Monday, November 18, 2013

Great Picture Books for Quiet

Aren't all books great for quiet?  Well, not always, some should be read with great gusto. The following picture books are great for showing children how to have quiet moments, how to enjoy the quiet and of course, just by reading, they become quiet.  There are certainly some silly books that are just not appropriate for calming kids down for bedtime.  I believe all of the following are great last books of the day.

Goodnight Moon 
by Margaret Wise Brown
An obvious classic, this is our favorite last book of the night.  It is naturally peaceful and quieting.  

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr
A girl and her father go owling late at night.  The girl must learn to restrain her natural tendencies, so as not to scare off the animals.  Going for regular nature hikes is a great way to practice quiet.  

The Quiet Book 
by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska
This is just such a lovely book that we instantly fell in love with.  Kinds of quiet that we may not even notice and can certainly appreciate.  The author has also written The Christmas Quiet Book for finding quiet at the most hectic of times and the antithesis of these is The Loud Book.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee 
by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
Amos' friends from the zoo come to spend some quiet time with him when he is sick and unable to visit them.  

Extra Yarn 
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
2013 Caldecott Honor Book
I am a big believer in old-fashioned toys.  The kids are usually more entertained by a box than expensive toys.  Such a simple, beautiful book reminds us that it really doesn't take much for a quiet happiness.  

Red Knit Cap Girl 
by Naoko Stoop
This book is almost Zen-like in quality.  The girl wants to talk to the moon, but how?   The texture of the artwork is wonderful.

Quiet Bunny 
by Lisa McCue
The quiet bunny is quiet, but wants to find a voice among the forest creatures.  He wants to be like the others, but really just needs to find his own way.  There are many subsequent Quiet Bunny books that are just as beautiful.

The Story of Ferdinand 
by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson
Ferdinand is a calm, quiet bull, content to just smell the flowers.  But he does not fit in with the rest.  Another lovely book about just being yourself, while also showing that calm and quiet can be wonderful, too.

Can I Just Take a Nap? 
by Ron Rauss, illustrated by Rob Shepperson
A very fun book, that my kids just adored.  It reminded me of a favorite of mine, Stay Awake Sally by Mitra Modaressi.  Can I Just Take a Nap? is a boys quest to find a quiet place to rest. This book won Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories contest in 2010, so you may have found this book in a box of Cheerios!

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Great Picture Books for Patience

Patience is such an important topic for young children.  It is certainly not something that comes easily for most children, let alone adults.  Surprisingly it is quite difficult to find really good books to convey patience.  I had only been familiar with a couple of these books.

Llama Llama Red Pajama
by Anna Dewdney
One of our favorites right now, as our three-year-old wants what she wants and wants it NOW.  And it is almost always Mama that she wants.  So patience is a constant discussion point at our house.  This book is sweet and fun.  "Mama Llama's always near, even if she's not right here."  That is my new favorite line!

Remy the Rhino Learns Patience

by Andy McGuire
Remy is terribly impatient, until his horn gets stuck in a tree and he must learn patience the hard way.  Cute illustrations and a nice little story.

The Carrot Seed

by Maurice Sendak
Watching seeds grow takes a lot of work and even more patience.  The young boy in The Carrot Seed does a great deal of both and surprises everyone around him.  I love many of Sendak's books, but this one is so perfectly simple and we adore it.

Owl Moon

by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr
A father and daughter go owling in this Caldecott Medal Winner.  It takes quiet and patience to hear/see the owls.  Beautifully illustrated.

Play With Me 
By Marie Hall Ets
Similar to Owl Moon, this book teaches about nature and how to be gentle and patient with it.  A girl runs after animals and scares them off, but when she sits quietly they come to her.

Patient Rosie 
by Mary Morgan-Vanroyen
This book is perhaps not as subtle as some, so it is perfect for small children to understand that being patient can have it's rewards.

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
Michael B. Kaplan, illustrated by St├ęphane Jorisch
I adore chocolate, so this book couldn't be more appropriate.  But I also adore healthy eating.  Betty Bunny must be patient for dessert.  Sweet fun for the kids!

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Great Picture Books for (helping) Others

This topic could really fall under the theme of Kindness or Cooperation, but it is just so important to emphasize this at a young age that it can only help more to follow up with books about helping others.  Children don't always understand or yet grasp what is right and what is wrong, but they can understand how nice it feels to help others.  Even if it is just helping those in your everyday life or reaching out to people in your community.

The Lion and the Mouse 
by Jerry Pinkney
A wordless picture book with gorgeous artwork of the African Savannah in this wonderful retelling of a classic fable.  This is one of our favorite books.  The kids can "read" it to us and the story and illustrations are just magical.

The Little Red Hen
Really any true version of this story is fantastic.  Right now my kids' favorite incarnation is a free iPad app book from Mindshapes. I also wrote on the Cooperation theme about The Little Red Pen, which is a fun newer version of this timeless tale.  The Little Red Pen replaces the farm animals with office supplies, but my oldest adores this book so much that he reenacted the book with our very own Pen, Stapler, Ruler, etc.

The Three Questions 
by Jon J. Muth
A retelling of an old Tolstoy fable that has a special place in my heart.  It was part of a children's theatre piece that I directed in Italy.  It is a fantastic philosophical story.  The very young can't really grasp the concept, but the kids adore the animals and some of the overall message of helping someone.  

Horton Hears a Who
by Dr. Seuss
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!  We have been reading a lot of Dr. Seuss in the past week and this particular book incites some great conversations with your kids.  Horton believes that there are living beings on a speck, but few others believe.  He goes to great lengths to help the Who's.  

The Little Engine That Could
by Watty Piper
A wonderful classic and I am certainly partial to the original edition from Watty Piper as that is what I grew up with.  The new print with illustrations by Loreen Long is a whimsical update.  I think I can.... I think I can...

And oddly enough three "Tree" books!  When I narrowed down my list, these three made the top and all had very similar titles.  

The Mitten Tree 

by Candace Christiansen
A woman knits mittens for a young boy who has none, but this is only the beginning of a beautiful story that inspires us to help others.

The Giving Tree 

by Shel Silverstein
A boy/man on his journey of life and how a tree selflessly helps him in times of need.

The Night Tree 

by Eve Bunting
A bit dated, perhaps, but a cute story to share at the holidays each year.  Most children have a difficult time seeing past the receiving of the holiday spirit.  This book can motivate us to have our own family holiday traditions of giving.  

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!