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.

How Dr. Seuss Can Help Your Early Reader

If you have a school age child, there’s a good chance he celebrated Read Across America last week at school. This yearly reading initiative also includes the observance of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2. Beloved author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, was born in 1904 and wrote 44 children’s books in his lifetime. Most of us grew up reading these wacky tales and have at least a few Dr. Seuss books in our own home libraries for our children. Parents know how much fun these books are, but many don’t realize their value as early readers for their kids. So what makes Dr. Seuss books such a great choice for early readers?

We all love those wonderful rhymes that Dr. Seuss was such a master at creating. Did you know those simple rhyming texts are actually more than entertaining? Before a child learns to read, she must understand that words are made up of different sounds and the manipulation of these sounds creates words. Hearing rhymes helps our little ones develop an ear for words with similar sounds.

Appreciation for Poetry
An exposure to rhyming texts early in a child’s life may spark an interest in poetry. While there’s no guarantee that reading rhyming stories will develop an appreciation for poetry, it does stand to reason that there’s a better chance it will if they are regularly presented with the opportunity.

It can be challenging to get some kids interested in reading because they consider it tedious or too much like work. Dr. Seuss books are a great choice for reluctant emergent readers because they are anything but boring. The wild and wacky tales that unfold when children open a book by Dr. Seuss captures their imagination right away, helping them to stay engaged. Another perk of Seuss stories is their colorful and crazy illustrations!

Easily Committed to Memory
When my children were very young, I would read Dr. Seuss’s ABC book to them. After all these years I can still recall parts of that book, “Big A, little a. What begins with A? Aunt Annie’s Alligator, A A A”.  Children also easily recall these short rhythmic passages. Once committed to memory, children feel they know these stories and can “read” them for themselves while turning pages. This type of practicing instills a love of literacy at a young age.

Sight Words
Sight words are words that are used commonly throughout texts we read every day. You’ve probably practiced these words with your early elementary aged child during homework time. Many of Dr. Seuss’s books contain a prolific amount of sight words. The Cat in the Hat, for example, is full of common words that children need to readily recognize.

Nonsense Words
Dr. Seuss books are also full of funny, nonsense words. These made-up words will make your kid giggle as well as aid her reading development. Unlike sight words, nonsense words aren’t immediately recognizable and must be sounded out. This “sounding out” practice helps children learn how to put letters together to form words.

If you have an early reader in your home, then these books are (ahem…) just what the doctor ordered. Not only are they great reading tools, but they are also great fun! Take a copy off of your shelf today and enjoy a little wacky reading with your kiddo!


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!


Books: The Perfect Gift

Books: The Perfect Gift - Red Apple ReadingIt can be intimidating trying to find the perfect present for every person on our list. Plus, last-minute shopping can often be chaotic – hitting the stores and surfing online can put a damper on the merriest person’s holiday cheer. Look no further. Red Apple Reading has the perfect gift idea for everyone on your list: BOOKS!

  1. Books Provide an Escape – When you give a book you give a vacation. Books are the perfect way to escape our everyday lives and experience something new and different.
  2. Books Engage the Mind – There’s nothing wrong with some occasional mindless entertainment; but books are not only entertaining, they also engage the mind.
  3. Books Keep on Giving – A book is the gift that keeps on giving. You can go back multiple times to a good book and revisit the characters who have become old friends.
  4. Books are a Good Fit – Books are a good fit for everyone. You can always find a book no matter what the gift recipient’s interests. Biographies, novels, cook books, graphic novels… the possibilities are endless!
  5. Books are Inexpensive – Relatively speaking, books are not an expensive gift. Thrifty shoppers can also take advantage of sites such as which often have new or like new books for discounted prices.
  6. Books Communicate Value – When you give a book as a gift, (especially to your children) it communicates that you value reading. It’s important for our kids to understand that we as parents consider reading to be a gift.
  7. Books are Versatile – Books are available in so many forms these days you can easily find the right version for even the pickiest person. My husband is not a big reader but he’s listened to hundreds of audio books on his commute to work over the years. Maybe a subscription to Audible would suit a similar person on your list. Or, if your loved one doesn’t have the space for books, why not give him a Kindle or Nook gift card?
  8. Books are Simple – No special skills are needed to work a book. Anyone who can read can enjoy one. Even children who aren’t yet readers enjoy looking at picture books!
  9. Books are Easy to Wrap – We all know how demoralizing it can be to attempt to wrap a gift that is weirdly shaped. Books are easy. Books are straightforward. Books are easy to wrap.
  10. Books can be Shared – After you read a book you can pass it on for others to enjoy. In fact, a book is one of the few things you can unashamedly re-gift!

It’s pretty easy to see why a book is the perfect present. We’d love to hear about a meaningful book you received as a gift. Leave us a comment below! Merry Christmas from all of us at Red Apple Reading!