Another month begins and hopefully spring weather has found you where you live. April is traditionally a month of rainy weather, which then leads into May, a month of flowers hence the saying “April showers bring May flowers.” It is a time when the earth seems to come back to life or become re-born and is the month of Easter (this year at least) as well as Earth Day and Arbor Day. It is also another month where reading is brought to the forefront. Not only is it a month-long celebration of D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read), but it is also Poetry and School Library Month. Research shows that there is a direct positive correlation between schools that have a library and certified librarians and student achievement. School libraries are the central point in a school for reading, cultural activities, access to information, knowledge building, open discussions with collaboration and deeper thinking. It is a shame to realize that not all states require schools to fund libraries so celebrate if your school has a funded library with a certified librarian. This month we also recognize the importance of nature and the need to be good stewards with Earth Day and Arbor Day. Combat “Nature Deficit Disorder” by taking a walk in the woods and experiencing the wonders of nature.
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Experience and share the positive impact of nature and books this month!
2nd: International Children’s Book Day - Celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books from all around the world. For some wonderful international books, check out Kane Miller's titles. Kane Miller is a division of Usborne Books & More.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday - Once again we can celebrate the lessons presented in fairy tales. Consider reading one of his popular tales such as The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling.
3rd: Author Sandra Boynton’s Birthday - Boynton’s books are a must for the infant and toddler set. They are humorous, simple rhyming books with whimsical illustrations that children and adults alike find amusing. Many are board books along with several CD illustrated songbooks. A few of our favorites are Hippos Go Berserk!, But Not the Hippopotamus, Frog Trouble…and Eleven Other Pretty Serious Songs and Happy Hippo, Angry Duck.
12th: Author Beverly Cleary’s Birthday & D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything and Read) - A month long celebration of reading honoring Beverly Cleary’s birthday since Cleary first wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby. It is to remind people that reading is important and to take time to just drop everything and read! Have some D.E.A.R. moments with your family not only this month, but every month, all year long.
22nd: Earth Day - Celebrated in more than 192 countries, help your child to learn their role as a steward of the earth. Titles to consider are Earth Day: An Alphabet Book by Gary Kowalski and Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter Series book It’s Earth Day! Search your local library and bookstore for additional titles that celebrate the wonders of our planet and take a look at our previous blog Let's Celebrate Earth Day & Arbor Day!.
23rd: Playwright William Shakespeare’s Birthday – Don’t wait until your child is in high school to introduce the beautiful turns of phrase and poetic descriptions of the world famous works of William Shakespeare. Look for biographies of the famous bard as well as the wide range of books containing his plays available for many different age groups, including illustrated stories and graphic novels. Ask your librarian or local book seller to help you choose the right one for your child.
“April, dressed in all its trim, hath put a spirit of youth in everything”
24th: Library of Congress Established in 1800 - Celebrate the largest library in the world by getting to know your local library. Great books to read before visiting the library include The Library by Sarah Stewart, Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, But Excuse Me That is My Book by Lauren Child, The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy, That Book Woman by Heather Henson and "No Pirates Allowed!" said Library Lou by Rhonda Gowler Greene.
For additional library related and bookish titles take a look at our Stories about Books & Reading list.
Also remember that the:
Fourth Thursday is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day - Share your life with your child and give them real world experiences along with ideas and dreams for their future. Wonderful books to read include Iggy Peck, Architect, Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty as well as When I Grow Up by Al Yankovic.
Last Friday is Arbor Day - Celebrate by reading under or even to a tree! Titles to consider
include: As An Oak Tree Grows by Brian Karas, Mr. Tamarin’s Trees by Kathryn F. Ernst and The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins. Don’t forget to plant a tree as well!
For more information about Arbor Day and ways to celebrate, visit the Arbor Day Foundation’s website.
Take the time each month to enjoy the simple moments of life that will become your child’s memories. Be sure to include snuggle time with books for not only do they become warm memories as well but will build the background knowledge that is essential to reading and life!
-Kate @ BTBL
We are three generations that seek a way to get back to basics. It’s not that we eschew technology, but sometimes simpler is better, especially in raising our children. Mom was a reading teacher, Amanda is an early childhood educator and Kate a children’s literature specialist and former school librarian along with the latest editions, a daughter for Kate (now 3) and a son for Amanda (now 1.) We advocate reading aloud, the simple toys that use imagination and encourage creativity and learning in the kitchen, which can be a fun mess but also teaches life skills. Join us in raising healthy, happy, inquisitive and intelligent children.
*Note: this post contains Amazon Affiliate links. All purchases made via the links provided help to support our literacy efforts!
Earth Day and Arbor Day, the annual celebrations honoring our planet and trees, are fast approaching. Celebrated on the 22nd of April and the last Friday in April (the 27th this year) respectively, these days offer an opportunity for us to shine the spotlight on the wonders of the natural world and encourage everyone, both young and old, to connect with the great outdoors and live a more green life. Share the picture books below with the loved ones in your life, outside if at all possible, and then spend time appreciating all of the beauties of our Earth.
Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre
A poetic thank you note set against stunning photographs that capture the many beauties and wonders of our planet, this book pays homage to all that the Earth has to offer us and concludes with heartfelt words that will resonate with readers of all ages: “Thank you for beginnings, for endings, for lifetimes. Thank you for being our home.” An appendix in the back of the book offers activities and ideas for ways in which readers can show their appreciation for the Earth.
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
This book may not seem like an obvious pick for Earth Day, but the moving text and breathtaking illustrations show the wonders and beauty to be found all around us. It is a poetic celebration of the little things and a reminder to appreciate all the world.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
While taking a walk on a drizzly day through his very gray and dreary city, Liam comes upon a tiny, struggling patch of plant life up on the old railway. He decides to tend to the little patch and become its gardener. Although Liam does not know how to be a gardener, he does his best and slowly learns all that he can about taking care of plants. Inspired by New York City’s High Line, Liam’s story shows us that anyone can be a gardener and take care of a little patch of Earth.
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
Have you ever wanted to start a compost pile for your garden? Have you ever wondered what can be put into a compost pile? This book is a rhyme-filled introduction to all the things that can be composted, from apple cores to zinnia heads!
Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel
Reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s Lorax, Michael Recycle is a superhero who travels from town to town teaching the citizens how to be green and recycle. The illustrations are bright and cartoon-like and the text has a nice rhyming flow that adds to the enjoyment of reading this book aloud. At the end of the book you will find “Michael Recycle’s Go Green Tips,” which features an array of simple things you and your family can do to live a greener life.
*Extended activity: Using recyclable items and/or natural materials you collect while outside exploring, help your little one think outside of the box and make something new with the various things you have saved/found. It could be a simple piece of art or a new useful tool, the possibilities are endless!
Earth Day: An Alphabet Book by Gary Kowalski
Learning to appreciate all of the wonders of our Earth is as simple as learning the ABCs with this picture book. As readers move through the alphabet they will see animals and plants represented by each letter and gain an appreciation for our world.
It's Earth Day! (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter is on a mission to reduce, reuse and recycle in order to do his part to help save our Earth.
Fancy Nancy: Every Day is Earth Day by Jane O'Connor
What does it mean to 'be green?' As Nancy explains, it means taking care of our planet and in this story Fancy Nancy learns the rules for being green. She also does all she can to make sure her family is living the green life. But does she take her newfound passion a bit too far...? This particular title is an I Can Read Level 1 book perfect for those just learning to read on their own.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
No Earth Day book list would ever be complete without The Lorax. A timeless classic, written long before the Green Movement began, this story perfectly shows the consequences of our actions, but offers a message of hope that things can change, if we just care.
*Extended Activity: After reading the book together, snuggle up , watch the film and then make your own truffula trees likes these from Art Projects for Kids. You could even make your own truffula tree forest with these life-size ones from Mrs. Lodge’s Library!
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
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.