Book and Gift Pairings for the Holidays

Books make great gifts any time of year. But what's even better? Books paired with a items meant to extend the enjoyment of the story! This Read, Discuss, Do! Gift Guide pairs some of our favorite books with other gifts meant to help extend the fun of the story beyond the last page and maybe even encourage some new experiences. We hope you find some good ideas for readers and doers in your life on this list. For Babies and Toddlers Hey, Bruce! by Ryan T. Higgins. Pair this super fun (and funny) interactive picture book with a black bear plush, such as this First and Main 10-inch Bear .  Stomp, Wiggle, Clap, and Tap: My First Book of Dance  by Rachel Burk and illustrated by Alyssa De Asis, a book that encourages imaginative play. Pair this book with a musical gift such as a music box or instrument. Or maybe a dance costume! More books for active babies and toddlers For Little Makers The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty and illustrated by Kristyna Litten will be a sure hit with lit

THE WATER PRINCESS: A Read, Discuss Do Activity and Game

Submitted by Mindy Baker

The Water Princess, written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, is a picture book that is based on the life of a little girl from Burkina Faso named Georgie Badiel who must walk miles each day to collect water and carry it back to her home in a jar on her head. I think you will enjoy reading this beautifully written book aloud with your child, and it is a perfect springboard into a discussion about the global issues of water contamination and scarcity of clean drinking water. Comparing and contrasting our lives with others around the world can awaken new understandings for both children and adults alike. 

READ:  The Water Princess by Susan Verde



  1. Do you know where Burkina Faso is on the map? (Find it together)

  2. What are some things that you use water for each day?

  3. What are some other important uses for water?

  4. How much water do you think your family uses in one day? 

  5. Why is it important that the water you drink is clean?

  6. What does Princess Gie Gie’s mom do to make sure their water is clean? What are some other ways that you can purify water?

  7. What is the longest distance you have ever walked? How would you feel if you had to walk 4 miles to get water? (Depending on the age of your children, you could try to walk a mile)

  8. Have you ever felt thankful for clean water? Are you thankful for clean water now after reading about the situation in Burkina Faso?



Activity #1

Experiment with different materials to create the best water filter. 


Materials needed:

  • Sample of pond water 

  • Colander, funnels, cups, buckets

  • Coffee filter, tissue paper, paper towel, old pillowcase


  1. Let your child take the lead in thinking through the design of your filter. 


  1. What did you discover? Which materials did the best job?


Activity #2

Water Transfer Relay


Materials needed:

  • Two buckets (per team)

  • One plastic cup (per team)

  • Water

  • The backyard on a hot, summer day


Set up:

For each team, fill one bucket up with water (the same amount for each team). Place the second bucket across the yard a designated distance away. Each team uses the cup to transfer the water from one bucket to the other. On your turn, dip your cup into the water and place it on your head. Try to walk or run with it on your head (without holding it with your hands) to the other bucket and pour the water into that bucket. If you spill the water, it is automatically the next player’s turn. After your turn, run back and give the cup to the next player. Repeat, taking turns, until all the water from one bucket is either spilled, or in the other bucket. The winner is the first team to have transferred all of their water into the second bucket. (You can also judge it on which team has managed to get the most water into the second bucket)