It’s the season to talk about and celebrate thankfulness, but how can we help instill a grateful attitude in our young children when our culture often promotes self satisfaction and instant gratification? The Zero to Three website is an excellent resource for knowledge and advice. Their article on Raising a Thankful Child has some good tips, such as not giving a child too many gifts at birthday parties and holidays, and helping others within your community to encourage empathy and giving with hands on experiences. Reading books about the topic can help children understand the concept of thankfulness beyond the usual prompting they get from parents to have good manners (“And what do we say when someone gives us something? That’s right, thank you.”) Some from our collection that I like are The Most Thankful Thing by Lisa McCourt, The Thankful Book by Todd Parr, and Thank You, World by Alice McGinty. Some books to spark discussion about gratefulness or generosity include A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams, Stone Soup (multiple authors), The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, A Castle on Viola Street by DyAnne DiSalvo, or All the World by Elizabeth Scanlon.
Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein
Squirrels are all around our city this time of year, and you might have even heard one scold you from a tree! Ol’ Mama Squirrel tells the story of one very protective squirrel mama. She always makes sure her squirrel babies are safe from dangerous predators, though sometimes she gets carried away and scolds kites and airplanes. This funny story is wonderful to read aloud to preschoolers and early elementary students.
-Reviewed by Laura
“Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five” is the ultimate concept book. It has it all–the alphabet, counting, shapes, colors, opposites, seasons and weather. With bright colors and fun photography, Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five is engaging and educational. There is no narrative, it is just pure concept and imagery. This is not a book to be read cover to cover. It is a book to be browsed, and talked through, concept by concept. When I read the book with my 4 year-old niece, she enjoyed the numbers and opposites but did not have the patience to read the entire book in one sitting.
Whether your child is learning these concepts for the first time or reinforcing their knowledge, this book is a great way to explore concepts together.
Reviewed by Grace
Cover image of Love that Baby by Kathryn Lasky
Love that Baby! is a fun and informative book that explains what babies are like. From the way they look and what they eat to the reasons they cry and the noises they make Love that Baby helps kids know what to expect from new babies. It has fun ideas for how a child can help to make a baby stop crying, like looking a mirror or singing to the baby. It has games to make a baby laugh such as Peekaboo and This Little Piggy. On the whole Love that Baby is a great way to teach a child about babies and get them excited about a new sibling.
Reviewed by Grace
Identifying and describing emotions can be hard even for grown-ups, but for a child without necessary vocabulary it can be really difficult. The Way-I-Feel books by Cornelia Maude Spelman feature small animals who describe their emotions and the way that it effects their behavior. In each story the character also tells the reader how they manage that particular emotion. The Way-I-Feel books have clear, simple prose that will help a child understand it is okay to feel sad, scared or to miss someone, but will also help children see there are ways to cope with unpleasant feelings.
The Way I Feel Books:
When I Feel Good About Myself
When I Feel Sad
When I Feel Scared
When I Feel Jealous
Reviewed by Grace
The First Facts: Community Helpers at Work series is a great way to introduce early readers to community helpers. Each books follows a community helper through their day with a clock in the corner of each page-spread to show the time of day that they do each task. These books are easy to read with a paragraph of large text per page, but give a thorough overview of what community helpers do all day.
A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian
A Day in the Life of a Teacher
A Day in the Life of a Farmer
A Day in the Life of a Police Officer
A Day in the Life of a Firefighter
A Day in the Life of a Dentist
A Day in the Life of a Child Care Worker
A Day in the Life of a Construction Worker
A Day in the Life of a Doctor
A Day in the Life of a Librarian
Yoga is a great way for kids to beat the boredom blues and get some exercise at the same time. The mimicry of poses such as “cat pose” and “tree pose” allows kids to use their imagination and have fun while they are also stretching muscles and practicing balance.
Here are some fun yoga books for kids that you can find at the library:
Babar’s Yoga for Elephants by Laurent De Brunhoff
Twist: Yoga Poems by Janet S. Wong
You Are a Lion: And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeon Yoo
Stretch by Doreen Cronin
Sleepy Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford
Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga by Rebecca Whitford
Yoga For Kids: The At-Home Yoga Class for New Beginners by Liz Lark
The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power
My Daddy is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids by Baron Baptiste
Strike a Pose by Karen Birkemoe
Yoga in Action by Kelley MacAulay
Teach your kids to recycle and use their creativity. Make it! by Jane Bull has craft instructions that utilize materials we tend to throw away or simply send to recycling. You can turn unwanted papers into boxes and airplanes or cool paper maché containers, and you can turn your junk mail into paper maché beads. You can take an empty cereal box and some old magazines and create a collage and frame. Your empty plastic water bottles can turn into many things, including a suncatcher. Fabric scraps become puppets and rugs–the possibilities are endless!
Check out other titles in our huge selection of kids craft books at Manhattan Public Library in the nonfiction section of the Children’s Room under the call number 745.5
Reviewed by Grace
The ultimate guide to kids’ comics has arrived: “A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids Comics” divides graphic novels into genres and loose grade levels. For each series or title reviewed the book includes a summary, a list of educational tie-ins, a note about content to help you make informed choices for your child, as well as recommendations for similar titles. Also included are lists of books about understanding, creating, and teaching graphic novels, some informational websites, and graphic novels that parents may enjoy reading themselves.
If your kids love comics and graphic novels, this book is a must-read.
Reviewed by Grace
Folktales are a wonderful way to introduce your children to cultural heritages from around the world. Many cultures have developed the same basic stories but the details are often different, reflecting their specific traditions and lifestyle.
A fun way to start exploring is to read Cinderella tales from around the world. You can ask your child to spot the differences in each story. This is also a great way to teach your children that while each culture has developed different languages, food, clothing and ways of life, we all share certain common values and dreams.
Cinderella Stores from Around the World:
Wishbones: A folktale from China by Barbara Ker Wilson
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie
Domitila : a Cinderella tale from the Mexican tradition by Jewell Reinhart Coburn
Little Gold Star : a Spanish American Cinderella tale by Robert San Souci
The Rough-face Girl by Martin Rafe
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony L. Manna
The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story by Rebecca Hickox
Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella by Alan Schroeder
Cinderella illustrated by K. Y. Craft
Glass slipper, gold sandal : a worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman
A list of more multi-cultural folktales that can be found in the Children’s Room at Manhattan Public Library
Posted by Grace