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Picture Book Activity Blog w/PBS Kids

Can you guess how many books are on the Library shelves?  I’ll give you a hint, it’s more than 100 (the most common answer from storytime friends). While that number is in constant flux as we add new and remove old items, as of writing, we currently have 209,707.  

New to the Library this month are four titles that may not help your child count to all the way to 209,707, but will help give them a head start. Did you know that early math skills are as predictive of later reading achievement as are early reading skills ?(Duncan et al., 2007) So reading books to your children that build early math skills is also helping them improve their literacy skills!  It’s a win-win!

Add these titles to your pile of bedtime stories and afterwards explore the related PBS Learning Media activities to extend your child’s learning.  

12 Days of Kindness

by Irene Latham

illustrated by Junghwa Park

My favorite books to read with children can be sung. Singing is one of the five early literacy practices that when used helps kids differentiate the smaller sounds in words, helping them to understand what they are hearing.  12 Days of Kindness can be sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas, and for this reason would be a great addition to your holiday bookshelf.  The text explores the many ways to be kind- from a smile or encouraging word to shared snacks- and discovers that one act of kindness inspires another.  This joyous read celebrates how small acts of kindness can be practiced at any age.

You may also enjoy this read aloud of the story Zero Local: Next Stop Kindness by Ethan and Vita Murrow on PBS’s Let’s Learn.  Or take a listen to one of my favorite Sesame Street songs, Try a Little Kindness, sung by Tori Kelly and your favorite Sesame Street characters. 

Ten Little Squirrels

by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson illustrated by Nathalie Beauvois

This new sure-to-be-classic basic concepts book by beloved author Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson is a great addition to your fall line-up of read-alouds.  Ten squirrels brainstorm a way to evade their natural foe until one of them sneezes.  Written in classic rhythm and rhyming style, teaching children to count has never been more fun! Readers can enjoy the charming illustrations, count each of the colorful squirrels, and go nuts rereading to their hearts’ content.

After counting squirrels with your child, count chickens!  Learn to count by 10’s with this funky song by Peg + Cat, Counting by Tens. Or play alongside Curious George with this interactive online game, Museum of Tens, to practice simple addition skills.

Zero Zebras

by Bruce Goldstone

illustrated by Julien Chung

Zero Zebras takes a fun twist on traditional counting by making note of what is not there instead of what is.  One wallaby, two tuna, three thrushes, four frogs, but (can you guess?) absolutely zero zebras.  The book takes you on a wild counting safari with engaging illustrations that include hidden numbers integrated into each stunning scene.  

In a similar fashion, Sesame Street’s The Count finds a way to count to zero with Oscar the Grouch in this clip The Number Zero.  And Old Crow Medicine Show explores how the number zero can be nothing and so very much at the same time with PBS Kids Rock song, A Little Zero Goes a Long, Long Way.

Five Hiding Ostriches

by Barbara Barbieri McGrath

illustrated by Riley Samels

Count five ostriches as they run, stomp, and hide from a sneaky lion. . . . But a surprise ending reveals that the lion is only trying to play hide-and-seek! This playful, rhyming book is illustrated in subdued earth tones that capture the energy of the savannah.  The back of the book includes five fun facts about ostriches and an idea for a game that will inspire your little readers to get moving, too.

If you want to learn more about the animals that live in the savannah watch this Wild Kratts segment Family on the African Savannah


Youth Services Librarian at Mead Public Library