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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Signs of spring

March 28, 2011

Winter doesn't seem to want to end. March came in with a roar and seems to be leaving with one, too.

Unlike the month that we're having, Marion Dane Bauer's In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb (Holiday) with Emily Arnold McCully's effervescent wash and line illustrations provides a lively and quite literal look at March's changing weather. You can see the book here.

Even though it's been downright cold, there are brave daffodils and cherry blossoms emerging. Spring is a green season, of course, both factually and figuratively. Green has come to mean environmentally friendly. Earth Day has become an April staple, celebrated on April 22 ever since 1970.

Even the youngest child can participate and have fun doing "green" projects. Gabby & Grandma Go Green (Dutton) just may inspire easy to do projects and activities. Monica Wellington's round-faced characters present a straightforward story and simple instructions for making reusable cloth bags as well as simple-to-do things (like recycling a newspaper).

Slightly older children will enjoy the introduction to Celebritrees: Historic & Famous Trees of the World by Margi Preus (Holt). Who would have thought that there are so many fascinating trees all around the world — some ancient, others simply old? And there are suggestions for ways to care for and help grow "celebritrees" as well as resources to find out more about the subject.

Whether or not March ends on a lamb-like note or not, the weather is changing and things are coming up green.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables