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!


A Children’s Book to Make You Smile

I know the word “sweet” can be overused as an adjective, especially in a household with two daughters, but the latest read my two-year old loves is just that… sweet.

And with each read aloud to my little girl snuggled at my side, I fall more in love with the storyline of the book A Carousel Tale by Elisa Kleven. We chose this book at the public library because my two daughters have such a good time riding on carousels.

Riding “King Arthur Carrousel” at Disneyland earlier this year.

If you have a child who loves the carousel – or if the child within you does! – you will enjoy this book. The story also promotes imagination and has delightful illustrations, which are probably the highlight of the book for me and why I think my youngest daughter enjoys reading it aloud often.

Happy Reading! 🙂

Best Ages: pre-k to 1st grade

All Kinds of Hats

My preschooler is in LOVE with the book Hat by Paul Hoppe. We brought it home from the library on Monday and have read it a million times already. (Okay, that may be a hyperbole.)

I think what she likes about the book is the way Henry, the main character, uses his imagination to think of all the ways he could use a stray hat found on a park bench. As for me, I am always cheering on books that inspire creativity and imagination!

So before we read this book for the hundredth time today, let me ask you a question : What amazing and fun uses can you think of for a hat?

Best Age: prek – kindergarten

For Parents:

  • With your child, pull out hats that your family has in the closet. What do you use them for? Do you like to wear hats or not really?
  • Look at some of the free printable of hats here. Ask your child which hat he/she likes best and why. Print off a couple of pages and color together and jam to this fun, upbeat song!

For Teachers:

  • As a pre-reading activity, show your students a large hat. What could they imagine using that hat for?
  • Read Hat by Paul Hoppe. Discuss all the uses Henry imagined for a hat – which ones were similar to the ideas your class had? Which were different?
  • Play this fun, upbeat song about hats. Allow students to dance, clap and spin around with the animated characters in the video!