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Story Time: Uncle Rocky – Fast Action

Story Time: Uncle Rocky - Fast Action includes airplane activities, crafts, and free printables to go with the picture book by James Burd Brewster

My friends, James Burd Brewster has done it again.  Uncle Rocky – Fast Action is a fun and interesting story that not only educates your littles about different aircraft (and what little isn’t fascinated by planes?), it also explains the Heimlich Maneuver and even includes detailed instructions for performing the maneuver at the end.

I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t recommend the Glad to Do It! series by Mr. Brewster enough.  With each book, the author teaches practical facts while telling an interesting story about an everyday hero.  In this one, Rocky’s nephews are once more featured as stars of the show.  They even get to say the catch phrase, “Glad to do it!” at the end.

It doesn’t get any better than that.
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12 Incredible Books for Autumn

These incredible books will get your kids in the mood for fall and help them the celebrate the season

Even though it’s been in the 90s lately in southern Indiana, I’m longing  for a slight chill in the air, a mug of apple cider, and the short, golden days of autumn.  For me, no other season compares with autumn.  I love the cinnamon scent of fallen leaves, the bright colors that cover our hills, the scarecrows and Indian corn and pumpkins.  I love the first day I get to cozy up in a soft sweater.  I love hearing the leaves crunch under my boots when we take fall hikes in our woods.  Autumn also means deer season and all the work and joy that comes with it.  My favorite holiday, Halloween, comes in autumn.  So when I say I have books to recommend to go with an autumn study, I mean there are A Lot of books I could recommend.  I will try to behave.

These incredible picture books will get your kids in the mood for fall and help them the celebrate the season

6 Picture Books for Autumn

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

This book is first because it doesn’t matter how old we get, we love reading this book and acting out the clomps, wiggles, shakes, and claps that go along with it.  It is, perhaps, my favorite autumn picture book because it is a cute story with brilliant illustrations by Megan Lloyd, and it gets the Littles up and moving.  Well, it gets all of us up and moving because it’s just plain fun.  I did my very first Story Time on this book, and it’s full of fun crafts and activities.


The Teeny Tiny Witches by Jan Wahl

If you have a little who is fascinated by all things small, this sweet tale about a family of miniature witches trying to find a home will entrance him or her.  It’s full of pumpkins and owls and squirrels and other things autumn, so it’s appropriate for an autumn study.  It’s another one of those books I have in my childhood collection that I still pull out and read every once in a while just for the warm, cozy feeling it gives me.


The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

This quiet, beautiful book about a leaf who isn’t ready to let go of his tree is another family favorite.  It evokes all the wonderful things about fall–the colors, the spattering of falling leaves, the scents, the hush.  Your littles will have a grand time cheering on the Little Yellow Leaf as he builds up his courage to finish his journey.


Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Leaf man goes where the wind blows in this delightful story illustrated with leaf collages.  Ehlert is a genius at simple poetic prose and Leaf Man is sure to inspire imaginative wanderings in your littles.  There is a field guide to leaves in the back of the book and let me tell you, this book lends itself to crafts so easily it’ll nearly make you weep.  My Story Time for Leaf Man has all kinds of fun leaf ideas and includes an 18-page printable. Reading this story and making leaf men and animals will be a rich addition to your autumn study.

Leaf Jumpers is a fun book for celebrating autumn with kids


Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber

Is there anything more fun than jumping in a pile of leaves?  It’s still my favorite.   This adorable book is a great way to celebrate the turning of the leaves.  Plus, it slyly teaches littles about the shapes of leaves and how to recognize their trees.  I mean, you can’t beat that.  Plus, I have a fun Story Time to get your kiddos thinking even more about leaves.

Hello, Harvest Moon is a fun book for celebrating autumn with kids


Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher

Don’t you just love Ralph Fletcher?  He makes me happy.  This sweet book is an homage to the harvest moon and the illustrations by Kate Kiesler are to. die. for.  Lots of good autumn stuff in this one to get your littles in the mood for the season.  And I can’t help it if I’ve done a Story Time for almost every one of my favorite books.  I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t love them.  The Hello, Harvest Moon Story Time has lots of fun moon activities for your littles to do.

These incredible books will get your kids in the mood for fall and help them the celebrate the season

6 Bigger Books for Autumn

Dracula by Bram Stoker

What better time to read about the most classic vampire than autumn?  There is something delicious about diviing into Stoker’s Gothic Victorian world when the air is cool and the nights are getting longer.  Spooky.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Autumn is also a good time to get lost in the deranged mind of Dr. Frankenstein.  I think your littles will be intrigued by how different the story is from the pop culture.  And talk about a million and one crafts/art projects.  This one would be fun.


The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

I can’t help but think Bradbury must have had a profound affect on Stephen King’s writing style–both of them are geniuses at putting us inside the heads of little boys.  If you’ve not read this hauntingly cryptic Halloween tale, it is about a group of boys who encounter one Mr. Moundshroud and are led on an adventure through time.  They witness an Ancient Egyptian funeral procession, Druidic rites, witch persecutions, and other spectral happenings before they can make their way home.  Another good Bradbury book for autumn is Something Wicked This Way Comes.  That one is good and creepy, too.


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Another timeless Halloween classic, Sleepy Hollow has been made into many films and cartoons, but reading the original story is, as ever, so much more satisfying than watching someone else’s interpretation of it. Since it is one of the first examples of popular American literature, it is not only a good autumn story but has a good literary history lesson built right in.  And who isn’t fascinated by the Headless Horseman?

Macbeth is a great book to read with kids in autumn


Macbeth by William Shakespeare

I mention Macbeth because we’re reading it now, and watching the slow decent into madness caused by the predictions of the Weird Sisters is, well, brilliant.  And eerie enough to fit right in with the darkening nights, chilling weather, and Halloween uproar of autumn.  Besides, Shakespeare.  Yeah yeah.


Dead Poets Society by N. H. Kleinbaum

You were expecting another spooky something, weren’t you? Not only is this book an awesome introduction to the world of poetry, because it mostly takes place during the first semester of a private school year, it has a definite autumn feel to it.  And it should be read by everybody.  Because there’s nothing like a good teacher or finding your self despite a mad, mad world.


Also, Anything by Stephen King  If your littles are ready for it (or maybe just for yourself?), King is especially awesome to read in autumn.  Or winter.  Or spring.  Or summer.  Because he’s Stephen King.  I recommend going old school–‘Salem’s Lot, Pet Cemetary, It, The Stand (that’ll take all year… but be worth it), The Shining.  Well, anything by King. 🙂


Love wins,


Teaching Plot Structure: 5 Types of Plot

Lesson on Types of Plot is part of a 3-part series on teaching plot structure to kids. Includes a free printable

In the last couple weeks, we’ve covered the 3 types of story and the elements of plot. To wrap up my series on teaching plot, let’s talk about the different types of plot that occur in stories.  If you research types of plot at all, it won’t take but a minute to see that the experts disagree on just how many they are.  3, 5, 7?  36?

I think  most of the 36 could be boiled down to one of 5-7 plot types, but it’s fun to look at plot with a more detailed mindset.  I’ve heard it said that nothing original has been written since Shakespeare (and since so many of our current books and movies are based either on his plays or on fairy tales, I’m not saying that’s wrong).

But everyone has a different voice and a different idea of how the plot type will unfold.  So even though it seems like there are a million plot lines out there, let’s take a look at how closely our favorite books fit into just a few different types of plot.
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The Witch of Blackbird Pond Activities for Learning

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Activities for Learning has over 125 ideas for getting deeper into the novel by Elizabeth Geroge Speare and includes a free printable

Since it’s mid-September and I saw orange leaves today while I was out, what could be more fitting than a witchy story?

Halloween is coming, my friends, and the Lit Mama is all in.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare is a beautiful story about friendship and staying true to oneself set in 1687 Connecticut.  When 16-year-old Kit is orphaned, she has to travel to America to live with relatives she’s never met.  Suspicious and unfriendly, the Puritan community in which she finds herself soon begin to whisper ‘witch.’  And when Kit finds a friend in Hannah Tupper, a widow known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, things become downright dangerous.

There are so many lessons to learn from this book.  And it’s incredibly absorbing.   Plus, autumn.  Did I say that already?

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