Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Getting a jump on spring by diving into our favourite spring reads!
Spring Reading List:
*New addition: A new and fabulous addition to our Spring Reading List, A Seed is Sleepy, arrived at our house a few days ago. This was perfect timing to get us motivated for seedlings. Somehow the February winter has been weighing on us all and the soil, seed starter kit, and seeds we bought weeks ago has been moved between the kitchen and basement at least three times. This book is a gentle and lovely way to get in the mood for spring and planting. The illustrations, diversity, and detail on how a seed starts out and slowly grows roots down and unfolds a plant up, as well as the many different characteristics of a seed are easy and beautiful (yet detailed and informative) reading.
*New addition: I actually credit this book for easing us out of the lethargy of winter and infusing the first energy of spring before the sun finally started warming us this past week. It is somehow so gentle in approach and graceful in description that before you know it, you have been through winter, cleared last year's growth, planted a new full garden, harvested, and been welcomed home for a warm bowl of soup. It resonated with me in the same way that full days with two toddlers require an easy and gentle approach to welcome reading after a long morning and a tired cup of tea.
*New addition: Slow Down: Bring Calm to a Busy World With 50 Nature Stories. This book is so beautiful that the instinct is to absorb it at once, yet as the title suggests, there is reward in exploring it slowly.
There is a level to read this book for everyone - absolutely stunning pictures captivating at 16 months old, and simplified, accurate picture descriptions provided a beautiful and basic, yet full storyline appropriate for age 3 (with minimal word substitutions or further explanations in some instances). There is a more full description at the top of each story at a fairly high reading level, which I skimmed for context, but will save for future reading with the kids.
What is really fun is that many of the stories link directly with subjects we are excited about for spring, as well as many new ones we now plan to explore.
*New Addition: If you are at all a tactile and or visual book person, Nature Anatomy is for you. I love to pick up this book and feel in my hands, as well as open it to any page for the absolutely beautiful illustrations. Julia Rothman makes scientific facts and anatomy seem simple, yet beautifully complex through easy to understand explanations and detailed pictures. This book is definitely on a higher reading level, however, is again accessible to any age through discussion of pictures and high-level concepts. This will be in our library for years to come and one I hope to see both kids curled up with on many occasions!
The Year at Maple Hill Farm is included on each of our seasonal reading lists.
We love it as it highlights each month and clearly illustrates life in nature and on the farm related to the seasons. Many pictures and points to draw on for discussion on animal, plant, seasonal, and overall life cycles.
Eric Carle is one of our favourite authors. The Tiny Seed is a bit more advanced than some of his other's including The Very Hungry Caterpillar (also on our list!), but it does a great job of stimulating interest in the life cycle of a seed. We had a great conversation around where the tomato seeds we are going to plant this week might have come from!
Visual top pick! I remember seeing a online photo of a page of illustrations from Jen Green's The Magic & Mystery of Trees and instantly adding it to our list of "collection" books. The illustrations by Claire McElfatrick are a beautiful combination of art, photography, and illustration that bring to life many aspects of tree lifecycles as well as the ecosystem in general. This book has advanced concepts (mama learned a lot!), but is accessible to toddlers and preschoolers through visuals and discussion. It will be one we revisit for many years to come! See our activity on trees here
Love this book! If you have ever visited Boston (or if you haven't), the illustrations in Make Way for Ducklings will have you transported through time, on a tour of Charles Street, around Beacon Hill, and of course through the Public Garden. The book brings the sights and sounds of Boston to life, as well as highlighting springtime life for a duck family. It is great for introducing the concept of bird migration and all the challenges baby ducklings face in the big, wide world every spring! See our activity with ducks and rivers here
The illustrations by Mark Graham in My Father's Hands do a beautiful job of capturing the feeling of spring. The writing style is a bit advanced for preschool age, but discussion stimulated by the pictures is very accessible for all ages. We love looking at the bugs and talking about how they might feel on our own hands as well as thinking about how bugs can be "friendly" visitors if we treat them gently!
Beautiful picture book that bring spring to life through birds, insects, trees, flowers, and weather. It is also our first introduction to bird watching and because of it, we were able to identify chickadees, robins, sparrows, and owls this year! Will be a fun one to revisit when we start counting in the future as well.
Grateful for the introduction to Barbara Cooney through Miss Rumphius. This book is an enjoyable experience for adults and preschoolers alike and even through advanced, is a top request from our toddler! Concepts of sowing seeds are introduced and can be discussed at a preschool level (with deeper meaning for adults), as well as the beauty of intentional gardening. It also brought up thinking about native and non native plant species (still not sure if lupines are native to the story location!), which is something we are focusing our gardening on this year.
A classic Shel Sivlerstein book, if you have read The Giving Tree, you would understand why I thought twice about introducing it to a preschooler! This book can have a very emotional impact, however it also is wonderful for introducing all the amazing variety of things trees provide in our daily life. After reading this story, I could see a new sense of wonder and appreciation in my son's eyes as he looked around the room at the wooden table, chairs, and even paper in the book. Mission accomplished! (he also said he felt "good!" after reading it, as mama tried to hold back tears!)
Another Caldecott Medal winner, we love Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni. It dovetails beautifully with our spring study of birds and has also brought up discussions on what it means to be "clever"! It is a great read for both toddlers and preschoolers in combination with both The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Nature Anatomy, for learning about caterpillars and the birds who love them!
Definitely a toddler favourite! In particular, it is fun for little fingers to explore the caterpillar's path through various food tunnels through the book. For both preschoolers and toddlers, it is an excellent introduction to the lifecycle of a caterpillar / butterfly and makes finding cocoon shells outdoors very exciting!
We hope you find this helpful and inspiring for some new reads! Please share with us some of your spring favourites. We will also be adding through the season as we find more books we love!
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