Months of the Year Rhymes
I volunteered in my 2nd grader’s class today for “writer’s workshop” and typed up lovely poems for a half hour but I was a little early and found this winner posted on the her classroom wall. I used the days of the week song to teach my kids as preschoolers the days of the week, which isn’t much of a song but goes…
There are 7 days, there are 7 days, there are 7 days in a week:
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
And the rhyme I learned as a child to remember the number of days in certain months:
30 days has September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have 31,
Except for February which has 28 days
and 29 on a leap-year.
And now here’s a great rhyme for the Months of the Year:
January, February, March, April, May
June, July, August. Hooray, Hooray!
September, October, November, December,
These are the months that I CAN REMEMBER!
Month of the Year Picture Books
I also noticed that she uses picture books on the months of the year that she used in conjunction with this rhyme (and I found a few others as well). Since all the books on months of the year emphasize seasonality, you could easily incorporate seasons and holidays and tie it back to the months of the year.
Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak
This is our favorite picture book about the months of the year. My oldest child’s first grade teacher had an oversized version of this book for 1st grade and taught this book as a song with a little dance. I’m not much of a singer so we just read the book as a rhyming poem. It’s charming and I love Sendak’s illustrations. And I agree, chicken soup and rice is perfect to eat the entire year long!
Lighting Our World: A Year of Celebrations by Catherine Rondina and Jacquie Oakley
Light has been used in many cultures to celebrate special occasions and this advanced picture book highlights the many kinds of calendars including lunar (Muslim), Gregorian (United States and most of the world), and lunisolar (Chinese and Jewish). Each month showcases how other countries and cultures use light as part of their celebrations by a child from that country. For January, Sophie explains Up Hella Aa, a fire festival in the Shetland Islands of Scotland.
Other light festivities include Las Fallas (Spain), Carnival (Caribbean), Nowruz (Iran), Holi (India), Walpurgis Night (Sweden), Easter (Germany), Cinco de Mayo (USA), Buddha’s Birthday (South Korea), Inti Ryami (Peru), Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (Canada), Obon (Japan), Chung Yuan (China), Tet Thrung Thu (Vietnam), Enkutatash (Ethiopia), Diwali (India), Ramandan (Egypt), and more.
The light celebrations are interesting in that it offers a glimpse into many different cultures and countries and also shows the similarities that people around the world and throughout time have used light as part of a ceremony. On that level, it brings us all together.
I like this multi-cultural twist on months of the year and this advanced picture book would be a nice addition to a classroom. It might be used to highlight a country or a few countries are are part of the curriculum. The idea of a calendar can be extended through this book into a multicultural experience. I’d recommend this book for grades 2 and up. Older kids will enjoy learning about the different ways to celebrate light around the world. I learned a lot myself!
CalendarBears: A Book of Months by Kathleen Hague
Another first grade teacher my two younger kids had this book on display when she taught the months of the year. In fact, the last rhyme is hers. This picture book series uses teddy bears to introduce concepts like months of the year and the alphabet. The teddy bear illustrations help to emphasize the seasons for each month.
Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant
Cynthia Rylant has never written a bad book so it’s not surprising that her take on a months of the year book is something unique and wonderful. She uses Native American names for full moons — one for each month — with a matching poems. Multicultural, science-y and nature. This is my kind of months of the year book.
Once Around the Sun by Bobbi Katz
If you like The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, then this is the months of the year picture book for you! Katz takes an African-American brother and sister and pairs the months of year with poems that capture their experience in and around their neighborhood.
A Busy Year by Leo Lionni
Two mice and a tree have a busy year together looking after each other and they look forward to doing it again next year.
Twelve Hats for Lena : A Book of Months by Karen Katz
Lena Katz (notice the same surname as the author?!) is making a hat for each month decorated with how she celebrates each month. January’s hat with snowballs and snow games ushers in the New Year, for example. Lena celebrates the holidays that mark each month of the year. Lena loves arts and crafts and instructions are included. This would make a fun book club for kids for girls!
The Turning of the Year by Bill Martin
Rather than holidays, Bill Martin uses rhymes to emphasize the activities a child can do each month with a real emphasis on old-fashioned outdoor fun like pumpkin picking, sledding and catching fireflies. This book would be fun to use all year to try to replicate each activity at home.
Around the Year by Elsa Maartman Beskow
The illustrations remind me of old-fashioned fairy tale books with delicate watercolor washes that make everything look like an ethereal fantasy. Also rhyming, this lovely picture book notes the natural world that each month brings: poppies in July, red apples in September, and new sprouts of Spring’s first growth.
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