Hopefully you can find most of these at your local library or free on the internet, but if not, you can support this CM in the Bluegrass community by purchasing books using the links at the right of the page.
Year 0 to Year 2
Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess (free download). Read one chapter a week, which will introduce your child to 1 or 2 birds a week. This wonderful book will transform your child into a lifelong bird-watcher, as it teaches all about each bird’s personality, physical characteristics, nesting habits, call, migration, etc in the context of highly entertaining tales of Jenny Wren and her orchard. I highly recommend that this book be part of your curriculum as soon as possible – my 4yo learned 42 bird species by sight in one year.
Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton Burgess (free download). I recommend this book to be read after the Burgess Bird Book; this book will take one school year if you read about a chapter per week.
Among the Farmyard People by Claire Dillingham Pierson (free download) We loved, loved, loved this book. What a wonderful introduction to each farm animal and their characteristics. If you can arrange to visit a working farm after reading this book, you will be amazed how these “characters” come to life in the farmyard!
Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre. All of Sayre’s books can be read in a week or two, 1 or 2 pages a day.
Stars Beneath Your Bed by April Pulley Sayre
The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre
The Hungry Hummingbird by April Pulley Sayre
Army Ant Parade by April Pulley Sayre
Winter’s Tail by Juliana Hatkoff. We read this over 3 weeks, about 1-1.5 pgs a day. When you’re done with the book, watch “A Dolphin Tale” with the family and discuss how the book is different.
Looking for Miza by Juliana Hatkoff
Magic and the Night River by Eve Bunting. This book describes the ancient tradition (still practiced) of Japanese night fishing using cormorants. A good reader for 1st/2nd grade level.
John James Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier by Jennifer Armstrong. Wonderful book.
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin This is a precious and fascinating book about Wilson Bentley, the first photographer to capture a single snow crystal on film in 1885. After reading this book, go watch the short documentary on Bentley’s life, available on Youtube.
Year 3 to Year 5
The Wright Brothers by Quentin Reynolds After reading the book (don’t be tempted to watch it early!), go watch the videos of Wilbur and Orville with the third version of their flyer (aeroplane) on Youtube. This book teaches the concepts of wind resistance, friction, gliding, and air currents, as well as the parts of a bicycle, sled, glider, and airplane. But more importantly, it describes the intimate friendship of these two brothers and their sister, mother and father. This book is as good a lesson in citizenship as it is in science. If you have two children close in age, take this opportunity to discuss the value of teamwork, encouragement and unconditional love.
Thor Heyerdahl, Viking Scientist by Wyatt Blassingame This is a great book about ocean currents, trade winds, human migration patterns, ocean pollution, ancient/boat raft construction – all in the context of Heyerdahl’s exciting trip from Peru to Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands. This book will take about 10-12 wks to read when read at a rate of a chapter a week. When you are finished reading, go watch the Oscar-winning documentary (free on Youtube) called Kon Tiki, directed by Thor himself. The documentary will be much more meaningful if your kids know what to look for!
The Story Book of Science by Jean-Henri Fabre (free download) This book contains more advanced language and therefore is a good book for 4th or 5th grade. Some of the info is outdated as more modern machinery has replaced what was used at the time the book was written. However, the book does an excellent job of describing population control in the animal kingdom, types and uses of fibers, etc.
I Am Joe’s Body by J.D. Ratcliff (free download)This book is a great read. It makes learning about each part of the body really easy and interesting. It does come from an evolutionary standpoint, but I found that reading ahead a few sentences gave me time to edit those parts. My older child knows the basics of the theory of evolution but my younger doesn’t, and it’s not yet the time to address these questions. If you can print out black/white pictures of each body part and have your child label them and glue them to a large trace/cutout of their own body, that is even more fun!