Treasures Between the Covers of a Picture Book
Picture books are a vehicle for learning for all of my children, from 2 to 13. While most consider books like Margaret Wise Brown’s, Home for a Bunny, when they think of picture books, there are many that are suitable and very enjoyable for older children. In addition, picture books are my favorite way of introducing an elementary science theme.
Let me take you on a tour of some of our favorites!
The Liturgical Year
There can be no doubt that Cay Gibson’s, A Catholic Mosaic has transformed my liturgical year offerings. Her ideas and recommendations have been such an assistance to me in allowing more picture books to help us experience the liturgical year. I enjoy adding in more picture books to our own Catholic Mosaic as I find them. A few of the books recommended in Cay’s book are listed below (indicated by *CM).
- Petook by Caryll Houselander, illustrations by Tomie de Paola (*CM)
- Margaret of Scotland by Sister Juliana of Maryknoll, Neumann Press
- Brother Bartholomew and the Apple Grove by Jan Cheripko (*CM)
- Jesus and Mary by Father Gales, Neumann Press
- The Little Flower of Jesus by Sister M. Julita, S.S.N.D.
- A Gift of Gracias by Julia Alvarez (*CM)
The Natural Year
I set out picture books throughout the year. Many reflect what is going on in the natural seasons. The above represent a few of our favorites.
- Spring – Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
- Spring (not pictured because it was currently in my 5 year old’s hands) Pussy Willow by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrations by Leonard Weisgard
- Summer – A Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
- Autumn – Sara Squirrel and the Lost Acorns by Julie Sykes
- Winter – Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrations by Susan Jeffers
Science for my elementary crowd has as its foundation exciting and inspiring picture books! When we’re pursuing and investigating a science theme, I take the time to set out a variety of picture books that invite a child to get to know a new friend. It’s spring, and for us that means it’s time to learn about butterflies!!! All of our butterfly books (and a few favorite spring flowering books) are here on our nature and science shelf.
- Flowers of a Woodland Spring by Carol Lerner (Carol Lerner is one of my favorite authors. She is a naturalist who has written and illustrated many lovely books that we enjoy!)
- Where Butterflies Grow by Joanne Ryder
- Butterflies in the Garden by Carol Lerner
- Creepy Crawly Caterpillars by Margery Facklam
- From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman
- The Travels of Monarch X by Ross E. Hutchins
- Enjoying Butterflies More by Jeffrey Glassberg (there is enough here for a middle schooler to complete a nice study of butterflies.)
Along with our butterfly picture books we’re waiting for our butterfly larvae to come in! We’ve had a butterfly pavilion for several years, and we enjoy watching and learning from butterflies with each child! There’s nothing like watching all that you’ve read about literally unfold right before your eyes!!
Here are a few *blast-from-the-past* pictures sure to thrill mom and dad!! This is Sweet Pea (she is 13 now, but was 6 at the time this was taken) and Sparkly (now 9, pictured below he is 3) enjoying our butterflies the year after we moved into this house.
Do be sure to include a few butterflies in your spring days if you haven’t ever done that!!
Picture books for older children
My older children still enjoy picture books! You’ll find them ease onto the couch any time Blueberries for Sal comes out. When thinking of picture books, don’t assume they’re only for the little people. There are many great picture books for your older learners!
- Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley
- Theodoric’s Rainbow by Stephen Kramer
- Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre by Stewart Ross
The Picture Book Cart
I’ve shared before how valuable I find this rolling cart to be! It was an investment in our learning spaces, but we’ve just enjoyed it so much! No post extolling the virtues of picture books would be complete without a small mention of one of my favorite things! 🙂
A few favorite tools
I’ve been hunting for some time for a small stand to help me prop up picture books for my shelves. I hunted…and hunted! Was there nothing adequate that didn’t cost $30?? YES!!! I finally found them and I’m so excited to be able to share some with you. A warning: the shipping for this site (Demco library supplies) is extraordinary – do consider that!
Pictured above you see the Double Deck folding easel (H). Perfect especially for a light paperback up top!
My two favorite book displays are the Large All Purpose easel in white (not pictured here, but it is letter (C) on the page linked) and the Clear Medium Easel with lip (pictured above).
Hope you enjoyed our little tour of picture book treasures and that you’ll find a joyful reason to dust off a few old treasures from your shelves! Happy reading together!!
You have taken me on a wonderful discovery of picture books.
I have really enjoyed sharing this on the Loveliness fair.
As always you have so many great ideas on how to display and use your resources.
I am a new reader of your blog, but have already gotten some great ideas from you! Thank you!
And thank you for this lovely post. I've enjoyed and collected children's books since long before I had kids of my own, and believe me, our bookshelves runneth over! But I can't part with them; besides, my boys , at just 10 and 8, still grab a little-kiddie book now and then and read and reminisce with it as with an old friend.
I'll be stopping by here regularly as I added you to my blog roll!
God bless you,
Jill (aka HSMom)
Thank you for sharing. You have mentioned some of our favorite books and some that I have never read, but am looking forward to checking out.
Love in Christ and Our Lady,
I really enjoyed perusing your shelves:)
Lots of titles I haven't heard of before!
I agree, PBks are a lovely way to introduce science.
I was only introduced to the concept of PBks for older children a couple of years ago. Know I wonder why I had never thought of it.
Thank you for sharing your books – we already enjoy “Home for a Bunny”, “Pussy Willow” and “Sara Squirrel” after you suggested them before! Now I have a few more to add to our book list!
Dear Jen, hi, I'm here from Gae's March Lovliness Fair today. what a wonderful list of books you have given me. I plan to check these out. thanks too for the info on book easels. I also have been hunting for those. Nice to meet you.
Thanks for the link to Insect Lore. I have a huge science nut and I immediately ordered that butterfly tent. He will go bonkers over that!
I am new to your blog and really enjoy it (have been reading through some of your archived posts and getting fabulous ideas). I also love putting out seasonal books — and I would like to recommend several books by Monica Wellington. We love all her books but especially like Apple Farmer Annie in the fall, Zinnia's Flower Garden in the summer, and Riki's Birdhouse in the spring.
Thanks for the Bronte/Jane Eyre picture book suggestion! I have not seen that one!
You have a lot of great ideas on your blog. BTW– Thanks for posting the Asparagus recipe. YUMMY!
Jen, I've been searching for a link or picture of your flower press… I was sure I'd seen one on your site before. Could you email me where you purchased yours? Thanks for the help.
Oh, I'm so sorry I've made the little flower press so hard to find here!! We LOVE ours, use it all the time, and find it one of our favorite flower pressing resources and methods. Ours comes from one of my favorite sources – Lee Valley.