April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
William Shakespeare got it right with this line from Sonnet 98. With life returning from the winter, our hope springs forth as well! This month we get to celebrate religious holidays like Easter, Passover, and Ramadan, along with Earth Day and National Poetry Month.
We hope you enjoy these book recommendations from American Heritage School Worldwide. Please leave us a comment with one of your family’s favorite April books. We’d love to hear from you!
(Books listed include links and summary from Amazon)
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
This wondrous tale of the velveteen rabbit has delighted readers of all ages with its story of transformation and redemption through a child’s unwavering love.
At first a brand-new toy, now a threadbare and discarded nursery relic, the velveteen rabbit is saved from peril by a magic fairy who whisks him away to the idyllic world of Rabbitland. There, he becomes “”Real,”” a cherished childhood companion who will be loved for eternity.
A Christ-Centered Easter by Emily Belle Freeman
Using illustrations and age-appropriate text, this children’s edition features passages of scripture along with original text to tell the Easter story and provides ideas for family traditions that young children can understand to make the holiday more Christ-centered. Each spread uses at least one person from the Easter story–including Simon, Joseph and Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and Thomas–to illustrate a theme.
Combining biblical text with a beautiful story line and wonderfully charming, full-color illustrations, this book will help make Christ the focus of your celebrations this year.
Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander
Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. In this Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner, stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.
Dogku by Andrew Clements
Wandering through the neighborhood in the early-morning hours, a stray pooch follows his nose to a back-porch door. After a bath and some table scraps from Mom, the dog meets three lovable kids. It’s all wags and wiggles until Dad has to decide if this stray pup can become the new family pet. Has Mooch finally found a home? Told entirely in haiku by master storyteller Andrew Clements, this delightful book is a clever fusion of poetry and puppy dog.
Animals, Animals by Eric Carle
Wilfred woke early. It was his birthday. He had lots of lovely presents, but the best one was a surprise… From leaping, flying fish to dancing butterflies, and camels that “trollop along,” Eric Carle‘s brilliant and colorful collage designs bring to life animal poems from such diverse sources as Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Emily Dickinson, and Jack Prelutsky, as well as Bible verses, Japanese haiku, American Indian poems and more. This celebration of the wonder and variety of earth’s animals is “joyous…a book to be shared”.
Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring by Kristin Blackwood
Ivy In Bloom captures the weariness of a young girl tired of a long winter. But then Spring comes when “March is out of breath snow melting to flowery waters and watery flowers spring rose from its wintry rest.” And Ivy’s “heart dances with daffodils.” As these words also dance across each spread, Ivy’s world erupts into a riot of color. Ivy In Bloom introduces the poetry of Dickinson, Longfellow, Browning, Wordsworth, Frost and others. Excerpts from their writings, as seen through Ivy’s eyes, will open up poetry as a way for children to express their own feelings about the changing of seasons. This book includes longer excerpts and brief bios of each author.
The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems ed. by Paul B. Janeczko
Be they practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) or fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake), the poems in this book boast a flair and joy that you won’t find in any instruction manual. Poets from Kwame Alexander to Pat Mora to Allan Wolf share the way to play hard, to love nature, and to be grateful. Soft, evocative illustrations will encourage readers to look at the world with an eye to its countless possibilities.
Be A Tree by Maria Gianferrari
We are all like trees: our spines, trunks; our skin, bark; our hearts giving us strength and support, like heartwood. We are fueled by air and sun.
And, like humans, trees are social. They “talk” to spread information; they share food and resources. They shelter and take care of one another. They are stronger together.
In this gorgeous and poetic celebration of one of nature’s greatest creations, acclaimed author Maria Gianferrari and illustrator Felicita Sala both compare us to the beauty and majesty of trees—and gently share the ways in which trees can inspire us to be better people.
Thank You Earth: A Love Letter to our Planet by April Pulley Sayre
April Pulley Sayre, award-winning photographer and acclaimed author of more than sixty-five books, introduces concepts of science, nature, and language arts through stunning photographs and a poetic text structured as a simple thank-you note.
Touching on subjects from life cycles to weather, colors, shapes, and patterns, this is an ideal resource for science and language art curriculums and a terrific book for bedtime sharing. Thank You, Earth is a great choice for Earth Day celebrations, as well as family and group read-alouds.
Planting Stories by Pura Belpre
An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life.
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
In Over and Under the Pond, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the water is a hidden world of creatures—minnows darting, beavers diving, and tadpoles growing.
These secrets and many others are waiting to be discovered over and under the pond in this sweet children’s book from Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal, the latest in their beloved series that offers kids a peek into hidden ecosystems.
Rain, Rainbows, Spring
Rain by Robert Kalan
Blue sky. Yellow sun. White clouds. Then, suddenly, gray clouds. Gray sky. RAIN. Using bold graphics and few words, Rain explores concepts like weather, colors, and a changing landscape. It’s a book for very young readers to enjoy and learn from, rain or shine.
Rain Feet by Angela Johnson
A very young boy in a yellow slicker enjoys playing in the rain. “More evocative in [its] use of language than many other board books….Mitchell’s softly rendered watercolors…bring a loving family into clear focus.” – Publishers Weekly
Watersong by Tim McCanna
In glorious onomatopoeia, Tim McCanna takes the reader on a dazzling journey as a fox seeks shelter from a rainstorm. As the rain begins, a little fox seeks shelter. But then it builds and builds into to a torrential storm. Both a visual feast and a joy to read aloud, this stunning picture book showcases the power and beauty of nature.
Sometimes Rain by Diane Sudyka, Meg Fleming
Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, sometimes the sun shines, and sometimes the trees change color. But no matter what the seasons bring, there is lots of fun to be had! This lyrical exploration of the four seasons and all of the wonder that they bring is illustrated with vibrant watercolors.
Rain School by James Rumford
James Rumford, who lived in Chad as a Peace Corps volunteer, fills these pages with vibrant ink-and-pastel colors of Africa and the spare words of a poet to show how important learning is in a country where only a few children are able to go to school.
The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee, Nathalie Dion
When Sarah and her younger brother Charlie go to stay with their grandparents, it rains for days. At first, they have fun exploring inside the big, old house, but eventually they want to explore outside, too. “Where does the rain come from?” Sarah asks her grandfather, Big T. He promises to show her once it stops raining.
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Through brilliant, textured cut paper collages, the story follows the progress of a mother and daughter in their backyard as they plant bulbs, seeds, and seedlings and nurture their growth into flowers. Bold, spare text and dazzling illustrations will inspire readers to take a closer look at the natural world and maybe even start a garden of their own.
Quiet by Tomie dePaola
Everything is in such a hurry, busy as busy can be.
The birds are flying so fast, the dragonfly is zooming over the water—even the trees are waving their leaves.
So what if we sit here, you next to me…and we can just be?
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClosky
Mrs. Mallard was sure that the pond in the Boston Public Gardens would be a perfect place for her and her eight ducklings to live. The problem was how to get them there through the busy streets of Boston. But with a little help from the Boston police, Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack arrive safely at their new home.
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by James Herriot
Here we find all of his books for children collected in one beautiful volume. From the springtime frolic of Oscar, Cat-About-Town to the yuletide warmth of The Christmas Day Kitten, these stories―radiantly illustrated by Peter Barrett and Ruth Brown―are perennial favorites, and this new complete edition will make a wonderful gift for all readers, great and small. (Note: There are some animals who do not survive, so heads up if you have sensitive readers!)
The Story of the Easter Robin by Dandi Daley Mackall
In the center of the nest lay one perfect egg, the color of a spring sky. The father robin sat on a branch nearby, guarding his family. Tressa spotted raccoon tracks below and a blue jay eyeing the nest. “Gran, how are we going to keep the egg safe?”“We’ll have to leave that one to the Creator,” Gran said.Robins have built a nest on the window ledge at Grandmother’s house! Tressa is thrilled―and concerned. What will happen to the sky-blue egg laid by the mother robin? As more eggs appear, Tressa witnesses the daily drama of the robins’ nest and learns how God cares for all creatures.Besides watching the birds, there are Easter eggs to color. And there is a very special story to hear―a tale of long ago about one small bird with a very big heart. How did the robin get its red breast? Tressa is about to find out as Gran tells her the story of the Easter robin.Brought to life with colorful, tender illustrations, The Story of the Easter Robin will captivate and teach your child about compassion and faith.
The Peter Rabbit Collection by Beatrix Potter
Featuring all of the original illustrations by Beatrix Potter enhanced and re-formatted, follow the exciting adventures of Peter Rabbit and some of his most famous furry friends.
The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard
Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan this year. Her grandma tells her that fasting helps make a person sparkly―and Sophia loves sparkles. But when her attempt at fasting fails, Sophia must find another way to participate. This lovely multigenerational family story explores the many ways to take part in the Ramadan holiday.
Sammy Spider’s First Passover by Sylvia A. Rouss
As Sammy learns to spin, he gets involved in the Passover seder and plays an important role in the success of the holiday meal.