Posted in Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12

Picture Book Activity Blog w/PBS KIDS

New to the shelves this month, are several stand out titles that are worth checking out. Each book also inspires multiple activities that families can do at home to cultivate early STEM skills.  

In no particular order, here are my top picks for this month. Each title features corresponding activity suggestions to extend learning:

Rafa Counts on Papá by Joe Cepeda

This is the story of a boy and his father who share a love for measuring things. How long, how fast, how tall, how fluffy, fancy or bouncy, Rafa and his papá work together to make comparisons of everyday objects around their home.  After reading this story, try measuring and comparing things around your home.  Give your child a ruler and go on a scavenger hunt to find things that are exactly 12 inches long.  Or use a non-standard unit of measurement and find something that is the same length as your hand, or the same height as your favorite toy.  Other books about measuring that I enjoy are “Inch by Inch” by Leo Lionni and “Ants Rule” by Bob Barner. Make sure to listen to this catchy tune by Ozomatli on PBS KIDS Rock.

Again, Essie? by Jenny Lacika

Rafael loves building things, but his younger sister Essie is always knocking them down.  To protect his creations, Rafael decides to build a wall with boxes of many sizes, and other objects from around his home. He works diligently to find things that fit within a defined space that are not too tall, too wide, or too deep.  Invite children to use empty containers to build a structure.  How tall can you build it before it falls down?  Talk through your ideas, comparing and contrasting solutions while exploring basic concepts of math, science and engineering. You might also like the book “Boxitects” by Kim Smith; or this short video clip from Peg + Cat on PBS Learning Media.

I Won’t Give Up My Rubber Band

by Shinsuke Yoshitake

Every child wants something to call their own.  In this story, a young child finds a lone rubber band and claims it as hers.  She imagines all of the amazing things she can do with her rubber band including taking a bath with it, bundling her letters together, and jumping to anywhere she wants in one jump.   Find everyday tools like rubber bands, and paper clips and imagine all of the things that they can be used for; try a few ideas out; what worked, what didn’t work? Learn all about rubber bands and the things you can make with Full Time Kid. Another recent title that uses everyday objects to inspire creativity is “Off Limits” by Helen Yoon.

Chirp! by Mary Murphy

Bird songs are all around us and each bird has a unique call that they use from morning till night.  This book cleverly uses onomatopoeia to share the songs of birds throughout the neighborhood from the thrush, the blackbird, and the finch.  This is a simple book to inspire a bird sound scavenger hunt in your backyard, encouraging children to listen carefully, while increasing their background knowledge of the birds that make their homes around yours. Create a pair of binoculars out of two toilet paper tubes and some pieces of tape and ribbon to aid in your bird search. And later talk about the variety of ways birds build their homes and how their homes are the same and different from the homes we live in. “Bird Songs” by Betsy Franco is a similar title you might enjoy. And don’t hesitate to check out this video from Camp TV to learn how birds communicate with each other and see how to make a pair of your own wings.


Youth Services Librarian at Mead Public Library