I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Giselle today. Giselle blogs at Kids Yoga Stories and recently moved to my neck of the woods from Northern California so we are actually able to meet in person! Such a rare and unusual treat for bloggers! You probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that she is a yoga instructor, a teacher and a mom! She was inspired to bring yoga to kids through picture books and hence the Kids Yoga Stories was born!
All posts in 4) Grade 3-5
I have to confess that I thought St. Patrick’s Day was about pots of gold, leprechauns and four leaf clovers. I suppose if I thought hard about it, I would have guessed that St. Patrick was a Catholic saint. So, in a fit of curiosity and because I recently subscribed to a blog, Celebrating Holidays, to help me blog, I read the true history of St. Patrick. He’s like Joan of Arc!
It was a long winter break and I didn’t plan anything special to entertain the kids. After a week of being mostly house bound, out of sheer laziness I took my kids to check out the crafts store, hoping that a few key purchases would keep them entertained and off screens.
My son only wanted two rolls of Duck duct tape so he was easy to please. When he got home, he used aluminum foil and makes what he always makes with duct tape and aluminum foil: weapons. This is the third set of nun chucks he has made, and they were a little short when he went to use them, so I finally asked him if he wanted a real pair.
My son’s duct tape crafts from top to bottom: a ball handled weapon, a grappling hook, a hammer, nunchucks and a sword. Read more…
A reader asked me for a list of picture books appropriate for 4th and 5th grade. I wasn’t sure myself. Sure, there are advanced picture books but does the list have to hit the Core Curriculum agenda? Don’t 4th and 5th graders want to read solely chapter books, having left picture books behind in 1st or 2nd grade?
So I searched the internet. I found teachers in 4th and 5th grade sharing their favorite picture books and this gave me the courage to add to their list with my own. I do think picture books are for everyone. And my final observation is how my middle school aged daughters will sidle into my bedroom when I’m reading a picture book to my 3rd grader (who only will read picture books when I force him to or when he’s left his chapter book at school mistakenly) and everyone will enjoy the story. Even if you have to use stealth to get picture books in front of older kids, it’s well worth it!
My list is a little heavy on Patricia Polacco and Jacqueline Woodson, but they are birds of a feather. Each shares their personal stories that resonate to include all of us. Eve Bunting has the gift of telling other people’s stories with great sensitivity as if they were her own history. Emily Arnold McCully tells stories that quietly inspire.
What is your favorite picture books for 5th Grade or 4th grade? Please share and I’ll add to the list!
Holocaust Picture Books for Kids
The Cats of Krasinki Square by Karen Hesse
Can cats outsmart the Gestapo? In Warsaw during WWII, the Gestapo have forced all Jewish men, women and children into a ghetto where they are being ravished through disease and starvation. Those who can escape and pass for Aryan must use their ingenuity to find a way to bring food to their friends. The cats of Krasinki Square can help outfox the Gestapo. In this story of courage amid horrific inhumanity, Hesse celebrates the Jewish Resistance and the cats who helped as well.
We are lucky to have farms in our suburban town as well as nearby but these local farms have morphed into U Pick or teaching centers. I guess I’ve always fantasized about life on a farm. Self-sufficiency and all that. I only know one person who grew up on a farm. His friends say that he’s the go to for any kind of fix it jobs. If you live on farm, you learn to do everything and anything!
My own garden plot in my tiny backyard is too shady and small to grow anything except hardy herbs like mint and oregano. I have to farm vicariously these days though books so I’ve rounded up my favorite old fashioned children’s books set on a farm. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane!
What are your favorite picture books and chapter books set on a old-fashioned back in time farm? Thanks so much for sharing!
Best Old Fashioned Children’s Books Set on a Farm
10. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Set in 1899 in Fentress, Texas near Austin, 11-year-old Calpurnia Tate lives on a bustling farming enterprise set up by her forward thinking and scientific minded grandfather along with her 6 brothers and parents. While this Newbery Honor chapter book focuses on Calpurnia’s evolution into a scientist — one hopes that she will be the first female to attend the University in Austin — I also loved the vivid descriptions of growing up on a Southern gentleman’s farm. Her grandfather owns the cotton gin mill as well as vast acres of pecans and cotton and the relationships between servants, locals and her family are also colorfully depicted in this strict social ladder of etiquette and status. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
My son and I started reading very short non-fiction stories from GenZ Read Together, a website that makes reading together an entertaining educational experience. We get a wide assortment of non-fiction stories which include:
- vocabulary building exercises
- a hangman reveal-the-hidden-picture puzzle
- an educational video
As part of their Summer Reading program, some of my favorite educational, arts, and children’s book bloggers are hosting a Blog Tour where we come up with activities you can do at home with your kids for one of GenZ’s non-fiction stories.
We are also each hosting a giveaway so YOU can win 20 stories from GenZ Read Together. Finally, if you don’t win but want to try it out, GenZ is offering a special discount to my readers:
20 stories for $3.99!! Use promo code: SUM20
Today, my son and I read about the largest pirate treasure ever discovered, The Atocha! After 16 years searching with his family, Mel Fisher finally located $400 million dollars of gold, silver and emeralds — lost treasure from the Spanish Galleon, The Atocha, near Key West, Florida. Read more…
Thank goodness there are so many different ways to experience the magic of Alice in Wonderland. There is the original chapter book plus many, many variations at all different reading levels. There are several movies. And now there is an ebook app, Alicewinks.
Why is Alice in Wonderland so important compared to other classic children’s books? Just think about all the cultural references that are part of our vernacular that originate from this book.
Mad as a hatter.
Grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
Down the rabbit hole.
But not all kids, including mine, are ready to tackle the full length original chapter book. It’s a thick tome, after all.
Alice in Wonderland ebook to Celebrate Alice’s 150th Anniversary
Instead, we used Alicewinks to get a multimedia video ebook experience. Yes, that’s a mouthful. But what it is exactly is beautiful illustrations from the time when the book was published — early 20th century — with simple animation and professional voice talent narrating Lewis Carroll’s unabridged text.
Rising 3rd Grade Summer Reading List
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
My son’s close friend is a 4th grader, Connor, and he hates Percy Jackson (gasp!) but loves this book. That intrigued me, especially as the lead character is an 11-year-old girl during in 1899. I bought it a few years ago when it won a Newbery honor — frankly it was the cover that drew me in but it’s the gorgeous writing that has kept us reading. Me mostly to him.
Like a truffle, this book is to be savored in small quantities. We read about 1 or 2 chapters each night so it’s taken us quite some time to finish this chapter book. But it’s so worth it. The evolution is a young girl (perhaps author/attorney/doctor Jacqueline Kelly herself) reimagined at the turn of the 20th century, in a small town outside of Austin, Texas (where Kelly lives now) as she realized that she can be more than a housewife.
We finally finished this book and it was well worth the journey! [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
Please welcome Erica from What Do We Do All Day?, a blog that always inspires me. There’s a big push now for non-fiction in the Common Core Curriculum and I am afraid that if we, as parents, don’t introduce non-fiction books to our kids that enchant them, they could be turned off by the onslaught of “boring” non-fiction they will be forced to read at school.
Non-fiction, however, when matched up to a child’s interest can be a great motivator in getting them to read. Erica offers up great science books for kids! I hope you find some ideas here for your child’s summer reading list.
Do your kids love science and learning about facts? Science picture books are a lovely way for kids to explore their favorite subjects and to discover something new.
At What Do We Do All Day? I share a book list (almost) every Monday, and even though my older son loves non-fiction books, I have made very few lists featuring fact-based books. That is probably a reflection of my own interests, so I am extra excited to be able to share with Pragmatic Mom’s followers this list of science picture books my boys have really enjoyed!
This book list is a hodgepodge and mishmash of all different science topics, so I hope you will find something that is a good fit for your child’s interests. If you have any favorite science picture books, please leave a comment here on this post. We love to get recommendations!
A Seed Is Sleepy. Author/illustrator team Dianna Hutts Aston and Slyvia Long have created a series of gorgeous books about natural wonders which turn kids’ attentions to the beauty of the small miracles of nature. Also discover: A Rock Is Lively, An Egg Is Quiet and A Butterfly Is Patient.
All the Water in the World. Poetry in motion, just like rushing, trickling, dripping water, this book about the cycle of water will fascinate your kids. Lots of facts about where water comes from, where it goes and why we need it are eloquently communicated through gorgeous watercolors and poetry.