Read and Discover Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs (Discovery Kids Series) - Janine Amos, Christopher Collier, Alan Howe

Read and Discover Dinosaurs, by Janine Amos, is a non-fiction book about dinosaurs. It has information about their habitats, activities, and behaviors.  Lots of fun dinosaur trivia is included as well.  The book has realistic illustrations, a glossary, and even a quiz.  Any dinosaur lover will enjoy this book, but most likely it will be of interest to grades one - four. This would be a great book for an introduction to dinosaurs and a perfect addition to the classroom library that all students, but especially boys, will enjoy.  This is a great jumping off point for classroom research into the period or dinosaurs.  Kids would love illustrating a short dinosaur report or story, as well.

Are You Grumpy, Santa?

Are You Grumpy, Santa? - Gregg Spiridellis, Evan Spiridellis

Are You Grumpy, Santa?, by Greg and Evan Spiridellis, is about Santa having a really, really bad day.  Everything goes wrong before his night of delivering toys and his bad luck continues once his delivery trip has started.  Finally, he gives up and yells that he's a really grumpy Santa.  Shortly afterwards, he sees a note and some cookies left by a child.  When he reads the note and eats the cookies, it makes his grumpies disappear.


Are You Grumpy, Santa? teaches a lesson in how doing good deeds can make a difference in how other people feel.  Showing that you care can make a real difference in someone elses day or life.  This is a great lesson for children in the early or later elementary grades, though upper grades might have less interest in the study.  This story can be a great writing prompt for relating personal experiences and feelings.



Miss Spider's Wedding

Miss Spider's Wedding - David Kirk, Antoinette White

Miss Spider's Wedding, by David Kirk, is a book about true love. Miss Spider meets Holly and they get married, despite his rival's best efforts. It is a sweet tale of loving someone for who they are, not what they look like. The illustrations are bright and beautiful.  The book is written in rhyming verse that really paints a picture of the story.  Students may already be familiar with the characters in the story from watching the Miss Spider's Sunny Patch cartoons, which take place after Holly and Miss Spider are married and have children.


Miss Spider's Wedding is a book that would be enjoyed by any elementary grade.  Older students will pick up on nuances in the story that younger students might miss.  Many topics can lead to futher discussion and writing opportunites, such as bullying, friendship, determination, and bravery. The youngest students will just love hearing the story and looking at the pictures, without realizing they are being exposed to new vocabulary along the way.

Honest Abe's Guide to Presidential Elections

Honest Abe's Guide to Presidential Elections - Jack Silbert, Jim Paillot

Honest Abe's Guide to Presidential Elections, by Jack Silbert, informs readers about the US election process.  It's written from the point of view of Abraham Lincoln, and covers most everything a teacher would cover, with a bit of humor thrown in.  It is written in clear and understandable language that would be a good fit for third through fifth or sixth graders. It has fun cartoon illustrations and a glossary of terms.


Honest Abe's Guide to Presidential Elections is a great book to use during a civics discussion or around election time.  Students could use what they learn from it to hold a mock presidential election in the classroom.  It also provides great topics for debates and essays. 

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves!

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! - Lucille Colandro, Jared Lee

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves!, by Lucille Colandro, is a great book to read to your lower elementary students in the fall.  An old lady starts swallowing things, on after the other.  Students will love the repetition and the absurdity of the story.  Each verse ends with, "and perhaps she'll sneeeze." When she finally does sneeze, all of the things she's swallowed come flying out and are assembled into a scarecrow. The illustrations are in fall colors, with lots of leaves and fall symbolism.  It's a great book to read when studying the seasons.  Students could collect and trace leaves, color fall pictures, or write their own versions of the story.

Never Too Little to Love

Never Too Little to Love - Jeanne Willis, Jan Fearnley

Never Too Little to Love, by Jeanne Willis, is about a mouse who loves a giraffe.  He tries to reach her by stacking one thing on top of another on top of another.  Finally, the stack crashes to the ground before he reaches her.  She hears the crash, sees him, and because she loves him, too, bends way down to give him a kiss. 


Never Too Little to Love is a sweet story about unconditional love and never giving up. It would be best read to or by younger elementary students. They will enjoy the repetition and will most likely read it along with you as the repetition builds. The illustrations are bright and younger students will appreciate the flaps that allow you to see the repeating words. It is just a really cute story.



Persephone - Sally Pomme Clayton, Virginia Lee

Persephone, by Sally Pomme Clayton, is the story of Persephone, the daughter of the Greek goddess Demeter.  Persephone is abducted by Hades, and taken to the underworld.  While Persephone is gone, her mother, Demeter, grieves and nothing grows on the Earth.  Earth begins to die, so Zeus sends Hermes to Hades to bring Persephones home. Even though she had eaten nothing while she was there, Persephone eats three pomegranate seeds before she leaves. Because of this, Persephone must return to Hades for three months each year.  During that time, we experience winter and nothing grows, as Demeter once again grieves her daughters loss.


Persephone is a good resource to use durning a unit on mythology or when you are discussing the changing seasons.  It would be best used for upper elementary grades. The illustrations are pretty, but not the bright, cheerful colors that younger students tend to enjoy.


Bear Stays Up for Christmas

Bear Stays Up For Christmas - Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman

Bear Stays Up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson, finds Bear's friends waking him up from hibernation on Christmas Eve so that he can enjoy Christmas. Bear's friends keep him busy, helping him participate in Christmas activities, even as his eyelids droop and he struggles to stay awake. Eventually his friends fall asleep, but Bear stays up and makes presents for them all, unaware that Santa is at the same time leaving a gift for him. When his friends wake up, they celebrate Christmas, open gifts, and, finally, Bear goes back to sleep. 


Bear Stays Up for Christmas is a book students will love, especially animal lovers.  The illustration are beautiful and students will love the rhymes. I'd read this book to kindergarten - second grade.  It would be a perfect fit for reading before a class gift exchange at Christmas.  Students could decorate the classroom tree with homemade decorations like the ones in the book.

A Lime, A Mime, A Pool of Slime: More About Nouns

A Lime, a Mime, a Pool of Slime: More about Nouns - Brian P. Cleary, Brian Gable

A Lime, A Mime, A Pool of Slime: More About Nounsby Brian Cleary, is part of the Words are CATegorical series. It is the second of his books about nouns. Nouns are presented through clever rhymes and colorfully illustrated cartoons, both following the escapades of funny cartoon cats. Abstract and proper nouns are also introduced.  This book would be an interesting way of reinforcing knowledge of nouns and introducting abstract and proper nouns.  Students from first through sixth grade would enjoy this book, as an introduction for younger students and as a review for older ones. 


Frozen Big Golden Book (Disney Frozen) - Walt Disney Company

Frozen, by Walt Disney Company, tells the story of two princesses in a far away land.  Kept apart in the palace where they both live due to an accident involving Elsa's freezing powers, the girls are reunited after the death of their parents. At Elsa's coronation, Anna falls in love and Elsa's powers become known to the everyone.  After freezing the whole kingdom, Elsa runs away and Anna follows after her, leaving the kingdom in the hands of her new beau. Along the way, Anna meets Kristoff and Olaff, who help her locate her sister.  Elsa rejects Anna, again accidentally subjecting her sister to her freezing powers.  In the end, the two sisters reuinite and Anna is saved by her sister's love.  Elsa learns to control her power, Anna falls for Kristoff, the kingdom is thawed, and everyone lives happily ever after.



Frozen is a book any elementary school child, especially girls, will enjoy.  Most will already be familiar with it from seeing the movie of the same name.  This is another great story to use as a writing prompt. When teaching point of view, students can write the story from a different characters point of view. They can also write about what happens after the book ends. This book would also be a hit as a readers' theater piece.  

Down By the Cool of the Pool

Down by the Cool of the Pool - Tony Mitton

Down By the Cool of the Pool, by Tony Milton, tells the story of a frog who dances beside a pool.  One by one, other animals some to see him dance. They can dance, too, but not like him, so they show him their moves. Before long, a whole multitude of animals is dancing around the pool, right up until the moment they all fall into the cool pool! That doesn't stop them, though, they just dance in the pool until their dance is done.  Then, as the sun goes down, one by one, they go home.


Down By the Cool of the Pool is a beautifully illustrated book that preschoolers through first graders would love.  There is rhyming, repetition, and onomatopoeia. It would be a great variant for a brain break: while the teacher reads, the students can act out the actions of the animals. The need to repeat the actions means the students must pay close attention to the story and remember the sequence.  While students who are older might not think the story line is particularly interesting, they would surely enjoy the out of seat activity as well.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything - Linda D. Williams, Megan Lloyd

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams, tells the story of a little old lady with a fearless attitude.  While walking home one night, she first sees a pair of shoes clomping along behind her, then some pants wiggling, followed by a shirt shaking, until a whole suit of clothing and a pumpkin head are following her.  As each item appears, she says, "I"m not afraid of you!", but speeds up - just a little.  By the time the pumpkin head appears, she runs on home, only to have all of the items come knocking at her door. When she says she still isn't afraid, she offers the items a suggestion on how they can finally scare someone. The articles all find a home on a scarecrow and scare away the crows!


This is a great book to share with grades K - 2.  It provides a creative example of turning something you might be afraid of into something fun, and maybe even useful. The illustrations are fun and a little spooky and will fit right into a fall or Halloween theme.  The example in the story is a good way to start a conversation about fears and how to deal with them.

When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho!

When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! - Laura Rader

In When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho!, by Laura Rader it's just a few days before Christmas when Santa realizes he can no longer say ho! ho! ho!  Everyone tries to help: Mrs. Claus, the doctor, and even the elves, but no one can bring it back.  When the news makes it's way around the world, the world responds.  Santa recieves gifts and letters from all over the world. When Santa sees all of the greetings he's received, he gets his ho ho ho back and Christmas is back on!


This is a fun book to read in grades K - 3 during the holidays.  It lends itself well to writing activities, such as writing a letter to Santa to make him feel better or writing a newspaper article about Santa's lost ho ho ho.  Students could decorate Santas to adorn the walls or the class Christmas tree. This book teaches a sweet lesson about caring about others and how showing we care can make things better for someone else. When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho!  is a great book to read to your class as part of a lesson or just for fun.

The Kissing Hand

— feeling love
The Kissing Hand  (Chester the Raccoon - Nancy M. Leak, Ruth E. Harper, Audrey Penn

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn, is about a little raccoon named Chester, who is apprehensive about his first day of school.  His mother tells him a story her mother told her, about the kissing hand.  She kisses his hand and tells him that any time he feels scared or misses her, he just has to press his hand to his cheek and think, "Mommy loves you", and the kiss will jump to his face and make him feel better.  On the way to school, Chester does the same for his Mom, in case she misses him while he's gone.  Thanks to the kissing hand, Chester goes to school happily and his Mom is reminded of how much they love each other.


The Kissing Hand is a perfect book for early elementary students, who may still not be so sure about leaving their parents and coming to school. It's a wonderful story for any child confronting a difficult situation.  This would be a great book to read to students when one of them is having a hard time at school or is missing their Mom.  Students could illustrate the story afterwards and share the story with their caregivers when they go home.

I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! - Dr. Seuss

I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!, by Dr. Seuss, is a book about reading.  The Cat in the Hat takes Young Cat out and shows him all of the fun things he can read about and learn when he reads a book.  The rhymes are catchy and in the traditional Dr. Seuss style.  Illustrations in this book are fantastic and will catch most children's attention easily.  As with most Dr. Seuss books, there are nonsense words, objects, and places galore.


I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! is a great book to use with kindergarten and first grade students. Even reluctant readers will be drawn in by the rhymes and illustrations.  It's loaded with sight words and advanced kindergarteners and average first graders should be able to read it with minimal assistance. This book would be a good choice to read as part of a writing lesson, as almost every page can serve as a writing prompt. 



A Bad Case of the Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon

A Bad Case of the Stripes, by David Shannon, is about a little girl named Camilla who wants to fit in with her friends.  She loves lima beans - but they don't - so she doesn't eat them. One day while getting ready for school, Camilla discoveres she's covered in rainbow colored stripes.  Her parents and the doctor can't figure out what is causing the stripes or make them go away.  At school Camilla is teased terribly and changes into all kinds of colors and patterns.  The principal sends Camilla home from school because she is such a distraction. Camilla continues to change colors and to have other weird symptoms, but no one can help her.  Finally, a woman shows up with the cure - lima beans!  Camilla is cured and realizes that she is going to be herself, no matter what the other kids think or say and never has stripes again.


A Bad Case of the Stripes is a fun book for lower and upper elementary grades.  It teaches the lesson that it's good to be yourself, no matter what other people think.  It would be good to use if a teacher is having issues with teasing or if some of the children are struggling with conformity issues.  The illustrations are bright and fun to look at and could lead to interesting discussions and opportunities for the kids to create their own bright, colorful, unique artwork.