It’s almost Halloween, which means new Halloween books for kids! Here are some of our favorites, from board books and to a middle grade novel about a zombie cat!
Disclosure: I received copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
New Halloween Books for Kids
Enjoy these new Halloween books for kids! What is your favorite Halloween read?
Owl Has a Halloween Party is an adorable Halloween book for little ones. It is a sweet story that follows Owl as he visits all of his friends to invite them to his Halloween party. At each stop, we get to preview the animals’ costumes by using the sturdy pull-tabs, which are chunky enough for little hands to grab. A cute first book about Halloween that young readers will love to read again and again.
Vegetables in Halloween Costumes is a fun story that addresses that classic childhood dilemma: what to wear for Halloween? The vegetable friends help us think through all the different possibilities, and children will love the indecisive Carrot’s creative solution to the problem! A fun book all kids will be able to relate to.
Poultrygeist is my daughter’s new favorite book! It has been on constant rotation at bedtime and often a few times during the day as well. It is a fun twist on why the chicken crossed the road – and what happened when he got to the Other Side (thanks to a passing truck).
The illustrations are spooky without being too scary, and the story is so cleverly done that my older kids enjoy it as well.
Twitchy Witchy Itch is a great read to help children appreciate that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to be perfectly bewitching. Itch the Witch rushes around to get her house ready for visitors, but when they arrive she gets a lesson in accepting imperfections – in herself and in others.
Eenie Meenie Halloweenie is another adorable new Halloween picture book. It is another look at the difficulty of deciding what Halloween costume to wear. I love that it gives children (and grown ups!) lots of ideas for DIY costumes, as the main character thinks through all the different animal costumes she could make. In the end she comes up with a creative solution that incorporates all of her favorite animals!
Trick or Treat, Crankenstein a follow up to the popular book Crankenstein. Kids will relate to the awful feeling of being cranky on a day, like Halloween, that you’ve been really forward to. Somehow it is much worse than being cranky on any other day! The illustrations are so clever, that kids will love poring over them for all the fun details. And it is a good way to talk to kids about how sometimes things don’t go as planned, but in the end it can still turn out to be fun after all.
Older kids will enjoy reading Return of ZomBert, a middle grade read that is the follow up to Rise of ZomBert. When Mellie adopted a stray cat, she didn’t realize that he had actually escaped from a laboratory. The lab was secretly testing on animals, which would explain the cat’s amazing strength and smarts. While Mellie is just focused on getting Bert ready for the pet contest at the local Harvest Festival, the lab workers (backed by a powerful corporation) are working on re-capturing their prize experiment. Can Mellie discover the plot in time to help Bert stay free of the lab’s clutches? A great read that incorporates a lot of science (some of it a little gross!) and sensitive portrayals of family dynamics and bullying.
Pura Belpré was a champion storyteller and the first Puerto Rican/Latina librarian in New York City, but many of us only know her name from the award named in her honor. This Latinx Heritage Month (Hispanic Heritage Month) learn more about the trailblazing woman behind the famous children’s book award. Scroll down for a review of a new children’s book about her life!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. I received a complimentary copy of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
Pura Belpré: Latinx Heritage Month
Pura Belpré had a gift for stories and an especial love for tales from her native Puerto Rico. But when she became a children’s librarian in New York (the first Latina library in New York City), she saw that these stories were not being told to the children.
Pura Belpré filled that gap by telling the cuentos (or stories) that she grew up with. She also saw that many of the children of other immigrant families were not participating in the library and made an effort to invite and include them as well.
One of her innovative ideas was to create bilingual story times, something we have personally benefited from. She was the first librarian to hold bilingual story times in New York!
Today her legacy is honored in the Pura Belpré Award, given annually to the Latinx illustrator and author whose work best celebrates the Latinx experience. Here are the 2021 winners:
And for a lovely new book about Pura Belpré herself!
Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories is a wonderful way to share the story of this Latinx heroine with children. This beautiful book pays tribute to this pioneering librarian, who made such a difference for so many children, not just in New York City but throughout the country. It tells of her early love of stories and her journey to bringing those stories into the library, and in turn bringing more children into the library as well.
The vibrant illustrations capture Belpré’s joy for storytelling, catching the reader up in the same enthusiasm that the children in the library must have felt on the rug at story time. The story of Pura Belpré is a wonderful way to teach our children the power of stories to bridge cultures.
And next Wednesday, September 22, at 3 pm ET, be sure to watch my interview – in English and Spanish! – of the both author and illustrator of this book: Annette Bay Pimentel and Magaly Morales.
September 10, 2021Book ReviewsComments Off on Books for Little Explorers: Community and Culture
Children love to explore the world around them, whether it’s the neighborhood, a new park, or another culture. These wonderful fiction and non-fiction books for little explorers are sure to fuel their curiosity. Whether you’re stuck at home or able to get out to physically explore right now, these books will help open up your child’s imagination and see the world with new eyes.
Books for Little Explorers: Community and Culture
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Enjoy these books for little explorers!
What is more exciting for children to explore than the world of grownups? The gorgeous new volume The Who’s Who of Grown-Ups: Jobs, Hobbies and the Tools It Takes recognizes this curiosity and addresses it in the way that children often do: through dress up! Clothing is often the way that many children first begin to understand different jobs. This unique book takes 90+ occupations and hobbies and shows us the clothes and tools they require. For example, a chef needs chef pants, neckerchief, toque blanche, wooden spoon, ladle, saucepan, and tea towel. Here you’ll find the obvious choices, such as firefighter and police officer, as well as some you might not have thought of, like gondolier and secret agent. Delightful book for younger children to discover and imagine.
This is a book that I love to read as well! Who Invented This?: Smart People and Their Bright Ideas is a wonderful book for older children that teaches them the stories behind many inventions that they take for granted, like traffic lights and the internet. Did you know that “Bluetooth” was actually named after a tenth century Danish king? Or that post-its initially were yellow because that’s the only color scrap paper that the laboratory had? This page turning book will help children (and grownups!) look at the world around them in an entirely new way!
How could I not include Explore the World on a list of books for little explorers? Explore the World looks at the history of exploration itself and the discoveries that shaped it. Covering everything from ancient times to the space age, it looks at famous explorers, like Ibn Battuta, Zheng He, and Marco Polo. I love that it gives cultural context to explorers like Columbus, showing the good and the bad of these encounters. And we don’t just get the usual European perspective: James Cook, for example, is discussed along with his Tahitian navigator Tupaia. The book also shows the motivation behind many explorations, such as wealth and scientific curiosity. A welcome addition to any school or home library.
North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres is a cleverly designed book to get kids thinking about the similarities and differences between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Each page spread covers one month, contrasting what is happening with particular animals in each hemisphere during that time. In addition, each page spread also has a theme, like mothers and babies, or building a home. For example, in February, the focus is on extreme environments: Japanese macaques in the Northern Hemisphere deal with the cold by soaking in thermal pools, while in the Southern Hemisphere, flamingo chicks and their parents gather in the summer sun to feed. Packed with information, North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres is a gorgeously illustrated book that children will enjoy poring over.
The beautiful book Australian Baby Animals has been part of our regular bedtime rotation. My animal loving daughter adores it, especially the illustrations of the adorable baby animals. She also loves learning what the babies for each species are called. Did you know that “joey” is used for animals other than kangaroos? This book is aimed at a slightly younger audience than many of the other non-fiction books on this list and is a wonderful introduction to these intriguing animals.
The Walloos’ Big Adventure is the only fiction book to make this list. (Though I easily could have included Ergo, which was part of my recent Courage booklist). The Walloos’ Big Adventure is a cautionary tale about the importance of taking care of the environment when we travel to new places. It takes a lot of courage for the Walloos to leave their homes and explore the world around them. And what they find is an ideal home, yet soon it begins to lose its charm, thanks to their own activity. Can they save it from themselves? This is not just a conservationist message, but also one about being a respectful traveler.
Is anyone else ready to get out and have some adventures?? Whether you are able to travel now or not, it’s the perfect time to start planning for your next big trip. Family Adventures: Exploring the World with Children is a comprehensive travel guide for families. It includes real life stories from diverse families about their own travel experiences, complete with beautiful full color photos. It also includes tips for travel with children, broken down by age groups. I really appreciate this now that my kids are getting older, since most advice tends to be only about traveling with very young children. A beautiful book to help with your daydreaming and planning!
Tales of the Rails: Legendary Train Routes of the World is a fascinating book, whether you love learning about other countries or you simply love trains, as so many children do. It is such a unique angle to teach children about other cultures and a form of travel that dominated for so many years. Covering every continent, Tales of the Rails takes us to some of the most iconic railways of the world, such as the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Namibia Desert Express, and PeruRail. These railroads cross mountains and deserts and show us the northern lights and the Australian Outback. This book shows the diversity of the land covered as well as of the trains themselves, which vary from freight trains to high-speed commuter trains. A wonderful book that lets children imagine themselves as travelers on these iconic railways.
The start of a new school year means another new crop of great back to school books for kids! This collection ranges from picture books to early chapter books and middle grade novels. They tell the stories of children starting school for the first time as well as those who have moved to a new school. Some are dealing with the normal first day of school jitters; some have an added layer of feeling “different” than the other kids. All of the children wonder if they will make new friends.
These back to school books are a wonderful way to help kids prepare for and process those exciting and nerve wracking first days!
Back to School Books for Kids
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Enjoy these new back to school books for kids!
School Is Cool! is another wonderful picture book from the authors of Hello! Lucky books (read my recent review of their book Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!). Just like all the books in this series, School Is Cool! is bright and colorful, with adorable animal characters. Its rhyming text fairly bounces off the page, contributing to the cheerful, upbeat feel of this joyful book. A great way to get kids excited about their first day.
Sounds Like School Spirit is the perfect book to get your kids pumped up about starting school! The rhyming text takes the form of a chant, so it would be great to read out loud, especially at circle time! I love that the students and teacher are so diverse, and that there is an emphasis on working together to have a great school year. Go team!`
Emily D. and the Fearful First Day is the third book from Sivan Hong, who has dedicated herself to writing books that include neurodiverse kids. As in Hong’s first two books, the main character, Emily D., is neurodiverse, and the book shows how she is successful at tackling a challenging situation, in this case a new school year. The story incorporates elements that often help neurodiverse kids, like fidget toys. I love that the author took such care to make sure that the book was appropriate for neurodiverse kiddos, like making simple illustrations for kids that are easily distracted, and choosing a font that is easier for kids with dyslexia. Hong was also careful to challenge our stereotypes about neurodiverse kids (usually thought of as white boys) by making the main character a Black girl. A great book for all kids to read!
What Should Danny Do? School Day is part of the Power to Choose series, where children help the main character choose what to do in various situations. Depending on their choice, they follow the story in one direction or another to see the consequences of that action. So each book is really 8 stories in one! It is a brilliant didactic technique, as children get to see how different scenarios work out. (Read my recent review of What Should Darla Do?). This latest book, What Should Danny Do? School Day, focuses specifically on situations that children often encounter in school, such as being picked for the losing team at basketball, or how to help a classmate that’s sad. I love that the scenarios are so realistic to what kids will face at school. My kids read this book over and over to try all the different storylines. Wonderful book to teach children that they have the power to choose how they respond to the challenges they face.
In Becoming Vanessa, we experience the excitement of young Vanessa as she heads off to her first day of school – only to discover she is not like the other children, who don’t wear flamboyant clothes or have unusual names. Vanessa decides that she no longer wants to be “special.” The next day she wears a more muted outfit, and she announces that she has changed her name. Then her mother tells her the story behind her name, which means “metamorphosis,” just like a butterfly. With her parents’ encouragement, Vanessa learns to take pride in her name and in herself. A beautiful story for children who feel like they don’t quite fit in, especially knowing that the book is inspired by a true story!
When the pandemic hit in 2020, children everywhere had to learn how to do school at home. For many, it meant adjusting from a classroom setting to remote learning in front of a computer. Back-to-School at Home! is a wonderful book that addresses this new reality, incorporating some of the common challenges as well as the surprising joys. And I love that this series was created by a mom who was frustrated because she didn’t see multicultural families like hers (with heritage from Togo & Japan) represented in picture books. A great book that children will easily relate to.
One of the biggest milestones of starting a new school year is making new friends. How to Spot a Best Friend follows a young girl confident that she will make a new best friend at school that year. She recounts to her mother all the ways you can recognize a best friend, such as someone who holds your hand during a scary story and who celebrates your successes. But most of all, to find a best friend you have to be a great friend, too!
1, 2, 3, Off to School! is about Pom, a child so excited to start school that she decides to get a sneak peek a year early! Pom visits the different animal schools of all the woodland creatures, from the mice and hedgehogs to the bears. At each school, Pom learns more about how schools work and what students do there. Now Pom is ready for kindergarten! This is an adorable book with detailed illustrations that children will love to spend time exploring.
I Wish You Knew is a poignant book that reminds us that children don’t come to school as clean slates. They bring with them all of the problems and trauma that they have experienced. Factors such as poverty and loss mean that many children are burdened with fear, anger, hunger, and sadness that make it difficult for them to learn. In I Wish You Knew, Estrella misses her father terribly after he is deported. When her teacher begins an “I Wish You Knew” sharing circle at school, Estrella feels her own burden lighten as she realizes that she is not alone. A must read for teachers and students alike.
Every child has experienced nervousness on the first day of school, especially when starting at a new school, but has anyone actually turned into a turtle because of it?? That’s exactly what happens to Tally in this first book of a wonderful new early chapter book series. In Tally Tuttle Turns into a Turtle, an already nervous Tally is overwhelmed when her new classmates make fun of her full name, Tallulah. She is just wishing she would shrink and disappear, when she turns into a turtle! Through her experiences as a turtle, Tally gains the confidence she needs to get to know the other students (when she’s a human again!) That is the magic of Mrs. Norrell’s classroom – in each book of the series, a different student will transform into an animal to learn important life lessons (and some science facts as well). A fun way to let children look at their problems from a different perspective.
Starting at a new school is never fun, but when you are a Muslim kid, there is an extra layer of fear and uncertainty. The award-winning middle grade novel Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet tackles this tough situation. Omar has all the usual worries about how tough the schoolwork will be or if the new kids will be mean. But then a school bully makes his life miserable, including telling him that Muslims were going to be kicked out of the country! Omar is such a lovable character, with his incredible imagination, and he is so relatable, whether you are Muslim or not. It is a great book for teaching us to see past our differences and get to know people beyond just the stereotypes. It’s also a great book for reluctant readers, as it mixes a lot of graphics into the text.
Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year, another Own Voices book, takes on a similar situation, as Ahmed and his family move from Hawaii to Minnesota because of his father’s illness. On top of the stress of his father’s health, Ahmed has to deal with a bully and being one of the only minority kids in a very white school. Ahmed has always been an underachiever, so he is surprised to enjoy the assigned books from school, learning important lessons from literature about courage and being confident in yourself. A thoughtful read that also has a lot of humor.
As a homeschooler, I was drawn to Lily’s Promise instantly, as it tells of a girl starting at the local elementary school after years of being homeschooled. Still reeling from the death of her father, Lily struggles to keep her promise to him to speak her mind. When she and her new friends face bullying, Lily learns to overcome her anxiety in order to stand up for herself and others. The heaviness of the story is given a humorous counterpoint with an innovative element: commentary from Libro, the book itself, whose voice is snarky and funny. A beautifully told story of grief and courage.
What are your favorite back to school books for kids?
The start of a new school year – especially during these uncertain times – is a perfect opportunity to remind kids about the inner strength they possess! Here is a batch of new picture books about courage to inspire the little ones in your life.
Picture Books About Courage
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
These picture books about courage are wonderful tools to inspire and encourage your little ones!
Go Get ‘Em, Tiger! is part of a collection of positive, values-driven children’s books created by two sisters. I’ve been lucky enough to review several of their books, including Kindness Rules! (read my review). Go Get ‘Em, Tiger! is color-tastic inspirational book that would be perfect for any child reaching a major milestone, such as starting a new year of school. This board book celebrates those wonderful values the child has developed, like kindness and curiosity. It also gives them a confidence boost for the next chapter, when they will be bold in exploring, make new friends, and show courage as they lead the way for others.
Ship in a Bottle is the story of a little mouse who just wants a safe place to live. She is forced to leave her first home because of a cat constantly on the prowl, and thus begins an epic journey that will draw on all Mouse’s courage and perseverance. She makes several stops at potential homes, but at each one her meager resources, which she shares so generously, are taken by selfish animals. In the end, she finds a new home in a city park with a diverse group of friendly animals. A poignant allegory about refugees that will help children find their own courage.
Lion Needs a Haircut is a fun story about a little lion who refuses to go to the barber. His loving father tries to convince him by guessing at his possible objections: Is he scared it will hurt? Worried about how it will look? The young lion only agrees to go if his father gets his mane cut, too. As it turns out, the big lion is worried about getting a haircut, too! With gentle humor, the little lion teaches his father that fears are best faced together.
Willow the Armadillo wants nothing more than to be a superhero in a picture book. She works harder than anyone else at the Picture Book Academy but is rejected at every audition. No one takes her seriously! Her determination finally falters, and Willow is forced to accept the fact that maybe she wasn’t meant to be a picture book hero. But an emergency at the library shows that, thanks her selflessness and courage, Willow is definitely a hero in real life!
This Way, Charlie is a story of the power of friendship to overcome barriers. When Jack the goat arrives at Open Bud Ranch for rehabilitation, everyone can see that he wants his space. Over time, he reluctantly forms a tentative friendship with Charlie, as Jack serves as a guide for the horse, who is slowly going blind. Yet one day Charlie’s optimism wears on Jack’s nerves, and he takes out his long buried anger on his only friend. But when a powerful storm overtakes them, Jack is forced to confront his fears and summon help to save Charlie.
Ergo is a relatable story about a little chick who is just trying to figure out the world and her place in it. At first Ergo thinks her little egg is all that exists of the world, but she soon realizes that there must be more outside of it. However, trying to imagine what that might be only frightens her, and she must summon all of her courage to break her shell. A wonderful metaphor for the rewards of stepping beyond your comfort zone to explore the wider world.
What little kid doesn’t dream of being an astronaut? In Goodnight, Astronaut, astronaut Scott Kelly shares his own journey from just dreaming about adventures to living them! In this sweet bedtime story, Kelly shows children all of the interesting places where he’s slept over the years, from the bottom of the ocean to the top of Mount Everest and, of course, in space! A wonderful book to send children off into their own dreams of adventure.
It’s important to teach our children about the hidden figures of history, whose stories are too often forgotten. People like Anna Strong, a real life hero of the American Revolution who helped win the war by doing the dangerous work of spying on the British. The new picture book Anna Strong: A Spy During the American Revolution tells about the ingenious methods she devised to pass on her secret messages – such as how she hung her wash. No British soldier suspected that a housewife would be relaying coded messages just by how she hung her clothes to dry! It wasn’t only the generals that won the war, so let’s share these stories of lesser known bravery.
Would you like to try cooking with your kids or is it something you already enjoy? Either way, these beautiful cookbooks for kids and families are sure to provide inspiration as well as practical tips, along with recipes galore that the whole family will love. These books were all chosen because they are engaging and accessible for a range of ages. They include several with a multicultural focus, so you can explore cultures together through food!
Cookbooks for Kids and Families
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Enjoy these fun cookbooks for kids and families!
Tasty Treats: Easy Cooking for Children is a cute cookbook for kids, with classic kid-friendly recipes like French toast and veggie quesadillas. The emphasis here is on kids doing as much of the cooking as possible. Tasty Treats covers all the basics, with clear instructions and illustrations for every step of the way. It even includes ideas for the best ways to enjoy your dishes, like picnics and parties!
Okay, I’m cheating a little here because technically We Love Pizza: Everything you want to know about your number one food isn’t a cookbook. But because it focuses on the #1 food for most kids, I thought it was a perfect addition to the list. After all, it does include a recipe for making your own pizza! It also has tons of fun facts about everyone’s favorite food, like regional varieties and how much pizza is consumed by different countries. And did you know that pizza was once delivered to space?? With its colorful drawings and even more colorful topic, this is sure to be a favorite with young readers!
I’ve always thought that one of the best ways to explore other cultures with kids is through food, and Katie Chin’s Global Family Cookbook: Internationally-Inspired Recipes Your Friends and Family Will Love! makes it easy! Professional chef (and working mom of three!) Katie Chin has put together a gorgeous book, chock full of internationally inspired recipes, accessible even for busy families. My oldest had fun just looking through the pages of Chin’s favorite global spices and pantry staples. He especially loved all the different kinds of peppers! What really comes across throughout is Chin’s infectious enthusiasm for exploring good food from around the world and sharing it with those we love.
The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook is one that I purchased when my oldest was little, and it’s gotten a lot of use over the years! It is a wonderful exploration of the world through cooking. It is organized by continent and includes recipes from a number of countries in each region, like sweet couscous from Tunisia and tapioca pudding from Brazil. Recipes are rated by difficulty, which I really appreciate. I also love that with each recipe is a photo of child from that country making the dish and sharing how they like to enjoy it with their loved ones. A wonderful way to help kids relate to other young cooks around the world!
When my daughter started getting into making cupcakes last year, I looked for a cookbook for kids that focused specifically on baking. One of the best reviewed was American Girl Baking: Recipes for Cookies, Cupcakes & More, and for good reason. It is full of recipes for everything from cookies and cupcakes to madeleines and more! We’ve tried a number of the recipes, all with great results. One of our favorites is for the strawberry cheesecake cupcakes! While it is geared more towards older kids, younger kids can easily make the recipes with help. The photography is just beautiful, and the treats are sure to be a hit.
July 21, 2021Book ReviewsComments Off on Adorable Picture Books About Cats
My daughter loves cats. Loooooooves cats. We don’t have one currently, so she and my son “borrow” the neighbor’s cat, who loves to come and play with them on our front porch. Needless to say, my daughter was thrilled to read these adorable new picture books about cats! They are fun and funny, plus they also teach concepts like counting and the alphabet.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Adorable Picture Books About Cats
Enjoy these adorable picture books about cats with the cat lover in your life!
123 Cats: A Cat Counting Book is part of a pair of books (see below) that use simple text and charming illustrations to teach young readers early concepts. In 123 Cats: A Cat Counting Book, we count along as we are introduced to new cats (and all their antics). The illustrations are so sweet, and I love that the book actually goes up to 12 instead of just 10, as this is often hard for kids to learn. After all, cats come better by the dozen!
ABC Cats: An Alpha-Cat Book covers all kinds of cats from A-Z, including an “Adorable cat with eyes of gold” and a “Baby cat just two weeks old.” My daughter loves poring over these illustrations, and she’s started to use the terms to describe cats that we meet. (“That must be an unusual cat just like in the book because it likes swimming!”) Although the book is designed to reinforce ABC learning, it also challenges children with its elevated vocabulary. The Dreaming cat doesn’t just snore, it has a thunderous snore. Cats are elegant, finicky, and hefty. The Rowdy cat has a piercing yowl, and V is for a Voracious cat.
This pair of books are wonderful for very young readers as well as older kids who love cats.
Atticus Caticus is a joyful read about a cat who loves to play. The book is so fun to read aloud because of all the plays on his name, like splat-a-tat-taticus and tummy so fat-ticus. Cat lovers will recognize all of his mischievous behavior, such as drinking from his owner’s glass or attacking him as he walks down the hall. The illustrations are just as fun as the text, with playful drawings that capture the energy of this spunky cat.
It’s summertime, and everywhere we look we see flowers! Here are some of our favorite new children’s books about flowers that also help teach life lessons about patience, determination, and generosity.
Children’s Books about Flowers
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. I received complimentary copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
Enjoy these children’s books about flowers! What are your favorite blooms?
Oscar’s Tower of Flowers is a wordless picture book, so it’s great for sparking conversations with your child. When a loved one must go away on a trip, Oscar copes by focusing on growing flowers to share with his neighbors. He patiently waits for them to bloom, filling every nook and cranny of his apartment. Then, one by one, he takes them in his red wagon to each neighbor in the building to share the bounty. By the time his loved one returns, Oscar has learned the principle that we can help ourselves by helping others. The book also demonstrates the power of beauty and nature to lift our spirits and bring people together. My favorite illustrations are the end papers, which show the transformation of the apartment building thanks to Oscar’s flowers.
Sweet Pea Summer is another book about the therapeutic nature of gardening. A young girl stays with her grandparents while her mother is in the hospital, and gardening with her grandfather helps her to keep her mind off worrying and missing her mother. But soon she discovers that her sweet peas aren’t thriving. With determination, she works diligently to solve the mystery. Once she discovers the problem, can she save the flowers in time for the flower show? A sweet story with a happy ending that is sure to spark an interest in these beautiful flowers.
Little Dandelion Seeds the World is the only non-fiction book on this list. Ever wonder why there are dandelions everywhere you turn? This lovely book explores all the different ways that dandelion seeds travel: on the wind, in water, on clothing or fur, even in bellies! They are so successful that they bloom on every continent – yes, even Antarctica! This book shows how children around the world enjoy these playful flowers and help them seed the world.
Lucy’s Blooms also features dandelions, as a young girl learns what it takes to keep her favorite blossoms happy. With her grandmother’s help, she tends to them patiently, adjusting her methods each morning as she sees how they fared the night. Just like Sweet Pea Summer above, this is a wonderful book to teach children the science of carefully monitoring plants to see what they need to thrive. I also love that Lucy’s Blooms shows love to the often underrated dandelions, which are so cheerful and hardy, but which, as Lucy discovers, don’t win prizes. Lovely twist ending, as Lucy decides to give her beloved dandelions their own prize as Most Loved.
July 12, 2021Education, SpanishComments Off on Practice Spanish with These Easy Activities
Raising bilingual kids is a lot of work, but it can also be fun! These easy activities can be done with a range of ages and are a fun way to practice Spanish. Best of all, most require little to no prep time, so they are perfect for busy families.
Practice Spanish with These Easy Activities: Bilingual Kids
Disclosure: This post was created in collaboration with Spanish Safari. We received complimentary access to this app for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
Try these easy activities to practice Spanish!
1. Take a Picture Walk
Choose a book with a lot of colorful and realistic illustrations. Look at the pictures and talk to your child about what you see in the images in Spanish. It’s a great way to introduce new vocabulary.
2. Choose An Outfit Together!
Help your child pick out an outfit for the day (or you can work ahead and pick out tomorrow’s outfit!) Use Spanish to give your child instructions and also to describe all the choices your child makes for clothing.
3. Cook Together
Cooking is such a sweet activity to do together, and a great way to practice Spanish! It’s also a wonderful way to celebrate your heritage or learn about other cultures, like with this Cuban Mango Milkshake.
4. Play I Spy
Known as “veo veo” in Spanish, I Spy is a classic game that’s easy to play no matter what your language level.
5. Jump Around
I have one child who simply can’t sit still. So any chance I get to introduce active games like the one below, I take it! Movement can also help “activate” the vocabulary in the child’s brain. Just take two or three related words in Spanish and shout them out randomly for the kids to act them out! The faster you go, the harder it gets! You can also take a look at this jumping game we did with chalk.
8. Have Fun with Clay Most children love to finger paint. It’s just so much fun! But, clean up can be a hassle. Instead of supper messy paint, tear up small pieces of colorful modeling clay and spread the clay around cardboard pieces to create wonderful works of art. Talk in Spanish about the process, the colors, shapes and what they are making. You can also check out this vocabulary-building activity we did with play dough.
9. Animal Antics Make a list in Spanish of different animals. Choose an animal and you and your child can move and make sounds like the animals. Be sure to label all of the actions you take in Spanish.
10. Create a Group Story
Sit in a circle and start a story in Spanish. After you start, go around the circle, asking each person involved to add to the story.
11. Draw a Picture
Another fun way to practice Spanish is by drawing a picture! I often describe a scene to my children using our new vocabulary and ask them to draw a picture. You can make it as simple or complicated as appropriate for your child.
12. Play Online
My kids love using the Spanish Safari app, designed for kids ages 3-9. Kids are swept away to an immersive world with adorable animals characters, including monkeys who serve as guides. I love that the app is narrative-based, so language learning happens in a very natural, intuitive way. Lessons are designed to engage those that already know some Spanish as well as those that are just getting started.
You can download it for free to try it out, though I really recommend the full version, which gives you access to large number of lessons and mini games. I also love that with the full version I can set up separate profiles for my kids, so they can have age appropriate materials.
If you are visiting San Francisco or live in the area, be sure to include Alcatraz on your itinerary! It is a fun trip to do with your kids, and really brings history to life. Here are our top tips for visiting Alcatraz for families.
Alcatraz for Families: San Francisco with Kids
Alcatraz is most well known as an infamous prison, but it was also a military garrison as well as the site of one of the most significant political protests of the modern American Indian movement. In addition, it is a spectacular way to experience San Francisco Bay.
Here are our tops tips for visiting Alcatraz for families:
Alcatraz for Families: Top Tips
Be careful of parking! Choose your parking lot/garage wisely. We parked very close by, and after we had already paid a large sum for all day parking, a bus driver took the time to flag us down, honking at us and warning us to be careful of thieves (!) We moved our car to the middle of the lot, took all our valuables with us, and hoped for the best, but when we returned in the evening, we did see two cars on the perimeter of the lot that had their windows busted out. Next time, we will probably choose a parking garage, even if it means a bit more walking.
Don’t worry, there are bathrooms on Alcatraz and on the ferry! There are also plenty of bathrooms at the dock back on the mainland, which is really convenient if you just drove in from outside the city.
Buy your tickets ahead of time.
Tours of Alcatraz sell out weeks ahead of time, so buy your tickets early. You will find plenty of companies offering tours: We chose Alcatraz Cruises because they are an official vendor with the National Park Service. You can find all the most up-to-date information about the tours on their website.
Plan on 3-4 hours.
There is a lot to see on Alcatraz, so allow for plenty of time on the island. The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes each way, and you need to queue up 20-30 minutes ahead of your departure time. (You won’t miss the boat if you get in line later, but you may not have a place to sit). On Alcatraz, the main attraction is the tour of the cells, plus there are special exhibits and gardens to see. We arrived on the 1 pm ferry (easy to do if you are coming from Sacramento, as we were), and left on the 4:25 pm ferry back to San Francisco. From there it is an easy walk to Pier 39, where you can have a bite to eat, look at the shops, or (if it’s the right season) see the sea lions.
Food and beverage (other than water) are not allowed on the ferry or most of the island, but they are allowed at the dock. Since you’ll be spending several hours at Alcatraz, I recommend at least packing snacks. (Keep in mind that as of this writing there isn’t any food for sale on Alcatraz either). We packed a light lunch and ate it on some of the benches looking out over the bay. It is a nice place to take a breather and enjoy the view.
San Francisco is notorious for its changeable weather, which can be quite cool even in the middle of summer. We were there in July, and it was cold, especially on the island! The best thing to do is wear layers. If the sun comes out, you can always shed a layer or two, but you are going to want some good jackets for most of your time on Alcatraz.
Wear good walking shoes.
There is a lot of walking on Alcatraz, and most of it involves hills. My husband and I didn’t have any problems (except I wished I had brought my real sneakers instead of my cute ones), but the kids needed to have some breaks in the walk up to the main cell block.
Everything on the island is wheelchair accessible. They even have a special shuttle service for those with mobility issues, but this does not include those with small children. So if you have little ones, be sure to bring a stroller or carrier.
Don’t miss the audio tour.
When I asked my kids what their favorite part of Alcatraz was, the audio tour of the cells won hands down. You can either use the devices available there, or download the app on your phone once you arrive. The tour really brings history to life, as you walk down the corridors and peer into the cells (you can even walk into some!) hearing the voices of former prisoners and guards.
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