Archive for the ‘Hot Topic’ Category

Happy Hanukkah

Today is the first day of Hanukkah.
Enjoy these books with related teaching resources.

Our database has 40+ books with multiple book-related Hanukkah teaching links for elementary students.

Borrowed Hanukkah LatkesThe Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser
A young girl finds a way to include her elderly neighbor in her family’s Hanukkah celebration.
Reading Guide includes Jewish concepts from the book and activities. PJ Library




Chanukah Lights EverywhereChanukah Lights Everywhere by Michael J. Rosen
A young boy counts the candles on the family menorah and the lights he sees in the world around him on each night of Hanukkah.
Reading Guide includes Jewish concepts from the book and activities. PJ Library          




Hershel and the Hanukkah GoblinsHershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel
Relates how Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.
Activity Sheets Holiday House




Trees of the Dancing GoatsThe Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco (Gr. 1-5)
During a scarlet fever epidemic one winter in Michigan, a Jewish family helps make Christmas special for their sick neighbors by making their own Hanukkah miracle.
Lesson Plan includes activities for before and after reading. Scholastic



ZigazakZigazak! by Eric A. Kimmel
The rabbi of Brisk is able to teach the people of the town a lesson about good and evil when two devils arrive on Hanukkah night intent on causing mischief.
Reading Guide includes Jewish concepts from the book and activities. PJ Library


All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or Linda’s Links to Literature.


Read Full Post »

The Winter Solstice occurs on Thursday, December 21, 2012 when the Earth is tilted the farthest away from the sun. This results in a day with the fewest hours of daylight and the longest night. This day marks the official beginning of Winter.

Introduce this topic with your students using these books.


Winter Solstice Books


The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ted Lewin
One very long night, a crow, a moose, and a fox all claim they can bring back the sun, but the wind knows that only one little creature has what is needed to end the darkness.

The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards, illustrated by Kathleen Edwards
Includes twelve traditional tales—from North America, China, Scandinavia, India, Africa, South America, Europe, and Polynesia that celebrate the Winter Solstice.

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Jesse Reisch
Describes how and why daylight grows shorter as winter approaches, the effect of shorter days on animals and people, and how the winter solstice has been celebrated throughout history.

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis
Presents facts and folklore about the shortest day of the year, a day that has been filled with magic since ancient times.

Read Full Post »

October is National Pizza Month. Imagine getting a whole month to celebrate one of our favorite foods. According to pizza.com or Guinness World Records:

  • 94% of Americans eat pizza regularly.
  • Each person in America eats about 46 pizza slices a year.
  • Most pizzas made in one hour is 206.

Start the cross-curricular teaching unit with the poem A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutsky. Print out the activity worksheet with the words to the poem and listen to the poem sung by Jack Prelutsky.

Introduce some fun books with book-related teaching opportunities.
These are a few titles about pizza with book-related teaching links from our database. Search for the keyword: Pizza for additional titles.

  • Hi, Pizza Man! by Virginia Walter
    While a young girl waits for the delivery of a hot pizza, she provides the appropriate animal sounds for a variety of pretend animal pizza deliverers.
  • How Pizza Came to Queens by Dayal Kaur Khalsa
    An Italian visitor to Queens bemoans the unavailability of pizza until some thoughtful girls enable her to make some.
    Lesson Plan
    focuses on the use of the book with science and math to create a pizza. – Scholastic
  • Little Nino’s Pizzeria by Karen Barbour
    Tony loves helping his dad make pizza at their family restaurant until one day his dad decides to open a fancy new restaurant and everything changes.
    Teacher’s Guide
    – Reading Rainbow
  • The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges
    In this version of the traditional tale, the duck, the dog, and the cat refuse to help the Little Red Hen make a pizza but do get to participate when the time comes to eat it.
    Reader’s Theater
    Scroll down the page. – ACSU Literacy Place
  • Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig
    When Pete feels miserable because rain makes it impossible to play ball outdoors, his father finds a fun indoor game to play with his son.
  • Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington
    With vegetables from her own garden and other fresh ingredients, Sally mixes and bakes hot and bubbly pizzas for her customers to take home or eat in her pizzeria.
  • The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane Auch
    An out-of-work princess applies to become the bride of Prince Drupert, but first she must pass several tests, including a cooking contest.
    Activity Packet
    – Missouri Show Me Awards

There are additional book-related teaching resources for these books in the Linda’s Links to Literature database.

Other Teaching Resources

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.

Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or Linda’s Links to Literature.

Read Full Post »

I’ll be leaving for the Outer Banks in a few days. What better place to learn about the lawless pirates of the Atlantic…especially the notorious Blackbeard and his cache of gold. Often times the local newspapers there have another story about someone who might have found a clue to the long-searched-for buried treasure.
Is it fact or fiction?!

Take advantage of the day to incorporate pirates into your reading program on Talk Like a Pirate Day.

A Few Books About Pirates With Teaching Resources

Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi (Gr. K-2)
Captain Barnacle Black Ear, baddest of the Buccaneer Bunnies, is ashamed of his book-loving son, Henry, until the day a great storm approaches.
Lesson Plan includes questions and activities.

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long (K-3)
Jeremy Jacob joins Braid Beard and his pirate crew and finds out about pirate language, pirate manners, and other aspects of their life.
Novel Resources

Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter by Richard Platt (Gr. 5-8)
The fictional diary of a ten-year-old boy who, in 1716 sets off from North Carolina to become a sailor, but ends up a pirate instead.

What If You Met a Pirate? by Jan Atkins (Gr. 3-6)
Describes what pirates were really like, especially the pirates of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.
Teaching Unit uses Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter and What If You Met a Pirate?.

There are over 100 titles with book-related teaching links featuring pirates on Linda’s Links to Literature.

Websites About Pirates

Teaching Activities

Have fun with your pirate theme!

Read Full Post »

My vacation at the beach is over….boo hoo! It’s always too short, but I have to get back to work.
If you’re going to the beach or want to introduce some books about the beach, that’s the focus of today’s Hot Topic.

This month’s free online book from Barnes and Noble is Ladybug Girl at the Beach. The authors David Soman and Jacky Davis read the animated book aloud about Lulu, who likes to wear a ladybug costume, goes to the beach for the first time and makes sand castles, flies kites, and deals with her fear of the ocean.
Teaching Activities for the book

These are a few of my favorite books for children about the beach.
All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle
Beach by Elisha Cooper
Curious George Goes to the Beach by H. A. Rey
Flotsam by David Wiesner
Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion
Lottie’s New Beach Towel by Petra Mathers
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt
Sea, Sand, Me! by Patricia Hubbell
To the Beach by Linda Ashman
Wave by Suzy Lee

Linda’s Links to Literature has 50+ books about the beach with resource teaching links.

Read Full Post »