September is the first month of fall and the official start of the harvest season, as well as getting back to school time and Library Card Sign-up Month. It’s also a great time to visit your local farmers market, apple orchards and cider mills or just to take a walk in nature to appreciate the changes taking place. To look at how other cultures celebrate the harvest season you might consider reading We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season by Wendy Pfeffer or to get information about gathering crops try Fall Harvests: Bringing in Food by Martha E H Rustad.
When we think of seasons we always look to nature for indications of change, but any person who goes shopping realizes that August and September are the beginning of the Back to School season with specials, sales and offers of all kinds on anything and everything school related. While you’re busy getting all the requisite supplies, don’t forget the most important supply: books! Not the notebooks, though you will need those, but the storybooks to keep the fun and the whimsy alive when homework begins to bog the kids down.
Some titles to consider with a back to school theme are:
Many of these titles are geared for the younger set just entering school but don’t let the older ones fool you into thinking that they don’t enjoy these too. There are many titles out there for older children as well that are just plain fun or that help with anxiety and stress or help to teach a valuable lesson. Check with your local librarian or local book shop for ideas.
And speaking of your local library, this month is Library Card Sign-Up Month so get the family together and head out to your library and get everyone a card and then peruse the books and check out some titles that interest. Perhaps even find a title that can be read aloud as a whole family such as The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Little Women or Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, or A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Start a family tradition of a chapter a night after dinner or before bedtime.
Though children head off to school and schedules become hectic, don’t forget the importance of reading aloud, even to older children. Many schools don’t fund libraries and teachers don’t always have the time to read aloud so keep reading alive in your house through daily read alouds.
Remember that reading aloud to your child helps:
What's happening in September?
7th: Labor Day - To honor the contributions workers have made to this country help your child explore careers. Some books to consider are When I Grow Up by Al Yankovic and the Barenstain Bears’ On the Job and Jobs Around Town.
8th: Poet Jack Prelutsky’s Birthday - With his innovative word play, Prelutsky’s poems are a must read for every child. Consider Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young and The New Kid on the Block.
Author Jon Scieszka’s Birthday - Nationally recognized reading advocate and the founder of the literacy program for boys GUYS READ. Share one of his picture books with your young one or for the older set a title from his Time Warp Trio chapter book series.
International Literacy Day - Helps to raise awareness for those who cannot read or write. Help your child understand how important reading is to life by reading Oh, How I wished I Could Read! by John Gile.
11th: 9/11 Remembrance Day - Honor those who were taken from us in your own special way.
13th: Author Roald Dahl’s Birthday - Who didn’t grow up with Dahl’s classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach? Share one of his many stories with your child.
16th: Author H.A. Rey’s Birthday - Rey, with wife Margret, brought the delightful exploits of a mischievous and beloved little monkey to life, Curious George. Read about their remarkable journey to escape the Nazi invasion of Paris in The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margaret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden.
17th: Constitution Day – A day to celebrate our Nation’s Constitution. Consider reading We the People by David Catrow.
25th: Poet Shel Silverstein’s Birthday - Silverstein has delighted children with his poems and drawings for years. Among his notable works are The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends.
The Last Week is Banned Books Week - Celebrate the right to read by picking up your favorite book or a frequently challenged book. You can find challenged and banned book lists on the American Library Association's website.
Curiosity Day - Each year, sometime around the birthday of H.A. Rey, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) hosts an event called Curiosity Day. This is a day set aside to celebrate the magic of learning and discovery through reading, particularly the stories of everyone’s favorite curious monkey, George. You can find more information about this day and ways to celebrate on HMH’s official Curious George web page.
So, even though schedules are about to get much crazier, don't forget to make time to share books with your children and enjoy all of the delights that the beginning of the fall season has to offer!
Even though the temperatures here in Michigan are keeping us in summer mode, we know that, with the start of September, fall is just around the corner. Fall in the Midwest means apple orchards, cider mills, corn mazes and pumpkins. It is the season that begins with the last burst of color as the bloom of flowers leave us and trees begin to display their magnificent colors before dropping their leaves.
A wonderful way to experience the changes of fall might be to read the story My Autumn Book by Wong Herbert Yee and then enjoy the wonders of nature with your child and collect the treasures the season has to offer and create your own Autumn Book.
Change at this time of year can also involve starting school or moving to a new grade. A wonderful story about the challenge of accepting change and letting go in order to grow up is Little Tree by Loren Long. With so many changes that occur in a young child’s life, it is vitally important that some routines and traditions remain, such as snuggling and sharing a story. Children are often confronted with daily changes and most of these changes are beyond a child’s control, which can lead to stress and anxiety. It is the established routines that can give a child a sense of control for they know what to expect. Routines give children a sense of consistency and security in an ever changing, unpredictable world. A routine of reading with your child will make them feel safe and secure and create an everlasting bond. Choose stories that help your child see that though life presents challenges, not all is lost such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.
The season ends with what began as a festival in celebration of the harvest in giving thanks for its bounty. A simple book of thanks to read might be Llama Llama Gives Thanks by Anna Dewdney or Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and celebrate Thanksgiving by giving thanks in your own special way.
For more titles about fall, take a look back at our blog post: Fall Into Books!
Happy reading this fall!
Any time we hit the road we always keep our eyes open for bookstores to wander through and child-friendly activities and events to partake of. Our recent family road trip to northern Michigan offered plenty of fun in the sun by the big lake and led to the discovery of a new and used bookstore, as well as a hands on children’s museum that fueled my three-year-old daughter’s imagination and made us wish we didn’t live three hours away!
Sandcastles Children’s Museum in Ludington, Michigan is a bit of a misnomer. I was expecting a museum and, I suppose it is, but not in the typical way one would expect. Sandcastles is a place for children to create, discover and explore. It allows curious children to experience the landmarks of Ludington in a hands-on environment through interactive exhibits.
Over its three floors children are able to...
The creative, imaginative fun simply goes on and on and on.
Each area offers real life props for children to use that enhances the fun and learning. Additionally, sprinkled throughout the exhibits are informative articles and posters that explain the origins of the exhibits themselves, offer a bit of the history of Ludington and explain different topics related to the theme of the exhibit (such as information on keeping our pets safe and healthy in the Vet Center). As you move through the exhibits you will also find books relating to the different themes that you and your child can read together. It’s the perfect blending of imaginative play and reading aloud!
Another gem we discovered in Ludington is The Windowsill, a downtown bookstore that offers both new and used books in a well-organized, friendly atmosphere. I found several titles for myself and quite a few children’s books, some of which I have been hoping to find in my used sale travels and was able to snag at a great price!
The children's area offered titles for every age, from infant through teens. We especially appreciated the fact that the books were organized in such as a way as to be easily accessible to children. Nothing was up put on the top shelves, except special books for display, thus kids are able to browse at their leisure while parents look for books too. Stores like this one are our favorite because you just never know what you might find!
What fun places have you discovered while on the road with your family? Tell us in the comments!
National Farmers Market Week is this week, August 5th - 11th!
How does your garden grow? Well for some of us here in southeastern Michigan, not very well. Several weeks of above average temperatures and a severe lack of rain have made my tomato plants look pretty poor. Luckily I am not a farmer and don’t depend on my produce for my livelihood, but I do love frequenting the farmer’s market and supporting the local farmer’s in my area. I also love reading books with my daughter that promote farming to give her an understanding of where food comes from so that she too will have an appreciation of all the hard work that goes into producing our food and the value that our local farms bring to our community.
Farmers markets are important to our communities for they:
If you don’t already regularly visit a farmers market, think about visiting one during National Farmers Market Week for a wonderful learning experience and to support local growers and others who set up their booths at the farmers market. You also might find some great local honey, fresh bread or homemade jams and jellies from local fruit. Try out some new vegetables that you don’t normally eat or make a dip and indulge in some raw vegetables with your children. Cooking together is another great way to bond with your child and builds some exceptional real life skills.
To find a local farmers market near you, visit the National Farmers Market Directory.
After visiting a local farmers market and bringing home some delicious foods, read one of the titles below to enhance the experience and give your child a deeper understanding of farming and where our food comes from.
Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson
Before we sit down to eat, many people have worked very hard to grow the food that will grace our tables. Learn about all of the hard work that goes into growing and making all of the foods that we eat every day through simple text and vibrant wood-cut illustrations.
How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth
Take a more in depth look at the production of some common foods typically found in a child’s lunchbox with this title. While this title does not address all farm-raised products, it still provides a wonderful introduction to to food production for young children.
World of Farming series by Nancy Dickmann
-Food From Farms -Plants on a Farm -Jobs on the Farm -Farm Machines -Farm Animals
-Farms Around the World -Seasons on a Farm
This non-fiction series takes the reader through the various aspects of living and working on a farm, from the types of foods grown on a farm to the different machines needed to tend the farm properly. Real life photographs add to the learning, giving children images they can identify with (if they live near a farming community).
A Farmer’s Life for Me by Jan Dobbins
This title details the daily activities of farm life, from milking the cows in the morning to collecting eggs and picking cherries. It also depicts how children help with the chores on a farm, showing that tending a farm requires everyone in a family to work together.
On the Farm by David Elliott
Meet the animals to be found on a family farm. Each two page spread focuses on a different animal and features a short poem that talks about that particular animal. Not all of the poems rhyme, thus introducing little ones to various poetic forms.
Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root
A delightful rhyme paired with urban illustrations show the reader that a “farm” of fresh, green growing things can exist almost anywhere. All that it takes it some soil, sun, water, a seed and someone to plant it. This book also highlights the joy to be found in sharing seeds and the foods that grow with others.
Usborne Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers about Food
Lift-the-flap elements make this an interactive read that details where the food on our plates comes from fun and informative. Lifting the flaps to find the answer to such questions as “How is chocolate made?” and ‘How is flour made?,” this book is sure to keep your child coming back to learn more and more.
On The Farm (Shine-A-Light) by Susie Behar
Shine a light behind the special see-through pages to learn about life on a farm. See what chores need to be done during different seasons and take a look at various types of buildings to be found on a variety of farms.
Usborne Press-Out Paper Farm
You and your child can construct an entire miniature, cardboard farm and learn about all of the aspects of farm life at the same time with this book.
So, show your appreciation for the hard work that farmers do every day by visiting a local farmers market this week and share a story all about where our food comes from with your child!
Happy marketing and reading!
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.