• Independent Books for Fourth Graders to Read
    book lists,  elementary,  middle grades

    17 Independent Reads for Grade 4

    Every year I like to create a list of independent reads for my daughter (and will do the same for my son once he is reading on his own). She never reads every book on the list but I enjoy making it nonetheless.

    My main goal of the independent reading list is to push her out of her comfort zone. She can read harder books but can easily get into the rut of re-reading all the Geronimo Stilton books.

    I give her separate reading time during our official school portion of the day to read her current book off of my list so she also has other time to read her own books.

    This year she wanted to add some of her own ideas to the list so I have included them at the end of this list, I’m okay with all the books she added and my only request is that she doesn’t read two easy books back to back (like all the Roald Dahl books).

    I tried to be diverse in the books I picked out but a lot of fairly heavy books made it on to my list, so maybe it’s a good thing she picked some lighter books so this year doesn’t get known as the year of the gut wrenching books.

    If you have suggestions of books that you would add to this list I would love to hear them, I’m always looking for more great books to give to her.

     

    17 Independent Reads for Grade Four - Great Books to Read in Grade Four

     

    SEVENTEEN BOOKS TO READ IN GRADE FOUR

     

    This is the easiest and lightest book on my list. She’s actually listened to it on audio at least once but because it’s a fourth grade book I couldn’t help but add it on here.

    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

    Two is a crowd when Peter and his little brother, Fudge, are in the same room. Grown-ups think Fudge is absolutely adorable, but Peter and his pet turtle, Dribble, know the truth. From throwing temper tantrums to smearing mashed potatoes on the wall, Fudge causes mischief wherever he goes!

     

    I read this book for the first time earlier this year and enjoyed it and knew right away that my daughter would have to read it soon.

    The Story Girl

    Sara Stanley is only fourteen, but she can weave tales that are impossible to resist. In the charming town of Carlisle, children and grown-ups alike flock from miles around to hear her spellbinding tales. And when Bev King and his younger brother Felix arrive for the summer, they, too, are captivated by the Story Girl. Whether she’s leading them on exciting misadventures or narrating timeless stories–from the scary “Tale of the Family Ghost” to the fanciful “How Kissing Was Discovered” to the bittersweet “The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward”–the Story Girl has her audience hanging on every word.

     

    The Sign of the Beaver

    Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier.

     

    I remember reading this one in elementary school, it’s an emotional one but a good one.

    Bridge to Terabithia

    Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

     

    We actually listened to the first book in the series together a couple of months ago, so I would like her to read the second book in the series: Mossflower.

    Redwall

    The question in this first volume is resoundingly clear: What can the peace-loving mice of Redwall Abbey do to defend themselves against Cluny the Scourge and his battle-seasoned army of rats? If only they had the sword of Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance. But the legendary weapon has long been forgotten-except, that is, by the bumbling young apprentice Matthias, who becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. Teeming with riddles, humor, unforgettable characters, and high-bounding adventure, the original Redwall is the launching point for a series that has captured the world’s attention.

     

    The 90’s movie version has always been one of my favorite movies.

    A Little Princess

    Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to settle in and make friends at boarding school. But when she learns that she’ll never see her beloved father gain, her life is turned upside down. Transformed from princess to pauper, she must swap dancing lessons and luxury for hard work and a room in the attic. Will she find that kindness and generosity are all the riches she truly needs?

     

    Black Beauty

    The gentle thoroughbred, Black Beauty, is raised with care and is treated well until a vicious groom injures him. The damaged horse is then sold to various masters at whose hands he experiences cruelty and neglect. After many unpleasant episodes, including one where he becomes a painfully overworked cab horse in London, Black Beauty finally canters towards a happy ending.

     

    Where the Red Fern Grows

    A loving threesome, Billy and his two dogs ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan has the brawn, Little Ann has the brains, and Billy has the will to make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. Soon their skills will be put to the test as they brave the dangers of the wilds for the ultimate glory.

     

    The Secret Garden

    When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

    The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. With the help of two unexpected companions, Mary discovers a way in—and becomes determined to bring the garden back to life.

     

     

    MY DAUGHTER’S SUGGESTIONS

    Here are the books my daughter wanted to add to the list (apparently she wants to read a lot of Roald Dahl books this year):

     

    We’ve been following this guide for Harry Potter for when she can read and watch Harry Potter. I’ve read the first two books and currently don’t care to read the rest myself but she really likes the story.

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

    Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts…he’s at Hogwarts.”

    Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

     

    I think she actually wants to read the entire series (I’m not sure if she has read it in the past or just listened to it), but she especially wants to read this one.

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    Through this enchanted painting Edmund and Lucy, accompanied by their unwilling and unpleasant cousin Eustace, once again enter the magical world of Narnia.

     

    Matilda

    Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

     

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

    Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

     

    The Witches

    Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!

     

    George’s Marvelous Medicine

    A taste of her own medicine.

    George is alone in the house with Grandma. The most horrid, grizzly old grunion of a grandma ever. She needs something stronger than her usual medicine to cure her grouchiness. A special grandma medicine, a remedy for everything. And George knows just what to put into it. Grandma’s in for the surprise of her life—and so is George, when he sees the results of his mixture!

     

    Fantastic Mr. Fox

    Someone’s been stealing from the three meanest farmers around, and they know the identity of the thief—it’s Fantastic Mr. Fox! Working alone they could never catch him; but now fat Boggis, squat Bunce, and skinny Bean have joined forces, and they have Mr. Fox and his family surrounded. What they don’t know is that they’re not dealing with just any fox—Mr. Fox would rather die than surrender. Only the most fantastic plan can save him now.

     

    Danny the Champion of the World

    Danny has a life any boy would love—his home is a gypsy caravan, he’s the youngest master car mechanic around, and his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. But one night Danny discovers a shocking secret that his father has kept hidden for years. Soon Danny finds himself the mastermind behind the most incredible plot ever attempted against nasty Victor Hazell, a wealthy landowner with a bad attitude. Can they pull it off? If so, Danny will truly be the champion of the world.

  • The Best Picture Books to Read in August - All About Weather - Fiction and Non-Fiction Picture Books Great for Kids in Elementary
    book lists,  elementary,  nature study,  picture books,  science

    The Best Picture Books for August

    Welcome to another monthly book list! I’ve been slowly collecting books about weather for us to study the topic so I thought it would make a great theme for August’s theme.

    We went on a little road trip last week and as we were driving home we drove through some spectacular storms and cloud formations. I often bemoan the fact that we live in flat prairie land but it sure makes it easy to see what is all going on in the sky. I captured this shot last week from my seat in the vehicle, it’s not something you would generally be able to get a good view or shot of in hilly or mountainous places:

     

    Picture Books about Weather

     

    And since I am incapable of mentioning this flat province without referencing or sharing this scene from Corner Gas, I’ll keep up my tradition and share it here. #nothingtoblockyourview

     

     

    That was a big of a rabbit trail, now on to some great weather books for the month of August!

     

    The Best Picture Books to Read in August - All About Weather - Fiction and Non-Fiction Picture Books Great for Kids in Elementary

     

    THE BEST WEATHER BOOKS FOR KIDS (AND ADULTS TOO!)

     

    Weather Forecasting

    This fun and educational picture book describes forecasters at work in a weather station as they track and gauge the constant changes in the weather.

    Will I need my umbrella? 
    Is it a good day for the beach? 
    Will school close because of snow? 

    These are the questions weather forecasters answer every day. They can tell us what the weather is doing at any time of the day or night. But how do they do it? 

    Weather Forecasting tells how. With straightforward text and colorful pictures, this behind-the-scenes look at a modern weather station answers basic questions kids ask most, and makes weather forecasting more fun and accessible than ever.

     

     

    Weather Words and What They Mean

    Everyone talks about the weather, but what does it all mean? In clear, accessible language, Gail Gibbons introduces many common terms—like moisture, air pressure, and temperature—and their definitions. 

    Simple, kid-friendly text explains the origins of fog, clouds, frost, thunderstorms, snow, fronts, hurricanes, reinforcing the explanations with clear, well-labeled drawings and diagrams. Best of all, the book features a fun list of weird weather facts!

     

    What Will the Weather Be?

    Will it be warm or cold? Should we wear shorts or pants? Shoes or rain boots? This picture book explores why the weather can be so hard to predict.

    Now rebranded with a new cover look, this classic picture book uses colorful, simple diagrams to explain meteorology in a fun, engaging way. Perfect for young readers and budding meteorologists, this bestseller is filled with rich climate vocabulary and clear explanations of everyday weather instruments like thermometers and barometers. Both text and artwork were vetted for accuracy by Dr. Sean Birkel of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine.

     

     

    The Skies Above My Eyes

    Have you ever looked up and wondered what’s going on high up in the skies above your eyes? Take a journey up into the air, through the atmosphere, way out into space, and back down to Earth in this richly illustrated concertina book.

    Zoom past the technology that fills our skies, from helicopters, fighter jets, weather balloons, to satellites, hang-gliders, and hot-air balloons. Discover the insects and animals that whizz through the skies, explore the layers of the atmosphere, and travel through the solar system and out to the galaxies far beyond. The follow up to The Street Beneath My Feet, which dug down to the center of the Earth, this expansive concertina book opens out to an impressive length of over 8 feet, perfect for inquisitive young minds.

    Begin your journey from the sidewalk of a busy city. Look up beyond the traffic lights, utility wires, and skyscrapers. Unfold the connected pages to reveal the incredible man-made sights that you would see 12 miles above (a weather balloon), 30 miles above (a rocket blasting a capsule into space), 62 miles above (a space plane and satellites), 250 miles above (the International Space Station), 235,000 miles above (the Moon), and through our Solar System. 

    Turn to the top of the other side to make your way beyond the Solar System to the hundreds of billions of galaxies filled with stars and planets we haven’t discovered yet. Then start your journey back down through the amazing natural wonders you would see 6,200 miles above (a comet), 55 miles above (meteoroids burning up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere), 7 miles above (a cumulonimbus cloud bringing thunder and lightning), 1 mile above (migrating storks), and down through the mountains, past trees, bats, and butterflies to finally reach the ground again—this time in a grassy clearing of a forest, where you can imagine yourself lying on your back wondering at the thought of the whole universe above your head. 

    From jet trails to comets’ tails, enjoy amazing sights as you journey through the skies.

     

    Weather Clues in the Sky: Clouds

    Look! The sky is getting cloudy. Does that mean light rain, a thunderstorm, or just an overcast day? Dylan hopes their soccer game won’t be rained out. Bel the Weather Girl helps her friends read the clues in the sky. Will it rain on game day? Stay tuned, because every day is another weather day!

     

    Clouds

    Do you ever wake up and wonder what the weather will be? Instead of turning on the TV to find out, you can just look out your window at the clouds. How do you know what type of clouds can forecast a change of weather? Read and find out.

     

    Feel the Wind

    Have you ever felt the wind tickle your face or heard it whistle through your window? Did you know that some wind travels faster than a car? Read inside to find out more about what causes wind, and learn how to make your own weather vane!

    Have you ever felt the wind tickle your face or heard it whistle through your window? Did you know that some wind travels faster than a car?

    Air is always moving. We can’t see air moving, though we can watch it push clouds across the sky, or shake the leaves of a tree. We call moving air the wind. In this enlarged edition, find out about the wind – what causes it, how it can be used to help us, and how it affects the weather.

     

    Little Raindrop

    Have you ever wondered what happens to a raindrop when it falls from the sky? This beautifully illustrated story will capture the imaginations of children and parents alike, and offers a perfect introduction to the water cycle. 

     

    Worm Weather

    Drip,drop,
    skip and hop.

    Splish, splash,
    sidewalk dash!
    It’s worm weather! 

    Join in the rainy-day fun, as kids splash through the puddles, affecting another weather enthusiast, a nearby worm. An imaginative and playful story, readers will love seeing the worm delight in the weather just as much as the kids.

     

    Come On, Rain!

    “Come on, rain!” Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Up and down the block, cats pant while heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway. More than anything, Tess hopes for rain. And when it comes, she and her friends are ready for a surprising joyous celebration….

     

    If you are reading this on a rainy day, you may as well watch the movie!

    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

    The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town except for its weather, which came three times a day–at breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Life for the townspeople was delicious until the miraculous food weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger, and so did the portions. The flood of huge food caused chaos, and the people feared for their lives. Something had to be done . . . before it was too late!

     

    Flash, Crash, Rumble and Roll

    Did you know that lightning bolts can be over a mile long? Or that they may come from clouds that are ten miles high? Storms can be scary, but not if you know what causes them. Before the next thunderstorm, grab this book by veteran science team Franklyn Branley and True Kelley and learn what causes the flash, crash, rumble, and roll of thunderstorms!

     

     

    A Party for Clouds: Thunderstorms

    Boom! A crash of thunder follows a flash of lightning. Bel the Weather Girl and Dylan are having a slumber party, but now he’s hiding under the covers! Bel tells Dylan that thunderstorms aren’t so scary once you understand them. Will Dylan’s fear of the storm rain on their sleepover? Stay tuned, because every day is another weather day!

     

    Thunder Rose

    Thunder Rose vows to grow up to be more than just big and strong, thank you very kindly–and boy, does she ever! But when a whirling storm on a riotous rampage threatens, has Rose finally met her match?

     

    Tornadoes!

    What in the world is a tornado? In this age of extreme weather, Gail Gibbons’ informative introduction to tornadoes answers all your questions.

    Tornadoes form when hot, humid air rises from the ground and meets with the cooler, denser air that is falling back to Earth. The two airstreams begin to swirl, pulling in more and more air to form a funnel-shaped cloud. The winds can swirl faster than 261 miles per hour! 

     

    The Sky Stirs up Trouble: Tornadoes

    Tornado siren! Bel the Weather Girl and Dylan head to the basement. Dylan is scared the house will blow away! But soon the storm passes. Some storms make tornadoes, and some don’t. Bel says she can explain why―in the kitchen. What does baking have to do with tornadoes? Stay tuned, because every day is another weather day!

     

    Hurricanes!

    Imagine a force that can toss boats around like toys, wash away bridges, and create waves as high as eighteen feet. With fierce winds and torrential rains, hurricanes can do all of these things. They can cause tremendous damage and even change the shape of a shoreline. For centuries people did not know when a hurricane was coming. But now we have new methods to predict when and where these storms will occur. Young readers will learn how hurricanes are formed, how they are named and classified, and what to do if a dangerous storm is on the way. 

     

    The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane

    Count on Ms. Frizzle to teach anything but an ordinary lesson on meteorology. Flying through the clouds in the Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle’s class experiences a hurricane-and even a tornado-firsthand. During their thrilling ride through the sky, Arnold gets lost! Will the Friz be able to save the day this time?

     

    Spinning Wind and Water: Hurricanes

    Yikes! Grandpa tells Dylan and Bel the Weather Girl that he is tracking a tropical storm. They came to Florida for fun in the sun, not to get stuck in a hurricane! Bel explains the science behind the storm. Are the weekend plans ruined? Stay tuned, because every day is another weather day!

     

    Do you know of any great weather books? I would love for you to let me know in the comments below so we can check them out!

     

    The Best Picture Books About Weather - Fiction and Non-Fiction Picture Books Great for Kids in Elementary

  • The Best Audiobooks for Preschool to Adult
    adults,  audiobooks,  book lists,  elementary,  high school,  middle grades

    The Best Audiobooks For Preschool – Adult

    We listen to a lot of audiobooks in our home. I’ve admitted before that this is mainly because I am not great at reading chapter books aloud, and also because I like a fairly quite lunch time.

    I’ve written a whole list of tips and tricks from when we use audiobooks to how we get most of ours for free, you can check that out here.

    I can’t believe I haven’t compiled a master list of our favorite audiobooks yet, sheesh, it’s about time!

    I’ve done my best to break the list up into age categories, but every kid will be different. I also tried to put the best of the best on this list, so they are books almost anyone will enjoy. Just because you have a middle schooler doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy most of the books off of the elementary or preschool/kindergarten lists. I’m an adult and some of my favorite books on this list are in the middle school section!

    These books would make great family road trip books – just pick one or a few from the average age of your kids and listen as you drive along.

     

    The Best Audiobooks for preschool all the way through to adult - great audiobook suggestions for every age

     

    THE BEST AUDIOBOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL – ADULT

    To make things a little easier, you can jump directly to the category you are interested in:

    +++ Preschool & Kindergarten Audiobooks

    +++ Elementary Audiobooks

    +++ Middle Grade Audiobooks

    +++ High School and Adult Audiobooks

     

    PRESCHOOL & KINDERGARTEN AUDIOBOOKS


     

    The Best Audiobooks for Preschool and Kindergarten - great for the whole family to listen to!

     

    There’s a reason Charlotte and Wilbur have stood the test of time!

    Charlotte’s Web

    Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

     

    This is a great audiobook for kids who are new to audiobooks, my kids have both listened to the Ralph Mouse collection multiple times.

    Ralph S. Mouse

    In this imaginative adventure from Newbery Medal–winning author Beverly Cleary, a young mouse named Ralph is thrown into a world of excitement when a boy and his shiny toy motorcycle check in to the Mountain View Inn.

    When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith’s red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. Whether dodging a rowdy terrier or keeping his nosy cousins away from his new wheels, Ralph has a lot going on! And with a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle.

     

    Mr. Popper and this troop of penguins will crack your kids up.

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins

    The 1938 classic tells the story of Mr. Popper, the small-town house painter who dreamed of exploring Antarctic regions, and Captain Cook, the redoubtable penguin who turned Mr. Popper’s world upside down.

     

    While I recommend this entire series for elementary, this book is great to listen to with preschool and elementary aged children.

    The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

    Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

     

    Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

    Meet Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle! She lives in an upside-down house with a kitchen that is always full of freshly baked cookies. She was even married to a pirate once! Best of all, she knows everything there is to know about children.

    When Mary turns into an Answer-Backer or Dick becomes Selfish or Allen decides to be a Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has the perfect cure. And her solutions always work, with plenty of laughs along the way.

     

    All-of-a-Kind Family

    It’s the turn of the 20th century in New York’s Lower East Side and a sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five young sisters – Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama’s front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa’s peddler’s shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises. But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all!

     

    To be honest, I’m not a big Ramona fan, I’m suspecting it’s because I never read the books growing up, but my kids love them and have listened to them multiple times over.

    The Ramona Quimby Collection

    Meet Ramona. She lives on Klickitat Street with her mother, father, and big sister, Beezus. She’s not afraid of anything and is always up to something. And that’s just the beginning…. In this audio collection, join Ramona, one of Beverly Cleary’s most beloved characters, on all her wacky adventures!

     

    Little House in the Big Woods

    Told from four-year-old Laura’s point of view, this story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Laura lives in the little house with her pa, her ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard for the family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her family celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep.

    And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers and listeners as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier history and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

     

    Little House on the Prairie

    Laura Ingalls and her family are heading to Kansas! Leaving behind their home in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, they travel by covered wagon until they find the perfect spot to build a little house on the prairie. Laura and her sister Mary love exploring the rolling hills around their new home, but the family must soon get to work, farming and hunting and gathering food for themselves and for their livestock. Just when the Ingalls family starts to settle into their new home, they find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict. Will they have to move again?
     

    ELEMENTARY AUDIOBOOKS

     

    The Best Audiobooks for Elementary - grade books to listen to with grades 1, 2, 3 and 4!

     

    Um, should I admit that I got teary listening to a book about a robot? Cause I definitely did.

    The Wild Robot

    Can a robot survive in the wilderness?

    When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is all alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a violent storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

    As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home–until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

     

    Katherine Applegate has quickly become one of my favorite authors, we loved this one!

    The One and Only Ivan

    Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.

    Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

     

    If you’ve already listened to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe I would suggest starting with The Magician’s Nephew and going through in order.

    The Chronicles of Narnia

    The Magician’s Nephew: Narnia…where the woods are thick and cool, where the Talking Beasts are called to life, a new world where the adventure begins.

    Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory’s Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to…somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion’s song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis, before they finally return home.

     

    We’ve been listening to quite a few audio dramas from Lamplighter Theater lately and so far this one has been our favorite!

    Frozen Fire

    You are about to become acquainted with a young girl who changed the world! The events that lead up to Betty’s pivotal decision demonstrate the true meaning of humility, servant-hood, and love. Inspired by a true story, Betty must come face-to-face with a dreaded foe. Facing myriad trials, including abandonment and the death grip of a terrifying blizzard, her love for her devoted servant trumps all. You will fall in love with Betty, whose loyalty is demonstrated through tremendous courage and sacrifice.

     

    This book is a good introduction to WWII for elementary kids.

    Number the Stars

    As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.

    Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.

     

    Nim’s Island

    Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea, shared by only her father, Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, a turtle called Chica, and a satellite dish for her e-mail. No one else in the world lives quite like Nim, and she wouldn’t swap places with anyone.

    But when Jack disappears in his sailing boat and disaster threatens her home, Nim must be braver than she’s ever been before. And she needs help from her friends, old and new.

     

    Who doesn’t secretly wish they had a friend like Pippi? From sleeping backwards in her bed to being able to lift her horse she’s one amazingly silly girl.

    Pippi Longstocking

    Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another!

     

    Seriously one of the funniest books out there. We’ve listened and read this one a couple of times, and we’ll be doing the same again soon.

    Fortunately, the Milk

    A tale of the bravery and selflessness exhibited by a father taking care of his children while his wife is away. Despite Mom’s advance warning, the family finds itself ready for breakfast but without milk for cereal and tea, so Dad takes a trip to the store to get some. Upon his long-awaited return, he gives the children a fantastical and descriptive explanation of the adventures he faced while trying to make it back home. Not only did he embark on a time-traveling hot-air balloon ride with a stegosaurus, but he also confronted pirates, aliens, wumpires, and a volcano god, never losing possession of the milk.

     

    Written like a classic it’s kind of hard to believe this book is so new.

    The Penderwicks

    This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures. The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will—won’t they? One thing’s for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.

     

    Even though this is book two in the Little House series I prefer to introduce it after Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie.

    Farmer Boy

    While Laura Ingalls grows up in a little house on the Western prairie, Almanzo Wilder is living on a big farm in New York State. Here Almanzo and his brother and sisters help with the summer planting and fall harvest. In winter there is wood to be chopped and great slabs of ice to be cut from the river and stored. Time for fun comes when the jolly tin peddler visits or, best of all, when the fair comes to town.

    This is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of how her husband, Almanzo, grew up as a farmer boy far from the little house where Laura lived.

     

    On the Banks of Plum Creek

    The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school, help with the chores, and fish in the creek. At night everyone listens to the merry music of Pa’s fiddle. Misfortunes come in the form of a grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard, but the pioneer family works hard together to overcome these troubles.

    And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers and listeners as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

    If you want to continue on with the series you definitely can!

     

    MIDDLE GRADE AUDIOBOOKS


     

    The Best Audiobooks for Middle Grades - best for grades 5, 6, 7 and 8!

    This is my favorite audiobook of all time. It is so well done and while I am sure the hard copy of the book is great I think the audio is so spectacular.

    Echo

    Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

    Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.

    Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, Echo pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation to create a wholly original novel that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.

     

    I’ve said it before, but if you listen to this one audio make sure you get the hard copy as well, you’ll want to see all the photos in this book!

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret

    Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

     

    Pax

    Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

    At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

    Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own . . .

     

    The Green Ember

    Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

    Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

    Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

     

    The Mysterious Benedict Society

    “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children–two boys and two girls–succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they’ll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you’re gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

     

    Princess Academy

    Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village.

    The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess. Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

     

    Wednesday Wars

    Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

     

    Okay For Now

    In this companion novel to The Wednesday Wars, Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that some people think him to be. He finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, who gives him the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.

     

    The Hobbit

    Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

     

    On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

    Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

    Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad.

     

    HIGH SCHOOL & ADULT AUDIOBOOKS


     

    The Best Audiobooks for High Schoolers and Adults

     

    Prepare for tears, that’s all I’ll say.

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

    Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

    But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

     

    The Lord of the Rings

    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

    In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

    I think it goes without saying, but obviously after reading The Fellowship of the Ring you should go on to read the rest of the series that was originally intended to be one book: The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

     

    The Book Thief

    When Death has a story to tell, you listen.

    It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

    Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

     

     

    This book moved me to tears and I learned some lessons on how to be a good neighbor from it.

    A Man Called Ove

    Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell”. But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

     

    The Help

    Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure.

    Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town . . .

     

    The Hiding Place

    Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.

     

    End of the Spear

    Steve Saint was five years old when his father, missionary pilot Nate Saint, was speared to death by a primitive Ecuadorian tribe. In adulthood, Steve, having left Ecuador for a successful business career in the United States, never imagined making the jungle his home again. But when that same tribe asks him to help them, Steve, his wife, and their teenage children move back to the jungle. There, Steve learns long-buried secrets about his father’s murder, confronts difficult choices, and finds himself caught between two worlds.

     

    And there you have it – a great selection of audiobooks! I plan on continuing to update this list as I come across other great ones so be sure to pin this list and check back.

    Please let me know some of your favorite audiobooks, I would love to listen to them!

     

    The Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips - books the whole family will love

  • book lists,  elementary,  nature study,  picture books

    The Best Books for July

    This month I decided to go with a bugs and insects theme for the monthly book list!

    We are observing bugs all spring, summer and fall long but since I’m currently wrapping up my nature resource month over on Instagram (you can view the links to all the resources here), I was feeling extra nature-y and thought this would be a good theme for this month’s book list.

    The only problem about this list is that it could have been much, much, much longer. I may come back and add more books to it over time but I wanted to start out with some of our favorites and as we get new favorites on the topic I’ll add them in.

     

    Nature Study Resources - A Butterfly is Patient

     

    Normally for my monthly book lists the books on the list are picture books, and while I do have some strictly picture books on this list (a couple), they are more the informative picture book this time.

    There are some excellent authors and illustrators creating these books and I think you’ll be able to tell some of my favorites because I feature more than just one of their books.

    If you have a favorite book about bugs and insects let me know, we would love to check them out!

     

    The Best Picture Books for July - The Best Picture Books About Bugs and Insects

     

    The Best Books for July About Bugs and Insects

     

    We love Usborne books and this one is no exception!

    Usborne Big Book of Bugs

    A skin-crawling introduction to the world’s biggest bugs, from gigantic spiders as big as a dinner plate, to butterflies larger than dogs Find out about the biggest swarms and colonies, the deadliest insects and the bugs with the best camouflage. Huge fold-out pages with life-size illustrations show children just how big the bugs really are.

     

    This book has the same name as the one above but I would definitely suggest taking a look at both – they are both great.

    The Big Book of Bugs

    From moths and beetles to worms and spiders, the world is crawling with fascinating bugs. The Big Book of Bugs is the first fact-filled book for children to explore the vast array of creepy-crawlies that share our Earth.

    In the first pages, children learn that bugs live nearly everywhere on the planet and gain tips on how to become a young bug spotter. As the book continues, the scenic compositions on each page are dedicated to key groups of bugs, including beetles, moths, butterflies, bees, snails, crickets, grasshoppers, worms, and spiders. Some spreads approach the world of bugs thematically, such as bugs that come out at night, baby bugs, and life cycles, how bugs hide and show off, and how some bugs love to live in your home. 

     

    One of my favorite books from one of my favorite book series’, this one is a must.

    A Butterfly is Patient

    A gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. An incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder, from the tiny Arian Small Blue to the grand Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing.

     

    This is from the same series as A Butterfly is Patient and is just as beautiful.

    A Beetle is Shy

    The award-winning duo of Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long team up again, this time creating a gorgeous look at the fascinating world of beetles. From flea beetles to bombardier beetles, an incredible variety of these beloved bugs are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design.

     

    I’ve used this book as a reader for both of my kids, it’s a cute story that is easy for those just starting to read.

    A Fly Went By

    A fly is followed by a menagerie of characters in this humorous cumulative tale edited by Dr. Seuss. When a young boy sees a frantic fly buzzing past, he asks where the fly is headed—and with that, a chase begins. The fly and the frog, the cat and the dog, the pig and the cow, the fox and the hunter . . . who is causing all the fuss? 

     

    It’s a classic so I needed to include it here. I can actually remember the first time I heard this book read aloud, it was in my elementary school library . . .

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Watch as the very hungry caterpillar eats his way through the week – and the food!

     

    Um, Gail Gibbons may have a few books on this list, obviously she’s doing something right.

    Ladybugs

    When you think of a ladybug, you might picture a little red beetle with seven black spots on its back—but did you know there are thousands of types of ladybugs, spread across the world?

    Follow a ladybug through the four stages of its development from egg to adult, and learn about its behavior and habitat—plus, how little ladybugs help protect crops by eating harmful insects.  Bright illustrations and an easy-to-read text make this ideal for young readers studying the natural world.

     

    Spiders

    Spiders help us by eating insects that are harmful to people and crops. From baby spiderlings to large tarantulas, here is information about ballooning, molting, and how different spiders build their webs. Spiders have been on earth since before the first dinosaurs. About 30,000 kinds of these creatures are known to be living, and more are still being discovered.

     

    Monarch Butterfly

    Follow the transformation from a tiny white egg laid on a leaf to a brilliantly colored butterfly in this kid-friendly introduction to metamorphosis.  With detailed, bright watercolors, Gail Gibbons illustrates the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, stage by stage, as it grows, changes, and takes flight. 

     

    The Honey Makers

    Ever wondered how a jar of honey is made?

    Thousands of bees visit more than one million flowers to gather the nectar that goes into a one-pound jar of honey. Every page in this picture book reveals how these remarkable insects work together to create this amazing food.

     

    This book is large and beautiful. It’s got a ton of information and is a real eye-catcher.

    Bees: A Honeyed History

    One part science, one part cultural history, and countless parts fascination, Bees celebrates the important role that these intriguing insects have played in our ecosystem throughout the ages. From Athena to Alexander the Great and from Egypt to Ethiopia, Bees explores different methods of beekeeping and uncovers the debt that humans owe this vital species. With beautifully accessible illustrations depicting everything from bee anatomy to the essentials of honey making, readers will be captivated by the endless wonders of this seemingly small speck of the animal kingdom.

     

    This book taught ME so much about bees!

    The Bee Book

    DK’s The Bee Book is a wonderful introduction to the humble honeybee: nature’s hardest worker, and much more than just a provider of honey! Bees are incredibly industrious, brilliant at building, super social, and–most importantly–responsible for a third of every mouthful of food you eat! Find out how bees talk to one another, what it takes to become a queen bee, what the life of a worker bee is like, and more. The contents include bee anatomy, types of bee, hives, colonies, pollination, making honey, and more. Discover just how much they matter, why they are declining, and what you can do to help!

     

    Hey Little Ant

    What would you do if the ant you were about to step on looked up and started talking? Would you stop and listen? What if your friends saw you hesitate? That’s what happens in this funny, thought-provoking book. Originally a song by a father-daughter team, this conversation between two creatures, large and small, is bound to inspire important discussions. It might even answer that classic childhood question: To squish or not to squish?

     

    Yucky Worms

    Who would want to be friends with a wiggly, slimy worm? You can’t even tell which end is which! But there’s more to these lowly creatures than meets the eye. Kids are invited to find out where worms live, see how they move, and understand why gardeners consider them friends with the help of this humorous and informative look at an unappreciated — and fascinating — creature.

     

    The best picture books and informative books about bugs and insects for kids

     

    Okay, any suggestions for other bug and insect books we should check out? Let me know in the comments!

  • pond and water books
    book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books for June

    Today I have another monthly picture book to share. We are on to June which means the year is nearly half over!

    For this month’s list I decided to mainly go with a water theme.

    Since the weather has warmed up here we’ve been spending a lot of time at a local pond looking to see what kind of animals we can find. We’ve found lots of birds, feathers, lots of bugs, including this awesome water beetle:

     

    water beetle

     

    If you are looking for some great books to guide you on your water adventures, read on!

    Plus a couple of oddball summer books that I had to include because they are awesome, even though they don’t fit the theme at all.

    I will add books to this list as I find more great ones that fit the topic, be sure to pin it so you can find it again in years to come.

     

    The Best Picture Books for June - summer picture books and water picture books

     

    The Best Picture Books for June

     

    We love all the books in this series!

    Over and Under the Pond

    In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

     

    I love this “one small square” series!

    Pond

    Fish and fungi, plants and protists, mammals and monera all seem to get along swimmingly in and around the peaceful-looking pond environment. But a closer look at a small square reveals an ever-changing world. . .home to a larger variety of creatures and goings-on than you’d ever imagine, even in just a drop of its water! This beautifully illustrated “you are there” science book–part of the critically acclaimed One Small Square series–is brimming over with fun-to-do experiments and activities for children ages 7 and up. Includes a pond field guide, a glossary-index, and a resource list.

     

    Pond

    The joy of the seasons, the wonder of discovery, and the appreciation and respect for the natural world is at the heart of this book, drawn from the childhood of award-winning illustrator Jim LaMarche.

    When Matt is out for a late winter hike he sees a trickle of water in the old deserted and junk filled dirt pit at the edge of his neighborhood. With quiet appreciation, Matt can imagine the pond that must once have been there, shining in the early spring light, freezing in the winter for skating and the perfect place for swimming in the summer.

    Can Matt’s discovery transform a forgotten pond to its natural wonder? With his idea of making the pond whole again, Matt rallies his friends, Katie and Pablo, and together they work through the spring, clearing debris, moving rocks to hold the water, and looking for leaks. But would there be enough water to fill the pond? Can they bring the pond back?

     

    This is such a great book for using on your pond adventures!

    Be a Pond Detective: Solving the Mysteries of Lakes, Swamps, and Pools

    From the life cycle of mosquitoes to the many uses and varieties of pond plants, naturalist and artist Peggy Kochanoff takes young readers on an entertaining and enlightening tour of life in and around a freshwater pond. Full of detailed illustrations and clear answers to creative questions, Be a Pond Detective is the perfect way to discover the nature mysteries in your own backyard!

     

    Gail Gibbons writes some of the best non-fiction children’s books!

    Frogs

    From tiny tadpoles to master jumpers, frogs get an exciting introduction in this detailed picture book.

    Did you know that frogs can jump ten times their body length? How about that frog eggs are encased in jellylike coverings that make them too slippery to be eaten by predators? Discover these facts and more in this brightly illustrated addition to any non-fiction collection. Frogs are unique creatures that play an important role to the environment, making them an important topic in any educational setting. Plus, there are over 3,800 different kinds!

     

    The Brilliant Deep

    All it takes is one: one coral gamete to start a colony, one person to make a difference, one idea to change the world. The ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world’s coral reefs—with hammer and glue, and grafts of newly grown coral—are the living legacy of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation. Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe tell the true story of the coral restoration pioneer in this brilliant tribute to the wonders of nature and the power of human hope.

     

    The Web at Dragonfly Pond

    A boy goes fishing with his father and describes the interrelationships among the insects and animals he encounters, from the mosquito that bites him to the dragonflies, bullfrogs, and fish that he finally catches and eats.

     

    Water is Water

    Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless…it heats up.
    Whirl. Swirl. Watch it curl by. Steam is steam unless…it cools high.

    This spare, poetic picture book follows a group of kids as they move through all the different phases of the water cycle. From rain to fog to snow to mist, talented author Miranda Paul and the always remarkable Jason Chin combine to create a beautiful and informative journey in this innovative nonfiction picture book that will leave you thirsty for more.

     

    The Flower Fairies series are some of my favorite poetry books so I had to include them on this list!

    Flower Fairies of the Summer

    First published in the 1920s, Cicely Mary Barker’s original Flower Fairies books have been loved for generations. The book features poems and full-color illustrations of over 20 flowers and their guardian fairies.

     

    We love the Brambly Hedge books and since summer officially starts in June I needed to add it here.

    Summer Story

    It was such a hot summer. They sky was deep blue and the sun never faltered. All along Brambly Hedge, the mice did their best to keep cool. Poppy Eyebright sought refuge in the mossy shadows of the mill wheel; Dusty Dogwood took to walking by the banks of the cooling stream. Dusty and Poppy spent more and more time together, so no one was at all surprised when they announced their engagement. They decided on a very unusual setting for the wedding ceremony, but even they didn’t realize just how unusual it was prove to be!

  • The Best Picture Books for May
    book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books for May

    It’s time for another monthly picture book list! You can see all the monthly book lists here.

    I know we aren’t even halfway through the year yet but I’m already imagining doing a list of monthly chapter books for next year. That would be harder to create though, thankfully I’ve started thinking about it early!

    Because we live in the Canadian prairies to me May still brings forward images of spring and gardening but the theme for the March book list was spring and the theme for the the April book list was gardening so I had to think of a different theme for this month.

    With Mother’s Day in May that was an option for this month’s theme as well but February’s theme was love (including parental love) so I didn’t want to do that either.

    But, I am excited about the theme I chose for this month: friendship.

    I appreciate book that include good lessons in friendship, children are generally more open to learning about things like lessons in friendship through stories than just getting a lecture on the subject.

    There are so many good picture books on this subject, I’ve tried to pick my favorites for this list, though if I come across other great ones I’ll definitely add them.

     

    The best picture books for May about Friendship and Kindness

     

    THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS FOR MAY ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

    The Rabbit Listened

    When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs. 

     

    Misunderstood Shark: Friends Don’t Eat Friends

    Last time on Underwater World with Bob Jellyfish…
    “SHARK ATE ME! Now get me OUT, Shark!”
    “That’s strange! I can hear Bob, but I can’t see Bob!”

    This hilarious follow-up to Misunderstood Shark by New York Times bestselling duo Ame Dyckman and Scott Magoon tackles what it really means to be a good friend. Bob is already irate that Shark has eaten him, but when Shark doesn’t admit to eating him, Bob is so mad he declares that the ocean isn’t big enough for both of them! Friends Don’t Eat Friends is exploding with over-the-top humor and awesome marine facts! For example, when Shark overdoses on Finilla Ice Cream after fighting with Bob, we learn that shark teeth are coated with fluoride. Lucky for Shark, he can’t get cavities! Join Shark and the gang for another story and find out if Shark learns his lesson about friendship, or if he really is just misunderstood — again!

     

    Little Bot and Sparrow

    A story of friendship that can inspire anyone, even robots, to dream . . .

    When Little Bot is thrown out with the garbage, he finds himself in a strange new world. Fortunately, Sparrow is there to take him under her wing. Together, they explore the forest, share adventures, and learn what it means to be forever friends.

     

    Awesome!

    Marvin the moose and Woody the beaver are BFFs. But their friendship is tested when Marvin does something totally AWESOME and Woody remains ordinary. The other forest animals now adore Marvin – calling in his new superhero services to help right wrongs, solve problems, and fix trouble. They even build a statue in his honor! Woody watches with envy, hatching a not-so-awesome plan to put all eyes on him. Can Woody and Marvin save their friendship? Craig Shuttlewood explores friendship, jealousy, and forgiveness in this relatable picture book.

     

    Stick and Stone

    When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?

    Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. 

     

    Lost and Found

    What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely.

     

    Boy + Bot

    One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun.

    But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he’s sick. The usual remedies—applesauce, reading a story—don’t help, so Boy tucks the sick Bot in, then falls asleep.

    Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning Boy! Can the Inventor help fix him?

     

     

    Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

     

     

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. After reading it through once I like to go back and see if the kids notice how Brian changes through the book, they love seeing how he goes from black and white to full color by the end.

    The Invisible Boy

    Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

     

    Clink

    Clink was a state-of-the-art robot with the dazzling ability to make toast and play music at the same time. But that was many years ago.

    Now kids want snazzier robots who do things like play baseball and bake cookies. So day after day, Clink sits on a shelf and sadly watches as his friends leave with their new owners. He almost gives up on ever finding a home—until the day Clink spies a boy who just might be able to be the right one for him . . .

     

    The Best Picture Books about Friendship and Kindness