10 great kids' books to read in October 2016
October 1st. World Vegetarian Day
World Vegetarian Day is a day devoted to open a conversation about the problems with eating meat and the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Vegetarians are persons who don’t eat meat, fish or seafood. One can decide to become a vegetarian out of moral, ethical, environmental, or economical concerns (or just because they don’t like meat!). For instance, some think an animal’s life shouldn’t be taken for food when other food sources are available, while some protest the bad treatment of domesticated animals during their life and slaughter.
World Vegetarian Day is a good opportunity to introduce your kids to the vegetarian lifestyle. We chose 2 books that would make good conversation-starters about this subject.
I haven't eaten meat for about twenty years, but I am not one of those persons who try to convince everyone to become a vegetarian. I grew up on a farm and eating meat is traditional for farmers. But since the day I moved out to study in university, I have completely stopped eating meat. Two of our children are vegetarians, and two of them are not, and it was their choice. I sincerely believe that you can’t force a person to stop using animal products, they have to feel the need to do so by themselves, regardless of their age. That's why I feel that it’s better to teach kids to treat the animals and plants that give us food with respect and gratitude, rather than to force a diet onto them. But that doesn't mean never talking about it!
World Vegetarian Day is a nice opportunity to cook some simple vegetarian dishes together with your child. It could be colored pasta (all kids love it and it’s easy to cook) with zucchini or tomato. Kids will love baking banana bread with no eggs and butter. You can try to cook the simple, healthy and easy-to-make recipes from this lovely illustrated cookbook for preschoolers and their parents. It contains 17 recipes, which appear both in words and pictures, so even young kids can understand what they have to do and feel proud of making - and eating - their own food. The recipes are all suited to the abilities of young children, and are designed to stimulate their senses. Cooking is a fun way of learning new skills and becoming more independent, and a vegetarian or vegan recipe can raise awareness of important issues at the same time!
Ruby Roth is an artist, designer, activist, and the world's leading author and illustrator of children's books about veganism and vegetarianism. Vegans are people who don’t use any animal products (meat, but also milk, eggs, etc).
This book is suitable for families who follow vegan and vegetarian diets, and for families who are thinking of trying this lifestyle. This ABC book is suitable for preschool kids and shows in a simple way what being vegan means and why someone might make this choice.
The author wrote and illustrated a few other books, which show us through the text and illustrations that farm animals have emotions just our pets. They can think and they love their own kids just like we love our children. And their well-being is in our hands. These books are not easy to read, tough, because they show the everyday life of animals on the farm, which can make you and your child very emotional.
October 2nd, 10th: Grandparents' Day
Grandparents' Day will be celebrated on the 2nd of October 2016 in the UK and in Italy. In Hong Kong, it is celebrated on the second Sunday of October. Grandparents are very import ant in a child’s life, and can give them things which a parent can’t: time and patience when parents are busy, stories and games from another time and lessons from a lifetime of experience, and of course sometimes gifts and treats !
Kids’ love for their grandparents served as a starting point for the which gave the beginning of Moona company. Three years ago, when we lived far from our kids’ grandparents and they really missed them, we created our first app, “A Parcel of courage”. It’s a true story about kids’ love for their grandparents. And there are so many warm and lovely books to read on this date. In addition to reading them, you could make a nice gift for the grandparents. For example, paint clothespins or make a small bowl for keys with polymer clay. If the kid’s grandparents live far away, you can make origami surprises (a flower for granny and a little boat for grandad) and send it with a letter. We’re sure they will appreciate your caring.
Little Critter is some kind of funny little rodent who lives daily-life adventures in this series of books written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer, which counts more than 100 books ! You’ll be sure to find one about a subject which interests your kid. In this one, the little hero spends the day at his grandparents’ farm and gets to do a whole lot of cool things, like learning how to milk a cow or picking blueberries to make a pie. What makes this series of books extra special is that all of the adventures the protagonist goes true are drawn from the author’s childhood memory and from his own children’s life ! This gives the books an endearing, realistic feel.
Little Jay Jay spends Sunday at his Granny’s with all his extended family to prepare and then share a meal. Granny’s house is depicted as warm, comfy, a place of abundance and, above all, love. This feeling is emphasized by Trish Cooke’s rhythmic text which could almost be called poetry, and by the lovely, warm illustrations of Paul Howard, which paints Sunday dinner with this African-American family in vivid but soft colors. Your kid will love repeating the funny sounds of which the prose is full, and you will love sharing with him or her this description of the tenderness and warmth of family bonds
October 5th: World Teachers’ Day
World Teachers' Day was initiated by the Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, at the International Conference on Education in Geneva in 1993.
Our kids changed schools a few times since our family moved from place to place. We also have two years experience teaching our children at home. And I can say with certainty that the teachers (whether it be a school teacher or tutor) are the most important people for a child in the education process. A child will love - or hate - learning depending on the personality of the teacher. This day is an excellent opportunity to discuss with your child what kind of teacher he or she would like to have, or to remember together the kid’s favorite teacher and to draw a card for him/her.
As for reading books on world teachers’ day, we recommend the books from "The Magic School Bus" series. I don’t know any child who wouldn’t love these stories.
I remember that when our oldest children were studying in Green School (Bali), Alex, who was seven at the time, spent all his free time in the school library. School students would have a break for an hour after lunch. Most children would play in the school yard, which was huge and very nice. But Alex would spend this time reading all the books he could in the library. And the series of the Magic school bus books was one of his favorite. We eventually had to take them home as Alex was late for his lessons because he didn’t want to let go of the books.
The Magic School Bus series feature the adventures of the teacher Ms. Valerie Frizzle and her class, who board a magic school bus which takes them on field trips to impossible locations, such as the solar system, clouds, the past, and the human body. The author Joanna Cole is an American children’s books writer. She is most famous for this series, but she has written over 250 books total. The Magic School Bus is illustrated by Bruce Degen. Author and illustrator have said they were both inspired by an important teacher in their classroom days - very much like Ms. Frizzle! There are now more than 58 million Magic School Bus books in print, in a variety of formats, plus a wildly successful animated television series. Ms. Frizzle is a very funny, creative teacher who is ready to do incredible things to educate her class. All kids dream about such a teacher, said our son a few years ago (happily our children now all have great teachers)
October 9th: World Post Day
World Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union's establishment in 1874. It is held on October 9 each year and its purpose is to create awareness of the role of the postal sector in people’s and businesses’ everyday lives. The day will come in which paper letters will be part of history, like steel carts and cassette recorders. In the meantime, on World Post Day, why don’t you and your child write a letter to a family member or friend ? That will be a good occasion to discover with them the secrets of the postal service and to show them how to use snail mail!
This nice and clever poem was written in the late 1940's. We follow the journey of a letter sent by a little boy in the city to his grandmother in the country. We're sure that it will encourage your little ones to write a letter. One of our son told us about this story: "The book of "Seven Little Postmen" is great because the pictures are big and children can see how the postmen look, what cars they drive, how they stamp and sort letters and much more. The text says what each postman does in the picture. And the book is very colorful". Here is the wonderful review from Amazon: “Modern-day children will be intrigued by a delightful story with just the right amount of excitement and "mystery" (what's in the letter?) and enchanted by pictures of a more sedate and innocent time in America - before e-mail, Fed Ex and text messaging took the anticipation and fun out of letters - both writing and receiving. Grown-ups, especially earlier Baby Boomers now becoming grandparents, who read this when they themselves were children, will rediscover a timeless classic.”
October 12: Luciano Pavarotti’s Birthday
Luciano Pavarotti is a legend in the world of the opera. His work was properly revolutionary, and even his strongest critics agree that his name will always be synonymous with the beauty of the human voice. He was one of the most famous lyric tenors of the twentieth century, and he sang on stage for over 40 years. His repertoire included dozens of major opera roles and some vocal pieces. The best opera houses in the world opened their doors before him: Covent Garden, La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera. Luciano Pavarotti led master classes in many famous conservatories around the world. His birthday is an excellent opportunity to introduce children to the world of opera : listen to some opera music, or even try to sing like a tenor together with your child :)
Sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, this book is the second in a series of three in which Jane Rosenberg aims to introduce children to different forms of art and culture: there are also “Dance Me a Story” and “Play Me a Story”. This work is a collection of short stories, each of which summarize the plot of an opera vividly in the present tense. The beautiful, passionate and glamorous illustrations will show your child what opera is all about. And Luciano Pavarotti himself wrote the introduction, in which he promises to look out for you in the audience the next time he sings on stage ! After reading this book, your kids may even be interested to try a night at the opera to see with their own eyes the stories they read about, performed on stage.
October 13: Universal Time Meridian Greenwich established as Universal Time Meridian
On 13 October 1884 Greenwich, in London was established as the Universal Time meridian of longitude - on which all World time zones are based. The Royal Observatory of Greenwich is where East meets West at the Greenwich Meridian Line (0° longitude). Longitude is the location of a place east or west of a north-south line called the prime meridian. The Prime Meridian divides the Earth into the eastern and western hemisphere. Why was Greenwich chosen? There are an infinite number of possible meridians, each stretching from the North to the South Pole, and any one of these could have been chosen. However, the Greenwich Meridian was pre-eminent because it had already been adopted by both the UK and USA and was therefore being used by 72% of the world's shipping.
If you plan on travelling to a place in a different time zone, or if you have relatives in such a place, your kid is sure to have questions about time zones and meridians. These books will be sure to answer them, and are also a great starting point for talking about geography!
With the Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss’ children-favorite character, learn all about cartography - the science of maps! Discover what are the different kinds of maps, what formats they can take, and what tools are used to read them. Along the way, you’ll also learn fun facts about different places and what they look like on a map. A great introduction to geography and maps, suitable for young children.
This book will also teach your kid how to read a map, but in the most fun and interactive way. Your child will follow Sally and her friends on a trip around the neighborhood - and around the world, as they are looking for their lost pets. The book uses search-and-find games to keep children interested. Each page features a different kind of map, along with an explanation of how to read it and additional info, and the kid then has to find Max and Ollie, the lost dog and cat, on the map.
And at the end of the book, you will find instructions on how to make your own map of a bedroom. A great project for a rainy day which will have your kid learning about geography and cartography without even realizing it!
There’s a Map on My Lap! All About Maps are available as app, with the help of Oceanhouse Media. Kids will learn the many uses of different types of maps (city, state, world, topographic, temperature, terrain), find out about various map formats (flat, globe, atlas, puzzle) and tools used to read them (symbols, scales, grids, compasses), and much more!
October 19th: The oldest cave painting was discovered
On 19 October 2000, the oldest ever cave painting was discovered in a hill near the north-eastern Italian city of Verona. The images were drawn with red ochre and depicted a creature with a long neck, another with five legs, and a human wearing a mask with horns - perhaps he was a wizard, or maybe he was just wearing Indigenous garments.
This day is a great occasion for learning about primitive men - and playing! Make cloaks from blankets and belts, and paint your own cave paintings (just stick huge sheets of paper on the wall with scotch and paint! Your child could try and replicate prehistoric paintings, or paint scenes from his own everyday life).
The book follows Anna on a school trip to the Lascaux caves in the south of France, which are very famous for their prehistoric paintings, believed to be more than 17,000 years ago. She gets separated from her class and meets… a real caveman ! He will tell her all about his life and the mysterious drawings on the walls of the cave. This is a great introduction to prehistoric cave paintings, as it makes them come alive right in front of your kid’s eyes: they are not just strange drawings anymore, but real art made by real people with lives and stories - thousands of years ago.