What We are Reading Wednesday: Classic Chapter Books for Young Children

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My kids have been so eager to listen to chapter books over the last few months.  They are currently 6.5 and 4.75 years old and both equally enjoy this read aloud time.  I read aloud from our current chapter book every day at lunch and I bring it with us if we are out and about and have any waiting time.  Thanks to NYC parking regulations from time to time we have to sit in our parked car and wait for the street sweeper to come by which is another opportunity to read aloud.  They have loved these books so much that they also ask me to read at other points of the day when we are home.

Here are the books we have read between January and May:

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

The Mouse in the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary

Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary

James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Now, some of these books were written in the 1930s and ’40s.  Obviously parenting practices have evolved since then.  I was concerned about some topics in these books such as spanking in Mrs. Piggle Wiggle or the physical and verbal abuse endured by young James in James and The Giant Peach.

I even considered skipping over these parts or changing the words.  And, in full disclosure I did skip over a few words here and there (words like stupid, for example). We also talked about the words Indians and Native Americans and how in the past people used words we don’t use today.  

However, the books have opened up some interesting conversations and they have handled these topics beautifully.  They were not scared or traumatized.  

With that said, the kids and I highly recommend the books on this list!  

Here is a sneak peak at the next few classic children’s chapter books we plan to read:

The Littles by John Peterson

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

Catwings by Ursula K. Le Guin

Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

What We are Reading Wednesday: Books about Land and Water

*all links are Amazon affiliate links*

I recently purchased this book, Water Land:  Land and Water Forms Around the World by Christy Hale, after seeing it on Instagram.  It’s a beautiful, simple book which very creatively makes comparisons between water and landforms.  It was an instant hit with Ethan who is 5.5.

Ethan is very interested in maps, different landforms and any kind of water so I thought this book would be a jumping off point for a more in-depth study.  I purchased the following books to help our study along:

The Pond by Jim LaMarche

The Raft by Jim LaMarche (I have yet to be able to read this beautiful book without crying.  What a great story!)

The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown

As we move forward I plan to add kinetic sand and water with blue food coloring to our sensory table for him to explore.

I’ve also downloaded these 3 part cards from The Helpful Garden to help us learn the land and water form vocabulary.  There were many great 3 part cards available for free download on the site.

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If you follow us on Instagram, I plan to share more of our land and water study there.

 

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What We are Reading Wednesday: Books about Nature

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These nature picture books are some of my kids all-time favorites.  We have read them over and over again!

*all links are Amazon Affiliate links*

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd – This is a great book about nature in an urban environment.

If You Find A Rock by Peggy Christian – This one is my kids favorite right now

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon – This is a board book but the text is just so beautiful.

Wonders of Nature by Jane Werner Watson – This is an old book but I love how it notices the very simple aspects of nature and points them out as wonderful.

What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele- My kids love to listen to the song by Louis Armstrong as I turn the pages of the book.

A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry – This is such a simple, beautiful book.

The Kids Guide to Exploring Nature by Brooklyn Botanic Garden – We love the BBG and we love this book!

On the Nature Trail by Storey Publishing – This is a beautiful take-along field guide for kids ages 4 and up.

Do you have any recommendations of books about nature?

 

What We are Reading Wednesday: Books about Insects

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Here are some of our favorite books (with affiliate links) about bugs!  My kids just love when we take out the bug books each May.  Insects are one of their favorite topics to read about for sure.

A Ladybug’s Life by John Himmelman

The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer

Bugs A to Z by Caroline Lawton

National Geographic Little Kids First Book of Bugs by Catherine D. Hughes

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman

I Like Bugs by Margaret Wise Brown – This is a great easy reader for young kids learning to read.

My Busy Green Garden by Terry Pierce

Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi – This one is my favorite.  It’s fun to read out loud and the pictures are great.

This year, Ethan (5.5) has loved The Fly Guy Series by Tedd Arnold.  He finds it so funny!

We have also been enjoying the hands-on experience of having insects in our home to observe.  This is our second year with both the Inset Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden and the Insect Lore Ladybug Land from Amazon.  The caterpillars and ladybugs are currently in pupa stage so I cannot comment on our success rate this year but we had a 100% success rate last year!

Here’s a few pictures of our Insect studies throughout the last few years.  Even though we use the same insect kits and the same books, I find the kids learn more and more each year.

 

What We are Reading Wednesday: Early Chapter Books

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When my son, Ethan was about 3.5 I thought he might be ready to listen to me read a chapter book to him.  I hesitated because I find immense value in picture books (especially nonfiction picture books for 0-3 year olds) and didn’t want to rush into chapter books.  He has the rest of his life for those!  But then I thought it might be fun to mix it up and try something new. After some online research I decided to go with My Father’s Dragon.  And what it hit it was!  I purchased the trilogy and we read the whole set three times in a row.  It took weeks but he really loved it.  Although we still read mainly picture books; since then we have continued to mix it up from time to time by adding chapter books into our bedtime reading routine.

Here are some chapter books my kids have loved listening to (affiliate links):

Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgiliesh – My 5 year old and 3.5 year old both love this book.  We first read it about a year ago so it could work well for even a very young child.  My kids prefer the audible version to me reading the chapter book.  I get it and I don’t take any offense.  The audible version is really good.

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo – There are several books in this series and both of my kids love them!  They are quite silly and have great full color illustrations.  They are on the shorter side and if you had enough time, I’m sure you could read the whole book in one sitting without your kids losing interest.

The Dragon Masters series by Tracey West –  There are currently 10 books in the series, with the latest due out June 2018.  We have read them all.  I’d describe them as Harry Potter lite.  There are lots of dragons, two wizards and just a little bit of suspense; just enough for a very young or sensitive child.  I bought these for my 5 year old but my 3.5 year old also happily listens to these books and follows along well from night to night as we work our way through each day.  There are small pictures on almost every page.

The Last Firehawk by Katrina Charman – We have read the first 3 books and the 4th is due out in July of 2018.  I’m sure my kids will want to keep reading.  They are very similar to the Dragon Masters series with lots of pictures and just enough suspense to keep the story interesting but not scary.  The main characters in this book are a squirrel, an owl and mystical creature called a firehawk.  So, if you don’t like talking animals, this one is not for you.

We did follow the Montessori approach of sticking to nonfiction before age 3.  I felt my kids were ready for these types of books because they have a really good grasp on reality vs. fantasy.  

I feel like it’s important to note that as a parent, I don’t mind reading any of these books out loud.  They are all good stories and interesting enough!

Do you recommend any chapter books for young kids?  I’m sure we will read some classics soon like Charlotte’s Web or James and the Giant Peach but I’ve been waiting for my younger daughter to get a little older so we can all enjoy those together.

 

What We are Reading Wednesday: Books about Rocks and Soil

We recently kicked off a small study of rocks, minerals and soil, per my kids request.  Below are the books we are using to learn about this topic (affiliate links).

My Books of Rocks and Minerals by DK

Mud by Mary Lynn Ray

Rocks and Soil by Rebecca Rissman

The kids have requested I read the book Mud, several times a day.  I don’t mind at all because the pictures are great and the language is really beautiful.

My Books of Rocks and Minerals was great to help us identify the minerals we found when we broke open real geodes.  We used this kit, Break Your Own Geodes, which was a lot of fun!  The geodes were not easy to open and required a lot of patience and perseverance from the kids.  When they finally smashed them, they were so excited!

Fossil Digging Together

Any other junior geologists out there?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

What We are Reading Wednesday: Books about Classical Music

In our family we listen to a lot of classical music.  I’ve compiled a list of books about classical music that we enjoy reading and included some CDs that the kids enjoy listening to too. 

(these are affiliate links)

Leonard Bernstein’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

We first started listening to this CD when my son was about 2 years old.  It is a great introduction to instruments, the orchestra and classical music for kids.  It’s still something that we all love listening to.  I’m sure you can stream this now or download it.  

Peter and the Wolf translated by Maria Carlson

This has been a favorite for a few years now.

Peter and the Wolf

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers

This book, coupled with the music was a HUGE hit in our house.  I pretty much listened to nothing else from Thanksgiving to about March.  

The Story Orchestra:  Four Seasons in One Day by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

Both kids love this one.  It’s a lovely story that matches the music from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  On each page there is a button to push with a piece of music.

Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine

Ethan loves this one.  I caught him conducting one of the songs in his room the other day using one of his arrows from his bow and arrow set :).

I have my eye on these:

Maestro Classics 12 CD Collection

Each CD comes with an activity book.  I think my kids would love it!  

Do your kids like classical music?  Do you have any book recommendations?  Let me know in the comments!