Although February is the shortest month of the year, it is anything but short on holidays and celebrations! With Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Mardi Gras, and Black History Month, there are so many fun and wonderful topics to teach. For each celebration there is a great picture book just waiting to be read to a class full of excited kids! To help, we have put together a list of our favorite February read alouds.
Groundhog Day Picture Books
This adorable holiday is a great time to talk about predictions, weather vs. seasons, and of course that cute and furry friend, the groundhog. Here are some of our favorite Groundhog Day picture books.
Groundhog Day by Gail Gibbons: If you are looking for a book to teach your kids all about Groundhog Day, this is the book for you. Along with colorful illustrations, this book is full of facts about how and where Groundhog Day is celebrated, the history of Groundhog Day, and the furry animal also known as a woodchuck.
Go to Sleep, Groundhog! By Judy Cox: Groundhog is having trouble sleeping. He tosses and turns and finally decides to take a few short walks. During his walks he sees things he has never seen before…jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, witches… This book is fun and great for making inferences. Why are there jack-o-lanterns and witches outside? Why hasn’t Groundhog ever experienced Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas? How long was Groundhog asleep? There is also an ‘About Groundhog Day’ page at the end of the book.
Groundhog’s Day Off by Robb Pearlman: In this adorable book, Groundhog is feeling unappreciated. He is always asked the same question… Is spring just around the corner or will there be 6 more weeks of winter? Nothing about himself or his life. So, Groundhog decides to take a vacation, leaving everyone in a frenzy trying to fill his place. Spoiler alert, the Townspeople realize how special Groundhog is, and he returns just in time to predict the weather.
Valentine's Day Read Alouds
There is no shortage of Valentine’s Day books. The following are a few of our favorites.
Love Is by Diane Adams: This short and sweet story is about a little girl and a duckling who discover what it means to love and care for each other. “Love is holding something fragile… noisy midnight feedings…Love is missing, reminiscing…understanding…” After reading this beautiful book, ask your students what love is to them.
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond: This whimsical book is about a girl named Cornelia Augusta and the day it rained hearts. Cornelia Augusta catches some of the hearts. Each heart is unique, so Cornelia carefully chooses which heart will be just right for each of her friends. After reading this book you could have your students write about what they would do if it rained hearts.
Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson: In this hilarious and lyrical book, a sweet admirer tries desperately to send a message to his sweetheart, Valentine (her name is Valentine). Unfortunately, his every attempt is foiled. The pictures help tell this adorable and hysterical story. Be sure to stop occasionally and discuss what is happening in the illustrations. This book can be sung to the tune of Oh My Darling, Clementine and is a fun read for kids of all ages!
P is for President by Wendy Cheyette Lewison: This book explains the job of the President in an engaging and kid-friendly way! It is packed full of presidential information, such as how one becomes President, the Presidents job, the importance of voting, and possibly the most important…the presidential pets! Did you know one President had a pet alligator? This book is a must have for all elementary classrooms!
Here are a few more favorites about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. All of these books cover complicated topics (the revolutionary war, the civil war…). With some guided discussion, all of these books are great for teaching about these founding fathers. I highly suggest you read these books before reading them to your students and add sticky notes with questions to help guide a class discussion and increase comprehension.
A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David A. Adler: This biography is full of information. I suggest stopping and discussing the book as you read it with your kids. There is a page near the end of the book that describes the shooting of the President by John Wilkes Booth. I have read this book in its entirety to my kindergartners, who were very engaged and asked some great questions.
Mardi Gras for Kids
Depending on the year, this colorful celebration can occur in February or March. If you are looking for some fun and kid friendly Mardi Gras activities and teacher approved videos, check out our blog, Mardi Gras for Kids. We also have a wonderful digital presentation complete with discussion questions, differentiated writing templates, a digital and printable easy reader, and more. This product is a fun and easy way to teach your kiddos all about Mardi Gras.
Here is a cute picture book to complement your Mardi Gras lesson.
100th Day of School
The 100th day of school usually arrives sometime in February. Full of excitement, celebrations, fun activities and of course, great read alouds, this is a big day in kindergarten and preschool. Here are some FUN books for this special day.
Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolf: Who doesn’t love Miss Bindergarten? She is the best teacher, ever! With a class full of adorable animal characters (alphabetically ordered), rhyming text, and loads of great ideas for the 100th day of school, this book is terrific! Just like Miss Bindergarten.
100th Day Worries by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Arthur Howard is a fun book your students can really relate to. It’s all about Jessica, who is a worrier. She is worried about finding 100 things to bring to school for the 100th day. Not to worry, Jessica’s family works together to help her. This book is especially fitting if you have your students bring in a collection of 100 items.
Black History Month
There are so many wonderful picture books that celebrate the accomplishments of many black Americans. These are just a few of our favorites.
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden: This is a must read for all elementary students. In this beautifully written and illustrated book set in South Carolina in the 1950s, nine-year-old Ron McNair loves reading books. He is a regular at the Lake City Public Library. Unfortunately, because of the color of his skin, Ron is only allowed to look through the books at the library. He is not allowed to own a library card. Today, Ron has decided he is going to take a stand. This book is an inspiring story based on an event in the life of Ron McNair, who grew up to be a scientist and an astronaut.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o: This is a beautiful story about a little girl who is struggling with the color of her skin. She wishes she had lighter skin, like her sister, mother and father. This story has a wonderful message, “Real beauty comes from your mind and your heart… It begins with how you see yourself, not how others see you.” There is also a lovely reading of this book by the author.
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters written by Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long: This book is not about President Obama; it is a letter to his daughters and all children, reminding us of the potential we have to do great things. It is a tribute to Americans like Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller and others, focusing on the traits that made them great. Barack Obama sees these traits in all children. With stunning illustrations and beautiful words, Of Thee I Sing is a wonderful addition to any classroom.
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