phd mama

from diapers to deconstruction


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The Bees’ Reads

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While a severe bee allergy in our family prevented us from visiting a hive, we wanted to learn more about these amazing pollinators. From the sources below, we learned about their jobs and habits, as well as how their roles change throughout their lives. We studied bees dancing and took more notice of these essential creatures as they fly across our yard and garden. With National Pollinator Week approaching, I’m grateful for the knowledge we’ve gained about bees, the important role they play in our ecosystem, and the chance to spread the word!

  1. Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries
  2. Bee Dance by Rick Churstowski
  3. Bee & Me by Elle J. McGuiness and Heather Brown
  4. Bees! By Elizabeth Winchester
  5. The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
  6. Watch The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about That: Things with Wings
  7. Watch Insect by DK Eyewitness
  8. Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber and Brian Velock
  9. The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons
  10. In the Trees, Honey Bees by Lori Mortensen and Cris Arbo
  11. The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci
  12. The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
  13. National Geographic’s Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs by Catherine D. Hughes
  14. Investigate Pollinator Partnership
  15. Investigate Pollinators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  16. Show Me the Honey By Tish Rabe and Christopher Moroney
  17. These Bees Count! by Alison Formento and Sarah Snow
  18. What If There Were No Bees? A Book About the Grassland Ecosystem by Suzanne Slade and Carol Schwartz

 

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Plant Reads, No Green Thumb Required

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By now the bunnies have eaten most of our kale; clearly, we do not have a rabbit-proof fence. But even the process of failing to garden teaches us a lot about gardening. In addition to reading and watching the items on this list, we’ve spent a lot of time in the dirt, befriending the worms and dropping in seeds with a hope and a prayer. It’s clear to my children that my father has a green thumb and I do not, yet we’re persevering with patience. We made terrariums to observe the water cycle and started some of our seedlings safely indoors. These resources helped us appreciate the process of gardening and understand the earth as the source of our food. And, hey, there’s still hope for the squash….

  1. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
  2. Watch DK Eyewitness Plant
  3. From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
  4. How a Seed Grows by Helene Jordan and Loretta Krupinski
  5. Jack and the Beanstalk by Paul Galdone
  6. The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book about How Living Things Grow by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
  7. Oh Say Can You Seed? All About Flowering Plants by Bonnie Worth and Aristides Ruiz
  8. The Plant Hunters by Anita Silvey
  9. Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
  10. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
  11. Seed to Plant by Kristin Baird Rattini
  12. Watch Dinosaur Train’s Tiny’s Garden
  13. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  14. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal


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A Sap for a Story

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After years of trying to coordinate a trip to one of our local maple syrup houses, my family finally made it this year to an event for NY’s Maple Weekend. I expected an afternoon of tromping through snow and tapping trees, but our experience was much sleeker and more sophisticated than that (you can read about that visit here). We decided to extend our field trip with large bottles of maple syrup and lots of library books about the history and process of sugaring. This list reflects the old-fashioned methods I’d imagined as well as more modern processes, and, of course, some stories that are just about sticky fun. These books aren’t quite as delicious as syrup-soaked pancakes, but they’re all good reads.

  1. From Maple Tree to Syrup by Melanie Mitchell
  2. At Grandpa’s Sugar Bush by Margaret Carney and Janet Wilson
  3. If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
  4. Maple Moon by Connie Brummel Crook
  5. The Maple Syrup Book by Marilyn Linton
  6. Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell
  7. From Maple Trees to Maple Syrup by Kristin Thoennes Keller
  8. The Missing Maple Syrup Sap Mystery: Or, How Maple Syrup Is Made by Gail Gibbons
  9. Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter
  10. Sugar Snow by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Doris Ettlinger
  11. Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall and Jim Daly
  12. Sugaring by Jessie Haas
  13. The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London and Gilles Pelletier
  14. Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky and Chrisopher Knight
  15. A Tree for All Seasons by Robin Bernard


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Butterfly Books

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Tomorrow might be the first day of spring, but this winter is unrelenting. One sure sign of the seasonal shift, though, is the monarch migration—and they’re already on the move! We’ve been learning about monarchs’ amazing inter-generational journey as we studied butterflies of all sorts. These beauties have inspired artists, writers, and scientists for centuries with their incredible feats of metamorphosis. So flit through this list, which includes fiction as well as non-fiction, and transform your reading with these bedazzling bugs.

  1. The Beautiful Butterfly: A Folktale from Spain by Judy Sierra and Victoria Chess
  2. Watch BBC Nature’s Monarch Butterfly
  3. Watch Butterfly & Moth by DK Eyewitness
  4. A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
  5. A Blue Butterfly: A Story about Claude Monet by Bijou Le Tord
  6. The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell B. Sandved
  7. The Butterfly Alphabet Book by Brian Cassie and Jerry Pallotta
  8. Butterfly House by Eve Bunting and Greg Shed
  9. Caterpillar to Butterfly by Laura Marsh
  10. From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman and Bari Weissman
  11. How to Hide a Butterfly & Other Insects by Ruth Heller
  12. Hurry and the Monarch by Antoine Ó Flatharta and Meilo So
  13. Track Monarch Migration with Journey North
  14. Color with Crayola’s “Make Your Own Color Code” Butterfly
  15. Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost and Leonid Gore
  16. Monarch Butterfly of Aster Way by Elizabeth Ring and Katie Lee
  17. My, Oh My—a Butterfly! All about Butterflies by Tish Rabe, Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu
  18. Watch National Geographic’s Monarch Butterfly
  19. Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak
  20. Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle and Julie Paschkis
  21. Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
  22. Where Butterflies Grow by Joanne Ryder and Lynne Cherry


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Winter Reads

Winter

(This image is actually mine; they’re from Walk with Me Photography unless otherwise noted).

Nothing says joy like children in the snow–tasting fresh flakes, building forts and snowballs and snowmen, flopping to the ground to carve out angels. But when their fingers get too chilly, head inside for a cup of cocoa and some great stories that celebrate the season. Here are 10 (well, technically 11) of my favorites, with each one highlighting the beauty of winter in all that we can do and see; there’s even a little mystery underneath that pristine white blanket.

  1. Bear Snores On, written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman: a rhyming story about a hibernating bear and the festive friends who awaken him from his seasonal slumber
  2. Down the Hill,” from Frog and Toad All Year, written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel; a misadventure for friends Frog and Toad, where Toad learns that bed really is the best
  3. Dream Snow, written and illustrated by Eric Carle; Carle’s signature collage style takes a holiday twist as a farmer gets his white Christmas
  4. The Mitten, written and illustrated by Jan Brett; a Ukranian folktale about love, sharing, and staying warm
  5. No Two Alike, written and illustrated by Keith Baker; as unique as snowflakes, and the other wintery standouts illustrated in Baker’s tale
  6. Over and Under the Snow, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal; shows the two different worlds separated by that fluffy frozen stuff
  7. Owl Moon, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoehnerr; a journey into the night woods and a quiet quest to see an owl
  8. A Perfect Day, written and illustrated by Carin Berger; the snow day of every child’s dreams, packed with playful delights and charming scenes
  9. Red Sled, written and illustrated by Lita Judge; hear the sounds of a red sled come to life as animals and its owner put it through its paces
  10. Winter Days in the Big Woods and Winter on the Farm, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and illustrated by Renee Graef; discover the simple care, love, and joy of two 19th-century American families working their way through winter

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