inside the scene, to see how this book was made — with a big dose of humor in the form of a tiger and pirate. Also see other “meta-books” with a sense of humor: My Worst Book Ever, words by Allan Ahlberg and pictures by Bruce Ingman; Once Upon a Zzz, words and pictures by Maddie Frost; Whose Story is this Anyway? words by Mike Flaherty and pictures by Oriol Vidal; as well as, Help We Need a Title, words and pictures by Herve Tollet.
Words and Pictures by Richard Byrne
Picture Book, Part of a Trilogy Ages 4 – 8
Bells dog disappears into the gutter of the book, the fold in the middle of the book when it is spread apart. Follow her adventure to rescue her dog as well as those who try to help her. Also see by the same author, This book is Out of Control! and We’re in the Wrong Book! For another carnivorous book tale see — Open Carefully: A Book with Bite, words by Nick Bromley and pictures by Nicola O’Bryne. Also enjoy the classic although not carnivorous, from Sesame Street, The Monster at the End of this Book.
Words and Pictures by Dan Yaccarino
Picture Book Concept Ages 4 – 8
Reminds readers about the power of storytelling to bring people together — past, present, future — no matter what format or shape the story takes.
Words by Oliver Jeffers
Pictures by Sam Winston
Picture Book Ages 5 – 12
The guide, A Child of Books, takes a young boy and the reader through a delightful adventure of the wonder of words, storytelling, and books. Includes snippets from classic children’s literature. Will be an encouragement to new readers and an inspiration to capable readers.
Words and Pictures by Tad Hill
Picture Book Ages 3 – 7
Parents’ Choice Silver Honor
Words by Kay Winters
Pictures by Nancy Carpenter
Picture Books Memoir Ages 5 – 9
Shares the story of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood love of books and how reading helped him grow into the man who became the 16th President of the United States. See also Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora.
Words by Kate Messner
Pictures by Mark Siegel
Picture Books Concept Ages 5 – 8
Reminds readers of the perfect process for reading a story.
Words by Andrew Larsen
Pictures by Mike Lowery
Picture Books Ages 4 – 8
Reminds readers, that they too can be writers and authors and it all starts with one letter.
Chapter Book Ages 8 – 12
Matilda loves books. She also has a secret superpower that she uses to save herself from the dreaded head of the school. Also enjoy the 1996 PG movie adaptation of Matilda which was a family favorite through the elementary and yearly middle school years, for more on the movie see https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/matilda
Chapter Book, Part 1 of a Series, Ages 8 – 12
A fantasy adventure, where the characters from classic children’s literature come alive in Astoria’s library.
Chapter Book Part 1 or a Series Ages 8 – 12
Owen teams up with classmate, Bethany, who is really a fictional character, to rescue her father by jumping into his favorite book for an amazing fantasy adventure.
Young Adult Fiction Ages 12 and Up
In 1939 in Nazi Germany, Liesel steals books to read to her foster family and the Jewish man seeking refuge in their basement. Also see the 2014 PG-13 movie adaptation for a review see https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-book-thief; for more on the Holocaust read The Diary of Anne Frank.
Our boys grew up loving libraries. On son #2’s 10th birthday, by his choice, we did the two things he loved most in the world – eat at the local Chinese restaurant and then visit the library. He had a special seat by the window in the children’s section where he would curl up and read a stack of books. Later when he was in 5th grade, he wrote a poem about the library that he gave to his favorite children’s librarian. Libraries are a safe haven that children of all ages can enjoy. Celebrate National Library Week! Visit your local library and check out some books about libraries.
Depending on your child’s attention span, try reading two books in one shared reading time. Pair a story book with a concept or nonfiction book. Talk about what is the same and different between pretend stories and realistic stories.
During library story times, in addition to introducing the book’s title, author, and illustrator, librarians also include a short teaser lead-in to focus reader attention. This teaser blurb is known as a “Book Talk”. Your local library may have a reference book of Book Talks for popular story time books or you can see examples of Book Talk in action by viewing episodes of PBS’ Reading Rainbow. Storyline Online also has great examples of Book Talks in action.
To build comprehension, point out what is the same and what is different between the story libraries in the books and your local library.
To celebrate libraries in the best way possible, plan a trip together to your local library or book mobile. Based on the book you read together discuss what to expect at the library.
During the trip talk about your local library’s policies, discuss what is age appropriate and necessary (for example, how old your child is or being able to write their own name) for your child to have their own library card. Celebrate with your child if they are ready for their own library card by checking out a book about libraries or books.
After the trip, set up a home library and role play visiting and checking out books.
Words by Michelle Knudsen
Pictures by Kevin Hawkes
One day a lion drops in for the library story time; Hmmm, let’s see what happens next.
Words by Carmen Agra Deedy
Pictures by Michael P. White
Sunrise Elementary has a new librarian and she’s a REAL dragon. Who’s going to be brave enough to read a book? If you love dragons, also see Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library, words by Julie Gassmanand and pictures by Andy Elkerton which has library etiquette 101 delivered with humor and rhymes.
Words and Pictures by Elise Parsley
Part of the Magnolia Says Don’t series
Magnolia takes the “You Can Do Anything at the Library” sign literally and sets up her own big top. Loud and proud, Magnolia learns what not to do in this cautionary tale about library etiquette.
Words by Anna McQuinn
Pictures by Rosalind Beardshaw
Picture Book Ages 2 – 5
Great for introducing toddlers and preschoolers to the local library. Also see Lola Loves Stories
Words by Pat Mora
Pictures by Raul Colon
Picture Book Memoir Ages 4 – 8
The true story of Tomas, from a family of migrant farm workers, who learns to love reading and books from his mentor a local librarian. Tomas grew up to be the first minority Chancellor in the University of California. See also, Abe Lincoln:The Boy Who Loved Books by Kate Winters.
When I first heard of the 2018 live action movie of Peter Rabbit, I must admit to being worried, because I adore Beatrix Potter’s detailed and delightful watercolor illustrations. Peter Rabbit, himself is also an irrepressible trickster with that balance of naughty and nice that makes him so lovable. Of course, ending one’s adventures or rather misadventures with a soothing cup of chamomile tea is a perfect precedent to continue. Whatever your thoughts on the movie, take time to read the original inspiration as well as some of Miss Potter’s other works.
For more about the author/illustrator Beatrix Potter see the 2006 PG movie Miss Potter https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/miss-potter
A reading routine can be soothing for children and help them focus on the story. Examples of routines include time and place of shared reading – before bedtime and in bed or a comfy chair. Include in your routine a way to introduce the book which includes highlighting the title, author, illustrator, and some story clues (blurbs from the back or dust cover flaps of books). This routine will help your child by building anticipation as well as listening skills.
Make the reading relevant to your child, by pointing specific character traits and behaviors. The lead characters in this booklist are all rabbits that act like people in both positive and negative ways. In folklore, rabbits often take on the role of the trickster, a clever character who can circumvent typical behaviors for their own positive outcome, for example, Uncle Remus’ Brer Rabbit or even Bugs Bunny. While reading, highlight naughty or nice behaviors that fits the rabbit in the story into the trickster role.
Children often enjoy characters that they can relate to, even if they are being naughty, such as Mo Willem’s Pigeon who whines and wheedles in order to get his way. Talk about what your child likes or doesn’t like about the behaviors of the rabbit character. Are they relevant to your child? Is the rabbit a good or bad model of behavior? Would they want to be friends with a person or character with similar behaviors.
Depending on the dialog and action, use homemade (finger, stick, or sock) puppets or even stuffed plush toys to dramatize favorite scenes from the books. Reenacting the story plot helps build reading comprehension skills.
Words and Pictures by Alan Baker
Board Books Infants and Toddlers
White rabbit experiments with the paint pots and has a colorful adventure. If you find a paperback or hardback edition read that edition as the detailed full page spreads are easier to view. Also see by the same author/illustrator, Black and White Rabbit’s ABC
Words by Charlotte Zolotow
Pictures by Maurice Sendak
Caldecott Honor Book
Mr Rabbit helps a little girl find a present for her mother who loves colorful things.
Words and Pictures by Kadir Nelson
Picture Book Ages 4 – 8
Rabbit and mouse plant a garden and wait patiently for harvest, however, when it’s time to gather their carrots and cabbages unexpected visitors arrive. Gorgeous paintings by an award winner illustrator paired with a lovely story about friendship and cooperation.
Words and Pictures by Mo Willems
Picture Books Ages 2 – 6
Knuffle Bunny Caldecott Medal
The adventures of Trixie and her cuddle buddy, Knuffle Bunny, from toddlerhood through preschool years will delight your family. Include The Velveteen Rabbit, words by Margery Williams and pictures by William Nicholson, during a reading session to extend the theme of rabbit shaped toy friends.
Words and Pictures by Rosemary Wells
Picture Book Ages 2- 6 Part of the Max and Ruby series
Max wants to make grandma a cake with worms, but bossy Ruby wants to make an angel cake with icing. Which sibling will be in charge of the baking in the kitchen?
Words and Pictures by Jedda Robaard
Board Book Ages 2 – 4
On the way to a party, little rabbit loses her hop – how will she get to her family’s celebration? Let children lift the flaps to see how she will get to the party on time.
The classic tale of rabbits in search of a new home due to building on their former field. This would also be a good audiobook to listen to on a road trip. You might want to introduce younger children to the plot by viewing the animated adaptation from 1978, for more on the movie, see https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/watership-down
Susan Wittig Albert
First in the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series
Fiction Cozy Mystery/Fantasy
Including real people and locations, this cozy mystery series brings a lighthearted look at the complexity of village life including the point of view and side stories of the animal inhabitants. Grown-up fiction which is approachable for older elementary and middle school readers.
So, what do you think? Peter Rabbit — movie or book? Share your thoughts below.
Sandra Boynton’s board books were some of the first books my boys looked at, teethed on, played with, and listened to during shared reading times as babies and toddlers; and my granddaughters are carrying on the tradition. Her books are engaging, whimsical, and clever — a delight for children and their grown-ups.
Hold your baby on your lap when your baby is calm; get cozy and cuddly so your baby can see the pictures. Remember proximity is important during shared reading it fosters a positive experience.
Engage your baby’s attention, if it looks like your baby’s attention is drifting — tap on the book with your finger and comment on the words and pictures. Also, encourage your toddler to help you turn the board book’s pages for simple engagement. Boynton’s creatures have expressive faces, try to copy those faces and adjust your voice to show the emotion.
Board books are sturdy. Let your baby hold and manipulate the pages, in order to get used to the open/shut motion of the pages. Extend that practice to other objects with hinges, such as old CD/DVD cases, to further exercise their hand-eye coordination.
All kinds of doggies, and just when you think you know what to expect there’s an amazing plot twist — surprise!
All the animals on the ark get ready for bed and so should the readers. A lovely way to review common bedtime routines.
Classic board book fun for everyone. Encourage your toddler to move around like the animals.
Another classic baby board book. Have fun making all of the animal noises and get your child to do the same.
The cute critters of Boynton plus a variety of textures to feel on the pages make this book extra interactive for the littlest ones. Also, this is a Pennsylvania Center for the Book recommendation for family literacy books.
To find out more about author & illustrator Sandra Boynton check out her website http://www.sandraboynton.com/sboynton/index.html
Share a birthday greeting (but skip the monsters) via Twitter @SandyBoynton
Ground Hog Day’s Punxsutawney Phil may get the notoriety for heralding the onset of spring, but to me the surest sign of spring is worms on the sidewalk. My mother is a gardener, so I grew up respecting worms and using gardening gloves to move them from the sidewalk to soil.
My favorite worm book is Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin with pictures by Harry Bliss. This book inspired son #2’s summer project of a DIY worm composting bin. Due to only having a small patio, we couldn’t winterize the worms and set them free in the fall in time for their dormant stage. The azalea bush is still grateful. When granddaughter #1 is ready, I will probably pair that book reading with the nonfiction book We Dig Worms! — words and pictures by Kevin McCloskey — because they share the same cartoon style illustrations. Bonus: both authors are from Pennsylvania where we live.
Select a good time, these books are perfect to read during a rainy day. Get comfortable and cozy; proximity is important because in a shared reading experience you want everyone to be able to see all the pictures and the words. The book should be within reaching distance so your child can help turn the pages (when appropriate by skill and age).
Point out the names of the author and illustrator on the book cover. This will build the concept that books are created by people and will subtly reinforce your own child’s agency in creating pictures and stories.
It’s time to let your inner Oscar, Emmy, Tony or Golden Globe out. Use funny voices and encourage your child to add in sound effects.
During the first couple of read throughs you might want to stick to the main text. For repeated readings take time to explore the dialog balloons or side text boxes; move your along the words to show that you where your are on the page. Ask questions (who, what, where, why, & how) to check your child’s comprehension for the plot and character or factual information.
Find a few worms to observe in a jar with local soil (potting soil may not have enough compost nutrients for them) for a couple of days. Feed them small bits of compost material (for example: leftover vegetable leaves) and lightly spray the soil with water. Also, make a wrap around sleeve of cardboard for darkness when you aren’t observing them. (See the nonfiction books on earthworms, they don’t have eyes but do have light sensitive cell receptors) Like a any good scientist, encourage your child to take dated field notes (pictures, dictation, bullet points) or like the worm in the book keep a diary for the time you have your wormy guests. Besides observing them, there are a few experiments you can try with your worms. For example, while on a tray place the worm in front of wet paper towel and a dry paper towel, in which direction will your worm move? After a few days, do the capture/release or search & rescue (if you saved them from a wet sidewalk) and set them free because the earth needs worms in the environment.
Words by Doreen Cronin and Pictures by Harry Bliss
Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8
With humor and clever cartoons, this book takes you through the day to day life of a young worm. There is also an easy reader spin-off in the I Can Read series that extends your stay in this setting as well as a companion picture book Diary of a Spider.
Words and Pictures by Richard Scarry
Picture Book Fiction Ages 3 – 7
Nostalgia for grown-ups and new adventures for children, readers follow Lowly Worm as he rides around in his apple car on a busy day. Plenty of details in the pictures will keep children engaged during re-reads. Huck Scarry completed the book making process for his dad.
Chapter Book Ages 8 – 12
Two boys make a bet that forces one of them to eat a worm each day for 15 days in a row. Lots of dialog makes for a great read aloud. There is a 2006 movie adaptation with a PG rating, for more on the movie see https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/how-to-eat-fried-worms
Words by Jodie Shepherd
Illustrated Book Nonfiction Ages 4 – 8
Basic introduction to earthworms with photographs for up close illustrations. Also see similar photographic works: Earthworms, by Lisa J. Amstutz; Earthworms, by Nikki Bruno Clapper; Earthworms, by Claire Llewellyn and Barry Watts.
Words and Pictures by Tina Kügler
Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 9
Geisel Honor Winner
Snail and Worm are friends, share three stories about their friendship. The mini-chapters can be read by new readers on their own. There is a previous work with the same duo, Snail & Worm. Also see, Wiggle and Waggle, a beginner chapter book by Caroline Arnold that features the friendship between two worms.
Words and Photography by Richard Sobol
Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 6 – 9
The author/photographer shares his trip to a village in Thailand, where all the town’s people including the children work together to produce cloth from silk worms. Pair this travel story with How to Eat Fried Worms, because there is a photograph of villagers eating boiled silkworms with their lunch, nothing gets wasted in this culture.
Words and Pictures by Kevin McCloskey
Graphic Novel Nonfiction Ages 5 – 7
School Library Journal’s Top 10 Graphic Novels 2015
Shares facts about worms with a focus on how earthworms aid in plant growth with their tunnels and castings. In the back of the book, the author shares great tips on how to read comics with kids.
Words by Wendy Pfeffer
Pictures by Steve Jenkins
Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 4 – 8
Basic presentation of a worm life cycle and facts with interesting torn paper collage illustrations. Back of the book suggests experiments for observing worms in their environment. For a similar book, see Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard; Words by Nancy Loewen and Pictures by Rick Peterson (Picture Book Nonfiction Ages 4-8)
Words by Carol Brendler
Pictures by Ard Hoyt
Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8
Our spunky heroine, Winnie Finn is on a quest to enter her worm friends in the Quincy County Fair, even if there is no category for worms. See the back of the book for advice on starting a family worm farm.
Words and Pictures by Elise Gravel
Picture Book Nonfiction, Part of a Series Ages 6 – 9
With humor, a worm introduces himself to the readers, along with a variety of worm facts. The cartoon illustrations will pair well in a read along with Diary of a Worm.
Words by Jean Taft
Pictures by Matt Hunt
Picture Book Ages 3 – 5
In rhyming verse, two children play in rain as worms underground raise up to explore the wet ground.
Words by Julia Donaldson and Pictures by Axel Scheffler
Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8
Superworm saves his friends, the toads, the bees, and the beatles, however, when Superworm is caught by the wicked Lizard wizard, it’s time for Superworm’s friends to save him.
Words by Vivian French
Pictures by Jessica Ahlberg
Picture Book Fiction Ages 4 – 8
Bridges the gap between a fiction and nonfiction book. While gardening, a grandmother explains to her grandson the importance of worms, so this book provides an overview of worm facts within a gentle setting.
The onset of seasonal allergies aside, spring is the favorite season of many. With the renewed energy from blooming flowers, hatching eggs, and bouncing bunnies, there is also the welcome of shared reading about spring on a warm and sunny day outside or crisp yet cozy spring night. Share the joy and exuberance of spring with the children in your life.
Many spring books mark the transition between winter and spring by giving picture clues in the beginning and end pages of the book (the first/last spread between the covers the the rest of the book). Check and see if your book does and provide that hint to your child before reading.
Spring books tend to have pastel colors. Point to and label these colors, let your child know that these are lighter shades of the typical primary colors they usually see. For older children, you can expand their vocabulary by bringing in science color words such as, hue, saturation, and gradation.
Point out and label objects in the pictures. Remember that your child might be young enough to have only vague or fuzzy memories of the previous year, so the material might be new to them.
Note, time is a difficult concept for young children, so reiterate that waiting, anticipation, and patience might be needed to see spring. It might help to break time down into recognizable units related to their daily schedule, such as “after naptime we can go for our walk” or “it will take at least 10 night time sleeps for the seeds to sprout; we can mark each night on the calendar.”
Go on a spring walk with your child and look for anything that might have been mentioned in the the books you were reading – flowers, plants, eggs, birds, and animals. Talk about the similarities and differences between the story representations and the real objects.
For a long term project, start some seedlings indoors for transplant to an outdoor container in the spring. Plants which are easy to grow from seed for children include marigolds and nasturtiums both edible flowers. Some plants such as celery, carrots with partial tops, onions, and garlic can be started from kitchen leftovers in water, then moved to a pot for planting.
If you used the color discussion prompt before reading, follow-up on that with some color exploration with washable paints.
Words and Pictures by Will Hillenbrand
Picture Book Ages 3 – 6
Mole is awake and spring is here! Oh, but he needs his friend bear to share spring with — time to wake up bear. Also see Finding Spring by Carin Berger.
Words by Kevin Henkes
Pictures by Laura Dronzek
Picture Book 3 – 8
Watch as the world transforms from winter to spring with each turn of the page. A lovely collaboration between this award winning husband and wife team. Also see by the same author, Egg, a nearly wordless book which has a delightful plot twist.
Words and Pictures by Robert McCloskey
Picture Book Ages 4 – 8
The classic story of a duck family stopping Boston traffic to get from their nest to the park’s pond. If you’re ever in Boston see the duck statues in the park.
Words and Pictures by Barbara Cooney
Picture Book Ages 5 – 8
American Book Award Winner
Based on a true person, this story shares how Alice Rumphius scattered lupin seeds during her walks in Maine, leaving a living legacy of flowers.
Words by Julie Fogliano
Pictures by Erin E Stead
Picture Book Ages 4 – 8
Watch and wait with a boy and his dog for the arrival of spring in their garden.
Words by Marion Dane Bauer
Pictures by Emily Arnold McCully
This rhyming story illustrates the traditional spring phrase about March coming in like a lion, in this case a muddy mess, and leaving like a lamb.
Words and Pictures by Eric Carle
The classic picture book showing the life-cycle of a flower from seed to blossom. Also see The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons for a complete overview of the seasons.
By Jill Esbaum
Part of the National Geographic Kids series Picture the Seasons, this books has beautiful photos of spring. Celebrate and discover the joys of spring with this gorgeous book. If your family enjoys photos, then see the photo-story, Lost in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick.
Words by Julia Rawlinson
Pictures by Tiphanie Beeke
Fletcher the fox sees tree blossoms and mistakes them for snow in springtime leading his friends into a forest wide panic, oops!
Words and Pictures by Ken Kimora
A sequel to 999 Tadpoles, in this quirky story the frogs wake up find everyone else is still asleep, so they go around waking everyone up — big frog, old turtle! Uh-oh, what about snake?
Words by Anita Loughrey
Pictures by Daniel Howarth
A beautiful spring day is so distracting, that rabbit gets lost in the woods. Who will help him find his way home?