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October | 2013 | Atomic Bee Ranch

Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Eight Great Books for Autumn

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I’ve started noticing that some mommy blogs like to give recommendations for picture books (or chapters books) that go along with a theme or an author and I started to think, “Hey I could do that, I am a librarian after all!”  I have done a bit of suggesting here and there, but I thought maybe I could start making it a bit more of a regular series with several title suggestions instead of just one or two.

Without further ado, here are my fall suggestions:

Autumn by Gerda Muller: This one is a wordless board book with really beautiful illustrations showing some of the delights of the season. Our Autumns don’t look exactly like this (rain is scarce this time of year), but I think it captures the beauty of the season and the excitement the change in weather brings. The wordlessness makes it a great vehicle for building vocabulary and poring over with your young child.

Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins: This one is full of awesome photographs of leaves from a variety of trees. It’s definitely a non-fiction, but it is super accessible even for younger kids. If you are lucky enough to live where many or all of the included trees grow, it’s a lot of fun to make the connection between the book and the real world. We also bought a set of leaf rubbing plates that match most of the leaves in this book and had a good time making rubbings and comparing to the book. It’s out of print, so if you normally purchase books you may have to check with your local library instead.

Winter Lullaby by Barbara Seuling: I know this has winter in the title, but it’s really about the natural world getting ready for winter. The text is simple and written in verse that uses questions and answers which my daughter really responded to. But really this book is about the illustrations. They are stunning.

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbel: This is one of my all time favorites. It starts with a boy making a jack-o-lantern, but it’s really a story about the life cycle of a pumpkin. I could also see some religious overtones in it too. While l love to celebrate one particular season when we are in it, I also really feel that to appreciate them you need the cycle of the seasons. Pumpkin Jack does a nice job of doing just that.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams: This isn’t strictly a Halloween book, but it works well for the holiday especially since there’s a scary pumpkin head. The story is totally ridiculous and repetitive, but that’s why kids love it. My daughter, at 26 months, is saying the refrain along with me and giggling hysterically. Doesn’t get better than that.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting: Another ridiculous story. I love that everyone is welcome at the Thanksgiving table and that it’s really a book about a play on the phrase “a turkey for Thanksgiving”. We read this one every year.

The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli: I reviewed this one last year and you can read that post here. The short version is, this is a story about embracing your family warts and all. We don’t all have perfect families, but simply being with them makes it a perfect Thanksgiving.

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes: Another supermarket book table find and I love this one too. It runs through a number of things to be thankful for but many of them are not run-of-the-mill thanksgivings. There is school, music and art. There is hopscotch and slides and dress up. I like the variety and inventiveness of the things, but it still ends with bing thankful for our families. Plus the last page it open for you to record things you’re thankful for. This would be a great way to create a book that can be passed down and show the growth of your family through the years.

Those are my picks. There are tons more that we read, but if you’re trying to build up your collection at home or just need some suggestions for books to request at the library, these are where I would start. Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments! I love to hear when other people love our favorites or introduce us to new ones.

Autumn Nature Table

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Lately I have been trying to get through some of the parenting books that have been sitting in my To Be Read pile and I recently added several that will help me revisit the Waldorf approach. While I will write a much more in-depth post about that soon, I wanted to share something that we already do that is actually very much in the Waldorf vein.

Cam and I have been collecting little feathers, pinecones, and other bits of nature which I have her set out on a top shelf with a magnifying glass. Up until recently I have been calling it her nature museum, but with all the beautiful acorns and leaves we’ve found this Fall, I decided to call it a nature table. I also added a couple of our favorite Halloween decorations (the vintage owl lantern, for one) and a little Autumn gnome I made from some felt scrap to go with the gnome house. I also needle felted a couple pumpkins since we can’t quite fit a real one.

Cam has really enjoyed adding to the table, playing with all the little bits and pieces, and collecting treasures when we’ve been out. Something I’m discovering about Waldorf that I really love is how in tune with nature and the seasons it is and I think this nature table really brings that inside to remind us. I would like to continue this tradition and have it adapt with the seasons.

Reggio Resources

Resource Series BannerI recently culled through my blogroll and removed some of the blogs I was no longer interested in and added some new ones that I had come across. One of these is An Everyday Story.

In addition to fabulous ideas and pictures, Kate at An Everyday Story has put together several incredibly helpful blog posts about various aspects of the Reggio Emilia approach. I thought I would go ahead and share the links here as part of the resources series.

  • I have shared a list of books on Pinterest that pertain to the Reggio Emilia approach, but Kate has also put on together, which you can see here. I haven’t heard of all of them, but several are familiar. I would add Authentic Childhood, which is the Reggio book I began my research with.
  • A Reggio inspired education doesn’t have a set curriculum or any set activities. Instead it focuses on projects that are inspired by the interests of the children. Here Kate explains the difference between this project based learning and themed learning.
  • Here is a post about the materials found in a Reggio classroom.
  • And finally, a post about how to set up a Reggio inspired activity. This one is excellent and a good how-to for when all the theory of Reggio overwhelms you.