Fun Book and Activity Pairings for Kids

What’s more fun than reading a good book? Pairing the book with a cool project, of course! If you want your kiddo to get the most out of her reading experience, try adding an activity that enhances the story and allows for further discussion. If you’re not sure where to begin, Red Apple Reading has a few ideas to help get you started. Check out these pairings!


The Listening Walk  by Paul Showers

If you have a particularly chatty early elementary school child, this book may provide the encouragement he needs to simply listen. In this classic story a father and daughter go on a “listening walk” and pay close attention to all the sounds around them.

Activity:  Take a Listening Walk

This story lends itself to a super simple activity that requires only walking shoes. Take your kiddo on a listening walk! Ideally, this walk would take place outside, but if the weather doesn’t permit, a walk could be taken in a supermarket, mall, or library. Make sure to take note of all the different sounds you hear along the way.


Diary of a Worm  by Doreen Cronin

What does a young worm do all day? Kids will find out in this funny book written in diary form by the main character. This amusing book will be a big hit for preschoolers and early elementary aged children, and parents will enjoy it just as much. Get ready to giggle!

Activity:  Vermicomposting

O.K., this may not sound like much fun, but trust us, your kids will love it! To put it simply, you and your child will make a worm bin. Vermicomposting (worm composting) is a great way to take care of your food waste. Afterwards, the compost can be used for your garden! Read more about worm composting here from Cultural Care Au Pair.


A Rainbow of My Own  by Don Freeman

Preschoolers will enjoy this simple story about a boy who wonders what it would be like to have a rainbow of his own.

Activity:  Rainbow Nesting Blocks

Surprise your kiddo with a rainbow of their own! Young children will love pairing these rainbow nesting blocks from Grimm’s with this cute story. After reading, present these fun building blocks to her and let her imagination take over!


Only One You  by Linda Kranz

Filled with colorfully painted pebble fish, this inspirational book encourages children as they swim through the sea of life.

Activity:  Painted Pebble Fish

Sun Hats & Wellie Boots has the perfect activity pairing for this story: paint your own pebble fish. Kids will let their artistic side shine when they create their own unique and colorful fish using only small rocks and acrylic paints.


The BFG  by Roald Dahl

Here’s a book for the older elementary and middle school crowd. When Sophie is carried off in the middle of the night by the Big Friendly Giant, adventure ensues. Kids will probably already be familiar with this book that was recently made into a major motion picture.

Activity:  Making Frobscottle

Frobscottle is the delicious drink served up by the B.F.G. in the story: “It was sweet and refreshing. It tasted of vanilla and cream, with just the faintest trace of raspberries on the edge of the flavour.” Take a shot at making this yummy treat with your kids after reading the book. Don’t have a recipe for Frobscottle on hand? No problem! Check this one out from Food in Literature.

Perhaps after tackling one of these book and activity pairings, you’ll be inspired to create a project of your own to go along with a favorite book! Be sure to leave us a comment below sharing what books and activities you enjoy putting together.

Children’s Biographies of African Americans

February has been a busy month. We celebrated Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and even Library Lovers Month! We would be amiss if we failed to give Black History Month its due as well. As Black History Month is coming to a close, we would like to share ten biographies regarding some well-known, as well as a few lesser-known, African Americans. We think both you and your children will find them inspiring.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist (Cynthia Levinson)
Although Audrey Faye Hendricks was just a little girl, she knew she could do her part to further civil rights for African Americans in the South. Hendricks was one of the many kids to participate in the Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama. She was only 9 years old when she was arrested for taking part in the protest. (Elementary School)


Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe (Deborah Blumenthal)
Ann grew up sewing with her mother and grandmother and eventually took over the family business at the age of sixteen. Pursuing her passion for fashion wasn’t easy. She had to study alone when she attended a segregated design school in New York. Ann would go on to design beautiful gowns for scores of women, including Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress! (Elementary School)

Strong Inside (Young Readers Edition): The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line (Andrew Maraniss)
Sports fans will enjoy this inspirational story about Perry Wallace – the first African American to play college basketball in the Southeastern Conference. Kids will discover the many hardships and fearful events that Perry endured in the deeply segregated south in order to play basketball for Vanderbilt University. (Middle and High School)

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School (Suzanne Slade)
Booker T. Washington is a familiar name in black history. This story recounts an important aspect of Washington’s life that is not as well-known as other portions. Children will learn how Washington actually built his own school for students in Tuskegee who were eager to receive an education. (Elementary School)

Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson (Sue Stauffacher)
Althea Gibson was the first African American to both participate in and win the Wimbledon, but when she was a young girl, many thought she was just trouble. Spirited children will enjoy seeing this young girl reach her full potential. (Elementary School)

Who Was Frederick Douglass? (April Jones Prince)
Kids will enjoy learning about famous 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. This book details important moments in Douglass’ life while he was in slavery and after he escaped to the North and gained his freedom. (Upper Elementary and Middle School)

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills (Renee Watson)
Singer Florence Mills may not be very well-known today, but she was an important part of the Harlem Renaissance. This famous Broadway entertainer was dedicated to supporting fellow black performers and their civil rights. Children will love the beautiful illustrations that accompany this inspiring story. (Early Elementary School)

Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave-Explorer (Heather Henson)
Stephen Bishop was an expert on Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. He was a tour guide who knew the intricacies of the world’s largest cave system. Yet this intelligent man was a slave who gave tours for his master’s profit. While not a lot is known about Bishop, this biography gives children a glimpse of his intellect and resilience. (Early Elementary School)

Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews)
Kids will enjoy this autobiography about trombone prodigy Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Born in New Orleans, Andrews loved music and taught himself how to play trombone with a discarded, beat up instrument that was twice as long as he was tall. (Elementary School)

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Chris Barton)
Children will receive an in-depth look at the Reconstruction era in this biography about John Roy Lynch. Lynch went from being a slave to a state representative all within ten years. A great book about a remarkable man! (Elementary School)

We hope you enjoy these titles African-American biographies. Interested in other books for children? Visit our Pinterest board, Nothing But Books for Kids, for more book selections for children.


Library Themed Books for Kids

You may not realize it, but February is Library Lovers’ Month. We can’t think of a better time to celebrate the love of libraries than in the month that is already associated with love – thanks to Valentine’s Day! If your child’s love for the library has grown a little cold as of late, we suggest picking up one of these books to help renew her affection for this beloved institution. We have a feeling your kid will love these stories about libraries!

Library Mouse (Daniel Kirk)

Sam is a mouse who lives in the library. He sleeps during the day and comes out in the evening to read the books. Sam eventually pens his own stories and becomes rather popular among the library patrons. Find out how this little mouse inspires all kids to be writers. (Preschool-4th grade)




Stella Louella’s Runaway Book (Lisa Campbell Ernst)

Stella Louella is frantic. She can’t find her library book and it’s due at 5:00. Anyone who has ever desperately searched for a library book can relate to this tale about a little girl who finally locates her missing volume (with a little help from the people in town). (Preschool-3rd grade)



Homer the Library Cat (Reeve Lindbergh)

Homer is a quiet cat who lives in a quiet house with a quiet lady. When he goes in search of his owner one day, he finds that she works in the perfect quiet place – the library! (Preschool-3rd grade)




Library Lion (Michelle Knudsen)

Miss Merriweather is a librarian who is a stickler for following the rules. However, when a lion strolls into the library one day, no one knows quite what to do – there are no rules about lions in the library! It turns out that this lion is a pretty good library patron, but what happens when helping someone requires him to a break a rule? (Preschool-3rd grade)



Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library (Barb Rosenstock)

Thomas Jefferson loved to read. In fact, he collected three major libraries in his lifetime! Children will learn all about Jefferson’s passion for books in this very interesting true story which contains several interesting facts and quotes about Jefferson’s life. (1st-5th grade)



Biblioburro (Jeanette Winter)

This heartwarming tale from Columbia about a traveling library is based on a true story. Luis has too many books in his house! He decides to share his books with others and creates a traveling library using his two burros, Alfa and Beto, for help! (1st-4th grade)



The Lonely Book (Kate Bernheimer)

Once upon a time, there was a new book that was checked out often and loved by many children. Over time, the book faded and the children were no longer as enamored with it as they once were. Will this lonely book find someone to cherish it again? This is a sweet read kids are sure to love! (Preschool – 3rd grade)



The Midnight Library (Kazuno Kohara)

Young children will love this story about a special library that is only open from midnight until dawn. The little girl librarian has three helpful owl assistants who help her serve the many needs of her animal library patrons! (Preschool-1st grade)



Librarian on the Roof! (M.G. King)

RoseAleta is determined to show the children in Lockhart, Texas that the Dr. Eugene Clark Library isn’t just for adults. In this true story kids will learn how RoseAleta raised money to add a children’s section to the library. (1st-3rd grade)




The Librarian from the Black Lagoon (Mike Thaler)

Mrs. Beamster is the school librarian but she’s known by the pupils at school as “The Laminator”.  When students are scheduled to visit the library one day, will all the horror stories about their librarian be realized? This funny book is a good reminder that we shouldn’t always believe everything we hear! (2nd-5th grade)



Don’t miss your chance this month to celebrate libraries with one of these great books!


Children’s Books About Kindness and Compassion

If you’re less than thrilled with the way you see people interacting with one another these days, you’re not alone. We could all stand to treat one another with a little more consideration! With that in mind, Red Apple Reading has compiled a list of ten children’s books that focus on kindness and compassion.


A Sick Day for Amos McGee  (Philip C. Stead) – Amos McGhee works hard at his job at the zoo, but he always has time and attention to share with his animal friends. One day when Amos gets sick and can’t go to work, his friends come to visit him and show him a little T.L.C.!  Kindergarten – 2nd grade


How to Heal a Broken Wing  (Bob Graham) – When a pigeon breaks its wing, no one seems to notice except a young boy. Will takes the injured bird home and lovingly nurses it back to health. Preschoolers and young elementary student will like this affirming tale.


Unspoken  (Henry Cole) – This beautifully illustrated, wordless picture book delivers a powerful story about compassion. A young farm girl discovers a runaway slave in her family’s barn and brings her food wrapped in a star patterned cloth. The runaway slave eventually goes, but she leaves behind a doll made from the cloth in which the food was covered.  Grades 2 – 4


The Invisible Boy  (Trudy Ludwig) – Nobody at school takes notice of Brian or bothers to include him in their activities. When the new boy, Justin, arrives at school and the kids make fun of his lunch, Brian befriends him. The two boys team up on a class project and Brian’s artistic abilities shine! Six to nine-year-olds will appreciate this story about inclusion.


Enemy Pie  (Derek Munson) – It was shaping up to be the ideal summer – all until Jeremy moved into the neighborhood and became enemy number one. How’s a young boy supposed to get rid of his enemies? Fortunately, Dad has an ingenious plan for just such a problem! It’s tough and involves spending an entire day playing with Jeremy while Dad makes the enemy pie. Five to eight-year-olds will enjoy seeing how this problem is resolved.


Little Bird  (Germano Zullo) – This lovely picture book will delight children and parents alike. The story of a man and a little bird serves to remind readers that small acts of kindness can change lives. A heartwarming book for preschool and early elementary students.


The Name Jar  (Yangsook Choi) – It’s hard being new and having a name nobody seems to be able to pronounce. Unhei considers choosing a new name, but when a classmate visits her neighborhood and learns her real name, the kids in the class encourage her to keep her Korean name. Early elementary age students will enjoy this one!



Each Kindness  (Jacqueline Woodson) – Chloe and her friends refuse to include the new girl, Maya, when she joins the class in the middle of the year. Maya doesn’t have nice clothes and is called “Never New” because she wears second hand clothing. Maya eventually leaves school. When the teacher has a lesson about the power of small acts of kindness, Chloe regrets her behavior toward Maya. This heartbreaking tale will resonate with 2nd – 5th graders.


How Kind!  (Mary Murphy) – When Hen gives Pig a nice present, Pig decides to do something kind for Rabbit, and Rabbit does something kind for Cow. This simple picture book for preschoolers is a great introduction to kindness.


Wonder  (R.J. Palacio) – If you are looking for a book about kindness and compassion for your reader in middle school, look no further. Auggie Pullman has a facial deformity. He’s been homeschooled all of his life but is about to begin 5th grade in public school. This story is told from several different viewpoints, including Auggie, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend , and his friends. This story captures how cruel as well as how kind people can be.


Goosebumps for Halloween

Do you have children who like a good scare? During the spooky month of October we celebrate a mysterious author’s birthday: R.L. Stine. Stine is best known for his spine-chilling children’s book series: Goosebumps.

I can recall in sixth grade when I read Stine’s eleventh book in the series: The Haunted Mask. In this thriller, an 11-year-old girl with my own name, Carly, battles bullying and decides to stand up to her tormentors. She buys a frightening Halloween mask to scare them on Halloween night, but there’s something wrong: the mask won’t come off and is stuck to her own face! Carly grows more and more aggressive that night and must do what she can to get the mask off.

This ghostly tale is the perfect read for youngsters ages 8 to 12 who enjoy a little scare to get in the mood for Halloween. Your child might also enjoy one of over one hundred other Goosebumps stories in the series. Check them out at any library or bookstore!

Spotlight on RL Stine - Red Apple Reading