This is my first booklist with 11 books — an odd number. I do not know whether the decision to include 11 books reflects the fact that I am so excited about spring that I cannot stop at 10 or reflects the fact that I am so particular that, while I have a stack of books beside me, I cannot find one more worthy of adding to the list to bring the list to a more satisfying 12 books.
Perhaps both are true. I am very excited about spring, and I do not think you need look further than the list below to find a great book to celebrate the season with a child.
“Come spring. Come grass. Come green.” –Mary Lyn Ray, Mud
My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell, Harlow Rockwell, and Lizzy Rockwell. As a young girl searches her backyard for her “spring robin,” she notices many signs of spring — a bee taking honey from a crocus, a yellow forsynthia bush, fuzzy fiddleheads sprouting, etc. I love Anne Rockwell’s straightforward telling of the story, Harlow Rockwell’s delicate illustrations, perfect for spring, and how signs of spring are subtley incorporated into this simple story. Ages 2+
Spring is Here by Taro Gomi. Describes the changing of the seasons. This perfectly executed concept book has a surprise ending that is a treat the first time you read it. Taro Gomi’s whimsical illustrations are lovely. Ages 3+
The Listening Walk by Paul Showers and Aliki. A girl and her father take a walk, and the girl describes the sounds she hears along the way: footsteps, a sprinkler, a jackhammer, crickets, and more. The Listening Walk encourages children to listen to the sounds around them. While the book describes a neighborhood walk, we read this book when we go camping and cabining. At the end, we sit quietly and listen to the sounds we hear. Ages 3+
Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell and Megan Halsey. A girl and her classmates actively observe as a pair of blue jays build a nest in the tree outside their classroom window. The kids keep track of how long the blue jays take on a calendar, make a list of what the blue jays eat, draw pictures of the blue jays’ eggs, and notice the blue jays’ behavior. Two Blue Jays is a wonderful introduction to blue jays and nesting behavior. Ages 3+
Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and James Endicott. Contains beautiful, evocative descriptions of rain, from the “first wet whisper of the rain” to the “lightning-flashing thunder-crashing sounding pounding roaring rain” to the “fresh wet silent after-time of rain.” While the illustrations seem a bit austere, the lyrical prose stands on its own. I would love to see children illustrate the text themselves. Ages 3+
Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell. Describes a family collecting sap, boiling the sap, and making maple syrup. I love the colorful, detailed illustrations, which include birds and animals looking on. Another nice book about maple syrup season is Sugar Snow, a My First Little House book by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Doris Ettlinger. Ages 4+
Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur and Leslie Evans. I was waffling about whether to include this book on the list until my six-year-old went nuts for it. My son interpreted each poem as a clue to the word that each acrostic poem is based on. It was neat to see my son get so excited about poetry! Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic is an excellent book for teachers to read to kids before having them write their own acrostic poems. Ages 5+
A New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring Equinox by Wendy Pfeffer and Linda Bleck. Explains what the spring equinox is and describes how various groups of people have celebrated and currently celebrate the spring equinox. In addition to conveying a lot of interesting information, A New Beginnning provides ideas for projects to celebrate the beginning of spring. Ages 5+
Five springtime activities:
1) Hold a bean plant race. We have held bean plant races the past two years. The kids each plant a few seeds in a pot, name their bean plants, and wait and watch as the plants grow. They get ridiculously excited when their plants first emerge from the soil and when they spot their first buds, flowers, and ultimately beans. This is a great activity for early spring when we long for green, but it is still too cold to plant anything outdoors.
2) Take a hike. In my dreams, my kids would enthusiastically take me up on offers to explore the woods — especially in the spring when birds are returning and green things are growing. In reality, they often balk. If your kids, like mine, need to be enticed outside, here are a few ideas: a color matching hike from Inner Child Fun, a paper bag scavenger hunt from Counting Coconuts, and a rainbow photo scavenger hunt from Tinkerlab.
3) Make tiny toy boats. Here are two super cute boats to make with your kids — cork boats from Jonah Lisa Land and walnut boats from The Magic Onions. After you make these, be sure to find a good pond or puddle to test them out in.
4) Make tissue paper flowers. wikiHow provides instructions for making four different types of tissue paper flowers.
5) Attract birds to your backyard. Build a birdhouse or put out yarn for birds to make nests with. You can find many more ideas for attracting wildlife to your backyard or schoolyard at this wonderful website: National Wildlife Federation backyard wildlife habitat.
You may also be interested in:
- Celebrate Earth Day with These Children’s Books
- 5 Books to Inspire an Indoor Gardening Project
- 9 Children’s Books About Farms