Fall Favorites

The days are getting cooler and the sun is setting earlier each day. That means autumn has arrived! Celebrate the changing of the seasons with these fall books.


Fall is Here! by Frankie Jones
Celebrate Fall in this adorable board book! Fall is here! Discover colorful leaves, friendly scarecrows, yummy pies, and all the things that make Fall so special in this beautiful board book.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
As trees sway in the cool breeze, blue jays head south, and leaves change their colors, everyone knows–autumn is on its way! Join a young girl as she takes a walk through forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says good-bye to summer and welcomes autumn.

Autumn Is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray
Celebrate the coming of autumn with your child as you cuddle up and enjoy a sweet look at how the world changes along with the season. With beautiful watercolor illustrations and charming descriptions, you and your child will be wishing it was autumn year round!

Who Loves the Fall? by Bob Raczka
It’s hard when summer ends, but the hearty season that follows overflows with holidays, sports, and fun. In this companion to Spring Things, the author and illustrator pay tribute to fall.

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Fall has come, the wind is gusting, and Leaf Man is on the move. Is he drifting east, over the marsh and ducks and geese? Or is he heading west, above the orchards, prairie meadows, and spotted cows? No one’s quite sure, but this much is certain: A Leaf Man’s
got to go where the wind blows. With illustrations made from actual fall leaves and die-cut pages on every spread that reveal gorgeous landscape vistas, here is a playful, whimsical, and evocative book that celebrates the natural world and the rich imaginative life of children.

Leaves by David Ezra Stein
It’s a young bear’s first autumn, and the falling leaves surprise him. He tries to put them back on the trees, but it doesn’t work. Eventually, he gets sleepy, and burrows into the fallen leaves for a long nap. When he wakes up, it’s spring’and there are suddenly brand-new leaves all around, welcoming him. Graceful illustrations and a childlike main character offer the perfect way to talk to children about the wonder of the changing seasons.

Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley
Fall is a tough time of year for a lot of us. Kids have to go back to school, teachers and football players have to go back to work, and parents have to look for new places to hide holiday presents. But perhaps fall is hardest of all on trees. After all, they have to change their entire appearance every year! This book is the rhyming story of a tree’s humorous struggles to change its colors for fall. And it’s a perfect introduction to the seasons for young children.

After checking out these books, take a walk and enjoy the fall colors! And while you’re out, collect some leaves for leaf rubbings. Explore the science of leaves while creating some fun art with this leaf rubbing project via Edventures with Kids!


Book Weekend – Ocean Bottles

bottleWho finds those bottles that are thrown into the ocean?  Who reads what’s hidden inside and delivers the message?

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, Michelle Cuevas has written as quite picture book about the person whose job it is to fish out the bottles and uncork the slips of paper.  One day, he’s faced with a mystery – a note with no address!  He goes around his town, asking the baker, the florist, and others, but finds no answer.  The last pages reveal a surprise, that brings closure to the man’s lonely heart, while leaving the mystery obearpen to interpretation by young readers.

Erin Stead has won awards for her art, and in this book, she uses a limited range of colors to give the story a cool autumnal feel.  And while the text never mentions any animals, Stead includes a friendly cat who sometimes follows the man on his delivery routes.   Ask for her other books, including Bear Has a Story to Tell by Phillip Stead, for a gentle fall bedtime read.


Squirrel Power!

Which animal do you see darting around the neighborhood during this time of year? Squirrels, of course! They’re everywhere and they are on a mission: to “squirrel away” the most nuts they can before winter begins. Here are some books about squirrels to keep you as busy as a squirrel.


Nuts to You! by Lois Ehlert
A rascally squirrel has an indoor adventure in a city apartment.

Bear and Squirrel are Friends…Yes, Really! by Deb Pilutti
Although Squirrel‘s friends warn him that bears eat squirrels, and Bear‘s friends remind him that squirrels make a good midnight snack, their friendship remains strong.

Squirrels on Skis by J. Hamilton Ray
Squirrels on skis take over a town, wreaking havoc among the human residents, until a girl reporter comes up with a creative solution.

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins
After surviving being carried off by a hawk, a young squirrel resolves to find his way home, as his best friends begin their search for him.

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
Scaredy Squirrel thinks about all the things that could happen to him if he left the safety of his home, but he has no choice when he accidentally drops his emergency kit.

Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin
When grumpy Old Man Fookwire builds feeders to try to keep birds–the only creatures he likes–from leaving for the winter, he finds himself in a battle with clever, crafty squirrels who want a share of the abundant food.

Squirrel in the House by Vivian Vande Velde
A Squirrel narrates this story of a family get-together turned upside down when he climbs down the chimney to join the festivities.

Squirrels by Diane Swanson
Describes the physical characteristics, behavior, habitat, and life cycle of the animal that never seems to stay still.

Now that you’ve read all about these bushy-tailed critters, create some squirrel friends of your own!  Peek-a-boo squirrel puppet instructions courtesy of One Artsy Mama, and pine cone squirrel instructions courtesy  of About.com.



National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time for communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. Take a stand against bullying. Spread the word about the negative effects bullying causes. Share a couple of these books with your little ones to raise awareness and to help them make the right choices.


The Little Bit Scary People by Emily Jenkins
Some people are a little bit STRANGE or a little too LOUD, and just a little bit SCARY. But I bet, if you knew them, and knew their favorite things, you’d think that maybe, (probably) most people aren’t so scary after all.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.

The Ant Bully by John Nickle
Lucas is picked on by the neighborhood bully, and in turn terrorizes the ant colony. The ants create a potion that shrinks Lucas to the size of an ant. They put him on trial, and find him guilty of crimes against the colony — his sentence? To live and work as an ant! Lucas learns about teamwork and the importance of friendship–and in the end, he saves the colony and is returned to his normal size.

One by Kathryn Otoshi
Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid–but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig
After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she’s told to meet with Mrs. Petrowski, the school counselor, so she can make right her wrong and learn to be a better friend. Bothered at first, it doesn’t take long before Katie realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too. Told from the unusual point of view of the bullier rather than the bullied, Confessions of a Former Bully provides kids with real life tools they can use to identify and stop relational aggression.

My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Here is the all-too-familiar story of Monica. She and Katie have been friends since kindergarten. Monica loves being around her when she’s nice. But there are times when Katie can be just plain mean. And Monica doesn’t understand why.

Teach kids about kindness with Encourage Play‘s wrinkled heart activity.  Check out the book Chrysanthemum from your favorite library branch!


Hip, Hip, Hooray for Hockey!

Whether your children are fans, players, or just want to learn about the game, these books will get them excited about hockey!


Z is for Zamboni, by Matt Napier
In the mold of our very popular series of state alphabet books, we offer “Z is for Zamboni” to hockey fans young and old across North America. Matt Napier’s “breakaway” rhymes and “hard-checking” expository text team up with the “top-shelf” illustrations of Melanie Rose to elucidate this increasingly popular game for every beginning hockey aficionado. Highlighting rules, players, coaches, teams, and the history of the game, it is both fun and educational.

Hockey, by Blaine Wiseman
Provides information highlighting the greatest achievements of hockey’s biggest stars.

Dino-Hockey, by Lisa Wheeler
In a hockey match unrivaled in prehistory, the Meat-Eaters take on the Veggiesaurs. Fans go wild in the stands as T.Rex and Triceratops face-off. This action is sure to be good, so don’t miss it!

Brady Brady and the Great Rink, by Mary Shaw
When Brady tries to build the greatest backyard rink ever, he finds out it’s harder than he thought. But his work is about to pay off in a way he never imagined!

Who is Wayne Gretzky?, by Gail Herman
After breaking or tying more than sixty records in hockey, it’s no wonder that Wayne Gretzky is known as “The Great One.” When he retired from the NHL in 1999, he had led several teams to Stanley Cup victories, competed in the Olympics, and changed the way hockey was played forever. Known for his love for family and as a truly decent human being, Wayne Gretzky is revealed as more than a sports legend in this easy-to-read biography.

The Boy in Number Four, by Kara Kootstra
Bobby Orr played in the NHL with the Boston Bruins for ten seasons leading them to two Stanley Cup victories. He also played with the Chicago Black Hawks for two more– all the while wearing jersey number 4. In the Boy in Number Four, readers will get a glimpse of this hockey legend as a boy and discover the hard work, commitment, and fun it takes to make a dream into a reality. This book also includes an afterword by Bobby Orr with an inspirational message for kids today.

If you can’t cheer on your favorite hockey team in person, build a mini ice hockey rink at home for some fun. Instructions can be found at playtivities.com.


Book Weekend – Noises

noiseWhat noise do I make? by Brian McLachlan is a picture book that takes a children’s concept to a new level.  Most preschoolers have meet animals and learned their noises in a picture book, but let’s be honest, most of these are farm animals.  What about stranger wilder animals, like the colorful ostrich on the cover?  What noise do they make?

The story begins with a stretching cat who meows and a friendly mutt dog who barks, but then moves along to dolphins and whales, raccoons and skunks, rhinos as well as elephants, and two kinds of pandas.  Each animal is asked the question and then, as the page turns, reveal the surprising loud or unusual noises they are known for.  A funny look at sounds that will engage older elementary school kids as well as amusing the younger set.

Flex Your Civic Muscle!

It is election season and though you might not be able to vote, it is always fun to learn about what it takes to be an active citizen of the United States. Ever wonder what it takes to be President? Or how old you have to be to vote? These books have the answers!


When Penny Met POTUS by Rachel Ruiz
From debut author Rachel Ruiz, When Penny Met POTUS is a unique and clever picture book about a young girl whose mother works for the president of the United States. Penny has heard the term POTUS over and over but doesn’t know what it means and her imagination runs wild. When she spends a day at the office with her mother, she asks a few questions, looks around, and tries to discover just who or what POTUS is.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

A Balancing Act: A Look at Checks and Balances by Kathiann M. Kowalski
After Americans won their freedom in the Revolutionary War, they faced the challenge of forming their own government. Many people didn’t trust governments. They wanted to protect their freedoms so they formed three branches–the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial–that would watch each other, ensuring that no one person or branch would become too powerful. Discover how all three branches of government work, and how they check and balance each other to guard Americans’ freedoms.

If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier
If you ran for president, you would have to do a lot of hard work. You would study the nation’s problems, tell the American people about your platform, select a running mate, and debate your opponents on live television.

America’s Bill of Rights by Kathleen Krull
Which 462 words are so important that they’ve changed the course of American history more than once? The Bill of Rights: the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the crucial document that spells out how the United States is to be governed.
Newly revised and updated, packed with anecdotes, sidebars, case studies, suggestions for further reading, and humorous illustrations, Kathleen Krull’s introduction to the Bill of Rights brings an important topic vividly to life for young readers.
Find out what the Bill of Rights is and how it affects your daily life in this fascinating look at the history, significance, and mysteries of these laws that protect the individual freedoms of everyone–even young people.

Fancy pens aren’t just for writing up laws, they can also make art. Practice your writing flourishes with this cool feather quill craft and write up your own personal constitution or just doodle. Exercise your freedom to be creative!  Instructions courtesy of Kids’ Play Box.