Picture Book Pair for a Fun Fall Story Time

by Rebecca J. Gomez Pairing two or more picture books with similar themes can open up a world of discussion possibilities, and those discussions are great ways to connect with your children or students. It can be fascinating to see how different authors and illustrators approach different topics and themes. Pairing books with similar themes during story time will help children learn that everyone sees the world a little differently, and it's good to see other people's perspectives. Read : Leaves by David Ezra Stein and The Leaf Thief by Alice Hemming, illustrated by Nicola Slater Discuss :  What is the main theme in each of these stories? How are these two books different? How are they similar? What were Bear and Squirrel both confused about?  Have you ever been confused or curious about something in nature? Talk about it! What is fall like where you live? Do you see leaves changing, then falling from the trees?  What other books about fall or leaves have you read? Are any of


Review by Mindy

Activity by Rebecca 

Ever had a not-so-perfect vacation, yet it turns out to be the one you talk about the most? I found a book you will love! It's called Raj and the Best Vacation Ever! by Sebastien Braun.

Raj and his dad go camping, but they are newbies. Of course they end up camping next to a Bear family of camping pros! What does it take to get Raj's dad to accept a little help so that this disaster of a trip turns into the best? So many family memories flooded my mind as I read this book, especially of several not-so-perfect campouts. You never know what you don't know...until you try things for the first time. Especially camping!

After reading, discuss the book, and then take the fun further by having a Camp at Home Night!

Potential questions:

  • Why didn't Raj's dad want to ask for help?
  • Did he need help?
  • How might the story have been different if he had accepted help from the Bear family sooner?
  • Is it hard for you to ask for help?
  • What is something you need help doing, and who can you ask to help you?
  • Have you ever been camping? If not, would you like to?
Are you ready to try a camp-out of your own? Whether you are new at camping or a seasoned pro, a Camp at Home Night could be a fun way to mix up your summer routine and spend some quality time together as a family. For extra fun, invite some friends to join you! And don’t forget the bug spray.

Follow this Camp at Home agenda or make up your own.

Pitch a tent! You can put up an actual tent in the back yard or family room. Or challenge the kids to pitch a blanket tent of their own. See the end of this post for some blanket tent construction tips.

Dinnertime: Fire up the grill! Burgers and hot dogs are a classic choice. If you have a fire pit, a weeny roast would be fun. Be sure to have a salad or some grilled corn on the cob on the side. And don’t forget the watermelon.

After dinner activity options:
  • Grab a frisbee or football and engage the group in a game of catch.
  • Have a water gun or water balloon battle.
  • Take a hike.
  • As twilight sets in, be on the watch for fireflies if you have them in your area.
  • Do some star gazing.
Campfire time: Get back to the grill or light up the firepit and toast some marshmallows. Eat them right off the stick or use them to make s’mores. When you’re done, how about a sing-a-long?

Top off the evening by telling stories around the fire. No fire? No problem. Sit on the porch or the deck or on a blanket in the yard. 

Don’t let the weather ruin your camp night. Too hot? Too rainy? Bring the fun indoors. You may want to forgo the water games, though.

Tips for Building a Blanket Tent
  • Use a large blanket for the main “roof” of the tent. A lightweight quilt could work well.
  • The back of the couch or a sturdy chair is a good place to anchor a blanket. In the blanket tent pictured below, we used the treadmill.
  • A table or sturdy shelf can work well too. Use books or other items to hold the blankets in place.
  • When all else fails, try clips or ties to hold the blanket in place.
  • Once you have a stable roof, drape lighter weight blankets along the sides to close it in. Layering the blankets can help hold everything together.
  • Add some cushions and flashlights to the inside, and you’re done!
  • Be careful not to pull the blankets down while you’re inside.