Long before becoming a teacher or a mom, I had a love for children’s books. I’m not sure who to give the credit for my love of reading and collecting them. It could be my eldest sister who read Polar Express (my favorite children’s book of all time) to me each Christmas Eve. Or maybe sweet Mrs. Ross and Mrs. West, my Kindergarten teachers, who I still remember reading books like The Kissing Hand and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. I know my love for reading was also influenced my mom, who was and still is always reading something, and dad, who bought me countless Berenstain Bears books to complete my collection.
I know I was around eight when I had to have EVERY single Berenstain Bears book. I would look on the back of one of the books where they had small pictures of the covers of every book, and I would organize mine in order to see which ones I still needed. My willing parents helped me with my obsession and as soon as a new one would come out, I would go to Waldenbooks at good ol’ Sunset Mall and get a copy. I have always been excited to find a new great book, and that only compounded when I started teaching. In my opinion, first grade was the best grade to teach when it comes to reading and books. Most of the students are so close or are already reading, and they LOVE any story you put in front of them. So, while teaching I was introduced to so many wonderful new books! I fell in love with authors like Jan Brett, Kevin Henkes, and David McPhail. I quickly expanded my collection of children’s books with hand-me-downs from my mother-in-law (a former teacher) and her sister-in-law (another teacher). I purchased books at the school book fair. I found books at garage sales. And, recently I have expanded my collection to include vintage children’s books. My great aunt helped that collection along by bringing me a box full of books she and my grandad would read as children.
When cleaning out my classroom last summer I packed up all of my books- at least four Rubbermaid tubs full! They are now in my house and I am slowly getting them out for me and the kids to enjoy. Just like in school, I’ve been getting them out by themes, so I just introduced all of the fall, pumpkin, and Halloween books to Chloe. It seems she loves books as much as me, so needless to say she has been so excited to see new books come out of the tubs. I thought I’d write a little something about my favorite books from each theme so that if you don’t have a collection or are wanting to add to yours, these might need to be the next books you buy for you!
Also, you can Google many of these books and find activities that go along with the book. From reading and math skill reinforcement to a cute craft idea, the internet is FULL of “lesson plans” that you can do at home!
A few fall favorites:
Red Leaf,Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert- This book is a great introduction to fall! The illustrations in the book are actually collages of leaves, seeds, sticks, and ribbons that give the pictures a 3D feel. For an activity with your kids, you could go on a leaf hunt in your neighborhood or a park to try to find as many different colored leaves as you can. Then, you could make them into a collage at home to hang on the fridge. Also, you can find a leaf coloring page online and give your kids a mini-art lesson my showing them how to blend crayon colors of red, orange, purple, and yellow to create fall-colored leaves.
Jeb Scarecrow’s Pumpkin Patch by Jana Dillon- This is a tale about a family of scarecrows that have a Halloween adventure! You could make a scarecrow with your child like the one pictured here. Hint- I would trace (and cut out for small children) ahead of time, or have the kids color the parts instead of using construction paper. AND, I would fill the bag with popcorn or candy for a snack instead of boring newspaper! The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is also about a scarecrow. It’s a little scary for the young ones, but I think older preschoolers would love it.
The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by San Berenstain- I had to include this one for obvious reasons. Oh how I love these wholesome books! They always have some great message for children to learn- this one is about being thankful even when things don’t turn out perfect. Actually, that’s a good lesson for all of us! You could read this before going to a pumpkin patch outing and look for “The Giant” pumpkin in the patch. You could also make a quick pumpkin craft or make pumpkin-shaped cookies (I think I’ll chose the cookies!).
Happy Fall reading! I’ll try to post as I introduce each “theme” to Chloe. Coming up next- Thanksgiving!