Category Archives: spring

Exploring Nature with Books


by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator

With longer, warmer days and the foliage in full bloom, summer presents a great opportunity to explore the outside world. Imagine walks through the forest, lingering in a garden, swimming and playing in the stream, and laying out at night to discover the constellations. While enjoying these marvelous adventures, don’t forget to bring along some books!

Books enhance outdoor experiences by getting children excited about the possibilities of what can be found right in their own backyard or most any green space. Books inspire children to seek out the magic of the intricately spun web of the spider, the fragrant, spiky needles of the pine, and the pillowy, low-hanging cumulus clouds. Books, particularly field guides and nature focused non-fiction, offer a deeper look at living things and natural occurrences by providing facts, real photographs and/or life-like illustrations, information about life cycles, habitats and diets, and also answers to the many questions children are sure to have when they come across one of nature’s wonders. Field guides are designed to be portable, making them easy to bring along on any outdoor adventure. Plus, there are guides on just about any topic of interest, from amphibians to fossils to mushrooms.

Not only do books and field guides allow a child to explore the world local to them more deeply, they also open up entire new worlds of faraway places like jungles, deserts, outer space and oceans. All of these places (and many more!) can be explored through books. Apart from actually visiting these places, books are the next best way to be immersed in these unfamiliar worlds. As a bonus, you can travel to these places as often as you’d like!

An outdoor adventure can be many things: a visit to a waterfall, a nature walk through downtown, an afternoon at the park, or an afternoon examining the different types of stones in the driveway. Books are the best accessories for these moments, piquing children’s interests and offering more information about their world, introducing unique words and encouraging the practice of never ending exploration. Reading can happen any time, any place — even (and especially) when discovering the outdoors!

Take some books on your next adventure! You can find many field guides and nature focused non-fiction books at the library and your local bookseller. Here are some to get you started:

“The Tree Book for Kids and their Grown Ups: by Gina Ingoglia
“Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World” by Julia Rothman
“The Night Books: Exploring Nature After Dark with Activities, Experiments, and Information” by Pamela Hickman
“Nature’s Day: Discover the World of Wonder on Your Doorstep” by Kay Maguire
“Backyard Birds (Field Guides for Young Naturalists)” by Karen Stray Nolting and Jonathan Latimer
“Insects (National Audubon Society’s First Field Guides)” by Christina Wildson
“Wildflowers (National Audubon Society’s First Field Guides)” by Susan Hood
“Clouds (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Anne Rockwell

Leave a comment

Filed under activities, autumn, book activites, books for toddlers, can do, children's books, exploration, family, family reading, field guides, library, movement, nature, non-fiction, reading outside, science books, spring, summer, summer reading, unique words, winter

Non-fiction books have many benefits for kids

by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator


Q: What should my child be reading?

A: More non-fiction!

The teachers I have spoken to say they hear this question and give this answer all the time. And they do so for a good reason.

Non-fiction literature gives children a glimpse at how the world works and allows them to explore unfamiliar places, animals, cultures, and concepts. For example, a child interested in marine life can learn about the creatures residing within the very depths of the ocean and a child curious about the foods enjoyed in Japan can have their questions answered and even learn to make some of these foods themselves by following recipes found in cookbooks. Nonfiction builds on a child’s interests and curiosity, increases vocabulary and deepens background knowledge. And the topics to be explored are endless!

Non-fiction differs from fiction because it requires reading for content and information. Having early experiences with informational text gives children the opportunity to practice gleaning facts, statistics, instructions and other pertinent information from text, diagrams, charts, and photographs. This is a skill used in daily life. Whether following a recipe, deciphering a bus schedule, or reading a formal contract, the ability to sift out necessary details is required to be successful.

Non-fiction can also help children handle new life experiences and changes. Moving abroad, or even down the street, preparing to welcome a new sibling, or having trouble with friends- there are multitudes of printed materials at the ready to give children (and adults!) factual information about any life situation.

Non-fiction comes in many forms from newspapers, magazines, educational journals, atlases, cookbooks, and encyclopedias, all of which can be found in your local library. Next time your child asks a question about wombats or Thomas Edison that you don’t have an answer for, stop by the library and check out a few books! You and your child will find what you’re looking for and a whole lot more!

Here are some great nonfiction book series that are available at your local library or bookseller:

The Magic School Bus series
National Geographic Kids
Backyard Books
‘What was…’ series
‘Who was…’ series
‘I survived’ series

Leave a comment

Filed under activities, benefits of reading together, board books, books for toddlers, children's books, cooking, creativity, decision-making, family reading, following directions, following written directions, fruit, library, music, non-fiction, poetry, reading numbers and symbols, science books, Series, spring

Spring into Read-Aloud

What are signs of spring? Warm sun, eggs hatching, grass growing, green! Flowers blooming, rain falling, baby animals, windy breeze! Even though the weather has been wintery, the official first day of spring is March 20. Let’s say good-bye to the cold and hello to warm days ahead.

Here are some springtime books to read aloud as you anticipate the new season with your young child:

“Cheep! Cheep!” by Julie Stiegemeyer, illustrated by Carol Baicker-McKee. There’s a chick on his way to being born, “cheep!” There are only seven different rhyming words in this book, but a hatching story is told. The illustrations are simple collage of fabric, clay, and other materials that young children will adore.

“Baby Bird’s First Nest,” written and illustrated by Frank Asch. One warm night, Baby Bird fell out of her nest. Frog helps her gets cozy on the ground and then back home in the tree where Baby Bird belongs. This is a story about bravery and persistence.

“Spring is Here,” written and illustrated by Lois Lenski. Originally published in 1945 and now back in print, this cheerful, rhyming book is illustrated with “old-fashioned” pictures.


“This Little Chick,” written and illustrated by John Lawrence. A long-legged, yellow chick gleefully visits all the farm animals and their babies. In rhyming verse with a repeating refrain, Little Chick skips and jumps and finds out what noise each of them say.  The pictures look like woodcuts stamped in block of color.

“It’s Spring!” by Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet. A very cute, hopping rabbit bounces through this book gathering animal friends and announcing, “It’s spring!” One by one all the signs of spring appear, including a bear family, waking from their long winter’s nap.

“The Windy Day,” by Frank and Devin Asch. This father and son team created a book told from the wind’s point of view. What would you do if you were the wind? A little girl finds out and she tumbles, glides, and soars.

“Mouse’s First Spring,” by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Erdogan.  The illustrations are rounded and colorful, the story full of vivid descriptions of the many discoveries young mouse makes that signal that spring has arrived. This is one of a series of “Mouse’s First” books.

Leave a comment

by | March 25, 2014 · 2:41 pm