It is amazing the things you can learn from a picture book. I must confess to learning nearly as much as the kids. Lately we've been getting a lot of math and history picture books out. Here are the ones that have passed the "Read it again!" test.
- Sir Cumference Series: Sam LOVES these! I don't worry about teaching the principles, I just let him soak it in, let his brain get used to hearing words like radius and diameter. We're laying down pathways here. Years later, when he comes across these ideas again, I hope they will seem familiar.
- The Chicken Problem: Vivian requests this one the most.
- Lemonade in Winter: Totally cute story, don't even notice you're learning about money.
- Math Fables: These are fun because they show how different combinations add up to the same number, but they do it in cute poems. The kids love them.
- How High Can a Dinosaur Count? Not just about dinosaurs! Each page is a clever math problem.
- Ten for Me: This is such a simple one, but the rhythm and the building just really appeals to Sam and Viv. I think the repetition helps them understand the concepts too.
I love picture books based on real events and people. There are really too many favorites to list here, but I'll mention a few. The thing is, a story is a story, and I figure if we're going to be checking out huge stacks of books from the library every week that we might as well be learning something, rather than just being entertained, though we check out plenty of just-for-fun books too.
- Big Wig: A Little History of Hair: Adults will love this one; it's so fascinating-- and weird!
- Jazz Age Josephine: I adore this one. The rhythm is fantastic for reading out loud and gives such a great feel for the era.
- Different Like Coco: A very fun "be true to you" kind of message.
- The Camping Trip that Changed America: About John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt.
- The Declaration of Independence: It's just the declaration, illustrated. The actual, real words-- and it's awesome! It had been quite awhile since I'd read it and I found it fascinating. And because of the illustrations, both the kids sat through the whole reading.
- The Worst of Friends : a great story about friendship and the founding of our country. (Those Rebels John and Tom is another great book about the dynamic duo.)
- What to Do About Alice: We loved this story about Roosevelt's spirited daughter Alice.
- Leonardo and the Flying Boy: Even though you only learn a few tidbits about the artist's life, I think it's great to introduce kids to important figures early on. It gives them a mental peg to hang more info on as they encounter it later. Klimt and His Cat is another good one. And here's a whole series of artist picture books.
- A Boy Called Dickens: This is such a wonderful introduction to the author and the world that influenced his writing.
- Harlem's Little Blackbird: Visually graphic and compelling. You know it's good when your kid asks you to read the author's note in the back too:)
- Annie and Helen: I've always loved reading about Helen Keller and loved using this book to introduce her to my kids.
- Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books: It's great, how could it not be?