with original recommendations, descriptions and references by Kristin Addington Culpepper (Parenting Expert and Author)
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Goldfish on Vacation
The Seven Silly Eaters
A fantastic reminder that you don’t have to GO anywhere to have a vacation! We all have something interesting to visit, do, experience, see, etc. right where we live. Sometimes we make our own fun, occasionally we have to look at the same things and places and little differently, from a new angle and other times they just pop up right in front of us!
Boy, did this one support me through having picky eaters for children and make me feel just a little bit less alone!
The Bear Scouts
I’ve been accused more than once by my children of being like papa bear in my lessons! They say it with love, I’m sure. ;) Either way, always a hoot! My son is a Boy Scout and “approved” this book for the list.
The Bee Tree
Tops & Bottoms
I love how this one invites neighbors and generations to join in on the fun of exploring, wondering, wandering and discovery in nature!
This one will just make you chuckle and shake your head. A clever rabbit outsmarts a big bear time and time again in a way that will continually surprise you—at least just a little—with each act of trickery…or is it? Bear, who is plagued by literal thinking, is outwitted by this rabbit who thinks outside of the box to support his family. You don’t want to miss this one!
Just Me and My Dad
Sweet story capturing a classic camping scenario. We read this before our big camping trips with our little ones.
Belly Button Book
If You Go Down to the Woods Today
A Good Night Walk
Boynton never disappoints! Her sense of humor just resonates with me and her quirkiness, wit, spunk and in your face absurdity makes for the most fun kind of reading!
Like a current day woodland Where’s Waldo. SUCH fun to do with your kiddos! Even the older ones….will keep certain ones entertained for a loooong time…well, you know the ones I’m talking about
The magic found in the nightly activities of our neighborhoods can ground and connect while giving our imaginations a safe place from which to launch. Everything can be a mystery or predictable in life…..it’s all in how we choose to look at it. As a child, I felt very much connected to the buzz of life unique to each home in our historic neighborhood as I explored on my bike or by foot. The homes were close enough that as a little girl, I could even wave from my upstairs bedroom window to my neighbors who were eating in their dining room- thankfully, they were kind folks who happily waved back!
Hear the Wind Blow
An adventure that inspires all and feeds the soul of those with an explorer’s spirit. A mom takes a lone canoeing journey down the Hudson River and travels all the way through wilderness, mountains, and the Atlantic Ocean until she reaches her way home to her anxiously awaiting family. Since my family canoed, portaged, and camped in the Boundary Waters between northern MN and Canada, we can really relate to her travels and travails…though we never canoed alongside ocean barges! That’s another adventure!
A book about fully experiencing the wind. To me, the wind expresses itself in the same way we experience and express our emotions as humans. This could be a natural conversation to have after you read it once through with your children. Sometimes we feel light and gentle like a summer breeze and sometimes we feel angry like the gales of a hurricane. They are all natural and just part of who we are. Wonderful life lessons here with both the emotions and the natural world. There is even a section in the back about The Beaufort Wind Force Scale for those of you with children a bit older that are interested. Great homeschool lesson! The story follows a family, their outdoor summer adventures together and a community pulling together after the hurricane to clean things up.
The Tiny Seed
A Big Ball of String
The story of a seed, its long journey and cycle of life. The illustrations are big, bold and classic of Eric Carle, which will keep children engaged. The life of this seed is shared in a way that will keep children guessing and interested to the end.
This one is dear to my heart as I have had pet turtles one way or another a lot of my life. They are such fascinating (and adorable) creatures. Couple turtles with moss, add some flowers and water to the mix and have it illustrated by Jan Brett and it’s bound to be a fabulous book! The message in this story is noble and one that will surely resonate with little ones. May we all have the ability tohow our actions affect those around us. May we listen to our intuition enough to knowto help those who truly can’t help themselves.
Handed down in my family for 3 generations of little ones, it’s still referenced and loved! Such a special connection. When my 2 year old was asked her favorite book by a stranger in the airport, this was what she shared. You can buy this original edition I’m referring to “used” through this link, or new (a bit pricey). You can also get the paperback by clicking on the image above.
Pie is for Sharing
The height of summer and all the gifts she offers is captured by this book. Each page is filled with children exploring, eating, playing, falling, sharing, not sharing, swimming, fireworks, family, friends, neighbors and more. It will surely hit the spot for a summer read and might spark some ideas for an impromptu (or planned) adventure of your own!
The colorful, bright and bold illustrations ignite a little one’s imagination and the rhyme keeps you moving right along! A great book to celebrate berry growing and picking seasons everywhere!
A little boy nurses an injured bird back to health with the help of his grandpa. The story follows this process: the mutual concern for their little feathered friend and the relationship that naturally develops. I love how supportive the grandpa is of his grandson’s mission to help the bird heal and find his friends. He gives his time, energy, knowledge and even material things to come alongside on this worthy quest.
A Community Gardening Story
This story captures the joy of creating a community garden that all the neighbors contribute to and can enjoy. In the back, there is a section dedicated to how to start your own community garden and help pollinators such as the bees and butterflies with your garden. Another easy introduction to a fun family or neighborhood adventure that really makes a difference!
A beautiful story of a girl, her grandpa and a caterpillar turned butterfly. We raised painted lady butterflies many years and it is always a wonder and joy to watch the process of them going from larva to butterfly. It builds such a real connection and deep respect for these spectacular and crucial insects.
A Lullaby of Summer Things
The rhythm and rhyme of this book coupled with recalling the day through the senses, will certainly help “rock” your child to sleep like a little boat at sea. I found this to be such a comforting book with the predictable bedtime routines and family interactions so important to little ones just establishing their bearings in the world. The connectedness to nature and joy the children feel while experiencing it along with the fluidity of the storyline and soft watercolor illustrations carries the reader right along with it. A wonderful summer bedtime story.
The Whole Wide World and Me
What I appreciate most about this book is how it helps children see and feel their connection with the natural world around them. When we see ourselves as part of a whole, the unity and oneness in that brings a sense of safety, peace, love and power into the heart, mind and spirit of not only children, but adults as well…creating harmony within AND without.
This Beautiful Day
Seeing everything as an opportunity, as happening FOR you (not TO you)…seeing the potential in all things and people- even the weather, is a truly beautiful and healthy way to live. This book embodies that spirit. Sprinkle in a little imagination, play, joy, family and friends and you have a book worth a read!
Taking time to learn the names of the plants, animals, etc. in the natural world around us has always been the least I can do to honor these creatures that have so much to teach us. I have spent many years (hopefully) imparting this to my children. This book offers some of this knowledge, without being too heavy, and the spirit of exploration is pervasive throughout. I LOVE the adventurous, can-do attitudes of these little explorers and believe it will help your children feel empowered to go out and do the same. If you’re homeschooling, you could turn the parts of nature identified here into a science lesson for the week (or day...if you’re really ambitious!)
One Leaf Rides the Wind
In the form of Haiku poetry this richly illustrated book shares fascinating details around the incredible symbolism of numerous items in a Japanese garden. I felt honored to be invited into this world I have not intimately known before. A bonus—it is also a counting book! If you’re homeschooling, feel free to sneak this in as a lesson in Haiku.
You Are Home:
An Ode to the National Parks
This was written and illustrated by a man who was fortunate enough to have the National Parks as part of his childhood. He painted these illustrations while actually in the related parks. There are 26 represented here and having been to a number of them myself, they capture the majesty of the land so beautifully. A powerful book that will open conversations and further learning about which parks you and your family want to explore on your next adventure!
We Are the Gardeners
This reads almost as a personal journal of a family of amateur gardeners who accidentally ended up, well, being gardeners. Very relatable book where one thing leads to the next and before you know it BIG DREAMS are being shared and lived out…together. A sweet one.
Haven’t we all been intrigued by the moon who seems to follow us where ever we go and pop up where ever we are? I know I still am! It’s just one of those marvels in life. Max finds it equally marvelous as he tracks it tagging along all the way home from granpa’s house. A wonderful reminder for children that light is always shining for us in the darkness and that some things DO stay the same and CAN be counted on!
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
This has been one of our favorites! A donkey finds a magic pebble and everything goes wrong…until he discovers the real magic is in family, togetherness and often right in the middle of what might seem like an ordinary day.
From ages 2-3, my daughter was TOTALLY OBSESSED with dinosaurs and this was one of her all-time favorites! I am big on singing throughout the day…waking up, the daily “to dos”, blessing our food, going for a hike, brushing our teeth, going to sleep….there is a song for EVERYthing and if you don’t know one, you can make one up! There is one in you somewhere. ;). This is a GREAT book to sing…the rhyme and meter make it easy to do and it’s just plain FUN! So, it is without further ado that I officially recommend Dinosaurumpus! Go be silly!