Forbidding outside temperatures aside, there are so many reasons to curl up with a great book. Readers meet a variety of fascinating characters and there’s an empathy that comes from reading about different lives and experiences that carries over to the real world. They learn new perspectives and have vicarious experiences. Personally, I have no ambition to ever sail around the world, but I love to read books about those who do. Books can also create an atmosphere that oozes from the pages and there’s just something wonderful about the lushness of great writing and the aha moment of discovering new words. Here are a few books that encompass all of these characteristics.
Princesses do not run. They also don’t hide their frilly, pink dresses in a broom closet, slide down secret chutes, or jump over castle walls. And princesses definitely do not wear black. But Princess Magnolia is no ordinary princess… she’s a monster-fighting superhero in disguise, The Princess in Black!
Birds of a feather may flock together in Telephone, by Mac Barnett, but that does not mean they understand each other. Taking place on an actual telephone wire, the story begins with Peter the pigeon's mother asking a friend to tell him to fly home for dinner. Anyone who has played a game of telephone before will know what happens next.
Looking for a book to share on a frosty day? Virginia Brimhall Snow’s Winter Walk is a lovely and informative stroll through nature’s quiet season. Grammy leads the children to all sorts of interesting discoveries. “Why is this tree green, Grammy, when others are brown?”
From the perspective of learning, this book is just right for young ones, and its design allows different ages to enjoy it. The figures of the people are only sketched, almost fading into the white backdrop as they make snow angels, fill a bird feeder, and have a snowball fight. But the images of what they notice and talk about are incredibly vivid: a cardinal, a snowshoe hare, a chickadee, a fox… and a gleaming icicle.
Ancient cities grew up around rivers, for the rivers were the source of life for all the people and animals who lived there. The waters of the Nile were no different. They flooded every year, making the soil rich for growing crops.
In time, a civilization arose by the Nile whose wonders can still be seen today. From the Valley of the Kings to the great pyramids and the Sphinx, the almighty kings of Egypt left monuments to celebrate their glory for eternity.
You needn't take a boat, an airplane, or even a camel to discover this ancient place. You can discover lots about Egypt on the Web and in the library. Unearth the Nile's secrets with our Ancient Egypt Book List to guide you.
In El Deafo, author Cece Bell loses her hearing at age four. Despite this sudden tragedy, Bell's graphic novel memoir is an inspiring and even entertaining look at her childhood. Most importantly, it clearly explains navigating life in ways that would not occur to hearing people.
A Hug Machine is on the loose, and everyone is fair game. Scott Campbell's picture book follows an unstoppable force in the form of an eager-to-squeeze kid who claims to be the best at hugging.
He starts with the members of his family but extends the generosity to police officers, gardeners, and even inanimate objects. "No one escapes the hug machine."
Did you know that technology helped archaeologists uncover the mysteries of Ferry Farm: George Washington’s Boyhood Home? Learn how in this interactive class co-sponsored by The George Washington Foundation. Sign-up.
How could a cephalopod and a buckaroo be best friends? Cowboy & Octopus follows the unlikely pair through several adventures involving seesaws, knock-knock jokes, and a whole mess o' baked beans.
Like most families, we have our favorite holiday traditions. We decorate our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and, every year, my husband watches Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. When I was young, my father always read C. Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” to my brother and I. When my son was born, I couldn’t wait to uphold the tradition and searched for the just the right version that offered beautiful, detailed illustrations with a classic-looking Santa. I hope your family has a favorite holiday read aloud. If “The Night Before Christmas” isn’t for you here are a couple of other suggestions; of course there are many more possibilities to enjoy as well.