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 in 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 4.5 years old.
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1. Kindergarten DiarySome 5 year olds are hitting a major milestone in August or early September. For those of us living in the United States this is the age when they start “real school” and head off to Kindergarten. Our daughter has an October birthday, so she started K a little early. She was so very excited and eagerly read every book she could find about kindergarten life. Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis is lovely. It is illustrated very differently than famous Not a Box and Not a Stick, but the story about adventures of this magical year is very engaging and told in the first person.
Sometimes parents are even more nervous about this milestone than their kids. Is my child ready? What is normal? The Measured Mom invited her sister, a kindergarten teacher, to answer these questions in an excellent guest post – Ready for Kindergarten checklist.
2. Another Celebrated Dancing BearIn my post with July recommendations for 5 year olds I wrote about our experiments with Five in a Row approach (FIAR). Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladis Scheffrin-Falk took us to Russia and even mentioned in the passing my city of birth (I was born and raised in Minsk, capital of Belarus). We both didn’t care much for illustrations, but I certainly recommend this book for its message about following your dreams at any age. I also liked how the dancing star is portrayed as a very generous person willing to share his knowledge and teach the main character to dance. The book is set in pre-revolutionary Russia, and traditional Russian crafts work very well with it. Having Fun at Home shared three Russian crafts for kids to go with this book, and I liked the one with Russian architecture best.
3. Annie… Anya
Since we were reading about Russia, I really wanted a book that would describe a more “modern” Russia than traditional settings that I encountered in most books by English speaking authors. Strangely, books about modern Russia are as hard to find as the ones about Germany, but a friend of ours gifted us with Annie… Anya: A Month in Moscow by Irene Trivas. This book is out of print, but it is worth checking to see if your library system has a copy. In the book an American girl comes with her doctor parents to stay in Moscow for one month. For a change, it’s an English speaker who doesn’t speak the language of the country, but still manages to make friends and adjust to another culture. The book also describes through illustrations a family life of an average family in Moscow. At some point famous Matryoshka dolls are mentioned in the story, and I am sharing a “paint your own matryoshka” project that we did as a family when my daughter was early 7. It can be done with kids earlier than that, but the results will be, of course, not as “good looking”.
The story of Another Celebrated Dancing Bear can also evolve in learning more about circus. It was a good coincidence that we had already planned our first visit to Ringling Brothers show visiting San Jose when we were reading that FIAR book. In preparation for our first visit to the circus, we read Circus! by Peter Spier. Peter Spier is an amazing artist, and one can study his illustrations for a very long time. Smarty really enjoyed the book, because it had enough story to keep her interested. She also absolutely enjoyed her first trip to the circus, and we went every year since. Deb from Living Montessori Now has a fantastic Circus Unit Study Pinterest board with many ideas, Your children might enjoy making these trapeze artists from Boy Mama Teacher Mama.
5. The Watcher
The Watcher by Jeanette Winter is a great book to introduce children to one of the famous female scientist of the 20th century – Jane Goodall. She made incredible discoveries about chimpanzees that changed our perceptions about what separates humans from primates. To make those discoveries, Jane had to sacrifice comforts of Western life and learn how to live close to these fantastic beings. The book also raises important topics of preservation and conservancy – something that Jane Goodall patiently championed throughout her life. It was a little difficult to find a good project for this book that would be suitable for 5 year olds, and eventually I decided on this fun banana monkey treat from DIY Inspired. It can be whipped up quickly and would be a great way to introduce this book to kids.
6. The First Painter
Our freshly minted kindergartner was very interested in archaeology and ancient people that summer. She enjoyed the book by Dawn Sirett and Kathryn Lasky describing how first paintings might have originated all those thousands of years ago. We both enjoyed illustrations in this book by Rocco Baviera. Of course, it would be tempting to go out and paint on some big rocks, but nowadays this activity is called graffiti and frowned upon. Smarty was not interested in painting on small rocks or on brown paper since we have done all that before. I wish I checked this post from My Nearest and Dearest about making paint from natural pigments then – it could have been a perfect extension for this book for my science-minded child.
More August Books Recommendations
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