When my daughter was younger, I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries in my blog. In this post I am featuring books that Smarty was reading on her own in two different years – some when she was turning 6 and some when she was turning 7. While my other entries in the series are focusing on picture books, here I am recommending picture books, non-fiction books, and chapter books, so it can be used for children of different ages depending on their reading skills.
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1. Pardon That Turkey
By the time they are six, most children know about why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. But how and when did Thanksgiving become an official holiday? Pardon the Turkey by Susan Sloate introduces children to a remarkable woman of the 19th century, Sarah Hale who was the driving force behind making Thanksgiving a holiday that is now known all over the world. Every year we focus on gratitude for Thanksgiving and last year we made a gratitude game to celebrate a holiday while also practicing both writing and math.
2. Dogs and CatsBoth dog and cat lovers will enjoy Dogs and Cats – an inventive non-fiction book by Steve Jenkins. It’s a “flip book”where the opposite side is flipped over and devoted to cats. Children and adults will learn a lot of facts about cats and dogs and will enjoy clever torn paper collages. Pets are practically family members, so why not make a DIY Christmas present for your pet friend or for a pet your children know? Tip Junkie has excellent list of recommendations of DIY presents for pet lovers.
3. The Umbrella QueenWe always try to introduce our daughter to different cultures and countries through hands-on geography, so we make a point to read history and geography books every month. The Umbrella Queen by Shirin Bridges is a beautiful story set in Thailand. A young girl is eagerly looking forward to joining her mother and grandmother in traditional work of her village – painting umbrellas. However, she is not content to paint only prescribed designs on them. It’s an interesting struggle between passion and responsibility with a clever solution. Certainly worth a read. Painting your own real umbrella would be a brilliant extension for the story and a great Christmas gift – this geometric DIY umbrella from Happiness is Homemade is spectacular!
We also have another consistent reading theme in our house – books about math. We read Zero the Hero by Joan Holub several times over years, and even kids with no love for math will enjoy this entertaining comic-style book brilliantly illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. This time Smarty wanted to learn more about roman numerals, especially since she was reading Percy Jackson novels at the time. Learning Ideas – Grades K-8 has a concise hands-on lesson on roman numerals including this pretty DIY clock with roman numerals.
5. What Is It Made OfWe have a lot of science books at home, and I reviewed our favorites in the post on science experiments and science books for elementary school. However, What Is It Made of? stands out from the rest, because Smarty read it just for fun hundreds of times. One of her favorite features in the book were short quizzes, and we also did a fair share of very simple experiments described and explained in this book. Of course, nowadays, one might skip books of science experiments entirely and just live off Internet. Adventures in Mommydom has a lot of her own science ideas and also shares a post with places to find science ideas for kids of different ages:
When Smarty turned 6, we gave her a Kindle of her own, and it was the best present ever for our little reader. We loaded her Kindle with some classic children’s book available through Project Gutenberg, and Smarty really enjoyed books by E.Nesbit, especially Five Children and It. I didn’t read the book myself, but I gathered from Smarty’s retelling that children discover a sand fairy who can grant wishes, a motive that is very familiar to me from classic Russian fairy tales. A possible writing extension of the book would be writing about your wishes, but I also liked an idea from Housing the Forest of imagining a fairy and drawing it. By the way, the fairy in Nesbit’s books was not of a pretty kind :)
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