Literary Fun with Books and Activities!


Since becoming an elementary library aide for Omaha Public Schools, I’ve once again been able to immerse myself in books!


As you can imagine, I come across some exceptional books for children. It’s fun to discover (and develop) activities that stretch the learning a bit longer while still connecting with children’s literature. Last time we discussed saving your sanity on a snow day with several books and activities to go with them here.  I thought we’d continue the literary fun with a few more books and activities.

Let the fun continue!

Bear Alert

by David Biedrzycki

  • Age Range: preschool-4th grade, 1st or 2nd grade reading level
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge (September 9, 2014)
  • Publication Date: September 9, 2014
  • Sold by:Penguin Random House Publisher Services

This fur-filled, funny escapade of two newly awakened bears cuts into a children’s show: “We interrupt this story to bring you a special report…”

The reader “watches” this breaking news story unfold by reading the “scrolling” tickers at the bottom of each page and speech bubbles from televised interviews with “persons on the street.” The delightful illustrations set the stage for the hilarity the bears unwittingly create while visiting Teddy’s Diner and riding the escalator in Paddington’s Department Store!

Oblivious to the comical chaos they are creating, the bears lumber through town, while the ever amusing burglars loot the department store. Each two page spread, creates the illusion of a wide-screen news broadcast. Biedrzycki masterfully depicts the repercussions of this uproarious adventure in colorful, playful detail.  References to children’s books and comical puns draw the reader in to explore the author’s illustrations more fully.

Activity: Recite and make up motions to  Bear Poem

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Turn around.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Touch the ground.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Growl real loud.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Sit on the ground.”

Activity: Pretend to be hibernating bears

Throw a blanket over the kitchen table to create a cave for your little bears to “hibernate” and play for them the beautiful orchestral piece composed by Erik Satie called Trois Gymnopedies. You can find the music on YouTube by clicking here. Who knows, the music may even inspire your kiddos to rest, giving you a few moments also!

Activity: A snack and craft in oneomaha moms blog


Draw a simple bear face and have your child glue mini marshmallows to it. You can find instructions for this craft by clicking here. We didn’t have the mini marshmallows so we cut the big ones in half! Bonus is, you don’t have to use glue since the stickiness of the marshmallow sticks to the paper.


The Boy Who Invented TV

By Kathleen Krull

  • Age Range: 6 – 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 – 4
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; 1 edition (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385755570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385755573

In the early 1900s, a teenage farm boy had an idea for how television could work. He was inspired by the parallel furrows of his newly plowed potato field, and he used that as a format for his idea to transmit an electronic signal. Philo T Farnsworth, a courageous and determined young man, persisted despite obstacles and found a way to make his idea a reality. This is an informative, entertaining biography of one of the most groundbreaking inventors you’ve never heard of. This book has large print and true to the era color drawings. Explore the little-known story of Philo Farnsworth’s childhood passion for machines and electricity and his adult adventures in making his dream a reality in a vivid guide perfect for young inquiring minds.

Activity: Build a penny battery

All you need is a few pennies (1982 or older works best) and a couple other household items and your child can create his or her own battery. For instructions, click here.

Activity: Build a potato powered light bulb

Looking for another neat experiment to do? How about a potato powered light bulb? Click this link to find a collection of YouTube videos to help you do just that!


All the Water in the World

By George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson

  • Print Length: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 22, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 22, 2011
  • Sold by:Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

This beautifully illustrated book teaches about the water cycle without feeling like it. Readers discover all the different places water can be found and who uses water (everyone and everything!).

Don’t have the book? No problem. You can find a read aloud video by clicking here.

Activity: Learn more about the water cycle


For a short, fun, and informative video: Click here.

Activity: Create your own water cycle model

Want to see the water cycle in action? You can!

What you need:     Clear bottle



  1. Fill the bottle with water to about 1 inch high.
  2. Place the bottle by a window that can receive direct sunlight.
  3. Wait (while you do something else).
  4. After several hours, water droplets can be seen on the upper part of the bottle.

Viola! You have demonstrated the water cycle.

Quick and easy explanation to share with your kiddos: The bottle simulates clouds because the greenhouse effect allows the interior of the bottle to become warmer than the external air temperature under sunlight. In our experiment, the water vapor condenses into droplets on the upper part of the bottle. This demonstrates how in nature, water vapor in the air first rises and when it reaches the upper atmosphere, it condenses into fine water droplets to form clouds. In our experiment, when the water droplets become too big and heavy, they fall – just like rain.

Hope this gives you some fresh ideas for activities with fun, informative and imaginative books! Have ideas to share for books you love? Please leave comments below!

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Jenny is a Northeast Ohio native who relocated to Council Bluffs in 2012. She is a single mom homeschooling her three teenaged children, Austin, Elliana and Jonathan. Her background is in Secondary English Education and Theatre. While homeschooling takes up a majority of her time, you may find her buried in a book, crocheting, working her home based business ( or eagerly writing YA and children's books. You can also learn more about her wonderfully ​quirky little family and her thoughts on her ever deepening faith through her blog, notes of jubilee ( where she shares the joys of everyday life as a mother and various product reviews.