We had a really good reading month, full of books about the outdoors and nature!
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The Hike was one of our absolute favorites this month and it is definitely going to be purchased for our own library. We loved the story of these three little girls heading off on an adventure together, but it was the illustrated pages that we really enjoyed. We loved finding all the hidden and not hidden plants and animals throughout the pages, and reading the labels, discussing whether or not that it is something that we have spotted on our own hikes. We also loved the sketchbook drawn by one of the characters.
I usually love Cynthia Rylant, and Home is Where the Birds Sing is a lovely book but we were both lukewarm on it. I think it was just a little too young and maybe gentle for my now rough and tumble seven year old. It is a great book however, just not quite right for Wyatt right now.
Zonia’s Rain Forest however was one that Wyatt really liked. Zonia is friendly with so many of the animals in the rain forest that she lives in, and Wyatt loved all the different rain forest creatures represented. It does have a deeper message about respecting our planet as well. (I have this one added to our cart as well, since I hope to do a rain forest unit next school year.)
A few years ago I read an article about how there is a lack of diversity represented in children’s picture books particularly when it comes to spending time outdoors. Since then I have kept an eye out for books that do depict this diversity; I know that it is something important to me as well, finding books that show disabled children enjoying the outdoors or frankly, just disabled children doing anything besides educating others about their disability. Anyway, when I saw this on the shelf at the library I made sure to add it to our stack. At the time I had no idea that it was written by the activist and founder of @brownpeoplecamping, Ambreen Tariq, who advocates for “diversity, equity, access, and justice in the outdoors”. (check out her website for more info!) Fatima’s Great Outdoors is a fantastic read, and I particularly loved how Fatima seemed to gain confidence from nature. I also loved the strong family connection. Wyatt loved the camping itself – he is pushing for a camping trip soon.
Rafa Counts On Papa is another wonderful read. Papa and Rafa share a love for knowing how much and measuring, for anything at all. This was another of Wyatt’s favorites – he also likes to know how much as well.
Oona and the Shark – I picked this one up for me. I wanted to read it so I checked it out with our books. And I loved it. I loved how Oona was an inventor and shared her inventions, and I love how she worked so hard to become friends with Stanley the shark. She and Stanley were not making a connection until Oona realized that Stanley liked order and quiet. And the illustrations were very well done. Wyatt wasn’t super interested in this one but I loved it.
However, The Girl Who Wore Snakes was hands down Wyatt’s favorite. Ali is a little girl who falls in love with snakes after a classroom demonstration. She buys up all the snakes in the pet shop and wears them around proudly, believing them to be beautiful. They remind her of the sun and the earth and everything in between. However, not everyone agrees with her – until she finds that one kindred spirit who does. I think we both loved this book because we are apparently also kindred spirits with Ali. This one is hard to find to purchase but we did get it at the library easily.