Pi Day isn’t just for math lovers. Circle around to readers and get everyone in on the fun!

Pi Day, which is named after Pi, the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, or 3.14, is a great day to bring reading and math together. The month/day format that connects Pi to the calendar is extra special in 2015 because it equals the first 5 significant digits of Pi: 3.1415. And if you want to time your celebration just right, wait until 9:26:53 is on the clock. You’ll get even more digits of Pi!

To make the day an even bigger celebration, honor Albert Einstein along with π. March 14 is his birthday! It’s also the perfect excuse to serve up a delicious birthday pie.

So celebrate! It is easy as Pi to share Pi related books, read up on Einstein or trade trivia or interesting Pi facts with the titles and links below!

Bring tons of math fun to readers ages 7 and up with Why Pi? by Johnny Ball

Cindy Neuschwander and illustrator Wayne Geehanan take readers 8 and up on an epic math adventure with Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and Radius in Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

   

Jennifer Berne and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky beautifully explain the work of Albert Einstein to a young audience in On a Beam of Light. Ages 6 and up.

   Albert Einstein (Giants of Science) by Kathleen Krull is a lively, accessible biography for readers 9 and up.

Pi and Einstein resources:

 

This month, support a love of reading by showing your own enthusiasm for books! Read to kids, read in front of kids and expose them to all kinds of exciting and fascinating aspects of the written word. To make reading something kids look forward to every day this month, take advantage of the special dates and activities on the February calendar.

Celebrate Black History Month

Share the stories of African Americans throughout history and honor their contributions to our culture and country during Black History Month.

aaauthorsBelle of the Book with Sherri Smith, Walter Dean Myers and E.B. Lewis

Join the National African American Read-In

Throughout the month of February the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English invites schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, communities and readers from all walks of life to make promoting literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities and celebrate and share the works of African American writers.

Brush up on Dental Heath during National Children’s Dental Health Month

Learning about good oral health is fun for kids when they sink their teeth into a good book.

Fill your Valentine’s Day with books

Valentine’s Day can be more than candy, hearts, and flowers. Extend the love to poetry and books and encourage kids to share their favorite poems, titles or authors on February 14.

Hail to the books on Presidents’ Day

Use books to celebrate and honor the lives of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and to reflect on the contributions of all the men who have served our country as President. To distinguish the first and sixteenth presidents, plan read alouds on their actual birthdays: George Washington was born on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln on February 12.

Get ready for March (reading) Madness!

Theodor Geisel, known and beloved as Dr. Seuss, wrote and illustrated more than 40 books and gave us some of the most memorable characters in children’s literature including the Cat in the Hat. His March 2nd birthday is the date of the nation’s largest celebration of reading.  NEA’s Read Across America events and activities—with red and white hatted readers—bring reading excitement on Dr. Seuss’s birthday and provides resources to keep kids reading 365 days a year.

Belle of the Book with the Cat in the Hat and
NEA’s Read Across America’s own Anita Merina

blogpromoI’d long wanted to visit the places Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and wrote about in her Little House series. During the summer, I finally got to travel the Laura Ingalls Wilder Highway.

My traveling companions–son Breece, niece Avery, my mom–and I covered more than 2,500 miles during our pilgrimage. We’ve been blogging about our Little Journey on the Prairie at Reading Rockets and that’s where you should go to read about what three generations of readers saw, learned and loved about each historic site. There’s also a bit of advice for those planning to make their own little journey and plenty of ideas for parents and educators who want to help kids connect to the stories and history of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family.

But here’s where I’ll offer some additional insights and photos as things strike me or as I learn even more about Laura from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Massive Online Course from Missouri State University.

Here’s your first tidbit:

jackLaura’s best friend was a brindle bulldog named Jack. Brindle refers to the color of the dog. Brindle is brownish or tawny with streaks of other color. Did you know that?

And did you know that when Charles Ingalls traded away the ponies, Pet and Patty, Jack was part of the deal? The real Jack didn’t travel back from the prairie and never once played along the banks of Plum Creek.

Dear, faithful Jack!

Summer is a great time to get a little crazy in the kitchen and for food-related field trips! At Random Acts of Reading, you’ll find my Dr. Seuss inspired recipes that will take your reading and cooking adventures on beyond Green Eggs and Ham.

You’ll also find food fun, like these One Fish Two Fish Treats at Seussville.com.

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Reading Rockets has cooked up some great food fun centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. Check out these Reading Adventure Packs for getting creative in the kitchen:
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Each Reading Adventure Pack includes great book recommendations. But if you want to sample some other food and cooking related titles, try these: 

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert

Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger

How To Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin

The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book About Kitchen Chemistry by Joanna Cole

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

Pie by Sarah Weeks

Looking for true love this Valentine’s Day? Connect a kid with a book and watch the sparks fly!

The wise and wonderful Katherine Paterson said, “It is a sign of wonderful love and affection to read aloud to someone, and we love it. So, we should never stop reading aloud.”

Make some book love this Valentine’s Day! Read aloud with your loved ones and enjoy these titles about a love for books and reading.

 

The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

 

 

I Am the Book: Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by Yayo

 

 

 

The Library by Sarah Stewart. Pictures by David Small

 

 

 

But Excuse Me That is My Book by Lauren Child

 

 

 

 That Book Woman by Heather Henson. Pictures by David Small

 

 

 

Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

 

 

 

The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers. Pictures by John Holyfield

 

 

Have a very happy Who-liday when you visit Who-ville this Christmas season!

Enjoy enchanting scenery and local musical performances

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 Dig in to delicious local foods
Since the Grinch took the last can, sample this Who Hash featuring
leftover Roast Beast

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Or remember the Grinch with a sweet and tasty souvenir

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 Send holiday love to friends and family

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 And relax with a good book

It was delightful to chat with Kathleen Dunn and her callers today about encouraging and motivating kids to read. Listen here if you want to hear the thistle tongue twister, how to be a reading role model, and ideas to make reading fun and fundamental to your kids.

 

 

 

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B is for back to school and I’m sharing back-to-school reading fun at Random House Kids!

Check out this post for Seussational ideas to help parents start the new school year out right.

Try the recipes, crafts and printables at Seussville!

 

At the local elementary school, I’m known to some as Princess Rita Alot. Others call me the Book Fairy. While out shopping, I’ve been recognized as “the space alien who came to school.”  I like to dress up! School book fairs and library nights have given me many opportunities to have fun with favorite themes and characters.

QueenCI realized though that I’d been very limited in my costume choices, neglecting the wondrous world of nonfiction. So I moved beyond the book fair to the Science Fair. In my late 19th century dress with a vial of (pretend) radium, I was Marie Curie. But the most fun was dressing as a cumulus cloud and having kids explain the water cycle to me!

Why did I wait so long to take advantage of these nonfiction opportunities? As a parent, I don’t think I’m alone. When my kids were younger, we read a lot about shapes, colors, animals and then trains. Lots and lots of books about trains. Which is normal. As children get older, their interest in specialized information grows stronger. The trick I think is to remember to keep introducing potential new interests so that you don’t wander away from nonfiction all together just because you’ve exhausted (or been exhausted by) one favorite subject.

In the work I do with Reading Rockets we’ve developed some interesting resources and activities for engaging in nonfiction reading.  The Reading Adventure Packs which pair a set of theme-based fiction and nonfiction books and related interactive activities are great to encourage reading at home and support the role of parents as educators. Robots and Gardening are the newest themed packs and wonderful to share during the summer.

The Reading Adventure Packs are also featured as part of Reading Rockets newest project, Start with a Book. Start with a Book is a great resource to help parents, caregivers, and volunteers find summer themes that match the curiosities and interests of young children (grades K-3) and get them actively exploring bugs, birds, planes, music, sports, superheroes, inventors, art, the ocean and more!

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If you’re unsure of where to start with nonfiction, this Quick Guide to Selecting Great Informational Books for Young Children will give you a very thorough introduction.  Start with a Book can also help you entice fiction readers to nonfiction. But if you already have nonfiction fans in your house, they might enjoy learning more about how these kinds of books are made. These video interviews with Gail Gibbons, Seymour Simon and George Ancona will give curious minds even more to think about.

So this summer make sure the library basket has nonfiction choices. And make sure those costume baskets have lab coats as well as crowns and wands!

 

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Part of this post is revised from a previous article written for the First Book Blog.

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There’s no better ode to the Earth than Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax!

Find all kinds of reading and recycling fun for Earth Day in my article for Random House Kids For Parents.

And when you visit Seussville you’ll find my recipe for Truffula Tree cake, directions for making a recycled page corner bookmark, along with activities, crafts and more.