A “Berry” Good Read-Aloud

I know… “Berry” good… Such a cheesy line. But seriously, if you want a fun read-aloud for your children or students, please pick up the book Jamberry by Bruce Degen. It is playful and imaginative and kids adore the illustrations!

Degen’s inspiration for the book are his own memories of berry-picking with his grandfather as a child, then returning home to bake or can the fresh fruit. In Jamberry, a boy imagines that he and a bear are in their own incredible, magical world of berries. Berries pour from a waterfall, overflow train cars and make up a rainbow. My daughters delighted in looking through the pictures each time we read the book to find something new!

Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade

For Parents:

  • Make toast or pull out some crackers topped with your favorite jam. Or make a berry smoothie like this one. Then eat the yummy snack as you read Jamberry together.
  • Choose one or more of these “25 Super Sweet Berry Crafts for Kids.”
  • Set up plans for the summer to go berry picking in your area.

For Teachers:

  • Share the health benefits of berries with your students – great information available from a Registered Dietician in these articles: Boost Up with Blueberries and Superfoods: Cranberries.
  • Write out 5 common berries on the board and then take a vote of your students’ favorite berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries). Make a chart to mathematically and visually demonstrate the information.
  • Coordinate with your art teacher (if necessary) and have your students make these Berry Sweet Handprint crafts. Display in your classroom!


Silly Summer Read-Aloud

All summer, my kids have been asking me to get a watermelon each time we shop at the grocery store. Although I am not a big fan of watermelon, I’m happy to purchase it and slice it up for my family to eat week after week.

Not surprisingly, when one of my daughters recently spotted The Watermelon Seed at the library, it caught her attention immediately. She sat down among the rows of bookshelves and began to peruse it. After finishing her pre-read of the book, she put it in our “check out” pile. Soon after we arrived home, everyone piled on the couch and laughed aloud at the silly text and illustrations. We have read it multiple times and even shared it with friends when they came to our home to play. What a great summer read-aloud!

Even if, like me, you’ve had your fill of eating watermelon for the season, The Watermelon Seed is sure to be a refreshing read with your little ones.

Best Age: prek-1st grade

For Parents:

  • Pick out a watermelon at the store together. Slice it up to eat while you read aloud together.
  • Invite friends over for a fruit bash! Ask each friend to bring along their favorite fruit. Make a fruit salad together. Read The Watermelon Seed before/after/while you eat the fruit salad together. Take a moment to point out the importance of “eating the rainbow” for good health.

For Teachers:

  • Take a class poll of favorite fruits. Create a chart that represents the number of students who like each fruit best. Discuss the importance of “eating the rainbow” for good health.
  • Have students finger paint a watermelon slice. Cut up white paper plates in half or quarters. Use red paint for the inner fruit and green tissue paper for the rind. Hole punchers and a sheet of black construction paper make great seeds! Hang up the completed watermelon slices around the classroom or make a fun bulletin board (hang up favorite fruit chart in the middle if desired).