Book Review: Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke

How Can I Read It If I Can’t Pronounce It?


As a parent and librarian, there were many books that had words or names that I simply couldn’t figure out how to pronounce. I didn’t let that stop me, though, I would pick a way to say the word and say it with confidence. That is all that matters to our children, really. We all mispronounce words, especially when you learn a new word through reading. So, don’t shy away from books because you are afraid to look foolish! Your child will never know.

Although, those Star Wars books my kids love, can’t there be a page of a normal name like Jim, Kim or Bob?

We want to encourage exploration not hide from it because we are worried about our own ignorance.

Parents often shy away from books from other cultures. The names and places and items are unfamiliar, but it is a great opportunity to practice sounding out words in front of our kids, and it is a good starting point for conversation about all the different societies and customs and languages in our world. We want to encourage exploration not hide from it because we are worried about our own ignorance.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the link it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale)


Buy on Amazon!

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke. Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. Candlewick Press: Somerville, 2017.

In Baby Goes to Market, author Atinuke writes a story that any parent taking a child to a store can relate to. How many times have you gone to the store and ended up at checkout with more items than you remember putting in? You think to yourself, “Did I really get that big bag of marshmallows. Especially with a tear in it. Then you look at your child with a smudge of white puff across her lips and realize you need to pay more attention to what goes into the cart than what is on your list.

Children in early preschool love to hear books about everyday life and routines.

market pictureWhat sets this book apart from others is that the daily routine takes place in South West Nigeria. So the market is open air with multiple sellers and foods different from our own. Not only will your child be familiar with the normal family outing, but she will learn new words and culture in the process.

Literacy isn’t just about words. This book introduces math literacy in a non-obtrusive way. The baby takes away one banana and puts the rest in. Your child may not be ready to think about subtraction, but reading about numbers builds the stepping stones to early math concepts.

Not only will your child learn a lot in the book, but he will have a lot of fun listening. He can see what the mother doesn’t. Make sure you stop and ask what you think the mother will say when she discovers what baby has done. You may also need to point out why it is funny the mom thinks the baby is starving. Remind him that the baby snacked the whole shopping trip!

Reading multicultural books builds more empathetic children and adults.

It is becoming easier to find multicultural books that everyone can relate to. This is not only important in helping our kids learn, but it will make them more empathetic students, citizens and friends.


Try this recipe

In the book, the baby is given four chin chin from the biscuit seller. Chin Chin is a popular snack in Nigeria and can be made crunchy or soft. Try this recipe with your child from 9jaFoodie



What to read next

Find these other great books at your local bookstore or online at Amazon following the links.

What books do you suggest to help your child understand the similarities between families of all cultures?

Happy Reading

Book Review: Hooray for Books! By Brian Won

child reading

How Many Times Can I Read the Same Book?

Your child has a favorite book. The book that every time she calls out it’s time for stories, she runs to the bookshelf and grabs a book. Not just any book. The same book you read this morning and before bed last night and after lunch yesterday and the book you’ve read every single day that week.

You are sick of it, but she won’t ever be. Well, at least until she finds the next BOOK. In my house each of the kids had a different favorite. For my son it was Dark Night by Dorothee De Monfried. For my oldest daughter it was Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. And for my youngest it was Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town (aka, the longest book ever without a strong plot) These were comfort books. Nap books. Bedtime books. Anytime books. No matter how many times we read them together they still wanted that old blanket of a book.

As a parent, we get tired of reading the same old, same old. We want to yank all those other books off the shelf and say, “But what about this one. This is a GREAT book because I haven’t read it a million times.”

But if your children are anything like mine, that lower lip will stick out, arms cross and feet stamp on the floor. “No, this one.”

So you read it again and again and again and again, because to your child, that book is magic.

Before you hide that favorite book, remember, rereading matters.

Take comfort though, there is a reason our kids turn to the same books over and over and over again. They are learning a new word and the more they hear it the sooner they learn it. Or a concept that they are struggling with. Or they just like how the book sounds read out loud. All of these reasons build strong future readers. Before you hide that favorite book, remember, rereading matters.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means if you click on an image or link, it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale)

Click here to buy on Amazon

Hooray for Books! By Brian Won. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: New York, 2017.

In Hooray for Books! Brian Won captures the intensity of that first love our kids have for books. Turtle can’t find his favorite book and remembers he shared it with his friends. As he asks each friend if he or she has seen the book, they say no, but suggest a different book to read. Turtle simply must find it and an adventure ensues.

This book is a reminder for parents that favorite books matter and for kids it shows them that the old is comfortable and sometimes we can share that comfort with friends and they can share their favorite books with us. Discovery is always best when we are safe with our family and friends.

This book is a great read aloud because it invites the listener to participate along with the text. Naming the animals that follow Turtle on his quest to find the book as well as repeating the phrase, “Hooray for Books!” At the end of the book you can make a list of your child’s favorite books. Write down and help him remember those books he loves and talk about what he liked about them. This builds reading comprehension while providing a conversation starter for you and your child.

The simple vocabulary and basic pictures ensure that even young readers will enjoy the story. The text and pictures compliment each other and help the child derive meaning easier.

Hooray for Books! is a enjoyable read that will build your child’s literacy skills while she has fun. Who knows, it may even become the new BOOK in your house.

And for that, I apologize in advance. 🙂

What to read next

Look for these other books at your local bookstore or Amazon

What is your child’s favorite book and how many times a week do you read it?


Happy Reading

Book Review: Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine

What is it about the dark that scares and intrigues children at the same time? How many times has your child come downstairs after you’ve tucked him in and said, “I’m afraid of the dark.” To be honest, aren’t we all still a little afraid? Shadows loom larger, sounds are louder, problems bigger.

Books that help kids explore their fear in a safe and encouraging way are great from preschool ages. They acknowledge the scariness of night but also open a world of possibilities.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate which means if you click on a picture or link and make a purchase from Amazon, I receive a portion of the sale.)

Flashlight Night is a perfect book to read around a firepit in the summer or before a walk in the winter night sky before bedtime. Esenwine creates a magical world of stories that starts with a flashlight, a boy and the night sky.

The rhyming text builds phonological awareness and the sophisticated vocabulary will help your child learn new words. Afterall, when was the last time you used the words mizzenmast or craggy?

Reading comprehension and narrative skills are highlighted through the detailed illustrations that accompany the words. There are many things to explore on the page that aren’t in the text. The pictures can lead to further conversation about pirates and pyramids and castles. Have your child tell their own story either using the book as a jumping off point or create their own using a flashlight and shadow puppets.


Flashlight Night is a great example of how simple books can introduce complex ideas and topics while answering questions all children have about what happens in the dark.

More books to help with fear of dark

What other books have helped your child process fear of the dark? Share in comments.Happy Reading

Book Review: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Smartphones, tablets, computers are a part of our lives and the lives of our families whether we embrace it or not. The American Academy of Pediatrics, developed guidelines to help parents make decisions about how and when to incorporate screen time into a child’s life. Under the age of 18 months, they do not recommend having screen time other than video chatting with family. Any age over that parents need to engage in a family media plan that will set boundaries on when, where and how media and screens will be consumed.

Although, technology is here to stay, it doesn’t mean we as parents have to give in to it. Our children still need time to play outside in mud puddles, be bored, and read.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate, the links to the pictures take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, the author Beatrice Alemagna explores the complicated relationship parents, families and children have with screens. On a rainy day a mother and daughter go to a cabin in the woods while the father stays in the city. The mother works and the daughter mindlessly plays a videogame which irritates her mother. Who tells her, “Is this another day where you do nothing.” She takes the game and hides it, but the daughter finds it and goes outside. What she discovers is a world she couldn’t find in her video game.

smart phone and kids

Alemagna’s book reminds me of my youth spent exploring the woods and creek outside my front door. We weren’t allowed to watch TV during the day and at that age I wouldn’t want to. Boredom isn’t lethal, but sometimes as parents we act as it is. My kids are forever asking me to watch T.V. or play on the tablet or have “screen time” because they are bored. We set strict limits that works for our family but even with the limits it doesn’t stop the kids from asking to cure their boredom with so easy to digest media.

natural world

The book doesn’t just provide rich discussion about how to combat boredom it also has rich, lyrical vocabulary filled with imagery using metaphors and similes. The book uses a lot of directional/positional language which is great for young preschoolers beginning to understand the concept of over, under, top, bottom and etc. But the book can also be used with older preschoolers/kindergarten aged children with its sophisticated vocabulary.

As you read this book with your child you will notice that the narrative skills are developed strongly throughout the text. It focuses on imagination, discovery of the natural world, parent relationships, and yes screen time. This will help foster a conversation between you and your child and even family about how to handle the balance between t.v., games and quiet times without those screens. After reading the story talk about how you find quiet time in your day without screens. And if that isn’t something you do, maybe as a family you can learn to incorporate media free times together.

Kid painting Santa on a paper plate

Our kids need space to explore the world independently in a safe and unstructured way. They need time that isn’t scheduled with activities. They need time to be bored so they can create, develop and grow. Play is one of the most important times in our child’s day. It is where the most learning takes place. On a Magical Do-Nothing Day will take the story of a boring, rainy, dreary day and encourage our children to go explore a fascinating and ever changing world.

After Reading the Book

Go outside. Even if the weather is terrible. Dress appropriately and go explore.

As you walk with your child, ask her what she notices? How is today different than other days? What is the same? And if it is age appropriate, go to the backyard or a park and allow them some free range time to look around and play on their own.

For Parents

A good picture book is one that not only makes kids think and learn, but parents as well. There is a lot in this book to make us think about how we spend our time. The work/family balance, our relationship with phones and screens, and how we include time for ourselves to explore, create and dream. Use this book as a starting point for discussion about how your family will handle screens. Each family is different, so do what works best for you. We have decided that screens are limited to weekends, but during the week we will watch movies or a T.V. show together. And during school breaks, the rules are relaxed. But if the kids have screen limits, it is only fair to see how grown ups should too.

Articles on Screen Time

Common Sense Media

Consumer Reports

What do we do all day

Becoming Minimalist

Books on Wonder, imagination and exploration

Do you have a favorite book about play, imagination or boredom? Share in the comments at the end of the post.

Happy Reading

Book Review: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett

Reading aloud together is one of the most important parts of the day for any family. Not only does it build a reading routine, but it sets aside a special time for you and your child. A time of no interruptions, no consequences, no to do lists. It is simply a time to be together.

I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, is a perfect read for curling up and spending time together. It provides whimsical ways to say I love you. The text and pictures work well together and allows the child to fill in the blank by deriving context for the pictures. After a few read throughs with your child, pause and have them say the end of the sentence. This not only builds narrative skills and reading comprehension but kids love to participate in reading and this is the perfect way to engage them with the book.

Books with onomatopoeia are always crowd pleasers. As a bonus they help build phonological awareness and letter knowledge. There are words sprinkled throughout the pictures and it helps to point those out.

Along with emotional vocabulary, the book has a lot of rich words that will grow the words your child knows. Tuna, fossil, banker are just a few of the words in the text, but if you look at the pictures with your child you will be able to expand their word knowledge even more. What kind of hats are the tuna fish, monster and elephant wearing? Bowler Hats. The cake the boy brings pig is a tiered cake. It has three layers. Talk about the pictures before or after you read the story and point out objects like the record player your child probably hasn’t seen before.

You can also build vocabulary by going on a word/object scavenger hunt. Write out different words in the book: pig, happy, monster, lucky, window, smiling, tuna, funny, fossil, sweet, banker, crazy, raspberries, tree, rowboat, bread, milk. Cut the words into slips and go around the house finding objects that fit the word. Label the object with the correct word slip. Teach letter knowledge along with new words.

The sound play in the text not only makes it a delightful read, but helps build phonological awareness. “Funny like a fossil.” or “You’re crazy like raspberries.” Help your child hear the f or z sound. Take it further and find words that start with those sounds in the room you are reading in.

After reading the book come up with your own fun and silly “I love you like…” sentences. It reinforces the narrative of the story and encourages your child to think up his own story. Write down what he says and have him illustrate. Another way to reinforce the ideas of the book is to make a graph of what different people in your family like to eat. One of the sentences is, “I love you like bread and milk.” Ask family members how many like milk, water etc. Plot it on a graph and introduce math skills along with reading.

I Love You Like a Pig isn’t just a fun book about all the different ways we love each other, it is a strong literacy tool that children will enjoy while they learn. It is a perfect example of how critical author/illustrator teams are in producing fun, lively books that will have kids and families reading over and over again.

Just a few of books by Mac Barnett


Does your family have any funny sayings to tell each other how you care?

Happy Reading

Book Review: When’s My Birthday by Julie Fogliano

Written by Julie Fogliano and Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Roaring Books Press: New York, 2017

Good for any age but particularly Ages 18 months to 3.

What the Book is About

Every child can’t wait until their birthday and this book shares the excitement and joy of waiting for a day that never seems to arrive.

What I Like About the Book

The illustrations have the whimsy of childhood and use mixed media for a fresh approach. The illustrator, Christian Robinson is a Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honor artist. You may have seen his other collaborations with Mac Bennett, Cynthia Rylant, Adam Rex, Kelly DiPuccio, Margaret Wise Brown and so many others. His illustrations engage the youngest readers through their simplicity and childlike whimsy. I adore the books he illustrates and so excited to see another great writing partnership in this book.

The book, while simple in text, carries a lot of vocabulary to enrich your child’s speech throughout the pages. The pictures will spark conversation and help your reader learn new words.

A lot of opportunities to practice counting appear throughout the book. Who doesn’t love to count candles! And food! And snowflakes. Build math literacy while having fun.

Books that have repeating phrases are great books to use to highlight print awareness. Anytime you get to the refrain, follow along with your finger and have your child say the phrase. While they are not yet reading the words, this connects the words on the page to the words they hear you reading. In addition the text appears in different ways and offers different ways to point out how books are read.

The text reminds me of a child’s excited wonder. All kids are excited about birthdays and the cadence of the story fits our kids natural speech patterns making this a perfect read.

The author obviously has experience with young children because it hit exactly how my kids talk about their birthdays as if they are always just around the corner. Birthdays are a great way to talk about how time passes and to look at calendars. Not only will it build math skills it also is a great way to beef up narrative descriptions and reading comprehension.

when’s my birthday, explores the excitement and wonder of childhood in an accessible and familiar way to our young readers. The illustrations by award winning Christian Robinson and the lyrical text of Julie Fogliano work together to create an engaging read that your child will come to over and over again.

Take It Further

The learning doesn’t have to end with the closing of the book. Try these activities at home to continue the learning and fun of the book.


Develop a home calendar!

The passage of time is difficult for our kids to understand. This post has a lot of great ideas to adapt for your home to help your child learn to become familiar with calendars. The one I like in particular is a list of the days of the week and then pictures for the different activities that will happen during the week. You could do this in a variety of ways: morning routine, bedtime routine, lunch/naptime. It will not only help your kids understand what will be happening during the day, but it will help them begin to connect to calendars. Don’t worry if they don’t seem to get the concept of today, yesterday and tomorrow, all you need to do is provide the access and as they age the understanding will develop.


Throw a birthday party for a favorite stuffed animal!

It may be months until your child’s birthday, so recreate the fun of a party for a favorite toy or animal. Gather art supplies and make banners and pictures to decorate the room, building scissors skills and strengthening writing skills. Bake cupcakes, cookies or a cake. The recipe is a good way to demonstrate print awareness by following along with your finger as you read the recipe and the measurements, not only show numbers, but exhibit measuring skills. Young kids love to pour, so give them an opportunity to help dump in the ingredients. Set a table and have fun!

kid writing

Practice writing!

Make lists! Of guests, of food for the party, of party games or more. Have your child dictate and write down what they say. This is a great brainstorming activity so there are no wrong answers. It is a way to introduce them to sequencing by adding numbers to each item listed. Also it connects the words they say to the written words. You can continue by creating your own invitations. If your child is older preschool, let them create the invitations. Spelling will be creative but it is a great way to encourage writing.

What to read next

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. I am not paid to suggest or review books, but if you click on a link it takes you to facebook and if you make any purchases I receive a portion of the sale.)

Gerald and Piggie never disappoint! This book will provide a fun conversation starter with your child about how hard it is to wait.



Kids really have no concept of time. This will help them explore the feelings they have about excitement and waiting.



A different way to talk about daily routines through the sounds we hear.



What books do you enjoy with your child about birthdays, routines, or waiting? Share in comments.



Happy Reading

Book Review: Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates

(I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means if you click on the picture it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase, I receive a portion of the sale.)

Crystal Swain-Bates. Illustrated by Megan Bair. Goldest Karat Publishing, LLC, 2013.

What this Book is About

A girl with big hair, different from everyone else’s, finds all the reasons why she loves her hair!

What I like About this Book

The text has a strong cadence and full of rhyme. Rhymes help build phonological awareness, which children need in order to build reading skills. Rhymes break apart the different sounds in the words, strengthening the ability to sound out words.

Big Hair Million Dollar words
Find ways to use these new words with your child throughout the week.



The vocabulary the author uses is strong and unique. She describes different hair styles with accompanying pictures. She chooses descriptive words like view, unique, chic, flair, fluffy, crowd and so many more. Vocabulary is essential in building future readers. The more words a child knows and hears, the larger the “database” she has to pull from when learning to read.


Print Awareness

This is a great book to use to develop print awareness because the text is large and easy to follow. Print awareness helps kids learn how to follow along with the text. While you read, use your finger to follow the text. It will teach your young reader that we read books front to back, left to right. The illustrations follow the text of the story which builds strong reading comprehension.

Print Motivation and Narrative Skills

Kids always love to participate in a story. With the repetitive phrase: “I love my hair” it won’t take long for your reader to start repeating it with you. This develops narrative skills as well as print motivation. Both of these early literacy skills motivate kids to enjoy reading and understand what they read better.

Confidence and Self-Esteem

Books that focus on daily life and activities are always a crowd pleaser. The simple illustrations and following a girl through activities most kids are familiar with brings comfort and familiarity all the while teaching them new concepts and words. It still is hard to find books with protagonists of different cultures and backgrounds and I appreciate so much this is a confidence building and universal book that all children will relate to.

Take the Book Further

Build vocabulary while you have fun! Find new hairstyles on the internet or check out a book from the local library and play hair salon. Take turns being the client and beautician. Dig out aprons, hair curlers, brushes, bobby pins and more. Write out the names of the different tools and set the items on the paper.

Talk about what your child likes about herself. This book is all about being different and loving the differences. Start by telling him something you like about yourself. Write down his answer and the answers of the other people in your family and make a book. Another great way to increase vocabulary through conversation and narrative skills through descriptions.

Try Out These Other Confidence Boosting Books


What are your favorite books to read about self-esteem and confidence? Comment in the post to share book ideas!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Wet by Carey Sookocheff

Ages: Toddler-Early Preschool

Wet. Carey Sookocheff, Godwin Books: New York, 2017.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a picture it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale)

About this Book

A book all about the different ways we can feel wet. Either a day at the pool, rain, our goldfish, mopping floors, this book is a child-like exploration of the world of water.


The text in this book is very simple but there are plenty of opportunities to build vocabulary through the pictures. The author deepened the text on the page through the contextual pictures. Take a picture tour of the book before you begin reading. Look at the pages and point out different objects and name them. For example on the first page the boy is at a pool. Talk about the pool deck, the bench, the tile on the walls and the life preserver etc. Talking about the pictures in the book is as helpful as reading the text when we teach our children new words.

Phonological Awareness

Although this isn’t a rhyming or lyrical book, there are ways to help play with the sounds of the words so a child can hear the different syllables. For example in the line:

Sometimes I get wet

Very Slowly

Try drawing out the syllables for Ve rrryy Sloowwlly. Not only do you demonstrate the meaning through how you say it, reading at different speeds helps liven up a book.

Also there are a lot of great songs that would be a great supplement to the story.

Letter Knowledge and Narrative Skills

On each page help your child match the main idea of the picture with the text. For example as the boy goes down the slide. Point out the word slide. Talk about the letters you see that make up the word and then point out the slide. This also helps build reading comprehension by connecting the words on the page with the pictures that take the story a little further.

Print Awareness

Take time to show the different parts of the book. Using your finger highlight the title. How many letters are in the title? Who do you think the boy on the cover is hiding from? Show the end pages and the title page and as you flip through the pages ask questions about what you see. Have your child make predictions about what the book is about and what might happen.

Print Motivation

Many picture books have a story question and answer but this book explores a topic that your child is naturally curious about. Rain, pools, fish, cleaning all of these are connected through water! Your child’s natural curiosity will drive the interest in the book and help them think about a topic, like water, differently.

Experience the Book

Make a list of all the different ways a person can get wet. Write down what your child says in a list. This will not only build letter knowledge but also sequencing.

Take a favorite action figure that can get wet and a glass of water. Submerge the figure different ways like the boy in the book. How do you put the toy in water quickly or slowly. Is there an in between speed? Have fun with water play either in a bath or filling up the kitchen sink with water and some dish soap and let your child explore water with measuring cups, spoons, bowls, cups, funnels and whatever else you can find!

More Books about Exploration

Is anyone more curious than Curious George?


Happy Reading!

Book Review: If my love were a fire truck by Luke Reynolds

Ages: 2-5

If my love were a fire truck: a daddy’s love song. Luke Reynolds. Illustrated by Jeff Mack. Doubleday Books for Young Readers: New York, 2017.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click a picture, it takes you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale)

What the Book is About

A book celebrating the love between a father and son through bright pictures and a rhythmic text.

Before you start the book

Look at the front and back cover. Point out the title while you say it. Show your child the author and illustrator’s names. On the back cover make the onomatopoeia sounds. Ask your child what might make those sounds. (This will build Letter Knowledge and Print Awareness)

Look at the title page and ask what the child and Dad are doing and before you read, flip through the pages of the book and have the child think about what is happening. Is the child waking up or going to bed? Who drives a fire truck? Who do you think will win the race?

This encourages the child to engage with the book, building Print Motivation. Highlights unique vocabulary and demonstrates how books are read.

Phonological Awareness

This book has a strong rhythmic text which builds phonological awareness. The rhyming text helps kids hear the small parts of words which assists them as they become independent readers.

Take the last word on each page and make a list of rhyming words. Write them out in sidewalk chalk, dry erase board or a piece of paper so the child can connect the writing with the sounds. This will also strengthen letter awareness.

Pick a few words and clap out the syllables. Make a list of words that have one, two or three syllables. Can you find any with more than three? This is another way to highlight the sounds that make up each word, and the list making or sorting will aid Narrative Skills.

Narrative Skills

Make your own If my love were sentences. Think of activities both you and your child enjoy. Write them down and have your child illustrate.

Make a list of the different illustrations and whether they happen on land, in the sky or in the water. It not only helps your child orient the pictures, but it helps them think about the story in a different way which leads to strong reading comprehension.


Write down any words your child may not be as familiar with.

Or use this list:

  • rodeo
  • buck
  • bray
  • bound
  • shield
  • plain

Try to use these words throughout the day to help your child learn new words.

More stories about Dads

Book Review: Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus

Ages 2-5

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus. Dial Books for Young Readers: New York, 2017.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a picture it takes you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

What the Book is About

Beautiful prose and gorgeous illustrations weave together America’s story, its monuments and its flag. A land that is as diverse as the people who live here is highlighted in this book.

Print Awareness and Letter Knowledge

Start with the title page. Say the title and trace as you read it. Have the child count with you the number of words in the title?

Why do we trace the words on the page? It connects our youngest readers, not only with the letter shapes, but how we read a book. Left to right and down a page.

Look at the front cover. Ask if the people look the same. Point out glasses, hair color, clothes, skin color, etc.

Ask the child what she thinks all the people are watching. Then flip through the pages of the book and ask questions about the pictures. Have the child guess what the book is about.

Print Motivation

This can be used as a participation book. Read the first several pages or even one time through. Encourage the child to say with you the phrase, Blue Sky White Stars. Kids love to be a part of the story and participating helps them learn even more.

Phonological Awareness

Although homonyms and homophones might be too advanced to discover on their own, point out the letter differences and then say each word. The repetition will help your child hear each individual sound. Even if they don’t understand the concept of homonyms, these experiences with concepts as a young child will build a solid base for learning later in life.

Sing Yankee Doodle along with this video:

Or This little light of mine

or You’re a Grand Old Flag

Narrative Skills or Building Reading Comprehension

Ask questions about the book:

  1. What picture do you like best? Why? Is it the colors? Or the scene (what is happening on the page?)
  2. Have your child describe a picture and see if you can guess what it is. This encourages the child to look at the picture in details, deriving more context as well as trying out some new words.
  3. After a couple of read throughs, have the child “tell” the story from the pictures. You be the listener! Getting the right words isn’t important, but seeing whether the child comprehended what the essence of the story is.


For so little text, there are so many big words to use! The rich illustrations demonstrate how critical pictures are in early reading. It helps expand vocabulary as well as tell the story. As children age, they need pictures less and less. But these first years of listening, the power is often in the pictures.

Using the pictures make a list of words your child hasn’t heard often.

  1. Conestoga Wagon
  2. Pioneers
  3. The West
  4. Settlement
  5. Wagon Train
  6. Windmill
  7. Canyon
  8. Diverse
  9. Graduation
  10. Astronaut
  11. Proud
  12. Immigrant
  13. CitizenAmericanFlagStars and StripesAbraham LincolnCountry

After the Book

Find symbols of America using this picture book as a guide. One of the best parts of the book is how it celebrates the diversity of the american experience. Using newspapers and magazines, create a collage of our country. Label the pictures to reinforce letter awareness.


What did you try?

Tell us in the comments sections, what you tried. What worked and didn’t work? Any other ideas you used?

Happy Reading!