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The cold winter months are a wonderful time to share books with the people you love! Here are some great read-it-together books from the First Book Marketplace.
If you work with kids in need, you can access these books and many more by signing up with First Book.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
Sometimes the most magical stories can be told without a single word. That is certainly true of The Snowman, which has been delighting children since 1978. In this picture book, Briggs tells the story of a boy whose snowman comes to life in the night and takes him on an incredible adventure. Even though there are no words to read, the expressive and detailed illustrations make this classic a stellar pick for poring over with a loved one.
Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
When Pauline gets an idea in her head, she’s going to do something about it – even if that idea is to sell lemonade and limeade in the dead of winter! Along with her enthusiastic little brother John-John, Pauline counts up her quarters, treks to the grocery store, and sets up a stand on her front lawn. But will anyone really be outside on such a cold day? Jenkins and Karas have created two unforgettable characters that will have readers of all ages giggling (and clamoring to count coins).
Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Winter takes shape differently in different places. In this engaging book of bilingual poetry, Alarcón explores winter in Northern California – from the streets of San Francisco to the majestic redwood forests of the Sierras. Collections of simply-written poetry offer a great opportunity for children and adults to take turns as they read and can often inspire children to try their hands at writing their own poems.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Alvin, a Chinese-American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’s there, he never, ever, says a word. Luckily, he has a loving and supportive family who help him be brave, even when it’s tough. This entertaining and endearing chapter book also features charming illustrations throughout, making it a perfect choice for reading aloud.
365 Days of Wonder by R. J. Palacio
In the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Wonder, readers were introduced to memorable English teacher Mr. Browne and his love of precepts, or principles to live by. Palacio has compiled 365 precepts into this inspiring book, celebrating kindness, hopefulness, the goodness of human beings, the strength of people’s hearts, and the power of people’s wills. Sharing words of wisdom with children is a wonderful way to start discussions, share values, and encourage each other.
Books, new school supplies, empty notebooks wait to be filled with knowledge – all icons of a new year full of new possibilities. But as many teachers prepare, classrooms without these resources are a reality. On average, teachers spend $480 of their own money on books and resources for their classroom each year.
This lack of resources doesn’t just affect teachers’ wallets. It affects their ability to provide a multifaceted, engaging learning environment for the kids they serve. Without books to read and materials to help them learn, students at schools in low-income neighborhoods are often at a disadvantage.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories of outstanding teachers and program leaders who have relied on First Book to provide books and learning materials to kids in need. We’ll also be sharing some fun ways you can get involved in getting books to kids, and to the teachers and programs that serve them, this school year.
Today’s guest blogger Donna Marquardt, a Registered Nurse with the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services, talks about healthy habits for the new school year.
Back to School is just around the corner and that can mean a lot of different things to different people — a new classroom, new friends, new books. To me, a nurse at a local health department, it means educating kids on how to be healthy.
Healthy kids are less likely to miss days of school due to illness and better-equipped to learn throughout the school year. By engaging in simple healthy practices, like hand washing and eating healthy meals, and vaccinations, kids stay well, in school and learning.
Vaccinations are a big focus for our health department this year. They’re never fun, no matter your age, but are incredibly important. Thanks to a truckload of books we received from First Book this spring, we are excited to offer an incentive to kids receiving immunizations that will also help them be successful readers: a free book to take home!
Approximately 400 children will be receiving a brand new book at one of our major immunization events. Since kids who do well in school are more likely to live healthy lives, we are thrilled to promote literacy and make getting shots a little more pleasant.
It’s important to teach children healthy habits starting at an early age. And books can help kids learn those lessons in a fun way. Check out these great books that teach kids about healthy living, found on the First Book Marketplace:
“The Berenstain Bears Go To The Doctor” by Stan and Jan Berenstain
It’s time for a routine check-up with Dr. Gert Grizzly. Sister Bear is brave about her booster shot, and Brother Bear is fine, but—achoo!—is that Papa Bear sneezing? A light-hearted approach to the subject with straightforward information.
“Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library: Oh, the Things You Can Do that Are Good for You!: All About Staying Healthy” by Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz
With the help of the staff and equipment at a Seussian spa, the Cat in the Hat explains the basics of healthy living, from eating right and getting enough exercise and sleep, to having a positive body image, to the distance and speed of a typical sneeze!
“Germs Make Me Sick!” by Melvin Berger and Marylin Hafner
Germs are all around us every day – in the air, in food, on everything we touch. You can’t see them without a microscope, but they are there. Some germs are harmless, but viruses and bacteria can make you sick. Your body is constantly working to ward off germs, sometimes the germs win, and you get a cold or infection.
We hope you’ll help spread the word about the importance of starting the school year both well and well educated about simple healthy habits. Best wishes for a safe and healthy school year!
Work at a health center, school, or an after school program serving kids in need? Sign up with First Book* by August 11th to be eligible to receive five copies of each of these healthy living titles.*All educators at Title I or Title I eligible schools, and program leaders serving 70% or more of children in need are eligible to sign up. One recipient will be selected to receive the set of 15 books (five copies of each title.) The recipient of will be notified the week of August 11th.
Donna Marquardt has been a Registered Nurse with the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services in Gastonia, North Carolina for 12 years. She is currently the Charge Nurse over immunizations and is passionate about prevention and ensuring that children and adults receive protection against disease through vaccinations.
Keep resources flowing this summer! Whether you serve kids in need, want to encourage summer reading in your own children or are concerned about the issue of summer slide, there are many great ways to keep kids reading and learning all summer long.
- Work with kids in need? Sign up with First Book to get access to low-cost books and resources for your summer program or to prepare for the school year to come.
- Want tips to get your kids reading all summer? Sign up to receive books lists, learning tips and inspiring stories from First Book.
- Want to help get books and resources to kids in need? Give to First Book today. Each gift of $2.50 brings a new book into the hands of a child in need
Click on the graphic to see a larger version.
Mark your calendars for June 20th! It’s National Summer Learning Day – an annual celebration dedicated to promoting the importance of summer learning for all children and helping close the achievement gap.
This year, we’ve teamed up with our friends at the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to share three BIG ways to celebrate with the kids you serve or your kids at home! You can get involved by organizing your own activities or by joining an event nearby.
Already have something planned? Find local summer learning events on the Summer Learning Day Event Map or add your event to the map to join the fun.
Check out three BIG ways to celebrate National Summer Learning Day.
- Host a family literacy celebration. Invite the caring adults in your kids’ lives to attend an event focused on the importance of families reading together.
Have kids prepare a performance or a piece of art based on one of their favorite books, or organize fun activities like a healthy cooking demonstrations or a visit from a local storyteller. Consider inviting a local library representative to share information on services the library provides and how parents and kids can get library cards. And be sure to check out First Book’s Best of Summer Book Lists for great summer reading suggestions for kids of all ages.
- Explore new activities, places and cultures. Summer is great time for kids to explore new subjects and develop new skills.
Read a story about gardening and then work with your kids to plant a garden. Research which plants grow best with each other, map out a plan, visit your local nursery and dig in the dirt!
Explore new cultures through the books featured in our Stories for All Project. Make the stories come alive by seeing a play, cooking a dish or visiting a museum exhibit connected to that culture.
- Bring more books to your community. What better way to share the importance of summer learning than by bringing books to your community?
Set up a Virtual Book Drive to raise funds for your program or programs in your community serving children in need. Simply set up your page, set a fundraising goal and share the page with your community. A $10 gift brings about four books from the First Book Marketplace to local kids.
For even more ways to celebrate, visit NSLA’s National Summer Learning Day page!
Here are just some of our favorite titles for your Summer Reading List, available on the First Book Marketplace. Contributions are pulled from the fabulous lesson plans compiled by teachers on Share My Lesson.
One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo – Judy Blume
Lately second grader Freddy Dissel has that left-out kind of feeling. Life can be lonely when you’re the middle kid in the family who feels like “the peanut butter part of a sandwich,” squeezed between an older brother and little sister. But now for the first time it’s Freddy’s chance to show everyone how special he is and, most of all, prove it to himself!
Thank you Amelia Bedelia – Peggy Parish and Barbara Siebel Thomas
Great-Aunt Myra is coming for a visit! Amelia Bedelia, in her usual style, takes all of her instructions literally, which yields some hysterical antics as she goes about her chores. Peggy Parish’s lovable character comes back yet again with more silly and delightful mishaps, trying to follow her employer’s orders before Great-Aunt Myra arrives.
Arthur Tricks the Tooth Fairy – Marc Brown
D.W. is jealous when her big brother Arthur loses a tooth and gets a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Arthur explains that the Tooth Fairy comes only when you lose a tooth and put it under your pillow at night, so D.W. dreams up some hysterical (but unsuccessful) plans to trick her into coming. Finally, Arthur decides to reward D.W.’s efforts by playing Tooth Fairy himself! By matching picture stickers to words in the story, kids reinforce word recognition. With the extra stickers, they can create stories of their own.
Curious George Goes to a Costume Party – Margret & H.A. Rey
George and the man with the yellow hat arrive at a Halloween party—but they aren’t wearing costumes. No matter—there are plenty in an old trunk upstairs, and soon George is trying on all kinds of outfits. But when he wants to look in the mirror, George finds he has to jump on the bed. Downstairs, the partygoers begin to hear noises. Then the lights go out and they hear a crash! Uh-oh. Did someone say the word ghost?
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse – Leo Lionni
Everyone loves Willy the wind-up mouse, while Alexander the real mouse is chased away with brooms and mousetraps. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be loved and cuddled, thinks Alexander, and he wishes he could be a wind-up mouse too. In this gentle fable about a real mouse and a mechanical mouse, Leo Lionni explores the magic of friendship.
Blueberries for Sal – Robert McCloskey
Little Sal and Little Bear both lose their mothers while eating blueberries and almost end up with the other’s mother.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue - Kate DiCamillo
To Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Mercy is not just a pig – she’s a porcine wonder. And to the portly and good-natured Mercy, the Watsons are an excellent source of buttered toast, not to mention that buttery-toasty feeling she gets when she snuggles into bed with them. This is not, however, so good for the Watsons’ bed. BOOM! CRACK! Mercy escapes in a flash – “to alert the fire department,” her owners assure themselves. But could Mercy possibly have another emergency in mind – like a sudden craving for their neighbors’ sugar cookies?
Mr. Putter & Tabby Clear the Decks - Cynthia Rylant
In the nineteenth book in this beloved series, Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, are itchy. Not because of fleas, but because it is hot, they’re bored, and they’re out of orangesicles. So when their neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, suggests a sightseeing cruise, they’re excited to set sail!