Children’s Books: Educational Selections for Summertime

Children’s Books: Educational Selections for Summertime

June 30, 2008, Epoch Times

Don’t let the lazy days of summer put young minds to sleep

Hay Literary Festival 2008 Day 1

The temperature is rising, the final school bells are ringing, and summer is getting into full swing. Kids and their families are gearing up for trips to the beach, picnics in the park, plane trips, road trips, and lazy days at home. If you were to ask me, I’d say that each of these activities calls for a good book to bring along.

Summer break is a great time for kids to explore topics they’re naturally curious about and delve into reading for amusement. The following titles look at different aspects of familiar subjects, inspire a spirit of curiosity and exploration, and entice young people to ask questions and seek out answers.

Look at You! A Baby Body Book, by Kathy Henderson, and illustrated by Paul Howard, is a fun choice for the very newest of “readers.” This board book employs adorable and realistic illustrations with colorful descriptions of the world around a baby or toddler. Older siblings can enjoy this book with their younger counterparts, too.

Roadwork, by Sally Sutton, and illustrated by Brian Lovelock, is a brand new picture book that explores the process of constructing a road. Step by step, noisy adjectives and descriptive images take the reader from the planning stages to the final result. There is even a fact page highlighting the various trucks and machines used. This is an enjoyable read that sheds light on the construction sites we all pass so frequently on the road.

My Big Book of Spanish Words, by Rebecca Emberley, is a nice introduction to the vocabulary of a foreign language. This bright board book pairs simple illustrations with corresponding English and Spanish labels. The book is fun to flip through and it likely wouldn’t take the average grade- school child the entire summer to memorize all of the words.

Who Likes the Rain? by Etta Kaner, and illustrated by Marie Lafrance, is both a celebration of rain and an exploration into seemingly every aspect of rain. It asks questions and offers simple but thorough answers, considering ideas such as “why it thunders,” and “where the water from the street goes.” This book would surely bring extra excitement to a summer thunderstorm or rained-out beach day.

Two books by author/photographer, Frank Serafini, Looking Closely Along the Shore, and Looking Closely Through the Forest, take the reader on beautiful explorations of natural habitats, utilizing close-up photography. The reader is asked to guess what a partial image of a close-up photo could be and then its full identity is revealed on the next page, with facts about the object. The images are stunning and the information is very interesting. Two other Looking Closely titles are slated to be released later in the season.

Transformed, How Everyday Things Are Made, by Bill Slavin, is a fun encyclopedia featuring steps in the manufacturing process of familiar items like baseballs, books, ice cream, and erasers. There is also a section featuring the development of raw materials. Both the illustrations and verbal descriptions for each item are informative and fun.

Finally, Who Was First? Discovering the Americas, by Russell Freedman, is a beautiful and in-depth look at the questions recent scientific discoveries have forced historians to ask about the discovery of America. This book features beautiful works of art from various periods, stories and discoveries from around the world, and a true spirit of questioning conventional thought. The recommended reading level for this book is age nine and up.

Summertime is an excellent time for kids to explore their interests, foster their creativity, and learn on their own. Stock the shelves with some of these books or titles of your choice to allow for alternatives to time spent online or playing video games.

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