Marvelous May Read Alouds

Looking for some great read alouds for the month of May?  Here they are.

May themed picture books

May is a marvelous month.  Spring has sprung.  The weather is warm, flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and we are looking forward to summer.  We have Mother’s to honor, teachers to appreciate, Cinco de Mayo to celebrate, and Memorial Day to remember.  Here are some wonderful May read alouds that will compliment all these events and more.  For ways to make your read alouds amazing, visit 3 Steps to Create Meaningful Experiences Through Read Aloud.

woman holding the book planting a rainbow

Teacher Appreciation Week

The first full week in May is Teacher Appreciation Week.  Why not read your class a fun book guaranteed to make them appreciate their teacher?

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall: This classic, funny story is about the sweet and loving Miss Nelson, who decides to teach her misbehaving (naughty) class a lesson.  She disappears and is replaced by the mysterious and mean Miss Viola Swamp. This strict substitute not only restores order, but also a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the class’s teacher, Miss Nelson. 

April Showers Bring May Flowers

May is the season of flowers, so why not enjoy some great flower picture books.

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert: The story begins with “Every year mom and I plant a rainbow.” The rainbow is a magnificent flower garden.  The details are in the planting, nurturing and enjoying of this rainbow garden.  Each color is represented by several varieties of flowers. The beautiful illustrations are colorful cut paper collages.  

The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller: With bright, beautiful illustrations and rhyming text, this book explains the reason for a flower. Spoiler alert: the reason for a flower is to make seeds. This book also teaches us about the different parts of plants, and we learn a lot about seeds.

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting; illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt: In this beautiful book we see how a young girl and her father create an urban flower garden for her mother’s birthday gift. With simple text, the detailed pictures do most of the talking. We get to experience how people who live in an urban setting travel by bus, shop for gardening supplies, carry their purchases up the stairs to their apartment, and create a wonderful window flower box. We also feel everyone’s delight when mom receives her gift.

Cinco de Mayo

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is a wonderful way to honor Mexican culture.

Marco’s Cinco de Mayo by Lisa Bullard, illustrated by Holli Conger: Marco is going to perform a traditional Mexican dance for Cinco de Mayo, and he is nervous.  With a little encouragement from his cousin Diego, Marco dances beautifully.  Through Marco and Diego, we learn the history and traditions of this festive holiday.

Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Paulette Bogan: This book is not about Cinco de Mayo.  It’s about farm animals eating Mexican food. Yum!  In this hilarious book, the resourceful Rooster, tired of the usual chicken feed, develops a plan to create the culinary masterpiece we call chips and salsa.  Delicious!  Of course, the rest of the farm animals are so inspired by what Rooster has done, they make their own Mexican food…guacamole, nachos, yummy!   So, if you happen to eat chips and salsa on Cinco de Mayo, be sure to read Chicks and Salsa.  You won’t be disappointed. 

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May, and the bookstores are full of wonderful picture books you could use for this special holiday.  Here are some of our favorites.  For more Mother’s Day resources along with some adorable crafts, read Classroom Activities for Mother’s Day.

Love You Forever written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw: Sweet and humorous, this is my favorite Mother’s Day book.  Good luck reading it without tears.  It’s that sweet.  No matter his age, size or crazy phase, this mother is determined to let him know just how much she cares, by rocking and singing to him while he sleeps. 

What not to Give your Mother on Mother’s Day by Martha Simpson is a silly story that will be sure to have your kids laughing.  This book is about things you shouldn’t give your mom unless she is a… bird, dog, spider…

I Sang you Down from the Stars by Tosha Spillett-Sumner is a beautiful story about a new mother to be.  It is full of gorgeous Native cultural details and illustrations.  Beautifully illustrated by Michaela Goade, first indigenous illustrator to win the Caldecott medal.  I highly recommend adding this book to your library.

Memorial Day

Observed on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is a day for honoring those who have died while serving in the armed forces.

Memorial Day by Clara Cella: This nonfiction book explains Memorial Day in a way that young children can understand.  Beautiful photographs make this book perfect for teaching why we celebrate Memorial Day.

Author Studies

May is a great time for an author study.  The following award-winning authors are sure to inspire your children to create their own beautiful books.

Eric Carle

Eric Carle’s dazzling tissue paper collage illustrations and simple text make him a favorite.  

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: In this Eric Carle classic, an adorable and very hungry caterpillar eats his way through all kinds of colorful food before finally becoming a beautiful butterfly. 

The Mixed-Up Chameleon: This witty tale has a heartwarming message- Be yourself.  The chameleon is bored with himself and wishes to be like every animal he sees at the zoo.  His wish comes true with comical consequences.  Not to worry, the chameleon wishes to be himself again and all is well.

We also have some fun activities for The Mixed Up Chameleon. 

Leo Lionni

With charming stories and lovable characters Leo Lionni spreads life lessons, that we can all learn from.

A Color of His Own:  Here is another chameleon story with a heartwarming message.  In Leo Lionni’s book the chameleon desperately wants a color of his own.  No matter how hard he tries to stay just one color, he still changes.  Fortunately, the chameleon finds a friend, and realizes that having a companion is more important than having a color of his own.

Frederick: I love this story about Frederick, the little mouse who gathers vibrant images and poetic words to share with his friends during the cold winter. 

Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

When Janet Stevens and her sister Susan Stevens Crummel collaborate on a book the results are simply splendid.  These books are delightfully funny with clever plots. 

My Big Dog: When a new dog comes home, Merle is not happy.  Merle is a cat, a very special cat. The dog however. simply adores Merle. Funny, sweet and beautifully illustrated, this book shows us how something as annoying as a big drooling dog can become a lifelong friend.

The Great Fuzz Frenzy: In this hilarious book, a tennis ball is dropped into a prairie dog hole.  The prairie dogs go wild!  Imagine what these puppies can do with all that florescent green fuzz.  It’s fuzztastic!  It even has a great message about what is really important. 

3 Steps to Create Meaningful Experiences Through Read Aloud

A great read aloud is when you not only read and discuss the book but also add a fun activity designed specifically for the book you have chosen.  Visit 3 Steps to Create Meaningful Experiences Through Read Aloud for some adorable crafts that compliment many of the books in this blog.

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