Whether you’re an elementary school teacher, child therapist or pediatrician, when you work with young kids on a daily basis, your books can quickly become more “loved” than those in a public library!
If it’s time to update your stock, or you simply want to expand what you already have, here are some books I love (and why).
Books about acceptance, perseverance and staying curious
Peanut Butter and Cupcake – This story, from Scholastic, is great on many levels. It shows kids why they shouldn’t lose hope if they have trouble making friends. It also makes them think about their actions if they haven’t been kind in the past. The artwork keeps these messages light-hearted, though. Unlike most children’s books, this one uses photography instead of illustrations – in a memorable (and hilarious) way. Even kids with nut allergies will enjoy it! Teacher tip: There are several activity sheets on TeachersPayTeachers.com to accompany this adorable book.
How Cities Work – Flap books are always a hit and this one really appeals to kiddos who constantly want to know how anything and everything works. The book includes many facts about cities, and explores urban elements from high-rises and green spaces to emergency services and what’s happening underground, including how city planners and workers design and make it all.
How Animals Build – This flap book, by the same publisher, shows that humans don’t get to have all the construction fun. Young readers learn about animal architects and the amazing structures they build – without the help of blueprints or excavators. Animal homes and communities that kids get to “explore” through wonderful illustrations and descriptions include: rabbit warrens, ant colonies, beaver lodges, coral reefs and more.
Lola Dutch – My daughter loves this story about a girl named Lola, who is a lot like her! She’s a young, energetic dreamer whose constant stream of ideas can sometimes feel exhausting to others. When they take a step back, however, they realize how wonderful it is to view the world around them with such wonder and enthusiasm.
Cow Takes a Bow – We love Usborne books in our house. I bought this one for a young elementary school teacher as part of a graduation gift after she earned her master’s degree. It’s an adorable story about a circus cow who learns that the world won’t end if we make one mistake – or even a lot of them.
Going Places – This story is about two kids who decide to team up on a class project. It explores curiosity, being open to others’ ideas, and thinking outside the box – literally. My creative little six-year-old and I were giggling like crazy by the last page. For more, including insights and advice from the author, read my interview with Peter H. Reynolds. Teacher tip: You also can find activity sheets on TeachersPayTeachers.com to accompany this book.
Sky Color – This one is my daughter’s favorite. Also by Peter H. Reynolds, it’s a beautifully-illustrated book that includes gentle messages about not allowing obstacles to deter you, and that the world around you can be a great source of inspiration if you stop and pay attention.
Great children’s magazines
Did you know you don’t need to have a child enrolled in Boy Scouts to have access to their monthly magazine? I discovered this a couple days ago and I love it. Boys’ Life is a great monthly magazine and sometimes it’s hard for kids to choose between all the available extracurricular activities. So regardless of whether or not there’s a Boy Scout in your house, you can offer this reading material to the kids in your care – and they’ll get a lot out of it. The magazine doesn’t focus exclusively on being a Boy Scout; it contains content that non-scouts will enjoy, too, including clever tips, great jokes and riddles, inspiring stories, opportunities to learn about various professions, and more.
Cricket Media has several good children’s magazines. In my opinion, Ask magazine probably has the broadest appeal. It’s an arts and science publication that teaches kids about past and present inventors, scientists and artists, in fun and interesting ways.
Highlights was a favorite of mine growing up and it has been for my kids as well. And now there are three versions: Hello for babies and toddlers (which the publisher smartly laminates), High Five for early readers, and Highlights for children who enjoy slightly more in-depth articles and puzzles. Even though my eight-year-old is in his school’s gifted program and is reading a Harry Potter book right now, he still looks forward to his monthly issues of Highlights. (In other words, its editors do an awesome job of ensuring their publications appeal to an impressive range of ages and academic levels.) And if you enjoyed Hidden Pictures® as a kid like I did, you’ll be happy to know that the two younger publications (Hello and High Five) contain special pared-down versions of the beloved seek-and-find activity.
And if you enjoyed Hidden Pictures® as a kid like I did, you’ll be happy to know that the two younger publications (Hello and High Five) contain special pared-down versions of the beloved seek-and-find activity.
I hope this is helpful. If you have other book or magazine suggestions, please tell me. Maybe I’ll mention them in a future post!