Exploring the Seasons

As the days get shorter and the weather begins to get a bit nippy, take the time to discuss the changing seasons with your children. Kids love to learn about things they can see, so this is the perfect time to share a book and then expand the learning by taking a walk around your neighborhood. Here are a few of my favorite books on the seasons. Some of these titles are specific to autumn or November, but many explore the entire circle of the seasons.

ox-cart-man    old-bear

leaves    seasons

autumn     in-november

Autumn by Mary Pat Finnegan is part of a four book series about seasons. They are found in the non-fiction area at the Aurora Public Library but are very appropriate for children as young as preschool.

winters-coming     winter-is-coming

Of these two books about the coming of winter, Winter’s Coming by Pat Thornhill is better for younger kids and Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston is better for older kids. Johnston’s picture book features exquisite illustrations by Jim LaMarche.

The next two books give very simple explanations of how Earth’s rotation causes the seasons.

reasons-for-seasons     on-earth

Poetry is a fun way to explore the changing seasons!

guyku     hi-koo

long-night-moon    caps-hats-socks-and-mittens

Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant and  Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac both use the Native American practice of naming each full moon as the structure for a book about the seasons. The moon names used varies by tribe; you can find a list at American Indian Moons.

Perhaps as a family, you could track the times for sunrise and sunset during a month. This information is available on the ten-day forecasts on www.weather.com. Just keep in mind that these are official times and the way sunrise and sunset actually appear at your house can vary depending on the location of your house and weather conditions. I’ll have a book of seasonal poems at the desk in the children’s room at the Aurora Public Library, so stop by and I’ll be happy to share a poem with you!

An Alphabet of Books

What makes a great picture book? Is it the illustrations? Is it the rhythm of the words? Should it be funny? Should it teach us something? Yes, Yes, and Yes! Picture books can be soothing or rambunctious; they can be silly or sad. They can be for kids or for adults. The best part of a picture book is what happens when you share the book with someone else.

I am pleased to present my Alphabet of Books – one picture book for each letter of the alphabet. I limited myself to books that were currently on the shelf at the Aurora Public Library, so if you don’t see your favorite, it could have been checked out! Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments! In this list, you’ll find 2 books of poems, several award-winners and a book by a famous cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine. Click on the titles or the images to see more about each book.

all-the-world     All the World  by Liz Garton Scanlon

blueberries-for-sal     Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Just thinking of this book makes me say “Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk.”

creepy-carrots     Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

duck-rabbit     Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Which is it? A duck or a rabbit?

each-kindness     Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

the-firekeepers-son     The Firekeeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park

great-gracie-chase     The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant

happy-birthday-to-you     Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss

in-the-wild     In the Wild  by David Elliott

journey     Journey by Aaron Becker

knots-on-a-counting-rope    Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr.

look-out-jack     Look Out, Jack! The Giant is Back! by Tom Birdseye

many-moons     Many Moons by James Thurber

night-tree     Night Tree by Eve Bunting

oh-no     Oh, No! by Candace Fleming

purple-green-and-yellow   Purple, Green, and Yellow by Robert Munsch

quackers     Quackers by Liz Wong

red-sings-from-treetops     Red Sings From Treetops by Joyce Sidman

stella-louellas-runaway-book     Stella Louella’s Runaway Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst

the-tale-of-tricky-fox     The Tale of Tricky Fox by Jim Aylesworth

under-the-quilt-of-night     Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson

the-velveteen-rabbit     The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco

whoever-you-are   Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

dave-the-potter    Sorry!

There are no titles that begin with “X”, so you get an “X-tra” book, instead. Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill. This is a picture book biography that is shelved with our other juvenile biographies.

you-read-to-me     You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman

zin-zin-zin     Zin! Zin! Zin!: a Violin by Lloyd Moss

Maybe this would be an activity you could try with your kids!



Making Friends at Storytime

Our Fall Storytimes are off to a great start! We began on October 4th and 5th with a theme of Friends. Preschoolers are at that age when they are really developing relationships with children outside of their immediate family circle. This process sometimes happens very smoothly, but can also hit a few rough bumps as children experience the give-and-take of relationships. Library Programs are a great opportunity for your child to gain social skills as we read, play and sing together. (It can also be a great way for caregivers to make a new friend or two!) Sharing books with your child also opens the door for discussions about friendship, and can reinforce the things you say about how to make friends and how to be a good friend.

a-friend-like-you    being-friends

little-elliot-big-family    my-new-friend-is-so-fun


For more information about the benefits and pitfalls of this stage of your child’s development, you might want to read through this information published by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Social Development of Preschoolers

Storytimes for ages 3-6 are held on Tuesday at 11 AM at the Dillsboro Public Library and on Wednesdays at both 11 AM and 1 PM at the Aurora Public Library. You can sign up online at www.eapld.org/programs/  or call the library to register your child.

Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday

Fairy tales have been a favorite type of book for children (and adults) for hundreds of years. Hans Christian Andersen is remembered as one of the greatest of the fairy tale writers. Born in Denmark on April 2, 1805, Andersen’s tales explore timeless themes such as as virtue and perseverance. They have been translated into many languages and have been adapted in both straight-forward and humorous ways by many writers. Most of the picture books in the Library collection that are based on his stories will state on the book cover or the title page that they are adaptations, rather than Andersen’s original story.

The work of Hans Christian Andersen is often compared to the Fairy Tales of the Grimm Brothers. Although these men were living around the same time period, there is a notable difference in their works. Andersen wrote original fairy tales, but the Grimm Brothers traveled around Germany collecting stories which were already in existence. Andersen’s best-known stories include The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina.


duckling     thumbelina

Here are a few more of the Andersen Fairy Tales that are fairly true to the original version.

match girl     nightingale

snow princess

Now take a look at some of the silly versions! I bet you can guess which original tale these are based on.

very smart     uglified


You can learn more about Hans Christian Andersen by sharing this picture book biography by Karen Hesse. The Dillsboro Public Library has a book containing all the original fairy tales by Andersen.


The highest international book award given to authors and illustrators of children’s books is the Hans Christian Andersen Award. It is awarded every two years and countries are allowed to nominate one author or illustrator for the award. The 2016 Award will be announced on April 4, 2016. The United States nominee is Lois Lowry, author of 2 Newbery Award books: Number the Stars and The Giver. The US has not had a Hans Christian Andersen Award winner since 1998 when Katherine Paterson won the award.