Saturday, September 29, 2012

31 Days of Children's ABC Books

Welcome to Our Learning Collection!  Join us as we explore children's ABC books in October. We'll look at a variety of ABC books based on different subjects, from board books to nonfiction books for older children. Each book discussion will be followed by a Question Collection as we use family conversation starters to enrich our learning.  We love hearing about how you use books in your family so please share any ideas you have in the Comments section.  Enjoy our collection of ABC books!

Day  1:  P is for Pumpkin
Day  2:  Alpha Bugs (A Pop-up Alphabet)
Day  3:  The Construction Alphabet
Day  4:  A To Z
Day  5:  A Paddling of Ducks
Day  6:  Alphabet City
Day  7:  Country Road ABC
Day  8:  3D ABC, A Sculptural Alphabet
Day  9:  Eric Carle's ABC
Day 10: The ABC Mystery
Day 11: Amelia to Zora, Twenty-six Women Who Changed the World
Day 12: Come Rhyme With Me!
Day 13: Pigs from A to Z
Day 14: Flea Market Fleas from A to Z
Day 15: A is for Amazing Moments-A Sports Alphabet
Day 16: LMNOPeas
Day 17: A-B-C Look at Me
Day 18: The Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book
Day 19: Baby Einstein The ABCs of Art
Day 20: A is for Abigail
Day 21: Max's ABC
Day 22: If Rocks Could Sing, A Discovered Alphabet
Day 23: B is for Buckaroo, A Cowboy Alphabet
Day 24: "R" is for Research
Day 25: Paul Thurlby's Alphabet
Day 26: Thanksgiving Day Alphabet
Day 27: ABC I Like Me!
Day 28: Twenty-six Princesses
Day 29: Handsigns, A Sign Language Alphabet
Day 30: Alphabet Times Four, An International Alphabet
Day 31: Hungry Monster ABC

Bonus:  T is for Turkey  
             Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten


Friday, September 28, 2012

Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile

Collecting and sharing memories enrich our lives.  We think Gloria Houston’s books are perfect examples of this idea.  Her latest book, Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile, continues this tradition of preserving an important memory from her childhood that shows how one person can make a difference.  Miss Dorothy dreamed of being a librarian in a big brick building, but instead becomes a librarian via a bookmobile that takes books to children in the Blue Ridge Mountains.   One of those children becomes an award winning children’s author, Gloria Houston! 

For anyone who believes in the power of books, this story holds great importance.  We had the privilege of meeting Gloria Houston, and she told us of others who were touched by Miss Dorothy’s bookmobile (you can read their letters in the book).  This book is a great discussion tool for children at home and at school.  We hope you enjoy hearing about Miss Dorothy and her influence on countless children!

*Why do you think it was important for this book to be written?
*What books do you think Miss Dorothy had in her bookmobile?
*Would you like to get books from a bookmobile?  Why?
*Does Miss Dorothy remind you of anyone in your life?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meeting Gloria Houston

Spruce Pine, North Carolina

What a blessing to meet a children’s author!  We were privileged to meet Gloria Houston and visit Spruce Pine, North Carolina (home of the Perfect Christmas Tree).  As we read books we try to talk about authors and illustrators, so it was very inspiring to meet an author whose books we’ve read.

Meeting Gloria Houston was delightful!  She is very personable and takes time to converse as she signs books.  We have some signed books that were gifts to our family, but this is the first noted children’s book author that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

We had fun reading her newest book, Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile.  It was fun to listen to her talk about how she gathered ideas for writing it.  Look for a book review of it here later this week.

Also, look for 31 days of children’s ABC books during the month of October!

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

Making a trip to an apple orchard at this time of year is a fun family event.  We also enjoy reading How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Priceman, as a part of autumn.  If you and your child haven’t read this book yet, you’re in for a real treat.  The humor of the situation of a market being closed leads to a trip around the world to find ingredients to make an apple pie.  Various modes of transportation are used as each country is visited, adding to the creative fun.

Taking a picture walk through this book can increase a child’s anticipation of listening to and/or reading the text.  The maps on the inside cover add to the enjoyment of being able to track the progress of discovering the ingredients in other countries.

We used the recipe in the book and enjoyed eating the apple pie we made.  If you’re looking for some ideas for an apple tasting party, the author has included those on the back cover.  This great book provides a great reading experience!  Enjoy!

*What was your favorite country that was visited?
*Which mode of transportation was your favorite?
*Which part of the book was the funniest to you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Knock, Knock! Who's There?

Does your family enjoy jokes and riddles?  We love laughing!  A good book to introduce knock-knock jokes is Knock, Knock! Who’s There?, by Tad Hills. Each knock knock joke’s question is printed on the left side of the book while the response is give on the right side.  The “who” portion is a flap that is lifted to reveal “who’s there” in the joke. The bright illustrations and large print are very appealing to children as they read through the book to discover the jokes.  This book really serves as a jumping off point for children as they learn more knock-knock jokes.  Enjoy some good laughs with your young child!

*What’s the funniest joke to you?
*Were there any surprising jokes to you?
*Can you make up a knock-knock joke?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hand Rhymes

Hand Rhymes, collected and illustrated by Marc Brown, is an interactive way to introduce simple rhymes to your young child. We love the way the simple illustrations accompanying each line help us act out the rhyme.  Some rhymes were familiar (Five Little Babies, The Church) to us, while others were new to our reading. This book is a fun way to make reading and memorizing more kinesthetic for children.  It’s also a great book for children who are learning to read to share their new skills with younger children.  Then they both can act out the rhymes.  However you enjoy this book, you’ll be able to have a set of rhymes which can also be used during those transitional times for children (waiting in grocery line, doctor’s office, etc.) so that you have a “literacy plan” when you need it!  Enjoy!

*What is your favorite rhyme?
*Can you do one of the rhymes by yourself?
*Can you think of a rhyme that’s not in this book and figure out a way to make a hand rhyme to go with it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wild About Books

Wild About Books, by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown, is one of the most creative children’s books I’ve ever read!  This award-winning book is a great read-aloud to start a new school year.  Children, parents, and teachers will all enjoy Sierra’s creativity. She writes a delightful book that emphasizes different authors and reading through the use of Molly McGrew’s bookmobile, zoo animals, and rhyming.  Some examples of the creative uses of literature include the otters that read Harry Potter and the baby bunnies that read Goodnight Moon.  This is a book that lends itself to re-reading as children get older and can find the humor in Sierra’s delightful writing!  This is a book that we think belongs in every child’s library!

*What books have you read that are mentioned in this book?
*What was your favorite animal and book?
*Why do you think the animals started writing after reading so much?

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Chicken of the Family

We love reading humorous books!  The Chicken of the Family, by Mary Amato, provides humor while also teaching some important lessons about believing in oneself and ignoring unkind remarks.  The illustrations by Delphine Durand add to the fun of the story.

Henrietta, the youngest of three girls, is teased by her sisters into believing she is a chicken.  They convince her that she is a chicken by leaving an egg and feathers in her room.  Henrietta is so convinced that she’s a chicken that she leaves to find her real family---a flock of chickens on a farm!  The chickens accept her, and Henrietta finds comfort being with the chickens.  Henrietta uses her peace with the chickens to find herself.  Her sisters soon find that Henrietta’s self confidence is truly amazing!

This book is a great discussion starter with children on the effects of teasing and also in how to be true to one’s self.  We hope you and your family enjoy the humor and the lessons!

*Why do you think Henrietta’s sisters teased her?
*What do you think about Henrietta’s solution to her sisters’ teasing?
*What would you have done if you were Henrietta?
*Have you ever felt like Henrietta did?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Butterflies of the World Fandex

Our family loves learning more about nature.  Books about butterflies, planting butterfly bushes, and outside observation have raised many questions about the types of butterflies we see.  Although we had several nature guides, we didn’t have any about butterflies.  We were very excited when we found the Butterflies of the World Fandex (published by Workman Publishing). 

This butterfly index is easy to use while it also invites you to learn more about butterflies.  The cards are attached at the bottom and fan out to show beautifully colored butterflies with information about them on the front and back of the card. The common name and scientific name are given for each butterfly.  Accompanying illustrations on each card vary with each butterfly displaying examples of eggs, pupa, chrysalis, caterpillars, or close-ups.  Some cards have insets on the back that give more narrative information.  The backs of the cards also contain field notes that tell the family, species, describer, time of flight, habitat, range, and wingspan.

This fandex has given us hours of learning and fun!  Butterflies have been identified, lists have been made, and drawings have been accomplished since we started using this fandex.  If you want to learn more about butterflies, this is a great source!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Butterfly Tree

As you and your children explore nature, the book, Butterfly Tree, can add to your appreciation of natural beauty and wonder of monarch butterflies. Through an unfolding story about a little girl, her dog Fudge, and her mom, author Sandra Markle explains how the little girl’s imagination helps them to find the butterfly tree.  This book, beautifully illustrated by Leslie Wu, is a great example of using picture walks to predict what the little girl will see.  Re-reading this book will help the reader/listener discover new items in the illustrations each time.  Also included at the conclusion is a helpful page with facts about monarch butterflies.  We enjoyed this book of fiction combined with nonfiction to help us learn more about monarch butterflies.

*How many monarch butterflies do you think were on the tree?
*Have you ever had a butterfly land on you?
*What kind of memory did the little girl and her mom make?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Adoption Day!

We are a family who has been blessed by adoption.  We like to find books that celebrate this blessing in our lives.  Happy Adoption Day!, written by John McCutcheon, is one book that explores adoption and the way families are formed.  The words and illustrations indicate that in this particular adoption the story began overseas, but there are similarities that could be found in domestic adoptions.  This book is a celebration and a discussion starter for us.  Because of the uniqueness of each family, we feel it’s a book we can recommend as a starting point in dialogue about a child and family’s adoption story.  We read it frequently and especially on our Forever Family Day.  If your family has been formed through adoption, we hope you find it helpful.

*How do you like to celebrate our Forever Family Day?
*How do you think this child feels about adoption?
*Are there any questions you have about adoption?