December Activities


1949 – birthday of author and illustrator Jan Brett
Books (a Selection):
Written and illustrated:
Fritz and the Beautiful Horses.  Houghton Mifflin, 1981.  Gr. K-2
Annie and the Wild Animals.  Houghton Mifflin, 1985.  Gr. K-2
The Twelve Days of Christmas (Illus.).  Putnam, 1986.  Gr. All ages
Goldilocks and the Three Bears (retold).  Putnam, 1987.  Gr. K-2
The First Dog.  Harcourt, 1988.  Gr. 1-3
Beauty and the Beast (retold).  Clarion, 1989.  Gr. K-3
The Mitten (adapted).  Putnam, 1989.  Gr. K-2
The Wild Christmas Reindeer.  Putnam, 1990.  Gr. K-3
Berlioz the Bear.  Putnam, 1991.  Gr. K-3
Trouble with Trolls.  Putnam, 1992.  Gr. K-3
Christmas Trolls.  Putnam, 1993.  Gr. K-3
Town Mouse, Country Mouse (retold).  Putnam, 1994.  Gr. K-3
Armadillo Rodeo.  Putnam, 1995.  Gr. K-3
Comet’s Nine Lives.  Putnam, 1996.  Gr. K-3
The Hat.  Putnam, 1997.  Gr. K-2
Gingerbread Baby.  Putnam, 1999.  Gr. K-2
Hedgie’s Surprise.  Putnam, 2000.  Gr. K-3
Daisy Comes Home.  Putnam, 2002.  Gr. K-3
Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? (retold)  Putnam, 2004.  Gr. K-2
On Noah’s Ark (retold).  Putnam, 2003.  Gr. K-3
The Umbrella.  Putnam, 2004.  Gr. K-3
Honey…Honey…Lion!  Putnam, 2005.  Gr. K-3
Hedgie Blasts Off!  Putnam, 2006.  Gr. K-3
The Three Snow Bears (retold).  Putnam, 2007.  Gr. K-3
Gingerbread Friends.  Putnam, 2008.  Gr. K-2
The Easter Egg.  Putnam, 2010.  Gr. Pre-2
The 3 Little Dassies.  Putnam, 2010.  Gr. K-3
Home for Christmas.  Putnam, 2011.  Gr. K-3
Mossy.  Putnam, 2012.  Gr. K-3
Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella.  Putnam, 2013.  Gr. K-3
The Animals' Santa.  Putnam, 2014.  Gr. Pre-2
The Turnip.  Putnam, 2015.  Gr. Pre-2
Gingerbread Christmas.  Putnam, 2016.  Gr. Pre-2
The Mermaid.  Putnam, 2017.  Gr. K-3
Bunting, Eve.  St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning.  Clarion, 1980.  Gr. K-3
Bunting, Eve.  The Valentine Bears.  Clarion, 1983.  Gr. K-2
Bunting, Eve.  The Mother’s Day Mice.  Clarion, 1986.  Gr. K-2
Bunting, Eve.  Scary, Scary Halloween.  Clarion, 1986.  Gr. K-3
Bunting, Eve.  Happy Birthday, Dear Duck.  Clarion, 1988.  Gr. K-2
Lear, Edward.  The Owl and the Pussycat.  Putnam, 1991.  Gr. K-3
Moore, Clement C.  The Night Before Christmas.  Putnam, 1988.  Gr. All ages

Jan Brett’s Home Page
This page boasts more than 4000 pages of free activities, coloring pages, and projects. Fans of Brett’s books will find just about anything they want related to her titles, with materials for educators and librarians too!
Jan Brett Author Study, from Scholastic
Lesson plans for teaching several of Brett’s books plus an interview transcript
Jan Brett: National Book Festival 2008
Webcast of her presentation

Celebrating the books of Jan Brett is probably a more-than-one-day venture. Read her books as a class and display others for independent reading. Visit Jan Brett’s webpage for activities and materials associated with her books, as well as insights behind their creation that you can share with students. Also, an internet search will yield MANY lesson plans for use with a variety of her titles.


1859 – birthdate of artist Georges Seurat, a painter who approached his art in an unusual way. He developed of a way of painting known as pointillism, in which he used tiny dots of pure color, placed side by side. These tiny dots of paint allow the viewer's eye to blend the color optically, rather than having the colors blended on the canvas. This style was also known as divisionism.
Burleigh, Robert.  Seurat and La Grande Jatte.  Abrams, 2004.  Gr. 3-6
Merberg, Julie & Bober, Suzanne.  Sunday with Seurat.  Chronicle, 2005.  Gr. Pre-2
Venezia, Mike.  Georges Seurat (“Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists”).  Children’s Press,
2003.  Gr. 3-5
Check public and school library shelves for biographies of Seurat from series published in library editions.

Georges Seurat, at Olga’s Gallery
A display of 85 paintings (which can be enlarged for viewing) plus a biography of middle school and older interest.
Paintings by Georges Seurat, at How Stuff Works
A discussion of five of Seurat’s paintings and the influence of his style on Impressionism
Seurat Pointillist Food, from K-6 Art
A lesson on teaching pointillism that includes an art project

Introduce students to the work of Georges Seurat by projecting a few of his paintings on a large screen or SMART Board. Discuss with students what materials they think he used? Do the paintings evoke any feelings or emotions? Discuss the visual elements of the paintings, such as color, line, shape, and composition. Introduce his technique of pointillism and how he might have created shape and line with dots of paint.
Have students create a piece of pointillist art work: 1)tape the edges of the paper to the table or desk; 2) lightly sketch their drawing with a pencil; 3) using Q-tips, dip into water and then in paint; 4) touch the paper lightly to make a dot of paint; 5) fill as much of the paper as possible with dots; 6) remove the tape (this leaves a “border” around the painting).


It’s Read a New Book Month!
Discuss with students that a book is “new” to them if they haven’t read it yet!
Books about books and reading:
Allen, Susan & Lindaman, Jane.  Read Anything Good Lately?  Illus. by Vicki Enright.  Millbrook,
2003.  Gr. 1-3
Amado, Elisa.  What Are You Doing?  Illus. by Manuel Monroy.  Groundwood, 2011.  Gr. P-2
Barnett, Mac.  How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story.  Illus. by Adam Rex.  Disney/Hyperion,
2016.  Gr. 1-3
Becker, Bonnie.  A Library Book for Bear.  Illus. by Kady MacDonald Denton.  Candlewick, 2014.
Gr. K-2
Bertram, Debbie & Bloom, Susan.  The Best Book to Read.  Illus. by Michael Garland.  Random House,
2008.  Gr. K-3
Bertram, Debbie & Bloom, Susan.  The Best Place to Read.  Illus. by Michael Garland.  Random
House, 2003.  Gr. K-3
Bloom, Becky.  Wolf!  Illus. by Pascal Biet.  Scholastic, 1999.  Gr. K-2
Burleigh, Robert.  I Love Going Through This Book.  Illus. by Dan Yaccarino.  Joanna Cotler, 2001.
Gr. K-3
Carlson, Nancy L.  I Don’t Like to Read!  Viking, 2007.  Gr. K-2
Cazet, Denys.  Will You Read to Me?  Atheneum, 2007.  Gr. K-2
Christelow, Eileen.  Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed.  Clarion, 2011.  Gr. Pre-1
Cotten, Cynthia.  The Book Boat's In.  Illus. by Frané Lessac.  Holiday House, 2013.  Gr. K-3
Donaldson, Julia.  Charlie Cook's Favorite Book.  Illus. by Axel Scheffler.  Dial, 2006.  Gr. K-3
Fore, S.J.  Read to Tiger.  Illus. by R.W. Alley.  Viking, 2010.  Gr. Pre-2
Garland, Michael.  Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook.  Dutton, 2003.  Gr. 1-4
George, Kristine O’Connell.  Book!  Illus. by Maggie Smith.  Clarion, 2001.  Gr. Pre-1
Gore, Leonid.  The Wonderful Book.  Scholastic, 2010.  Gr. Pre-2
Haseley, Dennis.  A Story for Bear.  Illus. by Jim LaMarche.  Harcourt, 2002.  Gr. K-3
Hest, Amy.  The Reader.  Illus. by Lauren Castillo.  Amazon Children's Publishing, 2012.  Gr. K-3
Hillenbrand, Will.  My Book Box.  Harcourt, 2006.  Gr. Pre-2
Hills, Tad.  How Rocket Learned to Read.  Schwartz & Wade, 2010.  Gr. K-2
Hopkins, Lee Bennett (Coll.).  I Am the Book.  Illus. by Yayo.  Holiday House, 2011.  Gr. 1-5 (poetry)
Jeffers, Oliver & Winson, Sam.  A Child of Books.  Candlewick, 2016.  Gr. All ages
Joyce, William.  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  Atheneum, 2012.  Gr. 1-4
Klausmeier, Jesse.  Open This Little Book.  Illus. by Suzy Lee.  Chronicle, 2013.  Gr. P-2
Lewis, J. Patrick.  Spot the Plot.  Illus. by Lynn Munsinger.  Chronicle, 2009.  Gr. 1-3
McGee, Marni.  Winston the Book Wolf.  Illus. by Ian Beck.  Bloomsbury, 2007.  Gr. K-2
Meng, Cece.  I Will Not Read This Book.  Illus. by Joy Ang.  Clarion, 2011.  Gr. K-2
Messner, Kate.  How to Read a Story.  Illus. by Mark Siegel.  Chronicle, 2015.  Gr. K-2
Numeroff, Laura.  Beatrice Doesn’t Want To.  Illus. by Lynn Munsinger.  Candlewick, 2004.  Gr. K-2
Parr, Todd.  Reading Makes You Feel Good.  Little, Brown, 2005.  Gr. K-2
Paulsen, Gary (Ed.).  Shelf Life: Stories by the Book.  Simon & Schuster, 2003.  Gr. 6-9
Pearson, Susan.  How to Teach a Slug to Read.  Illus. by David Slonim.  Amazon Children's Publ.,
2011.  Gr. K-3
Pelley, Kathleen T.  Raj the Bookstore Tiger.  Illus. by Paige Keiser.  Charlesbridge, 2011.  Gr. K-3
Polacco, Patricia.  Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair.  Philomel, 1996.  Gr. 1-4
Salas, Laura Purdie.  BookSpeak!: Poems about Books.  Illus. by Josee Bisaillon.  Clarion, 2011.
Schubert, Leda.  Reading to Peanut.  Illus. by Amanda Haley.  Holiday House, 2011.  Gr. Pre-2
Shields, Gillian.  Library Lily.  Illus. by Francesca Chessa.  Eerdmans, 2011.  Gr. K-3
Shore, Diane Z.  Rosa Loves to Read.  Children’s Press, 2004.  Gr. K-2
Sierra, Judy.  Wild About Books.  Illus. by Marc Brown.  Knopf, 2004.  Gr. K-3
Sierra, Judy.  Born to Read.  Illus. by Marc Brown.  Knopf, 2008.  Gr. Pre-2
Smith, Lane.  It's a Book.  Roaring Brook, 2010.  Gr. 2-4
Vernick, Audrey.  Edgar's Second Word.  Illus. by Priscilla Burris.  Clarion, 2014.  Gr. K-2
von Konigslow, Andrea Wayne.  How Do You Read to a Rabbit?  Annick, 2010.  Gr. Pre-1
Wells, Rosemary.  Yoko Learns to Read.  Hyperion, 2012.  Gr. K-2
Yates, Louise.  Dog Loves Books.  Knopf, 2010.  Gr. Pre-2

Spaghetti Book Club, Book Reviews by Kids for Kids
Hundreds of reviews written by children, searchable by title and author
Book reviews, author information, books made into movies, series books, trivia, word scrambles, and much more—all devoted to reading by students K-12
Check websites of both city public libraries and state libraries for free online databases that recommend books and authors and provide online books for children to read (e.g., NoveList, Bookflix,

Brainstorm a list of ways students use to choose a book to read (e.g., peer recommendation, teacher/librarian recommendation, front cover, jacket blurb, etc.). Post the list in the classroom or library media center.
Have students set personal reading goals for the month and keep track of their reading. Keeping in mind that goals will be different among students, plan a whole class celebration for meeting goals.
Have students write and then videotape book reviews such as those on “Reading Rainbow.”
Invite the library media specialist to the classroom to give brief book talks about new books in the library.


It’s National Cookie Day! Cookie Cutter Week is December 1-7
Asch, Frank.  Milk and Cookies.  Parent’s Magazine Press, 1982.  Gr. K-2
Beaumont, Karen.  Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?  Illus. by Eugene Yelchin.  Henry Holt, 2008.
Gr. Pre-1
Dadey, Debbie & Jones, Marcia Thornton.  Triplet Trouble and the Cookie Contest.  Little Apple/
Scholastic, 1996.  Gr. 2-4
Douglass, Barbara.  The Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest.  Illus. by Eric Jon Nones.  Lothrop, Lee
& Shepard, 1985.  Gr. K-3
Durand, Hallie.  Catch That Cookie!  Illus. by David Small.  Dial, 2014.  Gr. Pre-2
Goodman, Susan E.  All in Just One Cookie.  Illus. by Timothy Bush.  Greenwillow, 2006.  Gr. 2-4
Hoban, Lillian.  Arthur’s Christmas Cookies.  HarperTrophy, 1984.  Gr. K-2
Hutchins, Pat.  The Doorbell Rang.  Greenwillow, 1986.  Gr. K-2
Jaspersohn, William.  Cookies.  Simon & Schuster, 1993.  Gr. 3-5
Lass, Bonnie & Sturges, Philemon.  Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?  Illus. by Ashley Wolff.
Little, Brown, 2000.  Gr. Pre-2
Mills, Claudia.  Gus and Grandpa and the Christmas Cookies.  Illus. by Catherine Stock.  Farrar, Straus
& Giroux, 1997.  Gr. K-2
Numeroff, Laura.  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  Illus. by Felicia Bond.  HarperCollins, 1985.  Gr. Pre-2
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons.  Illus. by Jane Dyer.  HarperCollins, 2006.
Gr. K-3
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons.  Illus. by Jane Dyer.
HarperCollins, 2008.  Gr. K-3
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love.  Illus. by Jane Dyer & Brooke
Dyer.  HarperCollins, 2009. Gr. K-3
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond.
Illus. by Jane Dyer & Brooke Dyer.  HarperCollins, 2010.  Gr. K-3
Sabuda, Robert.  Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up.  Little Simon, 1997.  Gr. Pre-2
Shannon, George.  Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar?  Illus. by Julie Paschkis.  Henry Holt, 2013.
Gr. K-2
Wagner, Karen.  Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Illus. by Leah Palmer Preiss.  Henry Holt, 1990.  Gr. Pre-2
Wellington, Monica.  Mr. Cookie Baker.  Dutton, 2006. Gr.  Pre-2
Wilson, Karma.  The Cow Loves Cookies.  Illus. by Marcellus Hall.  McElderry, 2010.  Gr. Pre-2
Yolen, Jane.  How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies?  Illus. by Mark Teague.  Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2012.
Gr. Pre-2

Cookies for Kids
145 “kid-friendly” recipes, described as “easy to make”

Graph students’ favorite cookies.
Make cookie cutter pictures. Have students paint or color a background scene. Trace around cookie cutters of different shapes and sizes on a piece of construction paper. Use just one color for the pictures—for example, brown if you want them to resemble cookies, black for shadow pictures, or allow students to choose their own color. Cut out the tracings and glue them onto the background.
Write cookie recipes and bind them into a classroom book.
Laminated construction paper cookies with a small piece of magnetic tape on the back will adhere to an old cookie sheet for a variety of math problems created by the teacher or by students.
This is a perfect opportunity to bake cookies. Reinforce measurement concepts, cooking and baking vocabulary, and following directions. Bring in a cookie jar and while cookies are cooling on their pans, have students estimate how many cookies will fit in the jar. Record their estimates, check the results, and FINALLY, eat the cookies!


1901 – birthdate of Walt Disney
Hart, Christopher.  Christopher Hart’s Animation Studio.  Watson-Guptill, 2003.  Gr. 4 & above
Isbouts, J. P.  Discovering Walt: The Magical Life of Walt Disney.  Disney Editions, 2001.  Gr. 4-6
Josephson, Judith Pinkerton.  Walt Disney: Genius of Entertainment.  Enslow, 2006.  Gr. 5-8
Scollon, Bill.  Walt Disney: Drawn from Imagination.  Disney, 2014.  Gr. 4-7
Tieman, Robert.  The Disney Treasures.  Disney Editions, 2003.  Gr. All ages
Check public and school library shelves for biographies of Walt Disney from series published in library editions.

The Walt Disney Family Museum
Biography, timeline of career, discussion of his “masterworks” (with photos and sketches), a dictionary, the opportunity to hear Walt answer questions about his work, and much more. (For children, audio is available in some areas of the website.)
Biography, photographs, quotes, media clips, a filmography, and an explanation of animation
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Older students might be interested in the history of animation in Disney films.

Graph students’ favorite Disney characters.
Working in small groups, have students perform favorite scenes from Disney movies.
Make a bulletin board collage of Disney characters. Students may draw their illustrations or use pictures in magazines, newspapers, etc.
After students have done some research on Walt Disney’s accomplishments, ask them to write a question they would like to ask him if he were alive today. As a group, discuss how he might have responded to their questions. Return to research material, if necessary, to justify ideas.
Work with the art teacher or the computer teacher and have students try their hand at simple animation, either on paper or on the computer.


It’s Mitten Tree Day!
Aylesworth, Jim.  The Mitten.  Illus. by Barbara McClintock.  Scholastic, 2009.  Gr. K-2
Brett, Jan.  The Mitten (adapted & illus.).  Putnam, 1989.  Gr. K-2
Christiansen, Candace.  The Mitten Tree.  Illus. by Elaine Greenstein.  Fulcrum, 1997.  Gr. K-2
Galdone, Paul.  The Three Little Kittens.  Clarion, 1986.  Gr. Pre-1
George, Kristine O’Connell.  One Mitten.  Illus. by Maggie Smith.  Clarion, 2004.  Gr. Pre-1
Kellogg, Steven.  The Missing Mitten Mystery.  Dial, 2000.  Gr. K-2
Lunge-Larsen, Lise.  Noah’s Mittens.  Illus. by Matthew Trueman.  Houghton Mifflin, 2006.  Gr. K-3
Murphy, Stuart J.  Missing Mittens.  Illus. by G. Brian Karas.  HarperCollins, 2001.  Gr. K-2
Pinkney, Jerry (retold).  Three Little Kittens.  Dial, 2010.  Gr. Pre-K
Plourde, Lynn.  A Mountain of Mittens.  Illus. by Mitch Vane.  Charlesbridge, 2007.  Gr. K-2
Recorvitz, Helen.  Yoon and the Christmas Mitten.  Illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
2006.  Gr. K-2
Tresselt, Alvin.  The Mitten.  Illus. by Yaroslova.  Morrow, 1970.  Gr. K-2
Van Booy, Simon.  Pobble's Way.  Illus. by Wendy Edelson.  Flashlight Press, 2012.  Gr. K-3

The Animals of the Mitten (Jan Brett)
Printable masks for students to use when retelling the story as a play.
Mittens, from CanTeach
Songs and rhymes about mittens.

Design a mitten using the printable mitten. In addition to basic art supplies, provide a variety of materials, such as ribbon, fabric trims, buttons, sequins, glitter, unusual papers, cloth scraps, etc. Display the mittens on a clothesline in the classroom.
Make a mitten tree of your class. Have students color one printable mitten. Take pictures of their faces with a digital camera, print them and cut them out. Glue each child’s picture on her/his mitten. Hang the mittens on a large evergreen tree cutout (use bulletin board paper), or hang them on a tree branch standing in a pot of sand.
Write a class story about the adventures of a lost mitten and make it into a book. Take dictation on a chart of all the ideas. As a class, decide how the story will begin, the sequence of events, and the ending. It is possible that they will not use all of their ideas. Hand write or computer generate sentences from the story for students to illustrate. The number of pages in the book will depend on the number of students. So that everyone has a chance to contribute, give someone the job of creating the cover page, the title page, and so on. They will need to decide what the mitten looks like before they begin the illustrations.
Sponsor a mitten drive to collect new mittens and donate them to organizations that provide clothing for needy children.


1941 – Pearl Harbor Day. On the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Japanese made a military strike on a U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Losses of both personnel and equipment were heavy. Because negotiations between Japan and the United States were already not going well, the result was the entrance of the U. S. into World War II.
Denenberg, Barry.  Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows, Hawaii, 1941
(Dear America).  Scholastic, 2003.  Gr. 4-8
Krensky, Stephen.  Pearl Harbor.  Illus. by Larry Day.  Simon & Schuster, 2001.  Gr. 2-4
Kudlinski, Kathleen V.  Pearl Harbor Is Burning!  Viking, 1991.  Gr. 4-6
Mazer, Harry.  A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor.  Simon & Schuster, 2001.  Gr. 5-8
Salisbury, Graham.  Under the Blood-Red Sun.  Delacorte, 1994.  Gr. 5-8
Salisbury, Graham.  House of the Red Fish.  Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2006.  Gr. 5-8
Tanaka, Shelley.  Attack on Pearl Harbor.  Illus. by David Craig.  Hyperion, 2001.  Gr. 4-8
Check public and school library shelves for nonfiction books about Pearl Harbor from series published in library editions.

My Story: Pearl Harbor, from Scholastic
Lessons for grades 5-8 on Pearl Harbor including eyewitness interviews, a timeline, and glossary.
Remembering Pearl Harbor, from National Geographic
Print and online resources, including maps, a timeline, and survivors’ stories
President Franklin Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor speech
Written text and audio version of the famous speech
U.S.S. Arizona Memorial
Includes history, photo gallery, sections for teachers and students.

Some students will have older relatives who remember Pearl Harbor. Brainstorm some questions they might ask about their recollections of the event.
Older students might be interested in reading/listening to the eyewitness interviews on the internet. Have them write a news article based on the information from these interviews.
In 1941, Americans heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the radio. Now, we watch world events on television or on the internet at the time in which they are taking place. Discuss how technology has changed our ability to find out about important events.


1886 – birthdate of Diego Rivera, Mexican artist primarily known for his murals
Bernier-Grand, Carmen T.  Diego: Bigger Than Life.  Illus. by David Diaz.  Marshall Cavendish,
2009.  Gr. 6-10
Marin, Guadalupe Rivera.  My Papa Diego and Me/Mi papa Diego y yo: Memories of My Father and His
Art/Recuerdos de mi padre y su arte.  Children’s Book Press, 2009.  Gr. 4-6
Reef, Catherine.  Frida & Diego: Art, Love, Life.  Clarion, 2014.  Gr. 7-10
Rubin, Susan Goldman.  Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People.  Abrams, 2013.  Gr. 6-9
Schaefer, A.R.  The Life and Work of Diego Rivera.  Heinemann, 2003.  Gr. 2-5
Tonatiuh, Duncan.  Diego Rivera: His World and Ours.  Abrams, 2011.  Gr. 2-4
Venezia, Mike.  Diego Rivera (“Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists”).  Children’s Press,
1995.  Gr. 3-5
Winter, Jonah.  Diego.  Illus. by Jeanette Winter.  Knopf, 2007.  Gr. 1-4
Check public and school library shelves for biographies of Diego Rivera from series published in library editions.

Virtual Diego Rivera Web Museum
Includes biography, gallery of works, slide show of murals, and more (some advertisements)
Diego Rivera, at Olga’s Gallery
A display of 154 paintings (which can be enlarged for viewing) plus a biography of middle school and older interest.

Introduce students to the work of Diego Rivera by projecting a few of his paintings on a large screen or SMART Board. Discuss with students what materials they think he used? Do the paintings evoke any feelings or emotions? Discuss the visual elements of the paintings, such as color, line, shape, and composition.
Rivera is famous for his murals. Work with the art teacher to define “mural” and locate a book or two about murals so students can view examples. George Ancona’s Murals: Walls That Sing (Marshall Cavendish, 2003) is a useful resource. Brainstorm with students what they might include in a mural that would represent their school community. Working in teams, have students create panels for this mural that can be assembled into a larger work and displayed in a central hallway.


1937 – birthday of author Mary Downing Hahn, recipient of numerous state book awards and American Library Association Notable Books citations
Books (a selection):
Wait Till Helen Comes.  Clarion, 1986.  Gr. 4-6
The Doll in the Garden.  Clarion, 1989.  Gr. 4-6
The Dead Man in Indian Creek.  Clarion, 1990.  Gr. 4-6
Stepping on the Cracks.  Clarion, 1991.  Gr. 4-7 (Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction)
A Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story.  Clarion, 1994.  Gr. 4-6
Following My Own Footsteps.  Clarion, 1996.  Gr. 4-6 (sequel to Stepping on the Cracks)
The Gentleman Outlaw and Me—Eli: A Story of the Old West.  Clarion, 1996.  Gr. 4-7
As Ever, Gordy.  Clarion, 1998.  Gr. 4-7 (sequel to: Following My Own Footsteps)
Anna All Year Round.  Clarion, 1999.  Gr. 3-5
Promises to the Dead.  Clarion, 2000.  Gr. 4-6
Anna on the Farm.  Clarion, 2001.  Gr. 3-5 (sequel to: Anna All Year Round)
The Old Willis Place: A Ghost Story.  Clarion, 2004.  Gr. 4-6
Janey and the Famous Author.  Clarion, 2005.  Gr. 3-5
Witch Catcher.  Clarion, 2006.  Gr. 4-7
Deep and Dark and Dangerous.  Clarion, 2007.  Gr. 4-6
All the Lovely Bad Ones.  Clarion, 2008.  Gr. 5-8
Closed for the Season.  Clarion, 2009.  Gr. 5-9
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall.  Clarion, 2010.  Gr. 4-6
Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls.  Clarion, 2012.  Gr. 7-10
Where I Belong.  Clarion, 2014.  Gr. 5-8
Took: A Ghost Story.  Clarion, 2015.  Gr. 5-7
One for Sorrow: A Ghost Story.  Clarion, 2017.  Gr. 5-7

Mary Downing Hahn
Biography, FAQ about her books and ideas, book list, and video of Hahn reading from one of her books
Mary Downing Hahn: Autobiography Feature
A fairly lengthy autobiographical piece by Hahn which focuses on her childhood and early years as a writer.

Many of Mary Downing Hahn’s books make great read-alouds, particularly her ghost stories. They are chilling and truly leave students on the edge of their seats. Acquire multiple copies of some of these titles. Divide the class into literature study groups, each with a different title. Follow the guidelines of literature groups: an established number of pages for which everyone is responsible for each meeting of the group, everyone is expected to participate in the discussion, and all ideas are accepted (but must be justified based on the text). Other possibilities include appointing a different student each day to lead the small group, who comes prepared with questions to discuss. Each group keeps notes about: the characters (ghost and non-ghost), the setting, how the ghosts and human characters first interact, and conflicts/problems and how they are resolved in the end. After all groups complete the reading of their books, each prepares a story map of their book to share with the class.
Most communities have local legends about ghosts. Have students research some of these ghost stories.


1787 – birthdate of Thomas H. Gallaudet, pioneer in the education of the deaf, who helped found the first school in North America for educating the deaf.
Bowen, Andy Russell.  A World of Knowing: A Story about Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.  Illus. by Elaine
Wadsworth.  Carolrhoda, 1995.  Gr. 3-5
McCully, Emily Arnold.  My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American
Sign Language.  Hyperion, 2008.  Gr. 3-5
About sign language and signing as communication:
Bell, Cece.  El Deafo.  Abrams, 2014.  Gr. 5-8
Churnin, Nancy.  The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game.
Illus. by Jez Tuya.  Albert Whitman, 2016.  Gr. K-3
Fain, Kathleen.  Handsigns: A Sign Language Alphabet.  Chronicle, 1993.  Gr. K-5
Heelan, Jamee Riggio.  Can You Hear a Rainbow?: The Story of a Deaf Boy Named Chris.
Illus. by Nicola Simmonds.  Peachtree, 2002.  Gr. 1-4
Holub, Joan.  My First Book of Sign Language.  Scholastic, 2004.  Gr. Pre-5
Kramer, Jackie & Ovadia, Tali.  You Can Learn Sign Language!  Troll, 2000. Gr. All ages
Matlin, Marlee.  Deaf Child Crossing.  Simon & Schuster, 2002.  Gr. 4-6
Charlip, Remy & Miller, Mary Beth.  Handtalk Birthday.  Photos by George Ancona.  Simon & Schuster,
1987.  Gr. K-5
Miller, Mary Beth.  Handtalk Zoo.  Photos by George Ancona.  Simon & Schuster, 1989.  Gr. K-5
Miller, Mary Beth.  Handtalk School.  Photos by George Ancona.  Simon & Schuster, 1991.  Gr. K-5
Millman, Isaac.  Moses Goes to a Concert.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998.  Gr. K-3
Millman, Isaac.  Moses Goes to School.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000.  Gr. K-3
Millman, Isaac.  Moses Goes to the Circus.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003.  Gr. K-3
Millman, Isaac.  Moses Sees a Play.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004.  Gr. K-3
Napoli, Donna Jo.  Hands & Hearts.  Illus. by Amy Bates.  Abrams, 2014.  Gr. Pre-2
Niven, Felicia Lowenstein.  All About Sign Language: Talking with Your Hands.  Enslow, 2004.  Gr. 3-6
Rankin, Laura.  Handmade Alphabet.  Dial, 1991.  Gr. All ages
Rankin, Laura.  The Handmade Counting Book.  Dial, 1998.  Gr. All ages
Sullivan, Mary Beth.  A Show of Hands: Say It in Sign Language.  Addison Wesley, 1980.  Gr. 2-5
Uhlberg, Myron.  The Sound of All Things.  Illus. by Ted Papoulas.  Peachtree, 2016.  Gr. 2-4
Wheeler, Cindy.  Simple Signs.  Viking, 1995.  Gr. Pre-3

Thomas H. Gallaudet, from Deaf Is…
History of Gallaudet, people associated with him, letters between Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell
ASL University at
Video of fingerspelling the alphabet, a fairly extensive dictionary, plus a search feature for other words/phrases
American Sign Language, from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Basic information about American Sign Language and how it evolved

Invite an educator who works with deaf children to visit and teach students a simple song or story in sign language.
Teach students some functional signs and work them into daily routines.
Display the sign language alphabet so students can practice spelling their names and other words. For some printable alphabets, see the bulletin board cards or ASL Alphabet coloring pages.


1957 – birthday of author and illustrator William Joyce
Written and illustrated:
George Shrinks.  HarperCollins, 1985.  Gr. K-2
Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo.  Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, 1995.
Gr. K-3 (expanded version of 1988 edition)
Nicholas Cricket.  HarperCollins, 1989.  Gr. K-3
A Day with Wilbur Robinson.  Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, 2006.  Gr. K-2 (expanded version of 1990
Bentley & Egg.  HarperCollins, 1992.  Gr. K-3
Santa Calls.  HarperCollins, 1993.  Gr. 1-3
The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.  HarperCollins, 1996.  Gr. 1-3
Rolie Polie Olie.  Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, 1999.  Gr. K-2
Snowy Rolie.  Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, 2000.  Gr. K-2
Sleepy Time Olie.  Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, 2001.  Gr. K-2
Big Time Olie.  HarperCollins, 2002.  Gr. K-2
"Guardians of Childhood" series: The Man in the Moon (2011); The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson
Mansnoozie (2012); Jack Frost (2015).  Atheneum.  Gr. 1-4
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  Atheneum, 2012.  Gr. 1-4
"Guardians of Childhood Chapter Books" series: Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare
King (2011); E. Astor Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core! (2012); Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies (2012); The Sandman and the War of Dreams (2013). Atheneum Gr. 4-7
The Mischievians.  Atheneum, 2013.  Gr. 1-4
The Numberlys.  with Christina Ellis.  Atheneum, 2014.  Gr. K-3
A Bean, A Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack.  Illus. by Kenny Callicut.  Atheneum, 2014. Gr. K-3
Ollie's Odyssey.  Caitlyn Dlouhy/ Atheneum, 2016.  Gr. 3-5
Winthrop, Elizabeth.  Shoes.  HarperCollins, 1986.  Gr. K-2
The World of William Joyce Scrapbook.  Photos by Phillip Gold.  Laura Geringer/HarperCollins,
1997.  Gr. All ages (autobiography)

William Joyce Presents
Joyce’s webpage, primarily links to media adaptations of his books and characters
Enter the World of William Joyce, at HarperCollins
Biography, questions and answers about how he does his books, a book list, and coloring pages
Video interview with William Joyce, at Reading Rockets
Joyce talks about his books and the influences on his writing, available in print and video

Students might be more familiar with William Joyce’s characters from television programs. Read and display some of his books so that students understand that the TV programs were inspired by the books.
Brainstorm other “roles” for the Olie character, e.g., cowboy Olie, dancer Olie, football player Olie, etc. Have students create some sentences about a new Olie and draw a picture. Bind all of their pages into a book and place it in the classroom or school library.


It’s Gingerbread House Day!
Aylesworth, Jim (retold).  The Gingerbread Man.  Illus. by Barbara McClintock.  Scholastic, 1998.
Gr. K-2
Brett, Jan.  Gingerbread Baby.  Putnam, 1999.  Gr. Pre-2
Brett, Jan.  Gingerbread Friends.  Putnam, 2008.  Gr. K-2
Brett, Jan.  Gingerbread Christmas.  Putnam, 2016.  Gr. Pre-2
Egielski, Richard (retold).  The Gingerbread Boy.  HarperCollins, 1997.  Gr. K-2
Enderle, Dotti.  The Library Gingerbread Man.  Illus. by Colleen M. Madden.  Upstart, 2010.  Gr. 2-4
Ernst, Lisa Campbell.  The Gingerbread Girl.  Dutton, 2006.  Gr. K-2
Ernst, Lisa Campbell.  The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers.  Dutton, 2011.  Gr. K-2
Galdone, Paul (retold).  The Gingerbread Boy.  Seabury, 1975.  Gr. Pre-2
Jones, Carol (retold).  The Gingerbread Man.  Houghton Mifflin, 2002.  Gr. K-2
Kimmel, Eric (retold).  The Gingerbread Man.  Illus. by Megan Lloyd.  Holiday House, 1993.  Gr. K-2
Kladstrup, Kristin.  The Gingerbread Pirates.  Illus. by Matt Tavares.  Candlewick, 2012.  Gr. K-3
Murray, Laura.  The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School.  Illus. by Mike Lowery.  Putnam, 2011.
Gr. K-2
Murray, Laura.  The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck.  Illus. by Mike Lowery.  Putnam, 2013.
Gr. K-2
Murray, Laura.  The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas.  Illus. by Mike Lowery.  Putnam, 2015.
Gr. K-2
Murray, Laura.  The Gingerbread Man Loose at the Zoo.  Illus. by Mike Lowery.  Putnam, 2016.  Gr. K-2
Schmidt, Karen Lee (retold).  The Gingerbread Boy.  Scholastic, 1980.  Gr. Pre-2
Squires, Janet.  The Gingerbread Cowboy.  Illus. by Holly Berry.  HarperCollins, 2006.  Gr. K-2
Tews, Susan.  The Gingerbread Doll.  Illus. by Megan Lloyd.  Clarion, 1993.  Gr. K-3
Ziefert, Harriett (retold).  The Gingerbread Boy.  Illus. by Emily Bolam.  Puffin, 1995.  Gr. Pre-2

Easy Gingerbread House
Directions for making a gingerbread house with graham crackers
Children’s Gingerbread House, from All Recipes
Several recipes from “scratch” including decorating ideas
Gingerbread House Heaven
For fun, view these photos of spectacular gingerbread houses

Using a large piece of brown bulletin board paper (or several sheets of construction paper), cut out a house. Using different kinds of paper, markers, and crayons, have students decorate it as a gingerbread house. Give each student a gingerbread cutout (male or female) with directions to create a character who lives in the house. They need to give their gingerbread person a name and tell something about him/her (e.g., favorites, such as food, color, game, book, hobby, etc., and an interesting “fact”). Use the word bubble for recording the information. Display the house and gingerbread people with their word bubbles on a bulletin board.
Jan Brett has a number of activities, complete with printables, associated with her two gingerbread books: a mural based on Gingerbread Friends; a board game for Gingerbread Baby; “Design Your Own Gingerbread Baby House” (interactive); several coloring pages of the gingerbread baby (scroll down to "Gingerbread Friends"); masks from Gingerbread Baby to use in a play; and a recipe for making the gingerbread baby.


Hanukkah is celebrated December 12 - 20, 2017
Books (a selection):
Adler, David A.  The Story of Hanukkah.  Illus. by Jill Weber.  Holiday House, 2011.  Gr. 1-4
Adler, David A.  One Yellow Daffodil: A Hanukkah Story.  Illus. by Lloyd Bloom.  Harcourt, 1995.  Gr. 2-4
Alko, Selina.  Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama.  Knopf, 2012.  Gr. K-3
Barash, Chris.  Is It Hanukkah Yet?  Illus. by Alessandra Psacharopulo.  Whitman, 2015.  Gr. Pre-1
Baum, Maxie.  I Have a Little Dreidel.  Illus. by Julie Paschkis.  Scholastic, 2006.  Gr. K-3
ben Izzy, Joel.  Dreidels on the Brain.  Dial, 2016.  Gr. 5-9
Brown, Barbara.  Hanukkah in Alaska.  Illus. by Stacey Schuett.  Henry Holt, 2013.  Gr. K-3
Chaikin, Miriam.  Alexandra's Scroll: The Story of the First Hanukkah.  Illus. by Stephen Fieser.
Henry Holt, 2001.  Gr. 5-8
Cohn, Janice.  The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate.  Illus. by Bill Farnsworth.
Albert Whitman, 1995.  Gr. 3-5
Edwards, Michelle.  The Hanukkah Trike.  Illus. by Kathryn Mitton.  Albert Whitman, 2010.  Gr. K-2
Edwards, Michelle.  Papa's Latkes.  Illus. by Stacey Schuett.  Candlewick, 2004.  Gr. K-2
Gellman, Ellie.  Jeremy's Dreidel.  Illus. by Maria Mola.  Kar-Ben, 2012.  Gr. 1-4
Glaser, Linda.  The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes.  Illus. by Nancy Cote.  Albert Whitman, 1997.  Gr. K-3
Glaser, Linda.  Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah.  Illus. by Nancy Cote.  Albert Whitman, 2004
Gr. K-2
Goldin, Barbara Diamond.  While the Candles Burn: Eight Stories for Hanukkah.  Illus. by Elaine
Greenstein.  Viking, 1996.  Gr. 3-5
Goldin, Barbara Diamond.  The Best Hanukkah Ever.  Illus. by Avi Katz.  Marshall Cavendish, 2007.
Gr. K-3
Heiligman, Deborah.  Celebrate Hanukkah.  National Geographic, 2006.  Gr. 2-5
Hesse, Karen.  The Stone Lamp: Eight Stories of Hanukkah through History.  Illus. by Brian Pinkney.
Hyperion, 2003.  Gr. 3-5
Hopkins, Lee Bennett (Selected by).  Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry.  Illus. by Melanie Hall.
HarperCollins, 2005.  Gr. 1-3
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah!  Illus. by Olga & Aleksey Ivanov.  Marshall Cavendish, 2011, 1996.  
Gr. Pre-3. (song)
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane.  Celebrating Hanukkah.  Photos by Lawrence Migdale.  Holiday House,
1996.  Gr. 3-5
Kimmel, Eric A.  The Chanukkah Tree.  Illus. by Giora Carmi.  Holiday House, 1988.  Gr. 1-3
Kimmel, Eric A.  Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins.  Illus. by Trina Schart Hyman.  Holiday House,
1989.  Gr. K-3
Kimmel, Eric A.  The Chanukkah Guest.  Illus. by Giora Carmi.  Holiday House, 1990.  Gr. K-3
Revised edition: Hanukkah Bear.  Illus. by Mike Wohnoutka. 2013.
Kimmel, Eric A.  The Spotted Pony: A Collection of Hanukkah Stories.  Holiday House, 1992.  Gr. 3-5
Kimmel, Eric A.  The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story.  Illus. by Katya Krenina.  Holiday House,
1996.  Gr. K-3
Kimmel, Eric A.  When Mindy Saved Hanukkah.  Illus. by Barbara McClintock.  Scholastic, 1998.  Gr. 1-4
Kimmel, Eric A.  The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm.  Illus. by Mordicai Gerstein.
Holiday House, 2000.  Gr. 2-5
Kimmel, Eric A.  Zigazak!: A Magical Hanukkah Night.  Illus. by Jon Goodell.  Doubleday, 2001.  Gr. 1-4
Kimmel, Eric A. (adapt.)  The Golem's Latkes.  Illus. by Aaron Jasinski.  Marshall Cavendish, 2011.
Gr. 1-3
Kimmel, Eric A.  Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale.  Illus. by Matthew Trueman.  Disney/Hyperion,
2014.  Gr. K-3
Korngold, Jamie.  Sadie's Almost Marvelous Menorah.  Illus. by Julie Fortenberry.  Kar-Ben, 2013.
Gr. K-3
Krensky, Stephen.  Hanukkah at Valley Forge.  Illus. by Greg Harlin.  Dutton, 2006.  Gr. 3-5
Kroll, Steven.  The Hanukkah Mice.  Illus. by Michelle Shapiro.  Marshall Cavendish, 2008.  Gr. K-2
Kuskin, Karla.  A Great Miracle Happened There: A Chanukah Story.  Illus. by Robert Andrew Parker.
HarperCollins, 1993.  Gr. 1-4
Levine, Arthur A.  All the Lights in the Night.  Illus. by James E. Ransome.  Tambourine, 1991.  Gr. 2-4
Manushkin, Fran.  Latkes and Applesauce: a Hanukkah Story.  Illus. by Robin Spowart.  Scholastic,
1990.  Gr. 1-3
Manushkin, Fran.  Hooray for Hanukkah!  Illus. by Carolyn Croll.  Random House, 2001.  Gr. K-2
Melmed, Laura Krauss.  Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book.  Illus. by Elizabeth
Schlossberg.  Chronicle, 2010.  Gr. 1-4
Melmed, Laura Krauss.  Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story.  HarperCollins, 2000.  Gr. K-3
Newman, Lesléa.  Runaway Dreidel!  Illus. by Kyrsten Brooker.  Henry Holt, 2002.  Gr. K-2
Newman, Lesléa.  The Eight Nights of Chanukah.  Illus. by Elivia Savadier.  Abrams, 2005.  Gr. K-3
Oberman, Sheldon.  By the Hanukkah Light.  Illus. by Neil Waldman.  Boyds Mills, 1997.  Gr. 2-5
Ofanansky, Allison.  Harvest of Light.  Photos by Eliyahu Alpern.  Kar-Ben, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Penn, Audrey.  The Miracle Jar: A Hanukkah Story.  Illus. by Lea Lyon.  Tanglewood, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Penn, Malka.  The Miracle of the Potato Latkes: A Hanukkah Story.  Illus. by Giora Carmi.  Holiday
House, 1994.  Gr. K-3
Pinkwater, Daniel.  Beautiful Yetta's Hanukkah Kitten.  Illus. by Jill Pinkwater.  Feiwel & Friends, 2014.
Gr. K-3
Polacco, Patricia.  The Trees of the Dancing Goats.  Simon & Schuster, 1996.  Gr. 1-4
Rothenberg, Joan.  Inside-Out Grandma.  Hyperion, 1995.  Gr. K-3
Rosen, Michael J.  Elijah's Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas.  Illus. by Aminah Brenda Lynn
Robinson.  Harcourt, 1992.  Gr. 2-4
Rosen, Michael J.  Our Eight Nights of Hanukkah.  Illus. by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan.  Holiday House,
2000.  Gr. K-3
Rosen, Michael J.  Chanukah Lights Everywhere.  Illus. by Melissa Iwai.  Harcourt, 2001.  Gr. K-2
Rosen, Michael J.  Chanukah Lights.  Illus. by Robert Sabuda.  Candlewick, 2011.  Gr. 2 & above
Ross, Kathy.  Crafts for Hanukkah.  Illus. by Sharon Lane Holm.  Millbrook, 1996.  Gr. 2-4
Roth, Susan. L.  Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.  Dial, 2004.  Gr. K-3
Schnur, Steven.  The Tie Man's Miracle: A Chanukah Tale.  Illus. by Stephen T. Johnson.  Morrow,
1995.  Gr. 1-3
Silverman, Erica.  The Hanukkah Hop!  Illus. by Steven D'Amico.  Simon & Schuster, 2011.  Gr. K-3
Simon, Richard & Tanya Simon.  Oskar and the Eight Blessings.  Illus. by Mark Siegel.  Roaring Brook,
2015.  Gr. 1-3
Singer, Isaac, Bashevis.  The Parakeet Named Dreidel.  Illus. by Suzanne Raphael Berkson.  Farrar,
Straus & Giroux, 2015.  Gr. K-3
Spinner, Stephanie.  It's a Miracle!: A Hanukkah Storybook.  Illus. by Jill McElmurry.  Atheneum,  2003.
Gr. 2 & above
Stein, Joel Edward.  A Hanukkah with Mazel.  Illus. by Elisa Vavouri.  Kar-Ben, 2016.  Gr. K-3
Ungar, Richard.  Yitzi and the Giant Menorah.  Tundra, 2016.  Gr. K-3
Yacowitz, Caryn.  I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel.  Illus. by David Slonim.  Arthur A.
Levine/Scholastic, 2014.  Gr. K-3
Yolen, Jane.  How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?  Illus. by Mark Teague.  Blue Sky/Scholastic,
2012.  Gr. K-2
Search school and public library shelves for many other books about Hanukkah.

Chanukah, from Kids!
All sorts of information, games, multimedia presentations, songs, recipes, crafts, and stories related to Chanukah
Hanukkah, at the Jewish Children's Learning Network
History and traditions, crafts, recipes; includes directions for playing the dreidel game
Stories featuring the character of HanuKat, information about the history and traditions of Hanukkah, recipes, activities, a print shop, and lessons for educators

Choose one or two books about Hanukkah to read aloud and place others on display for independent reading. Discuss traditions associated with the holiday. See the weblinks for any games or activities you might wish to do with students.
Include as part of the study of "Christmas Around the World" (see December 23).


It’s Write to a Friend Month!
Ada, Alma Flor.  Dear Peter Rabbit.  Illus. by Leslie Tryon.  Atheneum, 1994.  Gr. 1-3
Ada, Alma Flor.  Yours Truly, Goldilocks.  Illus. by Leslie Tryon.  Atheneum, 1998.  Gr. 1-3
Ada, Alma Flor.  With Love, Little Red Hen.  Illus. by Leslie Tryon.  Atheneum, 2001.  Gr. 1-3
Bonners, Susan.  Edwina Victorious.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000.  Gr. 3-5
Bowen, Anne.  Tooth Fairy’s First Night.  Illus. by Jon Berkeley.  Carolrhoda, 2004.  Gr. K-3
Brisson, Pat.  Kate on the Coast.  Illus. by Rick Brown.  Bradbury, 1992. Gr.  2-4
Caseley, Judith.  Dear Annie.  Greenwillow, 1991.  Gr. K-2
Christelow, Eileen.  Letters from a Desperate Dog.  Clarion, 2006.  Gr. 1-4
Clements, Andrew.  Extra Credit.  Atheneum, 2009.  Gr. 4-7
Danneberg, Julie.  First Year Letters.  Illus. by Judith Dufour Love.  Charlesbridge, 2003.  Gr. K-3
Danziger, Paula & Martin, Ann M.  P.S. Longer Letter Later.  Scholastic, 1999.  Gr. 5-8
Funk, Josh.  Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale.  Illus. by Rodolfo Montalvo.  Viking, 2016.  Gr. K-2
George, Lindsay Barrett.  Around the World: Who’s Been Here?  Greenwillow, 1999.  Gr. 1-4
Grindley, Sally.  Dear Max.  Illus. by Tony Ross.  McElderry, 2006.  Gr. 2-4
Harrison, Joanna.  Dear Bear.  Carolrhoda, 1994.  Gr. K-2
House, Silas & Vaswani, Neela.  Same Sun Here.  Candlewick, 2012.  Gr. 5-8
Hurwitz, Johanna.  Dear Emma.  HarperCollins, 2006.  Gr. 5-8
Jackson, Alison.  Thea’s Tree.  Illus. by Janet Pedersen.  Dutton, 2008.  Gr. 1-3
James, Simon.  Dear Mr. Blueberry.  McElderry, 1991.  Gr. K-2
Johnson, Jane.  My Dear Noel: The Story of a Letter from Beatrix Potter.  Dial, 1999.  Gr. K-3
Kostecki-Shaw, Jenny Sue.  Same, Same But Different.  Henry Holt, 2011.  Gr. K-2
Orloff, Karen Kaufman.  I Wanna Iguana.  Illus. by David Catrow.  Putnam, 2004.  Gr. K-3  Also: I Wanna
New Room (2010)
Pak, Soyung.  Dear Juno.  Illus. by Susan Kathleen Hartung.  Viking, 1999.  Gr. K-2
Pattison, Darcy.  The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman.  Illus. by Joe Cepeda.  Harcourt, 2003.  Gr. 2-4
Pattison, Darcy.  Searching for Oliver K. Woodman.  Illus. by Joe Cepeda.  Harcourt, 2005.  Gr. 2-4
Pulver, Robin.  Thank You, Miss Doover.  Illus. by Stephanie Roth.  Holiday House, 2010.  Gr. 1-3
Rand, Gloria.  A Pen Pal for Max.  Illus. by Ted Rand.  Henry Holt, 2005.  Gr. K-3
Skolsky, Mindy Warshaw.  Love from Your Friend, Hannah.  DK Children, 1998.  Gr. 4-6
Stevens, Janet & Crummel, Susan Stevens.  Help Me, Mr. Mutt!: Expert Answers for Dogs with People
Problems.  Illus. by Janet Stevens.  Harcourt, 2008.  Gr. K-3
Stewart, Sarah.  The Gardener.  Illus. by David Small.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997.  Gr. K-3
Taback, Simms.  Postcards from Camp.  Nancy Paulsen/Putnam, 2011.  Gr. 2-5
Teague, Mark.  Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School.  Scholastic, 2002.  Gr. 1-4
Teague, Mark.  Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation.  Scholastic, 2004.  Gr. 1-4
Teague, Mark.  Letters from the Campaign Trail: LaRue for Mayor.  Scholastic, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Wild, Margaret.  Thank You, Santa.  Scholastic, 1992.  Gr. K-3
Winnick, Karen.  Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers.  Boyds Mills, 1998.  Gr. 1-3
Woodruff, Elvira.  Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad.  Knopf, 1998.  Gr. 4-6
Woodruff, Elvira.  Dear Levi: Letters from the Overland Trail.  Knopf, 1994.  Gr. 4-6
Ylvisaker, Anne.  Dear Papa.  Candlewick, 2002.  Gr. 5-8

Letter Writing
Information about writing different types of letters and preparing envelopes
Printable stationery for older writers in several different designs; link to stationery for younger writers
An Introduction to Letter Writing
Information about all aspects of letter writing for students plus activities

Discuss letter writing as a form of communication and how it differs from e-mail and instant messaging. Ask students if they receive letters in the mail. Who sends those letters? How does it make them feel to receive a letter in the mail? Do they write letters to anyone?
Set up a letter writing center, stocked with different types of papers, envelopes in different sizes, different types of writing utensils (pencils, pens, markers, gel pens, colored pencils, unusual erasers, etc.), and other supplies, such as glue, tape, scissors, and a stapler. Make this center an option along with other centers.
Write to pen pals. Possibilities include: students in the same grade in another school, city, state, or country of the world; university students in education classes; and residents of retirement communities.
Have students design their own stationery and use it to write a letter.


1911 – Roald Amundsen and four other men, along with 16 dogs, arrived at the South Pole. They were the first to do so and accomplished this feat 35 days ahead of the expedition led by Amundsen’s chief rival Robert Scott.
The books below present information about the three best known explorers of the Antarctic: Amundsen, Scott, and Ernest Shackleton. Check public and school library shelves for biographies of all three explorers from series published in library editions.
Armstrong, Jennifer.  Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton
and the Endurance.  Crown, 1998.  Gr. 5-9
Armstrong, Jennifer.  Spirit of Endurance: The True Story of the Shackleton Expedition to the Antarctic.
Illus. by William Maughan.  Crown, 2000.  Gr. 4-6
Bertozzi, Nick.  Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey.  First Second, 2014.  Gr. 8-12  (graphic novel)
Farr, Richard.  Emperors of the Ice: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in the Antarctic, 1910-1913.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008.  Gr. 6 & above
Gogerly, Liz.  Amundsen and Scott’s Race to the South Pole.  Heinemann Library, 2008.  Gr. 3-6
Hooper, Meredith.  Antarctic Adventure: Exploring the Frozen Continent.  DK Readers, 2000.  Gr. 3-5
Hooper, Meredith.  Tom Crean’s Rabbit: A True Story from Scott’s Last Voyage.  Illus. by Bert Kitchen.
Francis Lincoln, 2005.  Gr. 2-4
Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody.  Ice Story: Shackleton’s Lost Expedition.  Clarion, 1999.  Gr. 4-8
Kostyal, K.M.  Trial By Ice: A Photobiography of Sir Ernest Shackleton.  National Geographic, 1999.
Gr. 5-8
Kulling, Monica.  Sea of Ice: The Wreck of the Endurance (Step into Reading).  Illus. by John Edens.
Random House, 1999.  Gr. 3-5
Lester, Alison.  Sophie Scott Goes South.  Houghton Mifflin, 2013.  Gr. 2-4
Markle, Sandra.  Animals Robert Scott Saw: An Adventure in Antarctica.  Chronicle, 2008.  Gr. 3-6
McCurdy, Michael.  Trapped by Ice! Shackleton’s Amazing Antarctic Adventure.  Walker, 1997.  Gr. 4-6
Roop, Connie & Roop, Peter.  Escape from the Ice: Shackleton and the Endurance.  Illus. by Bob
Doucet.  Scholastic, 2001.  Gr. 3-5
Thompson, Gare.  Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott Race to the South Pole.  National Geographic,
2007.  Gr. 3-6

Roald Amundsen, 1872-1928
Description of Amundsen's exploration of the South Pole
Roald Amundsen, from Cool Antarctica
A description of Amundsen’s expeditions, accompanied by photos; site includes links to information about exploration by Scott and Shackleton

Using print and internet resources, research the successes and failures of Amundsen, Scott, and Shackleton in reaching the South Pole. Have students make an outline map of Antarctica (see map)large enough for them to write on. Based on their research findings, have them trace routes (color-coded by date) of all three explorers and label key locations.


1891 – While working as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, James Naismith was given the directive to invent an indoor game that was physical enough to keep students in shape. The game he invented was basketball. In the first game, there were nine players to a team, they played with a soccer ball, the hoops were two peach baskets fastened about 10 feet above the floor at either end of the gymnasium, and they moved the ball only by passing it.
Adoff, Arnold.  The Basket Counts.  Illus. by Mike Weaver.  Simon & Schuster, 2000.  Gr. 5-8
Alexander, Kwame.  The Crossover.  HMH, 2014.  Gr. 6-9
Barber, Barbara E.  Allie’s Basketball Dream.  Illus. by Darryl Ligasan.  Lee & Low, 1996.  Gr. K-3
Barber, Tiki & Barber, Ronde, with Paul Mantell.  Jump Shot.  Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Gr. 3-5
Bildner, Phil.  A Whole New Ball Game.  Illus. by Tim Probert.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015.  Gr. 4-6
Burleigh, Robert.  Hoops.  Illus. by Stephen T. Johnson.  Harcourt, 1997.  Gr. 3-5
Codell, Esme Raji.  The Basket Ball.  Illus. by Jennifer Plecas.  Abrams, 2011.  Gr. K-3
Cooper, Floyd.  Jump! From the Life of Michael Jordan.  Philomel, 2004.  Gr. 1-4
Coy, John.  Around the World.  Illus. by Antonio Reonegro & Tom Lynch.  Lee & Low, 2005.  Gr. 3-5
Coy, John.  Strong to the Hoop.  Illus. by Leslie Jean-Bart.  Lee & Low, 2005.  Gr. 2-5
Coy, John.  Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball.
Illus. by Joe Morse.  Carolrhoda, 2013.  Gr. 2-4
Coy, John.  Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game.  Illus. by Randy Duburke.
Carolrhoda, 2015.  Gr. 2-4
Garland, Michael.  Hooray Jose!  Marshall Cavendish, 2007.  Gr. K-3
Gibbons, Gail.  My Basketball Book.  HarperCollins, 2000.  Gr. K-3
Jordan, Deloris & Jordan, Roslyn M.  Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream.
Illus. by Kadir Nelson.  Simon & Schuster, 2000.  Gr. K-3
Jordan, Deloris.  Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Olympic Gold.  Illus. by Barry Root.
Simon & Schuster, 2012.  Gr. K-3
Lupica, Mike.  Travel Team.  Philomel, 2004.  Gr. 5-8
Lupica, Mike.  Hot Hand: Mike Lupica’s Comeback Kids.  Philomel, 2007.  Gr. 5-8
Mackel, Kathy.  Boost.  Dial, 2008.  Gr. 6-9
Macy, Sue.  Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women's Hoops on
the Map.  Illus. by Matt Collins.  Holiday House, 2011.  Gr. 2-5
Martin, Bill, Jr. & Sampson, Michael.  Swish!  Illus. by Michael Chesworth.  Henry Holt, 1997.  Gr. K-3
Mills, Claudia.  Gus and Grandpa at Basketball.  Illus. by Catherine Stock.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
2001.  Gr. 2-4
Mills, Claudia.  Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters.  Knopf, 2012.  Gr. 3-5
Myers, Christopher.  H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination.  Egmont, 2013.  Gr. 3-5
O'Neal, Shaquille.  Little Shaq.  Illus. by Theodore Taylor.  Bloomsbury, 2015.  Gr. 2-4.  Also: Little Shaq
Takes a Chance (2016)
Smith, Charles R.  Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, and Rhythms.  Dutton, 1999.  Gr. 5-8
Smith, Charles R.  Short Takes: Fast-Break Basketball Poetry.  Dutton, 2001.  Gr. 4-8
Smith, Charles R.  Hoop Queens.  Candlewick, 2003.  Gr. 3-6
Smith, Charles R.  Hoop Kings.  Candlewick, 2004.  Gr. 3-6
Ulmer, Michael.  J Is for Jumpshot: A Basketball Alphabet.  Illus. by Mark Braught.  Sleeping Bear,
2005.  Gr. 2-5
Wyckoff, Edwin Brit.  The Man Who Invented Basketball: James Naismith and His Amazing Game.
Enslow, 2007.  Gr. 3-6
Check school and public library shelves for nonfiction books about playing the game of basketball and biographies of basketball players.

How to Play Basketball Games, at Games-for-all-Reasons
Explanation, in child-friendly language, of how to play five games: HORSE, Around the World, Pig, Poison, and 21 (some advertisements)

Have students do a mini-research project on the invention of basketball and the playing of the first basketball games (e.g., Naismith’s game, first college game, first NBA game, etc.) and legendary basketball players (men and women).
Invite a basketball coach to talk with students about the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship in playing the game.
Work with the physical education teacher to teach students rules and strategies of the game.


Las Posadas—This annual tradition with origins in Mexico takes place December 16-24. In this nine-day celebration, groups of children and adults go from house to house, representing Joseph and Mary, singing traditional songs and looking for lodging. They are refused at the first two stops they make (also with traditional songs). When they are finally allowed to enter, the third home is the site of the celebration for the evening. The participants sing songs, children break piñatas, and there is a feast.
Anaya, Rudolfo.  The Farolitos of Christmas.  Illus. by Edward Gonzales. Hyperion, 1995.  Gr. 1-4
Anaya, Rudolfo.  Farolitos for Abuelo.  Illus. by Edward Gonzales. Hyperion, 1999.  Gr. 1-4
Ciavonne, Jean.  Carlos, Light the Farolito.  Illus. by Donna Clair. Clarion, 1995.  Gr. K-3
dePaola, Tomie.  The Night of Las Posadas.  Putnam, 1999.  Gr. 1-4
Ets, Marie Hall.  Nine Days to Christmas.  Illus. by Aurora Labastida.  Viking, 1959.  Gr. 1-3
(1960 Caldecott Medal)
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane.  Las Posadas: An Hispanic Christmas Celebration.  Photos by Lawrence
Migdale.  Holiday House, 1999.  Gr. 2-5
Kroll, Virginia.  Uno, Dos, Tres Posada!  Viking, 2006.  Gr. K-2

Las Posadas, at
Brief description of the celebration complete with songs, description of foods, and links to additional information

Read one of the books about Las Posadas to students and discuss the traditions associated with the holiday. Depending on availability, invite guests who can tell students about their experiences with the celebration.
Include as part of the study of "Christmas Around the World" (see December 23).


1903 – In Flyer 1, the Wright Brothers made four short controlled flights, the first to do so in a powered aircraft.
Borden, Louise & Marx, Trish.  Touching the Sky: The Flying Adventures of Wilbur and Orville Wright.
Illus. by Peter Fiore.  McElderry, 2003.  Gr. 2-4
Buller, Jon.  The Wright Brothers Take Off.  Illus. by Susan Schade.  Grosset & Dunlap, 2003.  Gr. 2-4
Burleigh, Robert.  Into the Air: The Story of the Wright Brothers’ First Flight.  Illus. by Bill Wylie.  Harcourt,
2002.  Gr. 5-8
Busby, Peter.  First to Fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright Invented the Airplane.  Illus. by David Craig.
Crown, 2003.  Gr. 4-8
Carson, Mary Kay.  The Wright Brothers for Kids: How They Invented the Airplane with 21 Activities
Exploring the Science and History of Flight.  Chicago Review Press, 2003.  Gr. 4-8
Collins, Mary.  Airborne: A Photobiography of Wilbur and Orville Wright.  National Geographic.  Gr. 4-8
Edwards, Pamela Duncan.  The Wright Brothers.  Illus. by Henry Cole.  Hyperion, 2003.  Gr. K-2
Freedman, Russell.  The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane.  Holiday House, 1991.
Gr. 5-9
Glass, Andrew.  The Wondrous Whirligig: The Wright Brothers’ First Flying Machine.  Holiday House,
2003.  Gr. 2-4
Jenner, Caryn.  First Flight: The Story of the Wright Brothers.  DK, 2003.  Gr. 3-5
Krensky, Stephen.  Taking Flight: The Story of the Wright Brothers.  Illus. by Larry Day.  Simon &
Schuster, 2000.  Gr. 2-4
Old, Wendie.  To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers.  Illus. by Robert Andrew Parker.  Clarion,
2002.  Gr. 3-5
Schulz, Walter A.  Will and Orv.  Illus. by Janet Schulz.  Carolrhoda, 2003.  Gr. 3-5
Shea, George.  First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers.  Illus. by Don Bolognese.
HarperCollins, 1997.  Gr. 2-4
Sullivan, George.  In Their Own Words: The Wright Brothers.  Scholastic, 2003.  Gr. 5-8
Van Steenwyk, Elizabeth.  One Fine Day: A Radio Play.  Illus. by Bill Farnsworth.  Eerdmans, 2003.
Gr. 4-6
Yolen, Jane.  My Brother’s Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me.  Illus. by Jim Burke.  Little, Brown
2003.  Gr. 1-4
Check public and school library shelves for the many biographies of the Wright Brothers from series published in library editions.

The Wright Story
A biography and description of the Wright Brothers’ invention and flights, accompanied by photographs
The Wright Brothers
Biography, including timelines for both Orville and Wilbur; history of their early planes

As a culmination of Aviation History Month (in November), research the events that led up to the Wright Brothers’ first flight. Make a timeline of dates and places that includes their unsuccessful attempts and extend it to include the longer flights.
The first airplane flight should have been big news, but sources were reluctant to report it because it was a very short flight. Ask students to imagine they were reporters covering the event. In groups of three (reporter, Orville, and Wilber), have students create a “breaking news” broadcast.
With “airplane” already on the list, brainstorm with students what they believe are the six greatest inventions of all time. Divide the class into small groups and let each group “draw” an invention “out of the hat.” The group’s task is to justify why its invention is the “greatest of all time.” After each group has prepared its case, give students an allotted amount of time for presenting it. As a whole class, rank order the six inventions.


1892 – first performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet
Anderson, AnnMarie.  The Nutcracker.  Illus. by Alison Jay.  Dial, 2010.  Gr. K-3
Barton, Chris.  The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a
Holiday Tradition.  Illus. by Cathy Gendron.  Millbrook, 2015.  Gr. 2-4
Friedman, Lise.  Becoming a Ballerina: A Nutcracker Story.  Photos by Mary Dowdle.  Viking, 2012.
Gr. 2-4
Hague, Michael (adapted)  The Nutcracker.  Chronicle, 2004.  Gr. 1-4
Hautzig, Deborah.  The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet.  Illus. by Diane Goode.  Random House,
1996.  Gr. 1-4
Hautzig, Deborah.  The Nutcracker Ballet (Step Into Reading).  Illus. by Carolyn Ewing.  Random
House, 2003.  Gr. 1-3
Hoffman, E.T.A.  The Nutcracker and Mouse King.  Illus. by Gail deMarcken.  Orchard, 2009.  Gr. 2-4
Hoffman, E.T.A.  The Nutcracker.  Illus. by Lisbeth Zwerger.  North-South Books, 2004.  Gr. 3-5
Hoffman, E.T.A.  The Nutcracker.  Illus. by Don Daily.  Running Press Kids, 2003.  Gr. 1-4
Hoffman, E.T.A.  Nutcracker.  Illus. by Maurice Sendak.  Gramercy, 1984.  Gr. 1-4
Isadora, Rachel.  Bea in The Nutcracker.  Paulsen/Penguin, 2015.  Gr. Pre-1
Jane, Pamela.  Noelle of the Nutcracker.  Illus. by Jan Brett.  Houghton Mifflin, 1986.  Gr. 1-3
Jeffers, Susan.  The Nutcracker.  HarperCollins, 2007.  Gr. 1-4
Kain, Karen.  The Nutcracker.  Illus. by Rajka Kupesic.  Tundra, 2005.  Gr. 1-4
Mayhew, James.  Ella Bella Ballerina and the Nutcracker.  Barron's, 2012.  Gr. 1-3
The Nutcracker. Based on the New York City Ballet production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.
Illus. by Valeria Docampo. Little Simon, 2016. Gr. K-3
The Nutcracker. Illus. by Niroot Puttapipat. Candlewick, 2016. Gr. K-3
Schulman, Janet (adapted).  The Nutcracker.  Illus. by Renee Graef.  HarperCollins, 1999.  Gr. 1-4
Singer, Marilyn.  Tallulah's Nutcracker.  Illus. by Alexandra Boiger.  Clarion, 2013.  Gr. K-3
Spinner, Stephanie.  The Nutcracker (with CD).  Illus. by Peter Malone.  Knopf, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Vagin, Vladimir.  The Nutcracker Ballet.  Scholastic, 1995.  Gr. 1-4

“The Nutcracker” from the Royal Ballet, on PBS
“Multimedia Presentation” provides printables of a set and character cutouts that students can color and assemble
An internet search will yield several video clips from "The Nutcracker."

Work with the music teacher to read one of the books of the Nutcracker ballet, listen to selections of the music, and share insights about the music and dance.
In a space large enough for creative movement, play some musical selections from the ballet and invite students to move according to the way the music makes them feel.
Discuss ways in which ballet is different from other forms of dance.
Display some nutcrackers so all students have an understanding of what they look like.


1928 – birthday of author Eve Bunting, one of the most versatile authors of books for young people with more than 250 books, picture books through young adult, to her credit.
Books (a selection):
Once Upon a Time.  Photos by John Pezaris.  Richard C. Owen, 1995.  Gr. 2-5 (autobiography)
The Wednesday Surprise.  Illus. by Donald Carrick.  Clarion, 1989.  Gr. K-3
The Wall.  Illus. by Ronald Himler.  Clarion, 1990.  Gr. 1-4
Fly Away Home.  Illus. by Ronald Himler.  Clarion, 1991.  Gr. 1-4
The Day Before Christmas.  Illus. by Beth Peck.  Clarion, 1992.  Gr. 1-4
A Day’s Work.  Illus. by Ronald Himler.  Clarion, 1994.  Gr. K-3
Flower Garden.  Illus. by Kathryn Hewitt.  Harcourt, 1994.  Gr. K-3
Nasty, Stinky Sneakers.  HarperCollins, 1994.  Gr. 3-5
Smoky Night.  Illus. by David Diaz.  Harcourt, 1994.  Gr. 1-4
Sunshine Home.  Illus. by Diane deGroat.  Clarion, 1994.  Gr. 1-4
Dandelions.  Illus. by Greg Shed.  Harcourt, 1995.  Gr. 1-4
Sunflower House.  Illus. by Kathryn Hewitt.  Harcourt, 1996.  Gr. K-3
SOS Titanic.  Harcourt, 1996.  Gr. 6-9
December.  Illus. by David Diaz.  Harcourt, 1997.  Gr. 1-4
So Far from the Sea.  Illus. by Chris Soentpiet.  Clarion, 1998.  Gr. 2-5
Butterfly House.  Illus. by Greg Shed.  Scholastic, 1999.  Gr. K-3
I Have an Olive Tree.  Illus. by Karen Barbour.  HarperCollins, 1999.  Gr. 1-4
A Picnic in October.  Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  Harcourt, 1999.  Gr. K-3
Rudi’s Pond.  Illus. by Ronald Himler.  Clarion, 1999.  Gr. 1-4
The Memory String.  Illus. by Ted Rand.  Clarion, 2000.  Gr. K-3
Gleam and Glow.  Illus. by Peter Sylvada.  Harcourt, 2001.  Gr. 2-4
Jin Woo.  Illus. by Chris Soentpiet.  Clarion, 2001.  Gr. K-3
The Summer of Riley.  Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 2001.  Gr. 4-6
Girls A to Z.  Illus. by Suzanne Bloom.  Boyds Mills, 2002.  Gr. K-2
Christmas Cricket.  Illus. by Timothy Bush.  Clarion, 2002.  Gr. K-3
The Presence.  Clarion, 2003.  Gr. 6-9
Whales Passing.  Scholastic, 2003.  Gr. K-2
My Special Day at Third Street School.  Illus. by Suzanne Bloom.  Boyds Mills, 2004.  Gr. 1-4
Little Bear's Little Boat.  Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  Bloomsbury, 2004.  Gr. P-2.  Also: Big Bear's Big
Boat. (Clarion, 2013)
The Lambkins.  Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 2005.  Gr. 5-8
One Green Apple.  Illus. by Ted Lewin.  Clarion, 2006.  Gr. 1-4
Pop’s Bridge.  Illus. by C. F. Payne.  Harcourt, 2006.  Gr. 1-4
Emma’s Turtle.  Illus. by Marsha Winborn.  Boyds Mills, 2007.  Gr. K-3
Hurry! Hurry!  Illus. by Jeff Mack.  Harcourt, 2007.  Gr. K-2
The Man with the Red Bag.  Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 2007.  Gr. 5-8
Mouse Island.  Illus. by Dominic Catalano.  Boyds Mills, 2008.  Gr. K-2
Our Library.  Illus. by Maggie Smith.  Clarion, 2008.  Gr. K-2
Walking to School: A Story from Northern Ireland.  Illus. by Michael Dooling.  Clarion, 2008.  Gr. 2-4
The Banshee.  Illus. by Emily Arnold McCully.  Clarion, 2009.  Gr. 1-3
Will It be a Baby Brother?  Illus. by Beth Spiegel.  Boyds Mills, 2010.  Gr. K-2
Tweak Tweak.  Illus. by Sergio Ruzzier.  Clarion, 2011.  Gr. Pre-1
Pirate Boy.  Illus. by Julia Fortenberry.  Holiday House, 2011.  Gr. K-2
Hey Diddle Diddle.  Illus. by Mary Ann Fraser.  Boyds Mills, 2011.  Gr. Pre-2
My Dog Jack Is Fat.  Illus. by Michael Rex.  Marshall Cavendish, 2011.  Gr. K-3
Finn McCool and the Great Fish.  Illus. by Zachary Pullen.  Sleeping Bear, 2011.  Gr. K-3
Frog and Friends ("I Am a Reader!: Frog and Friends" series).  Illus. by Josée Masse.  Sleeping Bear,
2011.  Gr. 1-2.  Other titles in the series: Party at the Pond (2011); The Best Summer Ever (2012); Frog's Flying Adventure (2012); Frog Saves the Day (2013); Outdoor Surprises (2013); Frog's Lucky Day (2014)
Ballywhinney Girl.  Illus. by Emily Arnold McCully.  Clarion, 2012.  Gr. 2-4
Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?  Illus. by Sergio Ruzzier.  Clarion, 2013.  Gr. Pre-1
The Cart That Carried Martin.  Illus. by Don Tate.  Charlesbridge, 2013.  Gr. K-3
Washday.  Illus. by Brad Sneed.  Holiday House, 2014.  Gr. K-3
P Is for Pirate: A Pirate Alphabet.  Illus. by John Manders.  Sleeping Bear Press, 2014.  Gr. 2-5
Yard Sale.  Illus. by Lauren Castillo.  Candlewick, 2015.  Gr. K-2
Whose Shoe?  Illus. by Sergio Ruzzier.  Clarion, 2015.  Gr. Pre-2
Forbidden.  Clarion, 2015.  Gr. 6-9
Search school and public library shelves for many other books written by Eve Bunting.

Eve Bunting, from Scholastic
A short biography and an excellent transcript from an interview in which she talks extensively about the inspirations for her books and her writing process (some advertisements)
Video interview with Eve Bunting, at Reading Rockets
Eve talks about her childhood and some of her books, available in print and video

Display titles by Eve Bunting and select a few for reading aloud so that students become familiar with her as an author.
Many of Bunting’s picture books are excellent models for exploring the writing trait of “voice” (e.g., The Wednesday Surprise, The Wall, Sunshine Home, I Have an Olive Tree, Gleam and Glow, Fly Away Home, Smoky Night, Rudi’s Pond, Dandelions, and others). Discuss how she establishes voice as you read her books aloud and use them as mentor texts when students do their own writing.


1812 – death of Sacagawea. The actual year of birth is unknown for the Lemhi-Shoshone woman who was part of the Corps of Discovery and provided valuable assistance to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the leaders of the expedition.
Adler, David A.  A Picture Book of Sacagawea.  Illus. by Dan Brown.  Holiday House, 2000.  Gr. 2-4
Bruchac, Joseph.  Sacagawea.  Harcourt, 2000.  Gr. 7-10
Erdrich, Lise.  Sacagawea.  Illus. by Julie Buffalohead.  Carolrhoda, 2003.  Gr. 3-5
Milton, Joyce.  Sacajawea (All Aboard Reading).  Illus. by Shelly Hehenberger.  Grosset & Dunlap,
2001.  Gr. 1-3
Napoli, Donna Jo.  The Crossing.  Illus. by Jim Madsen.  Atheneum, 2011.  Gr. 2-5
Roop, Peter & Roop, Connie.  Sacagawea: Girl of the Shining Mountains.  Hyperion, 1999.  Gr. 4-7
St. George, Judith.  Sacagawea.  Putnam, 1997.  Gr. 4-6
Check public and school library shelves for the many biographies of Sacagawea from series published in library editions.

Biographical sketch of her life
Portions of the journals of Lewis and Clark that discuss Sacagawea

Read a biography of Sacagawea to students and discuss her contributions to the Lewis and Clark expedition.
When students search internet sites and read books about Sacagawea, they will see different statues and other creative renderings of her (including the picture of her on the dollar coin). Help students realize that there are no known likenesses of Sacagawea and that these are artists’ interpretations of what she might have looked like.
Have students research the dollar coin and discuss why Sacagawea was chosen to be depicted.


Happy first day of winter!
See ON THE SHELVES for an annotated bibliography of books about the winter season.
Original Wilson Bentley images
Snowflake photographs taken by “Snowflake” Bentley (can be enlarged)
Winter Storms, from Weather Wiz Kids
Explanations of various winter weather phenomena complete with vocabulary and weather lingo, also lesson plans and science experiments
For older students, scientific explanations of all aspects of snow; includes a fantastic gallery of snowflake photos and detailed explanation of how to cut out 6-sided snowflakes (some advertisements)
Maneuver online scissors with the mouse to cut a snowflake
Winter Weather Glossary
From the National Weather Service, detailed definitions of winter weather terms
Snow Songs and Poems
For younger students, a variety of poems and songs sung to the tunes of familiar songs

Enjoy seasonal books and poetry all winter long!
Some locations never have “snow days,” and even where snow is part of the winter scene, during some years, it seems as if it will NEVER snow! So…declare a SNOW DAY in the classroom and spend some time with snow day activities: read books, write stories and poems, bake cookies, make hot chocolate, work puzzles, play board games, or do art projects.
Make bird feeders. Tie a string around the tops of pinecones, spread them with peanut butter, and roll them in bird seed. OR Cut slices of dry bread with cookie cutters, spread them with peanut butter, and decorate them with different types of bird seed (sunflower seeds, corn, thistle, etc.) Hang them on a tree in the school yard, preferably one that students can visit often or see from a window. Research the types of birds that visit the feeder.
Brainstorm winter words and write them on a large piece of white paper cut into a snowball. Display the words so that students can use them in their writing.
Research the science of snow. Brainstorm with students questions to which they would like to find answers. Use print and internet resources. Display information on a bulletin board along with snowflakes that students have cut out (their research will show that the snowflakes they make need to have six sides).
Research the behaviors of animals in winter.
Create snowscapes. Possibilities include: drawing with chalk on blue paper, sponge painting white on blue paper, and making torn paper collages by tearing shapes (no scissors allowed) from white construction paper and gluing them onto blue backgrounds. Work with the art teacher for other ideas.
Dress a snowperson. Give students three white circles in different sizes and make available all sorts of paper scraps, cloth scraps, ribbons, buttons, fabric trims, and the like. They will need to cut out and assemble the snowman before they start dressing him/her. Display their creations in a “parade” in the corridor.
Remind students to bring boots or wear waterproof shoes on days when there is snow on the ground and go outside for some snow activities. Build snowmen and play a game in which students toss a hat trying to land it on the snowman’s head. Make snow angels. Take the digital camera along for lots of pictures. Later, print the pictures and have students write captions for them. Bind them in a book for the classroom library.
Write winter poems. Forms such as acrostics, haiku, and concrete poems lend themselves well to descriptive writing. (See examples in the POETRY NOOK.) As a class, write a list poem about any aspect of the winter season. Then invite students to write their own.
Stay warm!


1939 – birthday of illustrator and author Jerry Pinkney, recipient of five Caldecott Honor Book awards and five Coretta Scott King Awards
Books (a selection):
Written and illustrated:
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (adapted).  Morrow, 1997.  Gr. 1-4
The Ugly Duckling (adapted).  Morrow, 1999.  Gr. K-4 (Caldecott Honor Book)
Aesop’s Fables (retold).  Chronicle, 2000.  Gr. 1-4
Noah’s Ark.  Chronicle, 2002.  Gr. 1-4 (Caldecott Honor Book)
The Little Red Hen (retold).  Dial, 2006.  Gr. K-2
Little Red Riding Hood (retold).  Little, Brown, 2007.  Gr. K-2
The Lion & the Mouse (retold).  Little, Brown, 2009.  Gr. K-3
Three Little Kittens (retold).  Dial, 2010.  Gr. Pre-K
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  Little, Brown, 2011.  Gr. Pre-1
Puss in Boots (adapted).  Dial, 2012.  Gr. K-3
The Tortoise & the Hare.  Little, Brown, 2013.  Gr. K-3
The Grasshopper & the Ants.  Little, Brown, 2015.  Gr. Pre-2
The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  Little, Brown, 2017.  Gr. Pre-2
Andersen, Hans Christian.  The Little Match Girl.  Phyllis Fogelman, 1999.  Gr. 1-4
Aston, Dianna Hutts.  The Moon Over Star.   Dial, 2008.  Gr. 1-3
Flournoy, Valerie.  The Patchwork Quilt.  Dial, 1985.  Gr. K-3
Flournoy, Valerie.  Tanya’s Reunion.  Dial, 1995.  Gr. K-3
Grifalconi, Ann.  Ain’t Nobody a Stranger to Me.  Hyperion, 2007.  Gr. 2-4
Holliday, Billie.  God Bless the Child.  HarperCollins, 2004.  Gr. 2-5
Hurwitz, Johanna.  New Shoes for Silvia.  Morrow, 1993.  Gr. K-3
Jackson, Richard.  In Plain Sight.  Roaring Brook, 2016.  Gr. K-3
Lester, Julius.  John Henry.  Dial, 1994.  Gr. K-3 (Caldecott Honor Book)
Lester, Julius.  Sam and the Tigers.  Dial, 1996.  Gr. K-3
Lester, Julius.  Black Cowboy, Wild Horses: A True Story.  Dial, 1998.  Gr. 2-4
Marzollo, Jean.  Pretend You’re a Cat.  Dial, 1990.  Gr. Pre-1
McKissack, Patricia.  The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll.  Schwartz & Wade, 2007.  Gr. 2-4
McKissack, Patricia.  Goin’ Someplace Special.  Atheneum, 2001.  Gr. 1-4
McKissack, Patricia.  Mirandy and Brother Wind.  Knopf, 1988.  Gr. K-3 (Caldecott Honor Book)
Nelson, Marilyn.  Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of The Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the
World.  Dial, 2009.  Gr. 4-8
Pinkney, Gloria Jean.  Back Home.  Dial, 1992.  Gr. K-3
Pinkney, Gloria Jean.  The Sunday Outing.  Dial, 1994.  Gr. K-3
San Souci, Robert D.  The Talking Eggs.  Dial, 1989.  Gr. K-3 (Caldecott Honor Book)
Schroeder, Alan.  Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman.  Dial, 1996.  Gr. 2-4
Singer, Marilyn.  Turtle in July.  Macmillan, 1989.  Gr. 2-5
See the article by Jerry Pinkney in Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art
(Philomel, 2007)

Jerry Pinkney Studio
A glimpse into Pinkney’s life and work
A Video Interview with Jerry Pinkney
Written copy of the interview also available
Jerry Pinkney, from HarperCollins
More detail about how he does his artwork

Choose some Jerry Pinkney books to read aloud and place others on display for independent reading. Discuss his style of art and use of watercolors as students examine his illustrations.
Family is important in Pinkney’s life. He often uses members of his family as models for characters in his illustrations. His children are involved with writing and illustrating children’s books as well. In Pass It Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark (Walker, 2006), author Leonard M. Marcus features Jerry and his son Brian Pinkney (also a Caldecott Honor Book recipient).
Pinkney was the artist of the first nine stamps issued by the U.S. Post Office in the Black Heritage series. Students might enjoy looking at the stamps and comparing the style of art with that in his books.
Work with the art teacher to have students create a watercolor painting.


Celebrate Christmas Around the World!
Books (a selection):
Angelou, Maya.  Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem.  Illus. by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher.  Schwartz
& Wade, 2008.  Gr. 3 & above
Brown, Elizabeth Ferguson.  Coal Country Christmas.  Illus. by Harvey Stevenson.  Boyds Mills, 2003.
Gr. K-3
Christmas Soul: African American Holiday Stories.  Hyperion, 2001.  Gr. 2-5
Climo, Shirley.  The Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel.  Illus. by Jane Manning.
HarperCollins, 2001.  Gr. K-3
Daly, Niki.  What’s Cooking, Jamela?  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001.  Gr. K-2
Demi.  The Legend of Saint Nicholas.  McElderry, 2003.  Gr. 3-5
dePaola, Tomie.  The Legend of Old Befana.  Harcourt, 1980.  Gr. K-3
dePaola, Tomie.  The Legend of the Poinsettia.  Putnam, 1994.  Gr. K-3
Elya, Susan Middleton & Banks, Merry.  N Is for Navidad.  Illus. by Joe Cepeda.  Chronicle, 2007.
Gr. K-3
Erlbach, Arlene.  Merry Christmas, Everywhere!  Millbrook, 2002.  Gr. 2-5
Feliciano, José.  Feliz Navidad.  Illus. by David Diaz.  Scholastic, 2003.  Gr. K-3
Grün, Anselm.  The Legend of Saint Nicholas.  Illus. by Giuliano Ferri.  Translated from German by
Laura Watkinson.  Eerdmans, 2014.  Gr. K-3
Harness, Cheryl.  Papa’s Christmas Gift: Around the World on the Night Before Christmas.  Simon &
Schuster, 1995.  Gr. K-3
Heiligman, Deborah.  Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Christmas with Carols, Presents, and
Peace.  National Geographic, 2007.  Gr. 2-5
Hofmeyr, Dianne.  The Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi.  Illus. by Judy Daly.  Farrar, Straus &
Giroux, 1998.  Gr. K-3
Isadora, Rachel.  12 Days of Christmas.  Putnam, 2010.  Gr. All ages (set in Africa)
Johnston, Tony.  A Kenya Christmas.  Illus. by Leonard Jenkins.  Holiday House, 2003.  Gr. K-3
Joseph, Lynn.  An Island Christmas.  Illus. by Catherine Stock.  Clarion, 1992.  Gr. 1-4
Kelley, Emily.  Christmas Around the World.  Illus. by Joni Oeltjenbruns.  Carolrhoda, 2003.  Gr. 2-4
Lankford, Mary D.  Christmas Around the World.  Illus. by Karen Dugan.  HarperCollins, 1995.  Gr. 2-5
McKissack, Patricia C. & McKissack, Fredrick L.  Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the
Quarters.  Illus. by John Thompson.  Scholastic, 1994.  Gr. 3-5
Momaday, N. Scott.  Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story.  University of New Mexico
Press, 2001.  Gr. 3-5
Oppenheim, Joanne.  The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story.
Illus. by Fabian Negrin.  Barefoot Books, 2003.  Gr. K-2
Orozco, José-Luis.  Pancho Claus.  Illus. by Ashley Wolff.  Dial, 2012.  Gr. K-3
Pirotta, Saviour.  Joy to the World: Christmas Stories from Around the Globe.  Illus. by Sheila Moxley.
HarperCollins, 1998.  Gr. 2-5
Polacco, Patricia.  Uncle Vova’s Tree.  Philomel, 1989.  Gr. 1-3
Ross, Michael Elsohn.  A Mexican Christmas.  Carolrhoda, 2003.  Gr. 2-5
Sacre, Antonio.  La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story.  Illus. by Angela Dominguez.  Abrams, 2010.
Gr. 2-4
Say, Allen.  Tree of Cranes.  Houghton Mifflin, 1991.  Gr. K-3
Scholey, Arthur.  Baboushka: A Christmas Folktale from Russia.  Illus. by Helen Cann.  Candlewick,
2001.  Gr. 1-4
Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk.  The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood.  Illus. by Ellen
Beier.  Holiday House, 2011.  Gr. 1-4
Soto, Gary.  Too Many Tamales.  Illus. by Ed Martinez.  Putnam, 1993.  Gr. K-3
Stark, Ulf.  The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits.  Illus. by Eva Eriksson.  Translated from Swedish by
Susan Bear.  Floris, 2014.  Gr. K-4
Thong, Roseanne Greenfield.  'Twas Nochebuena.  Illus. by Sara Palacios.  Viking, 2014.  Gr. K-3
Tompert, Ann.  A Carol for Christmas.  Illus. by Laura Kelly.  Simon & Schuster, 1994.  Gr. 2-4
Check school and public library shelves for series of books that feature Christmas traditions in different countries.

Christmas Traditions around the World, from Santa’s Net
Brief descriptions of Christmas holiday traditions in 73 countries (some advertisements)
Christmas Celebrations around the World
Clicking on the flags of 36 countries will take you to a description of Christmas customs and traditions in those countries (some advertisements)
“Merry Christmas” in Different Languages
How to say “Merry Christmas” in more than 100 languages; unfortunately, there are no pronunciation guides
Christmas Traditions around the World
More detailed descriptions of traditions in 11 different countries
Santa’s Origins
An overview of the Santa Claus figure around the world

Utilize print and internet resources to research traditions associated with Christmas holidays around the world. Include Las Posadas (see December 16), Hanukkah (see December 12), and Kwanzaa (see December 26) in the research. Possible topics for research: gift-giving, the Santa Claus figure, historical origins of symbols (Christmas tree, candles, stockings, mistletoe, cards, wreaths, etc.), food traditions, community and family activities, and others. Collect all the information on a large chart to compare celebrations across cultures. Set up the chart with these possible columns: history (older students), two or three traditions, special foods, games and/or songs, location in the world, dates (not all are December 25), gift-giving/Santa figure, and pictures (downloaded from the internet).
Have students locate how to say “Merry Christmas” in different languages, make word labels of these greetings, and attach them to a map of the world.
Have individual students choose a country and research the Christmas holiday there and make a poster sharing their information. In addition to their facts, they might include a map and pictures from the internet on their posters. Make sure they cite the sources they used in their research. Display all the posters.


1823 – The classic poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas") was published anonymously in the Troy, NY Sentinel. It was later attributed to author Clement C. Moore and included in an anthology of his works published in 1844.
Numerous artists have illustrated versions of this poem in picture book form. Check school and public library shelves for copies of these books, some of which are no longer in print. Listed below are selected versions:
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Leonard Weisgard.  Grosset & Dunlap, 1949
A Visit from St. Nicholas.  Illus. by Paul Galdone.  McGraw-Hill, 1960
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Tomie dePaola.  Holiday House, 1980
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Anita Lobel.  Knopf, 1984
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by James Marshall.  Scholastic, 1985
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Jan Brett.  Putnam, 1998
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Robert Sabuda.  Little Simon, 2002
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Cooper Edens.  Chronicle, 2005.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Jessie Wilcox Smith.  Houghton Mifflin, 2005 (reproduction
of the original 1912 edition)
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Lisbeth Zwerger.  Minedition, 2005
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Will Moses.  Philomel, 2006
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Gennady Spirin.  Marshall Cavendish, 2006
'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.  Illus. by Matt Tavares.
Candlewick, 2006
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Richard Jesse Watson.  HarperCollins, 2006
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Gyo Fujikawa.  Sterling, 2007
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. with paintings by Grandma Moses.  Universe, 2007
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Niroot Puttapipat.  Candlewick, 2007
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Rachel Isadora.  Putnam, 2009
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Robert Ingpen.  Sterling, 2010.
Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Christopher Wormell.  Running Press, 2010.
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Eric Puybaret.  Charlesbridge, 2010.  (CD with Peter, Paul & Mary)
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Charles Santore.  Applesauce Press,  2011.
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Holly Hobbie.  Little, Brown, 2013
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Barbara Reid.  Albert Whitman, 2014
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by Roger Duvoisin.  Knopf, 2014 (reissue)
Denslow's Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by W.W. Denslow.  Dover, 2014 (reissue)
The Night Before Christmas.  Illus. by David Ercolini.  Orchard, 2015

A Visit from St. Nicholas, from Project Gutenberg
E-book of the poem, published by James G. Gregory, 1862, illustrated with engravings
Clement Clark Moore
Short bio of Moore's life, with links to the poem and its publication history

Obtain several illustrated copies of the poem for display. If possible, include reproductions of the versions illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith (published in 1912) and by Arthur Rackham (published in 1931). Invite students to compare the illustrations. What art medium did the illustrators use? Are the illustrations contemporary or old-fashioned in appearance? Which styles do they prefer?
Divide the class into small groups and give each group a portion of the poem. Have each group prepare an oral interpretation performance of their section, using choral reading or Readers Theatre.
Older students may wish to research the controversy regarding the authorship of the poem—was it written by Clement C. Moore or Henry Livingston, Jr.?


See December 24


Kwanzaa is celebrated December 26-January 1
Books (a selection):
Brady, April A.  Kwanzaa Karamu: Cooking and Crafts for a Kwanzaa Feast.  Illus. by Barbara Knutson;
photos by Robert L. & Diane Wolfe.  Carolrhoda, 1995.  Gr. 4-6
Burden-Patmon, Denise.  Imani’s Gift at Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Floyd Cooper.  Simon & Schuster,
1992.  Gr. 1-4
Chocolate, Debbi.  Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Melodye Rosales.  Childrens Press, 1990.  Gr. 3-5
Chocolate, Debbi.  My First Kwanzaa Book.  Illus. by Cal Massey.  Scholastic, 1992.  Gr. K-3
Chocolate, Deborah M. Newton.  A Very Special Kwanzaa.  Scholastic, 1996.  Gr. 4-6
Cooper, Melrose.  The Seven Days of Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Jeremy Tugeau.  Scholastic, 2007.  Gr. K-3
Ford, Juwanda G.  K Is for Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Ken Wilson-Max.  Scholastic, 1997.  Gr. K-2
Ford, Juwanda G.  Together for Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Shelly Hehenberger.  Random House, 2000.
Gr. K-3
Goss, Linda & Goss, Clay.  It’s Kwanzaa Time!  Illus. by seven artists.  Putnam, 1995.  Gr. 3-8
Grier, Ella.  Seven Days of Kwanzaa.  Illus. by John Ward.  Viking, 1997.  Gr. K-3
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane.  Celebrating Kwanzaa.  Photos by Lawrence Migdale.  Holiday House,
1993.  Gr. 3-5
Johnson, Dolores.  The Children’s Book of Kwanzaa.  Atheneum, 1996.  Gr. 4-8
Katz, Karen.  My First Kwanzaa.  Henry Holt, 2003.  Gr. Pre-2
Medearis, Angela Shelf.  Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story.  Illus. by Daniel Minter.
Albert Whitman, 2000.  Gr. 1-4
Pinkney, Andrea Davis.  Seven Candles for Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Brian Pinkney.  Dial, 1993.  Gr. 2-4
Porter, A.P.  Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Janice Lee Porter.  Carolrhoda, 1991.  Gr. 3-5
Ross, Kathy.  All New Crafts for Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Sharon Lane Holm.  Millbrook, 2007.  Gr. 2-4
Saint James, Synthia.  The Gifts of Kwanzaa.  Albert Whitman, 1994.  Gr. K-3
Thomas, Garen Eileen.  Santa’s Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Guy Francis.  Hyperion, 2004.  Gr. K-2
Tokunbo, Dimitrea.  The Sound of Kwanzaa.  Scholastic, 2009.  Gr. K-3
Walter, Mildred Pitts.  Kwanzaa: A Family Affair.  Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1995.  Gr. 3-6
Washington, Donna L.  The Story of Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Stephen Taylor.  HarperCollins, 1996.  Gr. 2-4
Washington, Donna L.  Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa.  Illus. by Shane W. Evans.  Katherine Tegen Books,
2010.  Gr. K-2
Search school and public library shelves for other books about Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa, a Celebration of Family, Community and Culture
Detailed explanations of traditions, symbols, and history; includes recipes
An extensive collection of crafts ideas, coloring sheets, and puzzles
Kwanzaa Crafts for Kids
Directions for projects inspired by Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa, at Infoplease
Good descriptions of the seven principles and symbols of Kwanzaa with links to additional information (some advertisements)

Choose one or two books about Kwanzaa to read aloud and place others on display for independent reading. Discuss traditions associated with the holiday. See the weblinks for any games or activities you might wish to do with students.
Include as part of the study of “Christmas Around the World” (see December 25).


Kwanzaa is celebrated December 26-January 1

(See December 26)


Kwanzaa is celebrated December 26-January 1

(See December 26)


Kwanzaa is celebrated December 26-January 1

(See December 26)


Kwanzaa is celebrated December 26-January 1

(See December 26)


1869 -- Birthdate of French painter Henri Matisse, who later in life became famous for his cut-paper creations
Anholt, Laurence.  Matisse the King of Color.  Barron's, 2007.  Gr. 2-4
Friedman, Samantha.  Matisse's Garden.  Illus. by Christina Amodeo.  Museum of Modern Art, 2013.
Gr. K-4
Le Tord, Bijou.  A Bird of Two: A Story about Henri Matisse.  Eerdmans, 1999.  Gr. 2-4
MacLachlan, Patricia.  An Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse.  Illus. by Hadley Hooper.  Roaring Brook, 2014.  Gr. 1-3
O'Connor, Jane.  Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors (Smart about Art series).  Illus. by Jessie Hartland.  Grosset & Dunlap, 2002.  Gr. 2-5
Parker, Marjorie Blain.  Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse.  Illus. by Holly Berry.  Dial, 2012.  Gr. 2-4
van Haeringen, Annemarie.  Mr. Matisse and His Cutouts.  NorthSouth, 2016.  Gr. K-3
Winter, Jeanette.  Henri's Scissors.  Beach Lane, 2013.  Gr. 1-3

Matisse: Life and Painting
Very comprehensive website about the artist including a lengthy biography, an annotated chronology, a discussion of his art, quotes, letters, and photographs; hundreds of his paintings, drawings, and paper cut outs. For older readers.
Henri Matisse, and his paintings
Biography, artwork, videos of and about Matisse, and more; for older readers. (some advertisements)

Introduce students to the work of Matisse by projecting a few of his works on a large screen or SMART Board. Discuss with students what materials they think he used. Do the paintings evoke any feelings or emotions? Discuss the visual elements of the paintings, such as color, line, shape, and composition. Compare and contrast his paintings with his cut-paper creations.
Students can experiment with Matisse's cut-paper style by painting papers in a selection of colors and then cutting shapes from the papers and arranging them into their work of art.


Return to December Activities Calendar

Last updated 06/22/17

All content copyright Log Cabin Librarian