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Valentines and Groundhogs

My mind started running full speed in five different directions when I sat down to write today. When I think about February, I think of so many things…Valentine’s Day first of all, Presidents’ Day, Groundhog Day, and even the 100th Day of School! So I decided to reign myself in and begin by covering the first half of February. The rest will come next time, don’t worry.

First let’s start with Groundhog Day, February 2. Here in New Jersey, we all sit around and watch to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow early in the morning. It is rather strange if you really think about it, but yet another thing that kids get excited about. I think adults secretly do too! I hope you enjoy the few book picks I have to recognize this tradition with your kids.

Love is in the air, and hearts and cupids adorn classrooms, storefronts, and homes. Valentine’s Day is just another reason to celebrate for kids. They love eating chocolate and candy and handing out valentines featuring their favorite characters. Here are some great Valentine’s Day books to share the love with your children.

The 100th Day of School, celebrated mostly by younger elementary-school students, comes at different times for everyone, but it is generally in February. All sorts of fun activities are centered around the number 100 in school all day in my school. The kids wear the number, count all different ways, and even bring in 100 of their favorite little things and create art with them. What a fun way to incorporate math into the classroom. The 100th day was not forgotten in this list.

Young Readers
Groundhog Day

Young readers love books about animals, and these groundhog books will be no different. Ten Grouchy Groundhogs (parents | teachers) by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook is a great spin on a counting book. Ten groundhogs are ready for spring, and each takes a turn coming out of the den to see if it has arrived. Young readers will love the rhyming text and the predictable pattern that will help them read along. Another great Groundhog Day choice is Fluffy Meets the Groundhog (parents | teachers) by Kate McMullan. The class in the story doesn’t have a groundhog, but they do have a guinea pig that looks like a groundhog. So they try to see if that will work to predict when spring will come. Their guinea pig ends up on a scary and fun adventure that may end up saving Groundhog Day.

Valentine’s Day:

One Heart (parents | teachers) by Maryann Cocca-Leffler is another fun counting book for young readers. My daughter can never get enough of counting and reading about numbers, so this one will surely be on our “to read” list on Valentine’s Day.

Chapter-Book Readers

Can anyone tell yet that I love the Ready, Freddy! book series? It must be because the author, Abby Klein, is a teacher and has a really good perspective on how kids think, act, and feel. The Ready, Freddy! Spring Chapter Book ePack (parents | teachers) covers it all: Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, and the 100th Day of School. This offers great bang for your buck and includes Good Morning, Groundhog!; Super-Secret Valentine; and The One Hundredth Day of School! Cover all three “holidays” in one shot, and your kids will love Freddy, if they don’t know about him already.

Another fun Valentine’s Day book is Sunny Holiday #2: Sweet and Sunny (parents | teachers) by Coleen Paratore. Sunny Holiday is a bright and cheery character who has a lot to share with others. Kids might come across some adults who aren’t so cheery about Valentine’s Day, and can relate to Sunny, who helps cheer them up.

Advanced Readers

Finally, some books for the older readers. Adults aren’t the only ones who sometimes have a hard time with Valentine’s Day. Young adults have their own set of tribulations to deal with as well. Here are some tastefully crafted choices that center around real middle-school and high-school Valentine’s Day dilemmas. In Be Mine (parents | teachers) by Sabrina James, Jennifer’s high school is sponsoring a “Most Romantic Couple” contest. She isn’t going to let the fact that she doesn’t have a boyfriend ruin her chances of winning. Add a little humor to the day with this creative story.

Candy Apple: Totally Crushed (parents | teachers) by Eliza Willard reminds me so much of my middle-school and high-school experience. Students were able to send secret valentine carnations to anyone in the school, and they would be delivered during first period. What a thrill to have a carnation brought to your class! Well, Annabel, the main character, finds a carnation left by her locker, but it ends up being from her best guy friend who she doesn’t think of that way, but her best friend Phoebe has a crush on! Did you follow that? Well, it isn’t a good thing. (And your middle-school/high-school reader will definitely follow that scenario.) I am sure they will love to find out how Annabel handles this sticky situation.

Finally, Candy Apple: The Sweetheart Deal (parents | teachers) by Holly Kowitt is another example of the Valentine’s Day drama that young adults may face today. Skyler wants to make over Nathan to be less geeky before the Valentine’s Day dance. Advanced readers will really enjoy this book during the Valentine’s Day season.

So there you have it. A chunk of February covered with literature from Storia. We can cover the rest of this busy month next time. I hope you and your child grab some delicious Valentine’s Day chocolate and enjoy a story together.

Happy eReading!

About Storia:

Storia is the new free eReading app from Scholastic. Learn more (parents | teachers) about Storia and download (parents | teachers) to get 5 FREE eBooks with your download. If you already have Storia and want to grow your eLibrary just visit their eBook store (parents | teachers) to shop for more eBooks. Happy Reading!

About Laura Murray:

Laura Murray is a fourth-grade teacher in Paramus, New Jersey. This is her second year using Storia in her classroom and at home with her daughter, and she loves it! We hope you join in with comments about her ideas for using Storia with your children.

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February 5, 2013