Whether you're already a few weeks into the school year or have the first day rapidly approaching, we've compiled a list of books that you can read with your children or students to help them process all the emotions running through their little bodies this time of year.
Posts from the ‘Our Library’ Category
While research shows the "Summer Slide" can cause the kiddos to lose some of what they learned the previous school year, there's plenty of fun ways to incorporate the brain-boosting activity of reading into a summer of adventure!
Here are some of our suggestions, inspired by items in the Novel Effect library:
Every year, on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, parents, teachers, librarians, kids, and lovers of children’s books celebrate all things reading! We here at Novel Effect enjoyed the day, literally reading across America (in classrooms from Washington state to South Carolina) volunteering and sharing our magical story time experience.
After a busy day of fun reading experiences, we thought we would share some of our favorite bedtime stories so you can keep the celebration going right up to the point the sandman arrives.
HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson
Harold is the perfect story to unwind to after a day full of imagination. Harold himself uses his purple crayon to draw out his own adventures before falling asleep in his bed, crayon (almost) in hand. I particularly love the dragon roars and the boat scene in the middle of the book – the music and sound effects are spot on!
DREAM ANIMALS by Emily Winfield Martin
The whimsical and nostalgic imagery of “Dream Animals” beautifully demonstrates the power of books and how they can help children develop their imaginations. Plus, there are some great, unexpected character voices that really set the mood of the story.
GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Gentle rhymes and gentle music help prepare busy minds and busy construction sites off to sleep for the day. After a day full of busy hands and fun activities, this is the perfect story to help unwind the chaos and get settled in for bed.
OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO by Dr. Seuss
Ok, so this isn’t a bed time store, per se! But we couldn’t have a list for Read Across America Day and NOT have a book from the birthday boy himself. Plus, dreams are where…well…dreams are born. Why not send your child off to sleep with visions of all the things the places they can!
Even though the new year and new term are just barely upon us, it’s hard not to already be thinking about summer break! But hang in there for a few more months. We have some titles and activities to get you through the winter months right on into spring!
It might feel like we’re stuck inside but we can get “outdoors” at story time with the Ezra Jack Keats classic “The Snowy Day.” Get everyone excited about the potential of a snow day. Maybe the teachers and the kids have a touch of cabin fever? Get out of the classroom and pair that aquarium field trip with “Rainbow Fish”. Let our soundscape for the best-loved tale of friendship accompany your story and all of its shimmery sweetness.
There are, of course, a lot of great activities for Valentine’s that go beyond making a mailbox out of a paper bag and passing out Minion themed cards. Here are some toddler activities that could be easily adapted for higher grades as well. One of my personal favorites is to make seed cards to exchange or as a personalized activity, and then you can plant them in preparation for spring classroom gardens. And don’t forget to keep an eye on your Novel Effect app to see some of the Valentine’s Day and Spring titles we’ve got coming your way!
If fish aren’t your thing, or you already can’t stand the thought of one more tiny heart-shaped box of bad chocolate, then let’s focus on another great February theme with “Grace for President.” Here are some pretty cool comprehension questions and discussion prompts from the good folks at Rutgers University. We really appreciate this book and the wonderful message it has for women big and small.
Have ideas on how you’re using Novel Effect in your classroom? Let us know here! Happy Reading!
- New, improved voice recognition (let the whole family try!)
- Addressed some pesky bugs
- New titles added! (I recommend “Zen Shorts”!)
My mother kept the Christmas decorations in the attic, where the heat escaped and you had to turn your head hard to the side to fit under the ceiling. We had three boxes full, containing colorful lights, wreaths, and crooked ornaments made from our little hands while in preschool. My favorite was a long garland with electric bells that would begin a carol at one end of the line and then pass the song along to a random bell somewhere further down; we used to wrap it around our banister and run up and down the garland trying to guess from which bell the music would play next.
However, the holiday season would never truly begin until my mother would unpack from the boxes our small library of Christmas books and arrange them on the coffee table. There, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg would usher in the season’s sense of magic and wonder. And Santa Cows by Cooper Eden would… well, that one was a bit odd, I admit, but it truly was the most cherished Christmas book of my midwestern family.
Books were one of the best ways my family celebrated winter. They allowed us to snuggle in our wool socks on the couch and laugh and think and learn what the holidays were all about. In an effort to celebrate the season and share good books with good people, here is a selection of holiday stories from the Novel Effect shelves this winter:
The Snowy Day
If any book perfectly captures the sense of joy and excitement of freshly fallen snow, it is Ezra Jack Keats’s Caldecott winner, The Snowy Day. Peter, the story’s protagonist with a red snowsuit, crunches and struts and slides in the snow, building snowmen, making angels, and exploring every way his imagination can think to play in it. The narrative, uneventful and unforced, allows for Peter’s delight to flourish and to represent something universal and genuine. For those who have not read this beautiful story, enjoy this version narrated by LeVar Burton.
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns
Hena Khan’s book of rhyming verses and lush illustrations demonstrates the importance of celebrating your family and your faith. The young female narrator uses a range of splendid colors to identify and introduce significant components of her life. The radiant orange of her henna designs illuminate a two-page spread, while the gentle ripples of her mother’s sapphirine hijab stand out from a powder blue background. This book is beautiful and enriching for a family of any faith to read year round.
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
Taking inspiration from folklore, the story of the Maccabees, and Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Eric A. Kimmel manages to strike the right balance between spiritual and spooky in this entertaining tale about Hershel, the itinerant prankster. Determined to thwart any Hanukkah celebrations, a horde of goblins prove worthy antagonists for Hershel as they become increasingly vile and repulsive on each successive night. However, they forget that Hershel has some tricks up his sleeves. Armed with an egg, some pickles, and his clever wit, Herschel sets out to rescue the town and vanquish the goblins from the synagogue. Celebrate the Festival of Lights this year with Hershel and his thrilling adventure.
The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming
As Lemony Snicket observes, “Nearly everything in this world is born screaming, and the latke was no exception…” His main character’s outcry begins in a frying pan but continues as he meets Christmas decorations painfully oblivious of Hanukkah. The latke’s ire leads to humorous explanations of the holiday and a defense for potato pancakes, until he is eventually recognized by an understanding—and hungry—family. This hilarious book is a great way to gain perspective on the holiday season and to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
Wordlessly, a father and daughter walk through the cold New England snow, hoping to catch a glimpse of a Great Horned Owl. Their adventure, told through Jane Yolen’s patient prose and John Schoenherr’s gentle watercolor illustrations, embodies a winter night’s magical ability to leave you both at peace and full of wonder. Best read by a warm fire with the winds howling outside your window, this book is perfect for bedtime during the holiday season.
You can find all these titles in the Novel Effect library with soundscapes to get you in the spirit: http://apple.co/2uQXDod