Livng Books Books for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun opportunity to take a little side jaunt from our normal history studies. This week, we’ve been reading about St. Patrick of Ireland, and I thought I’d share some of our favorite books to that end. Sometimes one is overwhelmed with silly, stereotypical representations of Patrick, but these are excellent sources for a mini-study using living books.
by Tomie dePaola
I love this storybook version of St. Patrick’s life. Lovely illustrations, concise prose, and a clear distinction made between the historical life of Patrick and the legends that have been associated with him make for a great introduction to Ireland’s beloved patron saint.
by Cornelia Lehn
St. Patrick’s story is among many tales of missionaries in this compilation of stories. About a five minute read aloud, I like reading this story as well because it emphasizes a bit more about Patrick’s Roman background and fleshes out the circumstances like his pirate capture vividly (although it might be a little much for very sensitive young children – please pre-read).
Saint Fiech, Bishop of Sletty
This roughly 10 page poem describing Patrick’s life  and and work is an original source of many of the stories we know hear of St. Patrick. The Irish, English, and Latin  versions are all included. Being available free on kindle is an added bonus!


Books for (tiny) Boys

My 2 year old has been getting in on the reading action lately. Usually our routine is to read a book of each child’s choosing both before afternoon quiet time and then again before bed.  With three kids choosing, we rack up some serious time reading time!

 Now my youngest is insisting on  choosing his *own* book for reading times too, and I thought I’d share some of his current favorites in case you need some library list inspiration for your little one. Of course, these are books tiny girls could certainly love, too – it just so happens my tiny one right now is a boy, and I do notice a bit of – shall we say? – masculine flair in his preferences.

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime
Bob Shea
Simple, fun, and inter-actable (ROAR!), this story’s hero little Dinosaur takes on all kind of challenges. Piles of leaves, big slides, talking grown-ups… and the biggest challenge of all, bedtime! Its like they’ve been to our house, weird.

Little Blue Truck
Alice Schertle / Jill McElmurry
This book was given to us by my sweet Aunt Marti during our beach trip a month ago, and my 2 year old is still begging multiple readings of it daily. So many elements of a great early reading book – written in charming verse, lots of fun onamonapia, farm animals, vehicles, action / consequence (what happens when big Dump is rude?), team work, and even (though I admit it reads melodramatic) redemption. 
See, now you have to read it to find out how someone could really find  a board book redemptive. 🙂
Meeow and the Little Chairs
Sebastien Braun

This was one that one of my kids picked at the library that I was honestly was kind of “meh” about at first, but its proven entertaining. There are colors to point out, animal sounds to make, and my favorite – imaginative play is encouraged. I can also see this being a fun book for a beginner reader because the text is huge and fairly simple.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle

Of course you know about TVHC – how could you not? If you’re like me you got three copies of the board book alone during your first child’s babyhood. It has been such an enduring favorite around here that I made my little guy’s 2nd birthday cake an homage to the Caterpillar:

(the eyes bore into your soul… or not)

But I couldn’t have a list of books for little ones without it.

I’d love to know – what are your favorite books for tiny readers?

Princess Books For Moms Who Hate Princesses

Okay, maybe hate is a bit too strong a word – more of a mental eyeroll. After having two sweet little girls who love princesses with no prompting from Mom whatsoever,  my chosen defense to the superficial aspects of princess mania has become good princess books. This was a bit challenging at first, as the overt “princess books” that I found that outwardly poked fun at the whole princess genre were a bit too pushy and snarky for me. I don’t want to make fun of my girls, and I didn’t find those anti-princess books terribly well written. But over the years though happy library browsing accident, we’ve come across several excellent books that center around princesses who display courage, kindness, intelligence, compassion, and self sacrifice – all those things I want my daughter to admire over great hair and a tiny waist.

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale 
John Steptoe

Mufaro has two daughters – both considered to be the most beautiful around. Although they are both lovely in form and face, the two sisters vary widely in their attitudes. One is hard-working and compassionate, the other is vain and cruel. As they journey to meet the prince, their true natures will become clear to their potential bridegroom. This book has been a wonderful jumping off point into the discussion of, “what makes someone beautiful?”

The Rough-Face Girl
Rafe Martin / David Shannon
Based on a Native American folk tale, this beautifully told, haunting story centers around a young girl spurned by her cruel older sisters. She is forced to tend the fire, resulting in disfiguring scars covering her face and body. In her village lives a powerful invisible being, who will only marry the woman who can see him. Its a wonderful story of bravery, determination, and authenticity that ends with cheer-out-loud redemption.

The Egyptian Cinderella  
Shirley Climo / Ruth Heller
The story of Rodopis, a Greek slave girl in Egypt, is considered the earliest Cinderella story. Its thought to have been originally recorded in the 1st century BCE by the Greek historian Strabo. I think that if you take the fluffy Disney filter away from the the Cinderella story, you are left with a core that emphasizes perseverance through difficult circumstances and true moral fiber winning in the end. This retelling we found  through Veritas Press and used it with our study of Ancient Egypt as corresponding literature and it was a favorite! 

Tomie dePaola
Another lovely Cinderella story, this one based in Mexico. 
I love how the Cinderella story translates and relates to so many cultures. 
 Tomie dePaola’s iconic illustrations and excellent storytelling shines as always. 

Jane Ray
This original story centers around the youngest and least impressive princess of her family who it turns out is the one who bravely and willingly sacrifices to save her people when her kingdom’s need is most dire. The illustrations bring to mind a lovely mythical Persian feel.

Okay, so while this story really centers more on the princes seeking her hand than on the princess, I would include because the princess in question shows wisdom and follows her heart over superficial trappings. Its also one of my four year old son’s favorites, so its got that boy appeal too. 🙂
I know there have to be many more out there –
Any suggestions would be appreciated!