November 11 – Origami Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-igami-cover

About the Holiday

The art of paper folding known as Origami is enjoyed around the world and has it’s roots in paper craft traditions of Europe, China, and Japan. Once primarily used at ceremonies and special events, origami is now enjoyed by people of all ages around the globe. World Origami Days are held from October 24—which commemorates the birthday of Lillian Oppenheimer, the founder of the first American origami group and instrumental in the founding of the British Origami Society and Origami USA—to November 11, which is Origami Day in Japan. To celebrate today’s holiday create some origami figures of your own. Visit OrigamiUSA for more information and lots of templates to download and follow.

More-igami

Written by Dori Kleber | Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

 

Joey was a little boy with a particular fascination. He was captivated by all things folded. At home he had a collection of “old road maps,” the bellows on an accordion made it his favorite instrument, and he even tucked himself into a foldaway bed at night. One day Joey witnessed the most amazing thing at school. Sarah Takimoto’s mother came to his class, and—right before the students’ eyes—folded, flipped, and pulled a plain white piece of paper “until it became…a crane.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-igami-mrs-takimoto

Image copyright G. Brian Karas, text copyright Dori Kleber. Courtesy of Candlewick Press

“Joey’s eyes popped. His jaw dropped. Mrs. Takimoto called it origami.” Joey was smitten. “‘I want to make origami,’” Joey told Sarah’s mother. “‘Will you teach me?’” Mrs. Takimoto  answered that while she could teach him the right folds, it would take practice and patience to become an origami master. Joey raced home that afternoon and began folding. When he ran out of notebook paper and construction paper, he used his homework…the newspaper…his sister’s sheet music…gift wrap… even “Aunt Vivian’s pineapple surprise” recipe card. But when he folded up all thirty-eight dollars in his mom’s purse, she put her foot down.

“Joey drooped.” His cranes were still coming out wrinkled and crooked, and he’d never be able to become an origami master without practicing. To soothe his disappointment, he headed next door to Muy Mexicana for some fajitas. Right away Mr. Lopez noticed Joey’s disgruntlement. When Joey explained that everyone was losing patience with him, Mr. Lopez said, “‘Many artists are misunderstood, amigo.’ Especially when they are just learning.’” Mr. Lopez went into the kitchen, and when he came out with the sizzling fajitas, he was delighted to see a napkin pyramid sitting on the table.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-igami-folding-sheet-music

Image copyright G. Brian Karas, text copyright Dori Kleber. Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Joey apologized, but Mr. Lopez thought it made the table look fancy. In fact, he liked it so much that he had Joey fold every napkin on every table. After that, Joey went to Muy Mexicana each day following school and folded the napkins into decorative shapes. One day he made fans, the next candlesticks, and the day after that, crowns. He patiently worked until each one was perfect.

Finally, he felt ready to attempt his original challenge. “He took a crisp napkin. He folded. He flipped. He pulled.” When he was finished, a perfect crane sat in front of him. Just then a girl with a paper fan walked in. Her eyes widened as they zeroed in on Joey’s crane. Joey offered to show her how to make it, but warned, “‘It takes practice—and lots of patience!’”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-igami-crane

Image copyright G. Brian Karas, text copyright Dori Kleber. Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Dori Kleber’s unique multicultural story of a little boy who finds the perfect creative outlet for his singular interest will captivate kids who are just beginning to try their own hands at favorite hobbies, schoolwork, or other pursuits. With humor and honest depictions of Joey’s frustration and persistence, Kleber shows readers that practice and patience really do pay off. As Joey meets another folding enthusiast, kids will see that there are always others with whom to share favorite pastimes.

Opening More-igami to the first page where Joey sits gazing lovingly at a taco with a folded napkin next to his plate, readers will know they are in for something special. As always, G. Brian Karas’s characters are enthusiastic, encouraging, and adorable. Readers will empathize with Joey as they watch him folding and folding, and giggle at the many, many practice cranes that litter his home, even perching atop his sister’s music stand and appearing in his mom’s purse.

Karas makes full creative use of the origami theme in his clever page designs and illustrations, beginning with the square shape of the book itself and the origami paper-styled endpapers. Vivid, solid-color background pages are divided diagonally, vertically, or horizontally with subtle changes in hue or nearly invisible lines. In depictions of Joey’s school, home, and favorite restaurant, diagonals, angles, and sharp edges predominate: tables and floors create triangles on the page; windows, walls, and doors divide pages into shapes associated with the steps of origami’s folded creations; and floor tiles, the sidewalk, and even Joey’s shirt portray grid lines. The color schemes of each page, inspired by the patterns and shades of origami paper, are dazzling and unite the varied aspects of this special book.

For any child undertaking a new activity or venture, More-igami is a charming and encouraging companion on the way to proficiency—one that would make a wonderful home library and classroom addition.

Ages 4 – 8

Candlewick Press, 2016 | ISBN 978-0763668198

To learn more about Dori Kleber and her writing, visit her website!

G. Brian Karas has a whole gallery of illustrations, books, information, and “what nots” on his website!

Origami Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-origami-penguin-template

Origami Pets

 

Origami is a fun hobby that can grow in complexity as you gain skill. Here are two templates to get you started! All you need is a square piece of paper and—if you’d like to decorate your piece—some markers or colored pencils.

Puppy Template | Penguin Template

Picture Book Review

August 14 – It’s Family Fun Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-circle-triangle-elephant-cover

About the Holiday

Every month can be full of family fun, but in August we take time to celebrate the longer, more relaxed days during summer vacation that can lead to special times together. Little ones especially love having fun while exploring and learning about the world. This month look for those spontaneous or planned moments that make good memories!

Circle, Triangle, Elephant! A Book of Shapes & Surprises

By Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi

 

This brightly colored concept book is sure to intrigue little learners and have them giggling while discovering and pointing out shapes, colors, and even doing some counting. On the first page a regular stack of shapes are presented: “triangle, circle, square.” A large blue square gives support to a smaller pink circle while a smaller red triangle creates a bit of a hat on top. The next page rearranges this order and replaces the square with a rectangle. The circle is still pink, but it’s larger and on top. Underneath is an orange rectangle, and balancing these two shapes on its tip is the triangle, now purple.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-circle-triangle-elephant-elephants

Copyright Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi, 2017, courtesy of Phaidon Press.

Turning the page, we find: “triangle, elephant?!, circle” Wait, what?! Oh my! This does shake things up a bit! How did that elephant get between a pink triangle and a red circle? And he’s brought his family! On the next page we find a small elephant standing on a larger elephant who’s standing on a yellow rectangle. I’m sure they’re just passing through and we’ll be back to regular shapes in a second.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-circle-triangle-elephant-boats

Copyright Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi, 2017, courtesy of Phaidon Press.

Maybe if we turn the page really fast… “elephant, boat!, triangle” Oh! I see, the little elephant is taking a boat ride home, but they have run aground on a teal triangle. Here come “boat, boat, boat” to help! Ah, good! The elephants are safely on their way now. One more boat to go and we’ll be back to… “triangle, face! square.” That’s no ordinary face—it’s cute and clownish. A bit like a jack-in-the-box, really, the way it’s resting on a blue rectangle and wearing a yellow triangle at a jaunty angle.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-circle-triangle-elephant-faces

Copyright Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi, 2017, courtesy of Phaidon Press.

Okay, okay, on the next page there are… a couple more faces bouncing on a pointy triangle. I hope they’re not balloons! And on the facing page is our original face stacked with a very pretty green rectangle and a bright yellow lemon! Oh! The next page is nice. It makes a bit of a picture: the orange sun is shining above a bus that’s traveling on a green square carpet of grass. Uh-oh! The bus has gone a little off course. On the next page it’s driving on top of two big lemons. “bus, lemon, lemon.” Is that even possible?

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-circle-triangle-elephant-bus-lemons

Copyright Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi, 2017, courtesy of Phaidon Press.

Hmmm… what’s this next one? “square, square, square.” Not quite as exciting, you think? Maybe, but look! The top square is yellow, the bottom square is red, and the middle square is…? Orange, right! Good job! Oh this is fun! All right, next we have “square, bird, rectangle” and after that “bird, boat, triangle.” On the facing page a small pink bird and a larger green bird are racing that bus. Go, “bird, bird, bus.”

You know what this book could use? A hat. And there it is! Just around the corner: “hat!, square, bus.” Haha! You’ll love the next page: “hat, hat, elephant.” That elephant looks so dapper wearing two hats. Let’s see what else we can find. Awww! Next there’s “square, triangle, fish!” And what a cutie—blue with little green dots! I guess it’s time to wind this fun down with “triangle, circle, square” and two elephants who would each like to say goodbye with their own very colorful triangles and circles.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-circle-triangle-elephant-birds

Copyright Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi, 2017, courtesy of Phaidon Press.

Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi have created a concept book that will get little ones excited about learning the names of shapes, colors, and various objects. An enthusiastic reading will have kids laughing and wanting to read along as adults talk with them about what they see on each page. Cleverly constructed, the book invites deeper thought about the shapes and colors presented. The shapes come in different sizes and can also be found within the boat, face, bus, birds, fish, and elephant. Children may discover—on their own or with a bit of help—that with a few adjustments parts of the lemons, elephant, fish, and hats contain or could be made into circles, triangles, squares, or rectangles.

The colors of the shapes and objects are vibrant and eye-catching. The primary colors are all here, but so are the secondary colors and other beautiful mixtures that could lead to an opportunity to get out paints and have fun while experimenting and learning about color.

Circle, Triangle Elephant! A Book of Shapes & Surprises is a wonderful first shapes and colors book for children. It would make a great gift for baby showers, new babies, or toddlers. The sturdy board book is perfect for tucking away in a diaper bag to bring out during waiting times or outdoor activities.

Ages 1 – 5

Phaidon Press, 2017 | ISBN 978-0714874111

Family Fun Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-food-color-craft

Water Color Fun

A splish-splashy way to let kids experiment with colors is to let them explore with a tub or sink full of water and some food coloring. As they drip individual colors into the water, the colors spread, mixing with each other to form new colors.

Supplies

  • A plastic tub, a sink, or a bathtub
  • Food color – one multi-color box
  • An apron or old clothes
  • A spoon or other utensil to mix colors

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Directions

  1. If the child is young and playing at the sink while standing on a stool or chair, adult supervision is advised.
  2. Fill the tub or sink 1/3 to 1/2 way with cool water
  3. Allow child to choose a color from the box
  4. Let the child squeeze the bottle, dropping a bit of color into the water
  5. Let the child choose another color
  6. Before adding this color to the water, talk with your child about what they think will happen when the two colors mix together.
  7. Let the child drop the new color into the water a small distance from the first color
  8. Allow the colors to mix naturally or with a spoon.
  9. You can mix colors in different corners or sections of the tub or sink to see, for instance, what happens when yellow and red food color or blue and red food color mix. What happens if all the colors are mixed together?
  10. Discover your own questions to explore!

Picture Book Review

April 19 – It’s Mathematics Awareness Month

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős by Deborah Heiligman and LeUyen Pham picture book review

About the Holiday

If you think numbers are numero uno then Math Awareness Month is for you! During April mathematicians, engineers, and all techie types are honored for their contributions to the advancements in science, medicine, computer technology, environmental concerns, and other areas. It’s also a great time to explore and experiment and discover all the benefits of being a numbers-oriented person. This year’s theme is “The Future of Prediction.” Activities will explore how math and statistics are the future of prediction, providing insight and driving innovation. 

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős

Written by Deborah Heiligman | Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

 

In Budapest, Hungary a boy is born who loves math. His name is Paul Erdős and he lives with his mother, who loves him “to infinity” just as Paul loves her. When she goes back to work as a math teacher, she leaves Paul with Fräulein, his nanny. Fräulein loves rules and tries to get Paul to sit still, eat all his lunch, take a nap—to obey. But Paul hates rules.

At three years of age he teaches himself to count the days until his mother will be home with him 100 percent of the time. Knowing the number makes Paul feel better as his head is constantly full of numbers and what they can do. One day when he is four years old, he meets a woman and asks her two questions—what year she was born and at what time. When the woman tells him, it only takes him a moment to reveal how many seconds she has been alive.

He continues to play with numbers, learning more and more about the various types. He decides he will be a mathematician when he grows up. When Paul is old enough to go to school, he once again encounters rules he can’t abide. His mother decides he will be schooled at home, and even though this means more time with Fräulein, Paul considers it the better option.

There’s just one thing – while Paul thinks about numbers, Fräulein and his mother do everything for him. At meals they cut his meat and butter his bread; they dress him, and tie his shoes. When he becomes a teenager, he goes to high school and meets other kids who love math. He and his friends spend all their time doing math and by the time Paul is 20 he is famous around the world for his math equations.

There’s just one problem – even as an adult, Paul is so focused on numbers and math that he still doesn’t know how to do basic things for himself. When he is 21 he’s invited to go to England to work. At his first dinner there he stares at his bread and he stares at his meat. What is he supposed to do? With a little experimentation, he figures it out, but he also figures out that he sees the world in a different way.

He doesn’t want a normal life with a family and a house and a regular job. He designs for himself a very unusual lifestyle. Everything he owns fits into two suitcases, and with a little money in his pocket he flies from city to city to do math. He knows so many mathematicians that wherever he goes they invite Paul to stay with them. These families take care of Paul just as his mother and Fräulein had! They do his laundry, cook his meals, and pay his bills.

But even so, everyone loves “Uncle Paul!” He brings people together and shares his knowledge. His work in mathematics has given the world better computers, better search engines, and better codes for our spies to use. He was so admired that even now people represent their relationship with Paul by giving it a number – the “Erdős number.” Paul was a unique person who counted numbers and people as his best friends and experienced the world in a way that added up to a very special life.

Reading Deborah Heiligman’s The Boy Who Loved Math is a liberating experience. Her biography reveals not just what Paul Erdős did, but the quirky genius he was. It also honors all the people around the world who embraced his personality, allowing Erdős to focus on the work he was born to do. Heiligman’s engaging patter, full of interesting anecdotes, humor, and personality, is storytelling at its best and provides an absorbing look at a very unique life.

LeUyen Pham’s illustrations perfectly complement the text, exposing Erdős’s chafing under rules, his delight in math, and his development from youth to old age. Each fascinating page cleverly represents the way Erdős saw the world as numbers, equations, and geometric shapes appear on buildings, domes, and even in the very air! The text too is infused with numerals and mathematical symbols (“Paul loved Mama to ∞, too!), making this a prime book for any math lover!

Ages 5 – 9

Roaring Brook Press, 2013 | ISBN 978-1596433076

Mathematics Awareness Month Activity

CPB - Math Mystery Phrase

 

Totally Cool Mystery Phrase! Puzzle

 

What plus what equals an equation that can’t be beat? You and numbers, of course! Complete this Printable Totally Cool Mystery Phrase! puzzle to discover a coded sentence! Here’s the Solution!

April 1 – National One Cent Day

A Dollar, a Penny, How Much and How Many? by Brian Cleary and Brian Gable Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

Do you pick up a penny on the street or step over it as worthless? If you do the latter, you might want to reconsider. Today we celebrate the one-cent coin and its historical and artistic significance. The penny has been in circulation since 1793 and derives its name from the English “penny” but is pluralized in the US as “pennies” instead of the British “pence.”

It wasn’t until 1909 that Abraham Lincoln’s face appeared on the coin as part of President Roosevelt’s initiative to improve the artistic nature of the country’s coinage. Roosevelt enlisted famed sculptor August Saint-Gaudens to design the new penny, as well as the other gold pieces in use at the time. While the designs of other coins have changed over the years, Lincoln has remained the iconic image on the copper-colored penny.

While a single penny may not buy much these days, added together they can still make a difference. And remember the old adage: Find a penny pick it up. All the day you’ll have good luck!

A Dollar, a Penny, How Much and How Many?

Written by Brian P. Cleary | Illustrated by Brian Gable

 

Part of the Math is CATegorical series, this book is all about money—what it looks like, what it’s used for, and how the different denominations add up to equal the same price for a desired or needed item. Each two-page spread relates in verse a little lesson. The book opens with a general definition of money: “Money is the term for coins and bills that people use / to buy things such as pizzas, pencils, planes, and chains and shoes.”

Kids learn the names of our coins, what they are made of, and the value of each. They discover that coins can be added together or mixed and matched—10 pennies equal a dime; two dimes and a nickel equal a quarter, and so on. The story moves to a dollar store, where the cats buy different items with various combinations of coins. Jenny has 4 quarters, while her brother has 10 dimes. Anna has 100 pennies and Zack is carrying 7 dimes, 1 quarter, and 5 pennies. Kids see that all of these combinations have the same value.

Paper money is up next. A short description of the minting process leads to a discussion of value as the cats purchase a $20 book with various bills.

Brian Cleary’s catchy rhymes and straightforward explanations make this a perfect book for introducing money, its value, and the mathematical concepts of addition, subtraction, and multiplication of using money to buy things.

Brian Gable’s well-known comical cats of the series walk kids through the pages as they ponder prices on items on the shelf and the amount of money in their pocket. The cats’ humorous expressions and silly situations turn this money math lesson into a funny and fun experience. The brightly colored pages focus on the coins and bills, which are clearly displayed, and the direct connections between this money and the objects being bought is obvious.

Ages 5 – 9

Millbrook Press, 2012 | ISBN 978-0822578826

National One Cent Day Activity

CPB - Penny matching

Count Your Pennies! Matching Game

 

Counting pennies can be so much fun! Saving them can be even better! Collect enough pennies and you can buy something special or donate to your favorite cause! In this printable Count Your Pennies! matching game, draw a line from the stack of pennies to the object they will buy.

March 24 – National Button Day

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean Picture Book ReviewAbout the Holiday

You have to admit it—those little round things that hold our clothes and bags shut are indispensable. Sometimes tiny works of art in their own right, buttons are fascinating. Antique buttons made of glass, metal, or even bone and decorated with intricate paintings, engraved designs, or gemstones offer a glimpse into history, both American and International. Today’s buttons, fashioned into engaging shapes or brightly colored, have stories of their own and enhance whatever garment or item they adorn.

Button collecting was recognized as an organized hobby by the National Button Society in 1938, and National Button Week – which I’m celebrating today – was founded in 1989. The goal is to promote awareness of the fun of button collecting and to recognize the study and display of antique and collectible buttons. Button collecting is a fun hobby that is exciting for all ages.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Written by Eric Litwin | Created and Illustrated by James Dean

 

It’s 8:00 in the morning and Pete the Cat is ready to start the day wearing his favorite shirt – the one with 4 groovy buttons. Those buttons are big, they are round, they are colorful, and they inspire him to sing a song: “My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons. My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons.”

Soon, however, one of the buttons pops off! That leaves Pete with how many buttons? 3! Right! Does Pete cry? “Goodness No! Buttons come and buttons go.” Fortunately for readers buttons continue to GO…inviting kids to do the math and sing the infectious song with each “Pop!”

As Pete sits atop his surfboard atop his VW Beetle looking very beachy, his last button goes sprooiiing and rolls away. What does Pete see then? Why, the only button that won’t desert him—his belly button!

Eric Litwin’s short, fast-paced text contains plenty of exciting opportunities for read-along, shout-along fun on every page. The subtraction problems offered as Pete loses buttons provide early learners with confidence-building moments, and Pete’s easy-going attitude is just right for these hyper-busy times.

James Dean’s illustrations are as big, bold, colorful, and groovy as Pete’s buttons. Vibrant primary colors rivet readers to the page, and—Watch out! That popping button is swirling right at you! But through it all Pete the Cat remains his nonchalant self.

Ages 4 – 8

HarperCollins, 2012 | ISBN 978-0062110589

National Button Week Activity

CPB - Button Coat

Pin the Button on the Coat Game

 

Pin the Button on the Coat is a fun game you can make yourself and play anytime! It’s great for a button-themed party or on any day that you’re holed up and just poppin’ to do something! The game is played like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” and the object is to get the buttons as close to the center of the coat as possible. Have fun!

Supplies

CPB - Button Coat II

Directions

  1. Cut out the coat, sleeves, and collar following the printable patterns
  2. With the fabric glue, attach the sleeves to the edge of the coat, and the collar to the top of the coat.
  3. Let dry
  4. Cut circles to represent buttons from the other colors of fleece or felt, as many as you need
  5. With the marker make dots to represent holes in the “buttons”
  6. When the glue on the coat is dry, attach it to the clothes hanger with the clothespins

If you like buttons and button crafts, pop on over to February 29—Haiku Writing Day for Guyku—a fun book of poetry—and directions to make a bookmark with colorful buttons!

 

March 14 – National Pi Day

Bedtime Math The Truth Comes Out Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

What would we do without pie, huh? The flaky crust, the delicious filling….What? Oh, how embarrassing! It’s Pi Day! Well, what would we do without pi, huh? All those circles would go unmeasured, the world just wouldn’t fit together quite right…

Pi Day recognizes the usefulness of the mathematical constant Pi, the first three numbers of which are 3.14. In 1988 Larry Shaw noticed the correlation to March 14 and organized the first Pi Day celebration at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California. In 2009 The U.S. House of Representatives officially named March 14 as National Pi Day. The day is celebrated by schools and other organizations with math projects, pie-eating contests, and other fun events.

Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out

Written by Laura Overdeck | Illustrated by Jim Paillot

 

Bedtime has never been so numerical! Oh sure, kids might count the stars out their window or sheep leaping a fence, but how about flavors of astronaut ice cream or towns named for food? Wouldn’t it be fun to figure out how far a marshmallow shot from a rubber band will go? Or how to stop a charging rhino? Or whether a snake can lose its tongue? You bet it would! And that’s the genius behind the Bedtime Math series, which also includesBedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay up Late and Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal.

Bedtime Math goes way beyond simply presenting math problems for kids to solve. Each problem begins with fascinating facts or trivia about topics kids care about, such as space, animals, food, themselves, and the world they live in. Adults will find as much to like about these revealing tidbits as kids.

Reluctant math students will respond to this series, as the presentation is light-hearted, humorous, and educational in the best way. They may not even realize they’re doing higher math as they try to solve these brain ticklers.

Each mind boggler comes with three difficulty levels—Wee Ones, Little Kids, and Big Kids—plus a bonus question that’s more advanced so that everyone can join in the fun. An extensive introduction gives tips and suggestions for using the book and answers any questions readers may have about the approach.

Of course, these cool calculations don’t have to wait for bedtime. They’re a smart way to fill those “I’m bored” moments or to just spend time together no matter when it is. Bedtime Math has expanded to include its own website and a nation-wide afterschool math club, Crazy 8s.

Author Laura Overdeck began using this technique to math learning with her own children and with a BA in astrophysics is well-qualified to take your child’s math skills to the stars and beyond!

Jim Paillot enhances each page with colorful exaggerated and humorous takes on the math teaser at hand, which increase kids’ interest in and even understanding of the concepts being “taught.”

Ages 3 – 8

Feiwell & Friends Publishers, 2015 | ISBN 978-1250047755

National Pi Day Activity

CPB - Pi Day Pie Match

 

Pi Day Pie Match

 

All this talk about math has made me hungry! You too? Well, just put these pies together and then you can enjoy a snack! Print the Pi Day Pie Match game here.