Spring has SPRUNG! Other than my pollen allergy, Spring gets me thinking about all the little creatures, rainy days, time outdoors and planting that’s to come! So, I’ve pulled together a list of some of my favorite Spring inspired picture-book read alouds for young learners to enjoy this season.
Snail Crossing by Corey Tabor (Harper Collins 2020)
I had an immediate love for Snail Crossing and its sweet story of determination and friendship! Snail starts the day wanting a delicious cabbage but his kindness brings him much more! A charming story that reinforces the importance of being kind to others.
Harlem Grown by Tony Hillery (Simon & Schuster, 2020)
When Tony Hillery spots an empty lot in need of love, he gets the idea to transform it into something much bigger that’ll serve the Harlem community in a new way. Harlem Grown tells the true story of how Tony and the students of PS 175 clean up, plant, and turn that same empty lot into a delicious farm!
I cannot say enough great things about the text written by Tony himself and the charming illustrations (Jessie Hartland) of this picture book. It’s stunning through and through.
The Honeybee by Kristen Hall (Simon & Schuster, 2020)
Growing up, I was TERRIFIED of bees and this overtook my understanding of how valuable these buzzing insects actually are for our world! The Honeybee is a rhythmic text with lovely illustrations that shows how hard-working bees make that delicious honey!
I especially love how the word choice in the text and soft illustrations make the bee heroic and understandable for little readers.
The Very Impatient Caterpillar By Ross Burach (Scholastic, 2019)
A clever and engaging spin on the butterfly metamorphosis that also covers the topic of patience through displaying a hilarious level of IMPATIENCE! This text would make a great intro to kicking off a butterfly unit or exploration!
Rainy days can be tough and feel limited when you’re cooped up inside as the rain pours down. But, My Rainy Day Rocket ship is limitless with its imagination brought on by the rainy day! Instead of doing the same old things on a rainy day, a little boy gets the idea to use items around the house to build a rocket ship!
Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson (Two Lions, 2020)
The sweetest story about self-love and embracing what special qualities make you unique. Bernard realizes he’s different from other birds when he’s unable to fly due to his longer wings. His wings might not be made for flying but they still serve an uplifting cause!
The overall setting and the soft pastel illustrations give me all the spring time feelings!
This is a NEW March 2021 release! For me, it already feels like a Spring go-to that I’ll want for years to come. It’s a story of both friendship, feelings and bravery! Kirkus and The School Library Journal have already given it starred reviews!
Its black and white illustrations play a fun and key role in the storyline as we see a tiny beetle befriend a little red caterpillar on a rock ledge. It’s an instant friendship between the two but the next day, Caterpillar is nowhere to be found! Searching for his friend, Beetle spots something red with his binoculars. It seems so far away for a small Beetle…but, he sets out to reunite and picnic with his friend! Unfortunately, Beetle was unaware that Caterpillar was transforming into a butterfly during this same time just beneath the rock ledge.
Once he arrives to the far-away red specimen, Beetle discovers this is not his friend… and is too tired to return home. Then, OUT OF NOWHERE… something red appears above him. Its red appearance looks a bit different but Beetle feels the sense of familiarity. Is it possible this is his friend?
I feel like as soon as spring hits, you see dandelions growing everywhere or at least I do… Dandy is a hilarious and relatable picture book about those pesky little weeds or “flowers” as I thought when I was a kid.
When Daddy Lion’s perfect yard sprouts a dandelion… He and his daughter share conflicting thoughts about it. Daddy doesn’t like it and his daughter is loving her new found flower! 🙂 You will be laughing out loud as you await the fate of this lone dandy with this daddy-daughter duo.
Florette by Anna Walker (Clarion, 2018)
I’m not going to lie, the cover art quickly grabbed my attention because it’s STUNNING! I would love to walk into a plant shop like Florette. You’ll be happy to know the storyline and inner illustrations are equally as wonderful as the cover. Mae moves to a city and misses her garden. But when she finds a sprout of her own, she and her new neighbor friends transform the gray hues of their city life to green! You’ll want your gardening tools ready after reading this one!
When visiting her grandparent’s Animal Sanctuary in the tropics, Rocket discovers the beach is very polluted and it’s impacting the lives of the creatures that live there. She MUST do something about it.
I’m a huge fan of Bryon’s character, Rocket! She’s a go-getter, change marker and loves science. This second story keeps that same spirit alive as Rocket gets everyone involved in making positive changes.
If you’re like me, I’m always looking for a strong environmental read aloud and this one is a GEM.
When Grandma Gives you a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan
(Sterling Children, 2019)
Sassy and sweet wrapped into one text! Deenihan’s grandparents’ books are always such a treat with an uplifting message. This book literally speaks to the phrase, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
When a tech-loving little birthday girl receives an (undesired) lemon tree from her grandma, she learns the value of hard work, entrepreneurship, and plant care. But also discovers… a lemon tree isn’t such a bad gift after-all.
When Grandpa Gives you a Toolbox by Jamie L.B. Deenihan (Sterling Children, 2020)
This one is very, very similar in structure and style to When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree. And Quite honestly, I think it’s just as great as the original. I love the maker aspect of it and the fact the main little boy wanted a house of his dolls but got a toolbox instead! Similar to the first, there’s a theme of working hard but it also focuses on community. We see the little boy grow into a builder, work alongside grandpa, and finally expand to helping the community using his toolbox!
I picked this one for Spring leading into Summer because of the amazing outdoor illustrations that make up almost the entire book! They really reflect springtime and enjoying sunny days outside playing or working on a project.
and Illustrated by Felicita Sala (Simon Schuster, 2020)
The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier (Scholastic, 2018)
After finding some wooden boards, Ruby finds herself cooking up an idea to build a fort. Being a good sister, Ruby tries to include her 3 brothers in her plans, but they are always “too busy” to help. That’s ok, Ruby is strong and powers through each task until she finally completes the fort.
Naturally… that’s when the 3 brothers are no longer busy and want to join her. But Ruby has other plans for her fort! Let’s just say, they’re not getting into the fort that easily.
Yes, Rabbit is greedy and selfish. He doesn’t even seem to eat his carrots… he just collects them. Once his house is maxed out with his collection, he gets some help from his loving and generous friends. But between the stash of carrots and his selfish ways, even this becomes a problem. In the end, Rabbit starts to feel bad for his actions and learns a valuable life lesson!
Fun illustrations, muted tones and an environmental focus! This is definitely a more serious picture book and one that can spark great conversations with young readers about our interactions with the environment. In the past, I’ve used this text in April (around Earth Day) to get little ones thinking about ways we can help the Earth with our actions just like Digger does in the story.
Pugtato Finds a Thing by Sophie Corrigan (Zonderkidz, 2020)
This was a newer find for me but it’s truly unique, so clever and funny! It’s critter meets vegetables as the reader is exposed to adorable blended characters like Pugtago (a Spud mixed with a Pug). Younger readers will recognize most of the cute critters but will discover some new vegetables as Pugtago visits each of his friends in hopes to learn about his new found “thing” from the garden.
I personally found it very fun to guess the different combo of each character while reading! I think this detail could make reading really engaging for littles and would be fun to stop and talk about the blended vegetable and animal!
The Goose Egg by Liz Wong (Alfrod A. Knopf, 2019)
Egg hatching comes to mind when I think of Spring and the Goose Egg by Liz Wong has the sweetest egg hatching moment to match its very clever title! Henrietta is a routine and structured elephant. One day on her normal swim, she comes bumps her head and assumes there’s a “Goose Egg” of a knot up top. It turns out… it’s an ACTUAL Goose egg and her entire world soon changes after its hatched.
If you’re looking for paired Spring Activities, you might enjoy these: