Storytime Anytime: Blocks

Storytime Anytime - Blocks featuring Moving Blocks by Yusuke Yonezu. Storytime Anytime is a simple storytime experience that parents and caregivers can recreate at home. -

Storytime Anytime is a simple storytime experience that parents and caregivers can recreate at home. Each storytime focuses on a book about a specific interest, a song, rhyme, or fingerplay that complements the story, and then a few, simple extension activities. Storytime doesn’t just happen in the library, storytime can be anytime! 

Moving Blocks by Yusuke Yonezu

READ: Moving Blocks by Yusuke Yonezu (public library|local bookstore) is a book I came across at our local bookshop. Even though the shop’s  children’s section is small (it’s a teeny tiny store in itself!), they do a fantastic job keeping a variety of children’s books that are on the bestseller list and gems you wouldn’t typically find shopping online or at a mainstream bookstore. Moving Blocks is a brilliant board book for toddlers and preschoolers. The bold cover was what caught my attention and I’m pretty sure I let out an “ooh” when I opened the cover.

Moving Blocks book

Moving Blocks board book by Yusuke Yonezu

Moving Blocks

The story alternates playfully between large patterned pictures of block shapes and an assortment of transportation vehicles that can be built with those shapes. The bright, primary colors and guessing game cutouts of this book are visually appealing for kids to explore and encourages readers to let their imaginations beep, toot, whizz, and soar.

SING: My go-to storytime singing librarian duo, Jbrary, has a fun song to learn after reading this book called “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”. Moving Blocks ends with a block rocket ship blasting off to the moon, so this easy movement song is a natural transition after reading. Is your child into trains more than rocket ships? They have a large collection of transportation songs on their YouTube channel that will satisfy any child’s transportation interest!

PLAY: These are no-stress activity ideas to enjoy with your little one after reading Moving Blocks:

  • Get out the blocks and play! Build your own rendition of one of the many moving vehicles mentioned in Moving Blocks, or build something of your own imagination. Knock it down and build it again!
  • Repurpose cardboard boxes as building blocks for an entirely different take on building play. Use smaller boxes like cereal boxes or use large moving boxes for supersize building fun.
  • Cut a variety of simple shapes (circle, rectangle, square, triangle, etc) out of colorful construction paper. Using a glue stick and a blank piece of paper, prompt your child to build a shape collage of the colorful, cut-out pieces. “What are you building? What can it be?” The collage doesn’t have to be anything in the end. The construction of gluing pieces together and exploring shapes is the fun part!
  • Pretend to be a transportation vehicle! Can you float like a boat? Stretch out your arms and fly like a plan? What about crouching down low and blast off like a rocket ship? What vehicles can you pretend to be that are in this book?

children's books about building and blocks

When I Build With Blocks by Christy Hale
Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins
Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
Away We Go!: A Shape and Seek Book by Chieu Anh Urban
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Yusuke Yonezu’s Squares Triangles, and Circles books







Awakening Wonder With Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities Collecting and Understanding the Wonders of the Natural World by Gordon Grice

“When I was about six, I started my first cabinet of curiosities. The first thing I put in it was a skunk’s skull I found in our backyard. The skull fit perfectly in my palm. It had sharp little teeth. I was surprised to notice that it looked like my dogs’, with long, jagged canines on the sides… I put the skull in a red cigar box my dad gave me. The box was made of sturdy cardboard with a hinged lid. I was soon collecting all sorts of things I found outdoors, from old coins to corncobs.” – Gordon Grice, Cabinet of Curiosities

The above excerpt is part of author Gordon Grice’s introduction to Cabinet of Curiosities: Collecting and Understanding the Wonders of the Natural World (public library). Although this book is technically classified as an adult book, it would be a wonderful addition to the library of any child, adolescent, or adult that is inquisitive about the natural world. Cabinet of Curiosities provides basic instruction for where to find a cabinet or how to build your own, the Linnaeus classification process, how to preserve found items, and lots of suggestions of natural items to look for. Teeth, feathers, shells, skulls, flora, and fossils– This books is a visual feast of artifacts from the world around us. Readers can find pictures galore, each page adorned with illustrations and photographs.


Cabinet of curiosities skulls

cabinet of curiosities turtle shells

Cabinet of Curiosities eggs

cabinet of wonders feathers

It’s a book you can truly grow into. Young kids can flip through these pages and instantly fall into the wonder and curiosities of the natural world. The intricacies of the book such as taxonomy and DIY instruction and application is sure to entertain older children, teens, and adults. Regardless of age, Cabinet of Curiosities will spark wonder and inspiring learning and appreciation about the world in which we live.

Cabinet of Curiosities beatles

If you have the chance to listen to this Science Friday segment about building a cabinet of curiosities it’s interesting to hear the author of Cabinet of Curiosities discuss building a cabinet of curiosities and also learn about what listeners enjoy collecting (space rocks!).

If you and/or yours have read Cabinet of Curiosities and love it, check out Animalium: Welcome to the Museum by Jenny Broom, illustrated by Katie Scott.

Happy collecting!



Favorite Books About Mail + Writing Letters


You’ve got mail! (Oh, how that expression ages me.) Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a letter from someone special to you in the mail? We sent out a batch of freshly glued, painted, laced, and glittered Valentines earlier this week and it got me thinking about my favorite children’s picture books about mail, mail carriers, and writing letters. Book list time! If you’re planning an upcoming storytime or lesson on letter writing or just so happen to have a kid that is into mail, here are a few kid-approved stories about mail:



children's books about mail

A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats (public library | local bookstore)
Bunny Mail: A Max & Ruby Lift-the-Flap Book by Rosemary Wells (public library | local bookstore)
Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh (public library | local bookstore)
Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond (public library | local bookstore)

kids books about mail and writing letters
Dear Mr. Blueberry by Simon James (public library | local bookstore)
Dear Juno by Soyung Pak, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung (public library | local bookstore)
Herman’s Letter by Tom Percival (public library | local bookstore)
The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (public library | local bookstore)

favorite children's books about mail and writing letters
Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie (public library | local bookstore)
The Mixed-Up Mail Mystery
 by Erica Farber, illustrated by Huck Scarry (public library|local bookstore)
The Gardener
by Sarah Steward, illustrated by David Small (public library|local bookstore)
Dear Yeti
by James Kwan (public library|local bookstore)



children's books about mail carriers
Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc (public library|local bookstore)
Millie Waits for the Mail by Alexander Steffensmeier (public library|local bookstore)
The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Janet Ahlberg (public library|local bookstore)
Katie Morag Delivers the Mail
by Mairi Hedderwick (public library|local bookstore)


cardboard play mailbox

Make a Play Mailbox
We made a cardboard mailbox out of an old box we had laying around the house with duck tape, tissue paper, and paint. Our mailbox isn’t nearly as attractive as this awesome DIY Cardboard Play Mailbox, but the kids love it all the same because it’s their own homemade creation complete with hearts and rainbows. They love making letters to go in the mail box and delivering the letters all around the house.

Write a Letter
Have a child dictate a letter to you and/or write their own. Ask them to help address the envelope, stick on the stamp, and send away in the mailbox. Maybe even send a postcard to a friend or family member on your next trip away from home. The thrill of sending mail is so exciting for young children.

Visit the Post Office
Going to the post office may be a bit of a drag when you’re a grownup, but kids love the post office. Assemble a group of interested kids and plan a group visit to your local post office or go solo. The USPS has a variety of printable resources as well like these lesson plans or information about stamps that have been printed.

I-Spy Mail Carriers
Talk about mail carriers and their role as community service workers. When you’re out walking or driving around, look for mail trucks or mail carriers and give them a friendly wave “hello”.

Have fun learning with these Free Printable Mail Carrier Activities



top image credit: Ezra Jack Keats’s A Letter for Amy



Chinese New Year Good Luck Decorations

Hanging homemade good luck characters and spring couplets in honor of the Chinese Lunar New Year. This art activity for kids is an introduction to the ancient art of Chinese caliagraphy

Chinese New Year Good Luck Character Painting

It is almost the Lunar New Year, which means we have been busy making good luck decorations for our home to welcome the new year. One of the most popular Lunar New Year decorations is hanging good luck characters, nianhua, as well as spring couplets, chun lian, good wishes for the new year on doors and door frames.

The Lunar New Year starts on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice and is a fifteen day celebration ending with the Lantern Festival (this year’s and next year’s dates). When I was a children’s librarian, I learned a great deal from my storytime patrons about Chinese festivals and the Lunar Calendar, especially during the time of the Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year), the most celebrated and sensational of the holidays. We’ve enjoyed learning about these holidays, stories, and traditions over the years so much that we honor and celebrate them in our home. If you’re interested in more books and crafts, take a look at my past Chinese New Year Storytimes HERE and HERE.


Spring character painted on gold flecked paper for the Chinese Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year Good Luck Characters

This craft is a modification of an activity found in the book Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes. Good luck characters written in the finest calligraphy on red diamonds are hung on doors in preparation for the new year.  Often times special red paper with gold flecks is used. We made these last year and this year, so you will see a bit of a difference between the two.

red card stock or red construction paper
gold watercolor paint
black tempera paint or acrylic paint

Making Chinese New Year Characters

Making Chines New Year Characters

Making Chinese New Year Characters on gold flecked paper

First, depending on the size of your paper, with a ruler and pencil you’re going to want to measure an 8″ or 9” square and cut off the excess paper. Once you’ve cut out your red diamonds, splatter gold flecks onto your paper by flicking gold water color paint or gold tempera paint. We made gold flecks by coating the tip of a small paint brush with gold watercolor paint and lightly hitting the brush on a pointer finger close to the paper. You can also make small dots and dabs with your paintbrush. Whatever creative process works for your child.

Chinese Characters Craft for Chinese New Year

Chinse Good Luck Characters Kids Art

Chinese New Year Good Luck Characters Art Project on Gold Flecked Paper

Once the gold paint has dried, it’s time to paint the Chinese characters on. On these types of Lunar New Year decorations, the Chinese characters used symbolize good fortune, spring, good luck, or the the featured animal zodiac character of the new year. Perhaps the most popular character is the  and when hung upside down it means good luck is coming.  This is an excellent template for painting the Fú character, and this site has more character examples, or try painting the animal zodiac symbol of the new year.

Chinese New Year Lunar New Year Character Painting Activity for Kids

CHinese New Year Lunar New Year Spring Festival Good Luck Character Painting Craft

Spring character painted on gold flecked paper for the Chinese Lunar New Year

Can you see the difference between the past couple years we’ve been making these characters? There’s a terrific scene from a Mister Rogers Neighborhood episode (episode 1704) where he visits with a Chinese calligrapher. Mister Rogers does a wonderful job introducing this art to children and watching it is a good foundation for this particular activity. If you’re interested in showing this episode, it can be accessed via Amazon Prime. Another complementary activity to learning about Chinese calligraphy is reading The Dinner That Cooked Itself by J.C. Hsyu, illustrated by Kenard Pak, a beautifully illustrated Chinese fairy tale with notes about Chinese characters at the end of the book.

Hanging goodluck characters and spring couplet artwork over doorframe in celebration of Chinese New Year

Spring Couplets

Spring Couplets are special new year poems that carry good wishes for the new year. They have the same amount of characters on each side and are painted on long banners that hang from each side of a doorway. We also make a “Happy New Year” (新年快樂) greeting that goes on the top of the door between the two couplets.

large piece of red construction paper or red poster board
black tempera paint
gold metallic markers or paint pen (optional)

Making Spring Couplets for Chinese New YEar

Cutting out spring couplets for Chinese New Year

Painting spring couplets for the Lunar New Year

Start by cutting your large piece of red paper or poster board into two long strips that are equal length. Once you’ve cut your strips of paper, it’s to time to paint the characters on the banners. Examples of spring couplets can be found here and here or find one online that suits your wishes for the new year.

Spring Couplet Craft

Finished spring couplets and good luck characters

Hanging homemade good luck characters and spring couplets in honor of the Chinese Lunar New Year. This art activity for kids is an introduction to the ancient art of Chinese caliagraphy

When the paint has dried, your banners are ready to be hung! Or add further decorations by outlining the characters in gold or drawing pictures or details in gold marker on the banner! Happy New Year!


Painted Lanterns 4

Painted Lanterns for the Lantern Festival

On the 15th day of the Lunar New Year the celebration ends with the Lantern Festival. Celebrate by making hand painted lanterns! We made the lanterns pictured last autumn and they’ve recently been revived from storage as decorations for the Lunar New Year and the Lantern Festival. Here’s how you can to make your own.


Children's Books about the Chinese Lunar New Year

Books to Read for Chinese New Year

Here’s a short list of favorite books about the the Chinese New Year kids will enjoy reading during this festive time of year:

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, illustrated by Meilo So
Bringing In the New Year by Grace Lin
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin) by Joan Holub
Dragon Dancing by Pierr Morgan, illustrated by Carole Lexa Schaefer
Long-Long’s New Year: A Story About the Chinese Spring Festival by Catherine Gower, illustrated by He Zhihong
Hiss! Pop! Boom!: Celebrating Chinese New Year by Tricia Morissey, illustrated by Kong Lee
Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year (Reading Rainbow Books) by Kate Waters
Great Race by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson
A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Quiong
Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes: Share and Sing in Two Languages [Audio CD Included] by Faye-Lynn Wu, illustrated by Kieren Dutcher
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns by Carolyn Otto






Happy Kansas Day: Kids Booklist + Activities


Happy Kansas Day

Happy Kansas Day!

Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861 and each year its birthday is celebrated throughout the state. Many museums, libraries, and historic sites offer programs and events on this holiday, but there are also simple ways to observe the day with kids regardless of where you are.  Here are a few fun ideas for celebrating Kansas Day:


Books about Prairie - Kansas Day Activities for Kids

Read a book about wildlife in Kansas

Check out a book about Kansas from your library or local bookstore! These books for younger readers featuring the flora and fauna of Kansas prairies are a few favorites to read on Kansas Day:
Out on the Prairie by Donna M. Batemen, illustrated by Susan Swan
Prairie Chicken Little by Jackie Mims Hopkins, illustrated by Henry Cole
A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet by Claudia McGehee
Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Betsy Bowen

Another idea is to read a book from the Kansas State Library’s Kansas Notable Books list, which includes children’s books by Kansas authors or books that take place in the state of Kansas.


Make a Kansas flag for Kansas Day

Make a Kansas Flag

The Kansas flag has many symbols that represent the history of the state. With whatever materials you have on hand, make your very own Kansas flag to show your Kansas pride. The art project above made by my kiddo was created using tempera paint and watercolor paper, but another option is to use this free template of the Kansas flag symbols and color and paste them to a piece of blue paper.


Sing “Home on the Range”

“Home on the Range” is the state song of Kansas, but before it became a song it was origanlly a poem written by Kansan Dr. Brewster Higley. The official state song lyrics and a bit about the history of this song can be found here.


Listen to a Western Meadowlark 

The Western Meadowlark is the state bird of Kansas and it’s a cheerful, distinct song that is heard throughout the state. Listen to the clip. Perhaps you’ve heard this song before? If you listen while on a walk, perhaps you’ll be able to spot one! To learn about what food attracts this type of bird to your home, listen to more songs clips, view pictures, and learn more about the Western Meadowlark visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Tragic Prelude Coloring Sheet

Enjoy free activities from the Kansas Historical Society

Print out and make one of the many free activities available on the Kansas Historical Society’ website. There is also a free book, Today is Kansas Day!, that can be printed out or read online and a bunch of as well informational Read Kansas! lessons like this one about the symbols of Kansas. Plus, um… How hilarious is this coloring sheet of the famous John Brown portrait, “Tragic Prelude”?


Bake a birthday cake!

One of the main agricultural crops of Kansas agriculture is wheat, which is why Kansas is often called “The Wheat State”. While making the cake, you can share with our child that wheat is ground into the flour and used to bake breads and make cake with. Get fancy and bake something like this or make a simple banana bread. Whatever the flavor, make it a celebration and add a candle or two on top, sing “Happy Birthday” to Kansas, and blow out the candles.


Congratulations Kansas, another trip around the sun!


image source for celebrating meadowlark



Last Stop on Market Street Bus Craft

Last Stop on Market Street 3D Bus Collage Activity

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena, pictures by Christian Robinson

Last Stop on Market Street 3D Bus Art Project 3

Last Stop on Market Street 3D Bus Art Project - Make a bus like the one CJ and Nana ride using a recycled box and paper scraps

I’m over at Library as Incubator Project celebrating the 2016 Newbery winner and Caldecott and Coretta Scott King honoree, Last Stop on Market Street (public library | local bookstore) by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Learn how to make this delightful 3-D bus craft just like the one CJ and Nana ride in the book HERE.



The Tea Party in the Woods + Pie Art Project

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi + Pie Art Project and Pretend Play

There’s something eerie and otherworldly about walking in the woods in the wintertime. It is quiet, yet holds many secrets… Maybe even a bit of magic. The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi (public library | local bookstore) embodies this feeling perfectly. A young girl, Kikko, sets out to deliver a pie her father had forgotten to her grandmother’s house. Trying as quickly as she could to catch up to her father, she trips in the snow, ruining the pie. Kikko gets up and hurries after him nonetheless only to find that she ends up at an unfamiliar house where she learns she wasn’t following her father after all.

The Tea Party in the Woods 1

The Tea Party in the Woods 2

The Tea Party in the Woods Akiko Miyakoshi

There it is. This image. How terrific is the mood in this illustration? That point when things are absolutely not what they seem? Kikko walks into an enchanting tea party welcomed by a guest list of animals of all shapes and sizes. Feeling nervous and excited, she explains to the animals that she was taking a pie to her grandmother’s but the pie was ruined on the way. The animals encouraged her to take an assortment of the pies they had at the party to replace the ruined pie.

The Tea Party in the Woods 3

The Tea Party in the Woods pie

The Tea Party in the Woods 4

Tea Party in the Woods parade

The Tea Party in the Woods  is quiet and striking full of whimsy and wonder. The sequence of full-page spreads and bright yellow and red focal points in this visually appealing for beginning and early readers to draw conclusions about the story without reading the text. Kikko’s story is a delight and prompted a simple paper craft project and many hours of pretend play…



Pie Art Project + Pretend Tea Party Play inspirted by The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

If you’ll scroll up to the illustration of the animals preparing a plate of assorted pies for Kikko, that scene was what inspired this simple pie art project. “Each piece had a different filling of seeds and nuts and fruit and other delicious things gathered from the woods,” is the description of the pies in the story.  I thought about collecting materials found outdoors to be used for this project as a nature-y mixed-media creation, but my daughter wanted the pie pieces to look like the pies she likes to eat. Not like dead grass. Fair enough! Here’s how she made her paper pie collage…

Materials for pie art


  • Pie Plate
  • Variety of Colored Paper or Cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • [Optional Embellishments (sequins, pom poms, etc.)]

You could also use a paper plate as the crust of your pie, but we chose different colors of cardstock we had on hand.

pie art project

pie art project 1

Place your pie plate in the middle of a piece of paper and trace around the bottom of the plate with a pencil.

pie art project - an introduction to fractions

pie art project is a basic introduction to the concept of fractions

Pie Art Activity for preschool or kindergarten. A complementry craft for the book The Tea Party in the Woods

Using another piece of paper as a makeshift ruler, divide the circle into sections. If you’d like, this is a good opportunity to talk about basic division and fractions with your child. Sneaky math! It’s everywhere! Once you’ve divided the pie up, cut out the pie along using penciled lines as your guide.

Pie Art Collage

Pie Art Project for kids

Pie collage - math meets art when making this paper pie for pretend play

Snip snip snip. After the pie crust was cut out, kids can decorate with paper to their own imagination and/or flavor preference. Perhaps a piece of Peppermint Plum? Or Ginger Pumpkin? Maybe some Pistachio Crunch? Triple Cartwheel Peanut Butter Surprise? Whatever the flavor!   Now, you can stop here OR you can add some optional additional embellishments of your choosing. We had some sequins and pom-poms out already and those were readily applied to the pie.

pie art project 2

Pie Art Mixed Media Collage + Tea Party Pretend Play

Good enough to eat! Am I right? Art baked goodness just in time for a winter tea party of your very own.



The Tea Party in the Woods Winter Story Activity - Pretend play and pie art project inspired by Akiko Miyakoshi's whimsical picture book The Tea Party in the Woods -

As in any situation where pie is involved, you obviously have to throw a party for the pie to be enjoyed among friends. Over the past few weeks there have been a many tea parties indoors where friends from all over the house are invited to enjoy the festivities and freshly baked pie. Awhile back I purchased a few tea cups, mugs, and saucers from Goodwill that have been put to good use ever since we brought them home.

Tea Party Pretend Play

Guests at the winter tea party

Winter Tea Party pretend play for kids

Roar-y the Tiger couldn’t help himself and had to have seconds. The hostess was of the mostess and everyone was very well mannered and had a jolly old time.

Improptu 3-D animal art using recycled materials

And I had to share a picture of this friendly cat and dog guest duo, which were made from leftover pie scraps and other odds and ends from around the house. Glad these last minute guests could make it just in time for tea!

Don’t you love when a book sparks imagination?



**Source of book reviewed: Checked out at the local public library.




Month by Month: Books About the Year


Month by Month - Children's Books About the Year

Happy New Year! The new year is just around the corner, which also brings about the question” “What does ‘Happy New Year’ mean”? What’s ‘a year’ anyway? Explaining time to a young person is confusing in many ways. (It’s a perplexing concept to me, too!) In this day in age, we use the Gregorian calendar internationally that’s been around since it was introduced in 1582. The twelve months which include special events, birthdays, and holidays are what make up our calendar year today. The months are also often depicted by seasonal highlights and transitions noticeable year after year. As we move into the new year ahead, here are a few books that introduce the year through story and rhyme, month by month.


children's books about the months of the year

The Year At Maple Hill Farm by Alice Provensen and Martin Provesen (public library | local bookstore)

Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak (public library | local bookstore)

The Turning of the Year by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Greg Shed (public library | local bookstore)

Around the Year by Elsa Beskow (public library | local bookstore)

Linnea’s Almanac by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson (public library | local bookstore)

books about months and seasons

Turtle in July by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (public library | local bookstore)

Once Around the Sun by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (public library | local bookstore)

Seasons of the Circle: A Native American Year by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Robert F. Goetzi (public library | local bookstore)

How Do You Say It Today, Jesse Bear? by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustraed by Bruce Degen (public library | local bookstore)

Around the Year by Tasha Tudor (public library | local bookstore)

books about the months of the year

Parade Day: Marching Through the Calendar Year by Bob Barner (public library | local bookstore)

Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobby (public library | local bookstore)

When The Moon Is Full by Penny Pollock, illustrated by Mary Azarian (public library | local bookstore)

Month by Month a Year Goes Round by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by True Kelley (public library | local bookstore)

Snowy Flowy Blowy: A Twelve Months Rhyme by Nancy Tafuri (public library | local bookstore)

children's books about the calendar year

Twelve Hats for Lena : A Book of Months by Karen Katz (public libarary | local bookstore)

Calendar by Myra Cohn Livingston, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (public library | local bookstore)

The Navajo Year Walk Through Many Seasons by Nancy Bo Flood, illustrated by Billy Whitethorne (public library | local bookstore)

Skip Through the Seasons: A Seek-And-Find Book by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Maria Caluccio (public library | local bookstore)

Sing a Song of Piglets: A Calendar in Verse by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (public library | local bookstore)

Dog Days: Rhymes Around the Year by Jack Prelutsky (public library | local bookstore)

A Child’s Calendar by John Updike, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (public library | local bookstore)






Storytime Anytime: Gingerbread

Storytime Anytime - Gingerbread - Stories, songs, and activities for toddlers and preschoolers all about gingerbread JPG

Storytime Anytime is a concentrated storytime experience that parents and caregivers can recreate with the youngster in your life. Each storytime focuses on a book about a specific interest, a song, rhyme, or fingerplay that complements the story, and then a few, simple extension activities. Storytime doesn’t just happen in the library, storytime can be anytime! 

Gingerbread has been around since 2400 BCE and today is a treasured international treat. This popular sweet not only temps taste buds of young and old, but also is the inspiration behind old nursery rhymes and stories such as The Gingerbread Boy and Hansel and Gretel as well as popular modern children’s books like The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and Gingerbread Baby. Here’s how we explore this delicious, old-fashioned treat through story, rhyme, and play!

Gingerbread books and fun for kids. Read Maisy Makes Gingerbread, learn a gingerbread fingerplay, try one of the many gingerbread play suggestions

READ: Maisy Makes Gingerbread by Lucy Cousins (public library | local bookstore) We read a lot of Maisy Mouse books in our house! Illustrated in bright, bold colors, Masiy and her friends teach basic concepts in her day-to-day adventures. Maisy Makes Gingerbread follows Maisy step-by-step in the kitchen making gingerbread when surprise visitors arrive.


SING: “Homemade Gingerbread” by unknown author via Preschool Education. This rhyme is simple to remember after you do it a couple times and summarizes the simple steps of gingerbread baking.

Stir a bowl of gingerbread, smooth and spicy brow.
(Hold a bowl and make a mixing motion with the other hand.)
Roll it with a rolling pin, up and up and down.
(Both hands out flat facing the floor, move back and forth like when using a rolling pin)
With a cookie cutter, make some little men.
(Pretend to hold a cookie cutter and move it up and down.)
Put them in the oven, till half past ten.
(Pretend to hold a tray and place it in the oven. Then point to wrist.)


PLAY: These are simple gingerbread activities to expand the theme of the storytime – Gingerbread!

  • Make Homemade Gingerbread: Cooking with kids is a terrific sensory and bonding activity as well as exercises skills in science, math, and reading. Try making these gingerbread cookies or a batch of gingerbread cookie houses in your home. Your home will smell sweet and spicy and your child will be excited to be an active participant in the baking process.
  • Playdough Pretend Play: Make gingerbread scented playdough for easy gingerbread play. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and beads, buttons, and ribbon to decorate. Roll the dough back up and start all over again!
  • Explore Smelling Spices: A variety of spices go into the construction of gingerbread cookie dough. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, GINGER.. Smell these spices with a child. Have them close their eyes and see if they can tell the difference between them all!
  • Gingerbread Man Story Basket: If you read one of the many versions of The Gingerbread Man (see book suggestions below) this gingerbread man story basket is a terrific extension activity. Prompt creative play and storytelling by assembling a basket with toys or items featured in the story.
  • Cardboard Gingerbread House: Decorate a large cardboard box like a gingerbread house by using crayons, markers, paint or whatever art supplies you have on hand.

Books about gingerbread for kids

The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt
The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock
Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-up by Robert Sabuda
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstup, illustrated by Matt Tavares (holiday themed)
Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun (holiday themed)

For more gingerbread stories, songs, and fun, check out this gingerbread storytime post from a few years back when I was a youth librarian.



Glowing Books for the Black Light Booth

Books to explore under black light - We usually use our DIY Black Light Booth for art and light play, but lately it's been a great provocation to explore books!

No, this post isn’t about a storytime rave. The black light booth I assembled a year ago has mainly been used for art projects and light play, but lately we’ve also been using it as an enchanting way to explore books. Children’s books with fluorescent colors and/or glow-in-the-dark features spring to life in the booth!

Using ultraviolet light is magical way to spark inquiry and sheds light on objects in an entirely different way. A flower or a butterfly deatail that might not have been noticed before is all of a sudden illuminated. What has been difficult is finding books with fluorescent tones– It’s not an easily searchable feature. So, I’ve but together a short list of books, both fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark books, we’ve been enjoying under black light starting with a picture book biography of the inventors of neon colors…

Glowing Books for the Black Light Booth

The Day Glo-Brothers

The Day-Glo Brothers - Books for the Black Light - Explore flouresent colors and glow-in-the-dark books in an entirely different light Booth

Beautiful Birds

Beautiful Birds - Peacock

In the past, we've used the black light booth for light play or art projects, but lately it has been an enchanting way to explore books

Beautiful Birds - Glowing Books for the Black Light Booth

Beautiful Birds by J. Roussen and E. Walker under black light

Books to explore under black light - We usually use our DIY Black Light Booth for art and light play, but lately it's been a great provocation to explore books!

The Wonder Garden by Jenny Broom, illustrated by Kristjana S Williams

The Great Barrier Reef - The Wonder Garden

Neons and Glow-in-the-Dark Children's Books - Glowing Books for the Black Light Booth

Reading The Wonder Garden in our DIY Black Light Booth - A unique way for kids to explore light, color, and booksJPG

black light booth book


Nocturne by Isol

Fun, right? Below is a list of books we’ve been using in the black light booth in the order they were pictured. If you have suggestions of other tiles with either fluorescent or glow-in-the-dark features, please leave your suggestion in the comments below! Interested in making your own black light booth? Learn how to make one along with ultraviolet light and art investigation ideas here.

Fluorescent Books
The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani (public library | local bookstore)
Beautiful Birds by Jean Roussen & Emmanuelle Walker (public library | local bookstore)
The Wonder Garden: Wander through 5 habitats to discover 80 amazing animals by Jenny Broom, illustrated by Kristjana S. Williams (public library | local bookstore)

Glow-in-the-Dark Books
The Game in the Dark by Herve Tullet (public library | local bookstore)
Nocturne: Dream Recipes by Isol (public library | local bookstore)
Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations by C.E. Thompson (not pictured) (public library | local bookstore)



*Beautiful Birds was provided for review by the good people at Flying Eye Books