10 great kids’ books to read in May 2016
May 3. World Sun Day
Book’s Title and Author: Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott (Author, Illustrator)
Age Range: 4 - 7
Grade Level: Preschool - Grade 3
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
This day was set aside by U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1978 as a day to promote solar power. Now it is an international day to recognize the potential of solar energy and engage in educational activities about the sun.
Children will enjoy learning about our nearest star, which provides the light and warmth we need to survive on earth. Because of its importance for daily life and agriculture, many cultures have legends and myths about the sun.
"Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest" by Gerald McDermot is a wonderful retelling of the myth from the tribes of the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada. Raven is able to trick people because he can shape-shift into different forms. Will he be able to trick the Sky Chief into giving him the sun so he can help the people living in darkness and cold? Will he be discovered? This book is also beautifully illustrated by the author to show children the homes, clothing, and breathtaking landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Plank houses, pine forests, and traditional life are depicted for children to clearly see.
As an elementary librarian, this was hands-down my favorite read-aloud book every year. The children were completely captivated by this wonderful story. We had great discussions about trickster characters and went on to read other trickster stories and compare the characters to Raven. Beautiful illustrations, outstanding book!
Book’s Title and Author: "Big Book of Stars & Planets (Usborne Big Books)" by Emily Bone (Author), Fabiano Fiorin (Illustrator)
Age Range: 4 - 7
Grade Level: Preschool - Grade 3
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd.
Children also love to learn facts about the world in which they live. Follow up your reading of myth with some real science. "Big Book of Stars & Planets" (Usborne Big Books) is written by Emily Bone and illustrated by Fabiano Fiorin. This big book has giant fold-out pages to better display the wonders of our solar system for children.
"Big Book of Stars and Planets" is the winner of the The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2014. Each year the Royal Society celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people through the Young People's Book Prize. The Prize aims to inspire young people to read about science and promotes the writing of excellent, accessible books for under-14s.
Сolourful Fiorin’s illustrations are so beautiful. Your kids will be impressed with the amount of information in this book. Not just about sun but about how stars are formed, about the projects like the International Space Station, the Mars Rover and the Hubble Telescope. Science is progressing all the time, and some of the facts in the book become obsolete but these facts are not significant for kids. We can recommend this book like one of the best book to introduce the theme of Sun and Space for preschoolers.
4 May: International Firefighters Day
Firefighters do important work. Preventing fires, extinguishing fires, and performing difficult rescues are part of a normal day for them. They also have more ordinary tasks such as maintaining their equipment and preparing meals at the fire house. Children rightly see firefighters as heroes, so they will welcome an opportunity to read about them and their work.
"DK Readers: Jobs People Do -- A Day in a Life of a Firefighter" by Linda Hayward is a wonderful way to teach children what firefighters do and how they do it. In Dorling Kindersley’s signature style, the book is filled with photographs that enable the young reader to clearly see what they are reading about. Picture dictionary boxes show the meaning of any words that might be unfamiliar to children.
May 5: Children’s Day (Japan)
Book’s Title and Author: Japanese Children's Favorite Stories. Anniversary Edition by Florence Sakade, Yoshisuke Kurosaki (Illustrator)
Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Every day is a good day to celebrate children, but Japan chooses to do so on May 5 of each year. In Japan, Kodomo no hi, or "Children's Day," is celebrated every year on May 5. On this national holiday, children are respected and honored for their individual strengths and happiness is wished upon them. Children's Day was originally known as Tango no Sekku (literally nearing the seventh sign of the chinese zodiac, but usually translated as Boys Day) and was a celebration for boys. The holiday was officially changed to celebrate the health and growth of both girls and boys in 1948. Kodomo no hi is particularly well known for the unique traditions and decorations that are associated with the celebration of the holiday.
Children anywhere may celebrate by enjoying some of the tales Japanese children love. "Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories" comes in a beautiful hardcover 60th anniversary edition. Author Florence Sadake and illustrator Yoshisuke Kurosaki present beloved stories such as “The Rabbit Who Crossed the Sea” and “The Toothpick Warriors”.
In this treasure trove of much-beloved Japanese children's stories, you'll meet charming characters drawn from folklore and passed down for generations. These tales about playful goblins with long noses, walking statues, and a delightful hero who just happens to be one inch tall speak of the virtues of honesty, humility and hard work. What better way for a parent to teach than through stories that thrill their children!
Children might also enjoy discussing differences and similarities between their culture and Japanese culture. How are families alike? Are schools different? What foods do Japanese children enjoy? A trip to the library might be in order to answer even more questions!
7 May: Composer Peter Tchaikovsky's Birthday (1840)
"Swan Lake" remains a favorite for many girls because of its extreme difficulty; technically and emotionally. The prestige that comes with performing Swan Lake flawlessly is invaluable.
"Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan lake" by James Mayhew is part of the “Ella Bella” series of books about a young ballerina. As Madame Rosa teaches Ella to dance to the music of Swan Lake, she tells the story behind the ballet. Ella has a dream in which she meets the characters in the story. At the end of the book, children are given some brief information about the composer’s life and his work in composing the music for "Swan Lake".
Be sure to play some of Tchaikovsky’s breathtakingly beautiful music for children as you read or after reading. Talk about how the music can portray happiness, danger, despair, and triumph. Seeing a live dance performance or watching one on video would also be a great follow-up to reading this book.
May 12: Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday
Book’s Title and Author: Queen Elizabeth II (Young Reading Series Three) by Susanna Davidson
Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: Grade 1 and up
Publisher: Usborne books
The Queen's 90th Birthday will be celebrated officially on 12th - 15th May. Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday Party will be a celebration of The Queen’s life, her love of horses, her dedication to the Commonwealth and international affairs and her deep involvement with the Navy, Army and Air Force. Over 90 minutes, 900 horses and more than 1,500 participants from around the United Kingdom and the World will create a joyful event for The Queen.
"Queen Elizabeth II" by Susanna Davidson is part of Usborne’s “Young Reading Series” of books for confident readers, although it can be read aloud to younger readers as well. The cover illustration is a portrait of the young Elizabeth. Children can learn about the Queen’s life and work over her long career. Photographs and a family tree help children see relationships and understand the Queen has a family just as they do! A timeline also helps children understand all the important historical events the Queen has seen in her lifetime.
May 15: International Day of Families
For the International Day of Families we choose "Big Book of the Berenstain Bears" by Stan and Jan Berenstain. This popular series features Mama, Papa, Sister and Brother Bear living in their treehouse home together. Brother and Sister are just like other children, needing Mama and Papa to help them understand how to behave properly and how to love each other.
Stan and Jan Berenstain were already successful cartoonists for magazines and adult humor books when they began writing children's books. The first story starring the bear family, "The Big Honey Hunt", appeared in 1962. Since then, more than 360 Berenstain Bears books have been published, and more than 300 million copies have been sold. What began as an idea sparked by their young sons' love of reading has become one of the best-selling children's book series ever.
From Amazon review
The Berenstain Bears books are my son's favorite this month (preferences at this age die quickly). Each of the books has a nice story to tell, with a morale that is not hard to communicate to a 3 or 4 year old. The good illustrations make reading the stories fun and the format of thebook is perfect for travel, when you don't need a 5 pound children's treasury to carry along as well.
May 18: International Museum Day
Book’s Title and Author: How to Take Your Grandmother to the Museum by Molly Rose Goldman and Lois Wyse; Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
The objective of International Museum Day is to raise awareness of the fact that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” Participation in International Museum Day is growing among museums all over the world. In 2015, more than 35,000 museums participated in the event in some 145 countries.
If you can go to a museum on this day, wonderful! Before you go, here is a fun book to read with your children. "How to Take Your Grandmother to the Museum" by Molly Rose Goldman and Lois Wyse is illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. In this delightful reversal of roles, a young child takes her grandmother to a museum of natural history. Written in the first person, the narrator (the child) acts as a wise guide, patiently explaining each exhibit to her grandmother for her education and enjoyment.
Children love to be “grown up” and will enjoy having the tables turned as a child becomes the teacher and tour guide for the grandparent. The illustrations are a clever blend of real museum photographs and cartoons. This is a book children will want to read again and again! They will probably want to take you to the museum as well.
May 22. W. Sheffield unveiled first toothpaste tube (1892)
Washington Wentworth Sheffield (April 23, 1827 – November 4, 1897) was an American dental surgeon best known for inventing toothpaste. With the help of his son Lucius T. Sheffield, he is also known for being the first person to place the paste in collapsible tubes for public sale.
Lucius Sheffield was a dental student from Connecticut studying in Paris. He noticed artists using paint from tubes and suggested that his father use similar tubes as the delivery mechanism for his earlier invention of toothpaste cream. From 1880 to 1892, the Sheffield Dentifrice Co. purchased collapsible tubes to package the toothpaste. Beginning in May, 1892, the company started manufacturing its own collapsible tubes by purchasing tube manufacturing presses and fabricating its own tube-making machinery.
On May 22 we offer you the clever, visually gorgeous book to read with your kids about oral care. "Open Wide: Tooth School Inside" introduces the world of teeth and describes a day in the life of a tooth. The illustrations are done in a collage way that presents additional information within the pictures. Best read with a toothbrush in hand, "Open Wide: Tooth School Inside" is full of interesting facts (for instance, George Washington's teeth were not made of wood, despite popular belief) and a classroom full of quirky characters. Young readers will laugh their way to a better appreciation for those pearly whites that beckon them to brush.
May 24: First Telegraph Message Transmitted (1844)
Book’s Title and Author: Samuel Morse and the Telegraph (Inventions and Discovery) by David Seidman, Charles Barnett III, Keith Williams; Illustrated by Rod Whigham
Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: Grade 3 and up
Publisher: Capstone Press
Samuel Morse wanted to invent a way for people to send messages over long distances quickly. He was inspired by a terrible experience when his mother was ill and it took a week for him to get the message thousands of miles away. Morse thought there was a way to send and receive messages using electricity—and he was right!
"Samuel Morse and the Telegraph" is part of the Inventions and Discovery series of graphic nonfiction. Children who enjoy the graphic novel/comic book format will enjoy this nonfiction book about Morse and his invention of the telegraph. The book as a collaboration among three authors: David Seidman, Charles Barnett III, and Keith Williams and is illustrated by Rod Whigham. The fun, graphic style does not mean content has been compromised at all! Speech balloons ad sidebars are filled with factual information presented in an appealing visual format for children.
After reading this book, children may enjoy learning Morse code. It is still useful in emergency situations, so let them practice sending and receiving messages by tapping on a table or by switching a light off and on. Let them see how quickly they can work and compare that form of communication with the voice and text communications we have today.