Take Your Child to the Library Day

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Saturday, February 6th is Take Your Child to the Library Day, which encourages families to take their children to the library with a day of celebration and fun activities. Check with your local library to see if they are participating.

What if my library isn’t participating?
You can still make a fun day out of going to the library. Many libraries have regular storytelling times for kids. And once you’re home with your pickings for the day, you can encourage your kids to write or draw their own stories or act out the scenes in their favorite book.

What is the point when all my kid wants to do is play online?
Finding alternatives to screen time is more important than ever these days. Why not share some of your favorite stories and let a librarian help your kids find books that will be of interest to them? Make it a special trip by topping it off with a stop at the ice cream shop or another point of interest that’s near and dear to your little one.

I’m interested, but I just don’t have time to get to the library this month.
Take a look at this Take Your Child to the Library Day program guide for librarians. See if you can modify some of these activities for fun at home. Even setting things up for your kids for play where they act out going to the pretend library reinforces the value of reading and familiarity with this special resource.

Do you have a regular habit of taking your kids to the library? If so, what drives you to make it a part of your lives? If not, what’s holding you back? Let me know in the comments section.

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Review: Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree


Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree
by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
Published by Chronicle Books (August 11, 2015)
Age 5-8

My Rating: 4 Stars

Review:
I recently started listening to a podcast called Let’s Get Busy, hosted by Matthew Winner, a school librarian who interviews kid lit authors and illustrators. Today, I decided to listen to the interview with Kate Messner about her most recent book, Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest TreeShe describes being on a research trip in Costa Rica where the idea for the book first sprouted. Her passion for life-long learning and wonder shine through in the interview, which made picking up a copy of her book a no-brainer for me.

Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree showcases the extraordinary ecosystem of the rainforest by examining the life supported by a single almendro tree. Through non-fiction descriptions of rainforest animals, picture book storytelling and math concepts, the book reveals the interconnectedness of species.

Colorful illustrations by Simona Mulazzani depict the complex life that surrounds and intertwines the tree. Each spread features a factual description of a rainforest creature that depends on the almendro tree, plus a short fictional-style description of the action taking place in the illustration. The most unique feature of the book is the visual representation of the number of animals that doubles each time you turn the page. You see 1 almendro tree housing 2 macaws, 4 toucans, 8 howler monkeys and so on, until the end when there are tiny dots of 1,204 leafcutter ants.

There’s a lot of learning that can happen from a book like Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree. It’s a fascinating introduction to ecology, biology and multiplication. The combined styles of writing and the variety of concepts that it covers make it a great choice for classroom libraries. Plus, after the story is told, there are math exercises and resources for getting involved with maintaining the rainforests.

What’s your favorite non-fiction picture book? Let me know in the comments section below.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog. All reviews are my own opinion. I am not paid in any other form to write reviews.

Kid Magazines: 3 Reasons to Subscribe for Your Child

My copy of Ladybug magazine arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. It’s always colorful and full of stories and poems to read, plus it’s not junk mail or a bill, so I get a little excited whenever it comes.

Do you remember being a kid and getting something in the mail with your name on it? I do. It made me feel special, adult-like, as if I really existed. That special feeling is just one reason why a magazine makes a great addition to a kid’s reading resources. What else does a child receive when you give them a subscription to a magazine?

Activities that engage
Most kid’s magazines have at least a few activities in addition to stories. These puzzles, cutouts, recipes, experiments and more encourage a child’s natural curiosity. They offer parents of young children ways to further connect with their kids in a manner that goes beyond reading. Magazines for older kids will often have crossword puzzles that children can accomplish on their own and drawing or writing contests that allow kids to engage in creative endeavors with a wider community.

Cultural exposure
Children’s magazines often contain stories about cultural differences and similarities. A story about the games children play in countries around the world or a poem about the bedtime rituals of children living in the city vs. the country, for example, show children what they have in common with other kids, plus some fascinating differences. There are books out there, of course, that address tolerance of other cultures, but children’s magazines provide steady exposure to these types of stories, which ask kids to think outside their own worlds.

Comforting routine
As adults, we have our routines and rituals that help keep us sane in a hectic world. For some of us, it’s a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper or news websites. For others, it’s hitting the gym before work. Kids need routines just as much, if not more than, adults. The arrival of a beloved magazine on a regular schedule acts as a symbol of stability. Regular characters that show up in the mailbox in the form of a magazine story can feel like good friends coming to visit. Ladybug magazine, for instance, begins every issue with a story called Max and Kate and ends with a cartoon called Molly and Emmett. Plus, throughout each issue there’s hilarious commentary from a trio of delightful characters: Ladybug, Muddle and Thud.

Do you think a magazine subscription would be a great gift for a child in your life? Here are 6 sites to explore to find just the right one:

1. Cricket Media publishes a variety of magazines for different ages and interests, including literary fiction, such as Ladybug, and non-fiction, like Dig.

2. Highlights publishes three magazines, each for a different age range. These publications are chock-full of activities and brain-stimulating puzzles.

3. National Geographic Kids, much like the adult version, is for kids curious about exploring the planet, natural science and geography.

4. For your little sports lover, there’s Sports Illustrated Kids.

5. U.S. Kids puts out two magazines, one for ages 2-6 years called Humpty Dumpty and one for ages 6-12 called Jack and Jill.

6. Does your kid love to help you bake or cook? Ingredient might be just the right magazine to spark their own culinary creativity.

In addition to these, there are also super niche magazines for kids who are into things like riding horses and creating their own fashion designs. They can easily be found by going to any of the magazine subscription sites like magazines.com.

Did you have a favorite magazine when you were growing up? Do your kids already have a favorite that they can’t wait to receive in the mail? Let me know about it in the comments section below.

Getting Kids into Gardening: 10 Board and Picture Books + 2 Activity Guides

I spent a bunch of time in the garden this weekend, which got me thinking about how kids can be introduced to gardening – both the joy of it and the science.

The best way to learn is often by doing, but when children are very young it can also be helpful to introduce concepts through books. Here are 10 board books and picture books to try with your kids, plus 2 activity guides for when they’re ready to get their hands dirty.

1.

Planting a Rainbow
by Lois Ehlert
Ages 1 – 3

2.

The Tiny Seed
by Eric Carle
Ages 3 and up

3.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Ages 5 – 8

4.

Oh Say Can You Seed?: All About Flowering Plants
by Bonnie Worth
Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz
Ages 4 – 8

5.

Jack’s Garden
by Henry Cole
Ages 4 – 8

6.

One Bean
by Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Megan Halsey
Ages 3 – 6

7.

Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard
by Nancy Loewen
Illustrated by Rick Peterson
Ages 4 – 9

8.

From the Garden: A Counting Book About Growing Food
by Michael Dahl
Illustrated by Todd Ouren
Ages 4 – 8

9.

The Curious Garden
by Peter Brown
Ages 3 – 6

10.

My Garden / Mi Jardin (English and Spanish Edition)
by Rebecca Emberley
Preschool and up

Ready to get your kid out there exploring the wonders of gardening?
Here are 2 activity guides:

1.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children
by Sharon Lovejoy

2.

Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden (Hands-On Family)
by Renata Fossen Brown

Do you and your kids have a favorite gardening activity? Please share in the comments section. I’d love to hear about how you teach while playing in the dirt.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog. All reviews are my own opinion. I am not paid in any other form to write reviews. The commission that I make through Amazon helps me maintain this blog without other types of advertising.