My daughter is now 7 year old and a very fluent reader. Very often I hear the same question, What did you do with her when she was little? Well, we read a lot, and I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries on my blog. I decided to make these reading diaries more useful and create a new series on my blog where I will share our best books for each month for ages 3, 4, 5, and 6. Moreover, I will pair each book with an extension activity – sometimes with ours and sometimes with activities from my creative friends from Kid Blogger Network. In this post I am featuring books that we read when Smarty was 3.5 years old.
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1. US Holiday – Independence Day
The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia A. Pingry is one of the series of board books about different holidays. While some other board books in this series are more suitable for younger children, this one explains concisely events of America’s Independence and is great for preschoolers who want to understand more about the reasons for Independence Day holiday. Illustrations of Meredith Johnson are beautiful and add a lot of authenticity to short sentences. Any number of patriotic crafts recommended by Itsy Bitsy Fun can work with this book, but I especially liked this sparkly popsicle stick flag from Sassy Dealz.
2. Little Squeegy Bug
The Little Squeegy Bug is a collaboration between Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson illustrated by Patrick Corrigan. This book will work well with a preschool unit on insects, since many different insect characters are trying to help strange little bug discover his true identity. It’s a fantasy story with strong themes of friendship, self-discovery, and helping others. Unfortunately, the cover immediately gives away the ending - the mysterious bug is a firefly. I saw several different firefly jar variations on the web (we even made our own firefly with a glowstick), but I like this firefly jar craft from Crafty Moms Share best.
3. The Squiggle
The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer deserves its place next to Not a Box and Not a Stick from Antoinette Portis. The main character finds a string on the ground and picks it up. Her imagination turns a string into various objects including a dragon and the Great Wall of China. The book is created to resemble Chinese calligraphy and could work very well with a study of China or with any creative line art project. I especially liked this post from Teach Preschool about creating art with lines.
4. Mermaids on Parade
Mermaids on Parade is the longest and most complex book in this set and will work best for kids who are interested in longer stories. My daughter was such a child and she really enjoyed this book by Melanie Hope Greenberg. The story has some personal connection for me since Brooklyn was my first home when I came over to the United States from my native Belarus, and I went to Coney Island Beach, the setting of the story, many times. The main character gets to participate in an annual parade and even takes home a prize. You can make your own mermaid costumes for kids or simply make these delightful mermaid clothespins dolls from Red Ted Art.
5. Angelina of Italy
Looking back, I am pleased to see how many multicultural books we read together before daughter started to choose her own books and how much she learned about different countries from our Hands-On Geography series. Angelina of Italy by Maya Angelou illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell takes preschool age children to Italy and shows them The Tower of Pisa that is not actually made of pizza. You can see what we have done with this story as we read about Italy.
6. Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes
I stumbled upon Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone in the library, and it was love at the first sight for me both as a tangram book and as a very clever and funny take at a traditional three pigs story. Smarty, on the other hand, didn’t care that much for this book at the age of 4, but warmed up to it when she was 6. I can see that this book could work very well for comparing and contrasting several Three Pigs stories in language arts or as an art project similar to Tangram Crafts for Preschool and Kindergarten from The Preschool Toolbox.
More July Book RecommendationsJuly Books for 2-3 Year Olds
July Books for 5 Year Olds
July Books for Kids 6+