Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valentine Books and Activities



Why is Valentine's Day always the the craziest day of the year? 

Valentine's Day doesn't just have to be about making mailboxes, eating cookies and learning how to deliver letters. It's also a great time to teach little ones about love, compassion, kindness and friendship.

Clicking on the books will take you to the Amazon link--and purchasing from any Amazon link on this site will help support this blog! 


* see entire list of Books by Theme here.



Valentine Books with Questions, Activities and Lessons


Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

This is a great book to discuss what characteristics to look for in a friend. Join Mortimer on his quirky, ill-fated and hilarious quest to find a friend. He tries ballroom dancing, placing a personal ad and more.


Gross, putrid and warm-hearted, kids will love this silly story. And if they know the lyrics to The Pina Colada song, it's even funnier.




Possible activities:
  • Have each kid make a list of what makes them a good friend. (kind, friendly, likes to share, etc.)
  • Make a class list of qualities that make a good friend. (be sure to leave off characteristics like pretty, has lots of toys, etc.) 
  • Brainstorm ways to make new friends. This is a great time for the outgoing kids to help the shy kids who are always hanging out by the teachers at recess complaining that "no one will play with them." Make a class poster to display and refer to every time you hear that dreaded complaint.
  • For older kids: Create a personal ad for a new friend, including self portrait. Focus on shared interests rather than blanket qualities such as "nice" or "funny".
*Also look for the new sequel: Zombie in Love 2+1, out December 30, 2014






Mr. Prickles by Kara LaReau

Poor Mr. Prickles is having a tough time finding a friend. What kid can't relate to that? This adorable story focuses on the important parts of being a friend--it's what's on the inside, not the outside that matters.






Possible activities:
  • Expand your kids knowledge of emotions and feelings by making a class list, doing a shared writing or journal writing on having lots of different feelings. 
  • Turn this into a lesson about others feeling--you can even introduce the word "empathy". Mr. Prickles is teased in the story, and that should prompt the kids into thinking about themselves, and their friends being teased. Ask them how that feels, how their friends feel, what they can do to help, etc.
  • Thinking as authors and illustrators, have the kids focus in on the literary elements that make the story better and funnier. There are hilarious details in both the descriptions and illustrations.



The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
Mr. and Mrs. Bear have always slept through Valentine's Day. But this year, Mrs. Bear wants to celebrate. This book is an awesome way to reinforce calendar skills, as well as prompt discussion on winter animals and hibernation.






Questions for The Valentine Bears:
  1. When did the bears go to sleep? 
  2. How come the Bears had never celebrated Valentine’s Day before?
  3. Why did they sleep so long?
  4. What was on Mrs. Bear’s sign?
  5. What are Crispy Critters made with?
  6. What problem did Mrs. Bear have with Mr. Bear?
  7. Why was he so hard to wake up?
  8. Do you know anyone who has a hard time waking up?
  9. How did Mrs. Bear try to wake him up?
  10. What was Mrs. Bear’s Valentine’s Day gift?
  11. What happened at the end?







Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime by Barbara Park
Another funny Junie B. chapter book. This one has a mystery--who is Junie B.'s secret admirer? Fans of the previous books will be quite surprised at who it turns out to be. 





Questions for Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime:
  1. What word in the book does Junie B. keep saying the wrong way?
  2. What happens to Junie B. while she is making her valentine’s box?
  3. Do you think this was fair? Why or why not?
  4. Which animal card did Junie B. give to Meanie Jim? 
  5. Why did she pick that animal?
  6. Who gave Junie B. her Valentine’s Day outfit?
  7. Who passed out the Valentine’s to all the kids?
  8. Who is jealous of the mushy gushy valentine?
  9. What does jealous mean?
  10. Who gave Junie B. the mushy gushy Valentine?
  11. How did she feel when she found out who it was from?






A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger
*just released December 16, 2014

I love this new release from the author of Crankenstein because it's perfect for young children who are excited about Valentine's Day, but not comfortable "loving" their friends. The theme of this book is that Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about love--it's about friendship. What a great book to start a conversation with your class.



More Valentine’s Activities:

Free Valentine Coloring Pages: 
TIP: I prefer to right click on the image, copying it, and pasting it to a blank page. You can make the image larger that way, and cut out all the adds, and extra text that often shows up along the edges. 


A Few of My Favorite Valentines Day Books:


The Berenstain Bears Valentine Party by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Unlucky in Love by Charles Schultz
Be My Valentine Charlie Brown by Charles Schultz
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bons
Grover, Messenger of Love by Joseph Ewers
Mr. Prickles by Kara LaReau
Snowy Valentine by David Peterson
The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio



Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink
Grover: Messenger of Love

Snowy Valentine
The Biggest Valentine Ever
Happy Valentine's Day Curious George
The Berenstain Bears Valentine Party
A Charlie Brown Valentines

                   














The Day it Rained Hearts























































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