Leaves turn, blaze, drop.
Birds flock, feed, migrate.
Animals store, burro, hibernate.
Life cycles. Instincts. Mysteries.
Curiosity about these begin early in life. The lucky ones among us never outgrow this curiosity, never cease to be amazed at these patterns and cycles, relishing opportunities to explore and investigate them with children.
|Chronicle Books, 2011|
This gorgeous, poetic view of butterflies includes scientifically accurate illustrations, labels, and lyrically described facts as part of the highly acclaimed series of titles by this twosome. The original effort is AN EGG IS QUIET, which earned awards and acclaim. Science exploration links for An Egg Is Quiet are offered on many teaching sites. This was followed by A SEED IS SLEEPY, another acclaimed title. The latest, A ROCK IS LIVELY, is a 2012 release.
|Chronicle Books, 2007|
|Chronicle Books, 2012|
Seasonal transitions in nature, especially the highly visible changes here in the midwest, present perfect opportunities to explore and extend natural curiosity to life cycles, even birth and death. It's an ideal time to share titles like the ones above, titles that can sustain interest and relevance beyond the latest commercial sales push.
|Holiday House, 2010|
See Kirkus review here.
|Chronicle Books, 2001|
Every bookshelf should include GHOST WINGS, written by Wisconsin author Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Giselle Potter. As Barbara Joosse always does, she has created a powerful story embedded with rich cultural background. In this case a young girl's close relationship with her grandmother is portrayed in the first few pages. Then the girl deals with stages of grief across several seasons, tying it all together with the science and tradition of Day of the Dead, monarch migration, and loving memories. Back matter includes a cultural discussion (with glossary), science details about monarch butterfly migration, and a simple guide for adults to explore feelings and activities when reading this book.
Kirkus review here.
In the midst of Halloween sugar highs and strictly seasonal titles, "keepers" like these are the real treat to read, discuss, reread, and return to throughout the year. After all, death is inevitable, for ourselves and for everyone we care about. Children will be better equipped to deal with the pain and specificity of personal loss when it occurs if they are familiar with the concepts in advance. What better place to find that familiarity than in nature and in books?