Welcome to Preschool Powol Packets

I am so glad you're here!

I hope you love our new layout!

Here are a few tips to finding your way around!

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

// // Leave a Comment

Brain-Building Activities for Preschoolers + Early Child Development College Course from CCEI Parent Company, StraighterLine

I have always had a fascination with how the brain works and how children learn, so I was very excited about the opportunity to review the course Early Childhood Development through a partnership with ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) from its parent company, StraighterLine 

Today, I'm going to share some awesome brain-building information and activities from the course and then give you an overview of the course also.

I want to start out with two huge myths in educational neuroscience. I have heard so many teachers and adults express different variations of these ideas, so I want to start out by getting rid of them right away!

MYTH #1: Children's brains stop growing after they are three years old.

While there are a lot of variations on this idea, the fact is that children's brains have plasticity, which means they can grow and change throughout childhood. One of my favorite examples shared in the course was a young man who started having seizures after he was four years old and had to have the entire left hemisphere of his brain removed to stop them. This was done over two major surgeries which happened when he was seven and ten. His recovery took a long time, but the right side of his brain eventually "re-wired" itself to be able to take care of functions like speech that are usually controlled by the left side of the brain.

Additionally, the course pointed out that synaptic formations don't even stabilize until after the age of ten.

If you consider your own experiences, you would know that you learned, grew, and discovered many things after you turned three. I really wish we could convince all teachers and parents that older children are capable and can even be excited to learn new skills and behaviors!

MYTH #2: The right and left hemispheres of the brain each have their own specific jobs, and some people are just "right-brained" or "left-brained."

This myth often comes up when parents, teachers, or sometimes even children make excuses for why they cannot learn something. The fact is that both sides of the brain communicate extensively for all major tasks that a person engages in. Some activities might involve one side of the brain more than the other, but both are used and increased communication across the two hemispheres often correlates with faster learning!

The story I shared above about a boy having half his brain removed also demonstrates this principle.

As children grow and develop, new neurons and synapses are established in the brain to help children learn. What kinds of activities can help preschoolers develop these cognitive skills? I'm so glad you asked! Here are seven that any parent or preschool teacher can implement:

1- Ask your children to compare things. You can do this when you play, eat, or even during lessons. Ask about which toys or food items are bigger, smaller, taller, wider, heavier, longer, etc.

2- Let your children practice ordering and organizing things. When your kids bring you three books, ask them to put them in the order they'd like to read and then ask why they organized them as they did. Take turns lining up from tallest to shortest or shortest to tallest. 

3- Let your children experience natural change. Grow a plant and compare it to pictures of each stage of growth. Watch caterpillars grow to butterflies and make charts showing how caterpillars change to chrysalis and then to a butterfly. 

4- Encourage your children to draw pictures that show perspectives. If they draw your yard, ask what's at the far end. Is it a tree or mailbox or animal? Encourage them to place that at the far end of their drawing. Talk about background and foreground, and ask them to tell you what's in the background of their pictures.

5- Let your children experiment with ramps and hills. After they roll marbles, cars, and balls down it, encourage them to figure out why different items rolled faster. Actually, let your children experiment with a variety of natural processes like speed, water flow, gravity, etc.!

6- Invite your children to draw conclusions and explain and justify their answers. Questions like "Why do you think that?" or "How could you show that to a friend?" invite them to reflect on their own thinking, which is a form of metacognition.

7- Ask questions like "How...?" and "Why...?" How and why questions encourage children (and adults, lol!) to think beyond easy and/or obvious answers. It requires their brains to connect what they're experiencing and thinking with prior knowledge, which contributes to improved cognitive thinking and memory formation.

Would you like to print the image above? These activities are really easy to incorporate into any schedule. As you practice asking questions like these and letting your preschoolers have similar experiences, you are helping their brains build synapses and skills that will enable them to grow into life-long learners! Click here for an easy (and free) printable pdf!

These brain-building activities for preschoolers are a tiny part of the Early Childhood Development course from StraighterLine, parent company of CCEI! Let me tell you a few more things about it so that you can decide if you'd like to take it too!

Early Childhood Development from StraighterLine is a 3-credit hour online college course that provides an overview of Educational Psychology and the scientific study of behavior and mental processes with an emphasis in perspectives and strategies that teachers need to stay flexible in the classroom.

My favorite sections in the course include brain development, cognitive approaches to learning, memory, metacognition, attention, and motivation. Other large sections include cognitive and language development, behavior and social development, exceptional learners (including both learning disabilities and gifted learners), planning, instruction, technology, teaching, and managing a classroom

The course is organized in 6 topics, two of which are exams:

The course also includes 20 assignments, which vary to include quizzes, reflective writings, and the two exams. You can see the list here:

All the assignments can be "retaken" if you are not satisfied with your score. Both the midterm and the final include a detailed study guide and are "open note." There is a time limit (1 hour and 40 minutes) to answer the 50 questions. The final requires an online proctor, which you can schedule through the system.

Most of the course material is offered through an online textbook (Educational Psychology by John W. Santrock) easily accessible through StraighterLine. Options to take notes, highlight sections, and add comments are all super easy to find. Some videos and other short readings are available through the course "home" page when you log into StraighterLine.

The entire course is extremely user-friendly! I absolutely love how you can access it 24/7, any day, any time of the week. They have very friendly support staff and teachers too! If you are looking for a super convenient way to take online college courses, I highly recommend starting here!

Early Childhood Development is a 3-credit online college course filled with research-backed tools and resources to help anyone working with young children. Understanding the science behind child development is crucial to teaching young children, and this course includes not only that science, but hands-on practical ways of using it!

Early Child Development is one of five foundational Early Childhood Education courses that StraighterLine offers as part of their Early Childhood Education Career Pathway Program to help you jumpstart a career in Early Childhood Education!  The other four courses are Foundations of Early Childhood, Teaching Students with Exceptionalities, Classroom Management, and Language and Literacy.

These courses, as well as the hundreds of courses offered through CCEI, also work great for continuing ed or professional development!

Once you complete the course, you can easily transfer it to more than 2,000 partner colleges and universities StraighterLine has relationships with! As I mentioned above, it's a 3-credit course! I wrote about more of the details for courses from StraighterLine and CCEI here!

I highly recommend the course for anyone interested in teaching children or for parents hoping to understand how their children grow and learn better.

This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only recommend products and companies I love!

Happy Educating,

Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More

Saturday, September 30, 2023

// // Leave a Comment

Build a Pumpkin Preschool Activity Free Printable

Pumpkins are some of my favorite things ever! You can cook with them, play with them, smell them, and do all sorts of pumpkin-themed activities! This free preschool printable lets your kids design and build their own jack-o'lanterns. It's perfect for small groups or even a craft station!

You can print this free packet on colored paper or let your kids color their pumpkins any way they like! And you can use the provided facial pieces or just give your preschoolers black paper and let them cut and design their own faces!

Craft activities like this one are lots of fun and they help your child develop important skills, like the following:
** eye-hand coordination (important pre-reading skill)
** fine-motor control
** problem-solving
** multi-step project skills
** design and engineering
** confidence

If you would like to print the free build-a-pumpkin packet, just click here to get a copy! Also, consider being inspired by the printable packet, and just providing your children with orange and black paper, glue, and scissors. I love watching their creative minds work!

Happy Educating,

Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More

Monday, August 28, 2023

// // Leave a Comment

Early Childhood Education Career Training

Are you considering a career in childcare? Do you need professional development courses? 

Today I have a lot of really great information for you about childcare training, professional development, and degree options. 

These courses are perfect for a lot of different scenarios:
** Beginning a career in childcare or early childhood education
** Childcare providers and teachers looking for credentials
** Childcare providers and teachers looking for professional development
** Anyone looking for a head start in an early childhood teaching career

ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) has always been the leader in online childcare training and certificates. Their courses are user-friendly, available 24-7, and cover hundreds of topics with a wide variety such as early literacy, music, growth mindset, brain development, and working with parents and other professionals. 

I have been happy to share CCEI's programs during the last few years because they are so relevant and convenient!

You can take courses from CCEI individually or follow the training path they have to earn your CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential. This credential opens up new career opportunities for childcare professionals and increases your earning potential.

We all know Early Childhood Education is a rewarding career for adults, but it is also a career path that teenagers can begin during high school with a part time job. CCEI makes it easy to earn state-required IACET CEU professional development hours, no matter how busy your schedule is! Their professional development courses are available online every day, every week, all year!

And now CCEI has partnered with StraighterLine to offer even more options!

If you want to start working on an associates or bachelors degree, this is the perfect way to do it!

StraighterLine has five foundational early childhood education courses that easily transfer to more than 2,000 colleges and universities! Those courses are:

You can also take their other general education courses to make your degree path easier. They have more than 60 options! Just check with your college and see how many you can transfer!

All of these courses are accredited and available online and on your favorite devices! Check back with me in September and December, and I'll share specific reviews of two more of the StraighterLine early childhood education college courses too!

I hope this is helpful information for you! If any of it sounds exciting, I encourage you to learn more about potential career pathways with CCEI's CDA + StraighterLine's 5 ECE college courses today!

This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only recommend products and companies I love!

Happy Educating,

Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

// // Leave a Comment

FREE Turkey Number & Letters Preschool Packet

I think you will love this adorable set of turkey number and letter cards!

Aren't they cute?!

This festive little Thanksgiving packet has 14 pages of activities pieces, including the following:

** Upper and lower case letter turkey cards
** Turkey number cards
** Turkey counting cards
** A preschool maze
** An "I'm thankful for..." page

You can use these for all sorts of activities! Here are a few ideas:

** Match the letter cards upper and lower case in games of memory or matching.
** Spell names or other words with the letter cards.
** Match the turkey number cards with the counting cards.
** "Match" the number of toys with number cards. For example, put 8 cars on the #8 cards.
** Fill the maze in with markers, pencils, or just trace it with your finger!
** Transcribe what your kids are thankful for, let them write it themselves, or let them draw a picture of it!

I hope you have a wonderful fall!

Happy Educating,

Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More
// // Leave a Comment

Dinosaur Footprints Preschool Activity

Do you need a dinosaur preschool activity that takes less than 30 seconds to set up?  

I have one for you today!

Actually, I have a whole series of no-prep dinosaur activities! I think you'll love them because they're SO easy to set up and are still super engaging! I know they've been useful to me!!

Anyway, today's super-easy-but-insanely-fun dinosaur preschool activity is all about dinosaur footprints!  As an extra bonus, it works great for babies and toddlers too (as long as they're not allergic to wheat)!

Dinosaur footprints are one of the ways we have learned about dinosaurs.  The footprints can tell us their size, if they likely walked on two feet or four, how big their gait was, and more!  You can talk to your kiddos about all the great science we can get from dinosaur footprints and how footprints are a type of "trace fossil" (meaning a fossil made by a living critter without any of the critter actually fossilized), and how fossils are made...or not!  It's up to you!

To get your kids started on a hands-on, sensory-filled, dinosaur footprint activity, pull out some kind of pan or large dish.  Cover the bottom of it with a thin layer of flour.  If your weather is nice, go outside.  Let your kids use plastic dinosaurs to make footprints in the flour!  

Play a matching game with them: make prints in the floor and see if they can match which dinosaurs made the prints!

They may want to make their own finger and hand prints too.  :)

Check out my other no-prep dinosaur activities here and a {slightly more planning needed} dinosaur fossilization activity here!

Happy educating!
Carla & the kids who don't sit still

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More

Thursday, July 13, 2023

// // Leave a Comment

Professional Development + ECE College Degree

If you've ever wanted an Early Childhood Education degree or CDA certificate or super convenient college classes to take for professional development, you will want to check out the new partnership between ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) and StraighterLine. I have all the awesome details for you here!

ChildCare Education Institute has been a leader in providing online courses and professional certifications for years. I've highlighted some of my favorite courses they offer during the last few years. Now, through a partnership with StraighterLine, you can continue your learning journey with even more courses that include college credit that transfers easily to more than 2,000 colleges and universities.

Here are a few exciting things you will want to know:

==>  Educators can earn college credits!
==>  You can take courses needed for your degree online! They currently have more than 60 GE courses available!
==>  Those courses (and the college credits you get while completing them) transfer to more than 2,000 college and university partners!

Early childhood educators are always in demand. Every step teachers take (earning a CDA, then an associates degree, then a bachelors degree, then a teaching license) tends to increase your salary by around $10,000 - $15,000, so having a convenient way to work on your license and degree also increases your potential salary!

Taking courses through StraighterLine requires creating a new account and signing up for the course. This is pretty easy and straightforward. The StraighterLine system has my favorite conveniences from CCEI as well:

==>  Courses are self-paced. You move through as much or as little as quickly as you like.
==>  Courses are more reasonably priced than many colleges and universities.
==>  Courses are completed at your convenience. Online. Any time of the day or night that works for you. They even have tutors available 24/7 and live support 7 days a week!

Here are a few things I noticed that are different:

==> Each course is a 3-credit hour course. If you're enrolled in a partner university or college, the courses and credits transfer directly.
==> StraighterLine courses include an e-textbook. I'll share more details on this below but, the short version is, it's awesome!
==> StraighterLine courses include a proctored final exam
==> StraighterLine offers both early childhood education courses and dozens of general courses that you can also use for professional development or toward a degree.

Since the StraighterLine courses are college courses (unlike the online professional development I've taken), they include quizzes, tests, and textbook reading. This makes sense because you're getting college credit, and you should expect to spend a little more time on these courses. It usually takes about 45 days to finish a course, but some have finished a course in as little as two weeks.

To try and get a better feel for the StraighterLine course format, I've been working on their Foundations of Early Childhood Education course

I thought I'd share some extra details from this course with you so you can see what to expect in courses from StraighterLine!

When you begin the course, and every time you log into the system, you can see your progress bar on the left of the screen. On the right side, you see the course content. Foundations of Early Childhood Education has 6 topics. Within those six topics are 29 assignments, which you can see on the tab next to the Course Topics.

Before you start the lessons, a short welcome sequence introduces the entire course with a video and gives you a thorough explanation of the Academic Honesty and Integrity expectations. There is also a detailed set of instructions on citations and how to include sources in your written work.

Foundations of Early Childhood Education has 6 topics. Four of them include new material and two of them are exams. You can see them here:

Within each topic are a number of lessons. The first topic, Teaching and Learning, has nine lessons inside it. Here's a peek at those nine lesson titles:

Each lesson begins with a little video that gives you a brief welcome overview of the lesson, its Learning Objectives, and any assignments or quizzes.

The Reflective Responses and Quizzes are designed to make sure you are incorporating the material and preparing for the exams. Both Reflective Responses and Quizzes give you more than one chance to submit your answer or even "retake" the assignment or quiz. Each quiz or assignment I looked at let you take the highest score out of all of your attempts.

When you retake a quiz, you do not have the same questions each time. The questions cover the same materials or chapters in the textbook, but you will encounter a new set of questions on the retake.

I really love the e-textbook feature! The textbook for this course was Teachers, Schools, and Society: A Brief Introduction to Education. Accessing the textbook required setting up one more account, but this took about 20 seconds and is linked to your StraighterLine courses. Once you login, the book automatically pulls up for whatever course you are in. On the left side of the screen you can see the chapters. Clicking on a different chapter will load the chapter on the right side of the screen. In this image, I loaded the Brief Table of Contents:

I want to take a second here and just talk about how awesome this particular course and textbook is. The course is set up to provide an incredible overview of important things that all teachers need to know about--schools, students, and teaching. It does a really awesome job of that. Obviously the textbook is integral for that. I was impressed by the well-balanced and honest attempt at looking at our schools' history in America. It does not shy away from the fact that our educational history is filled with prejudice, bias, and even politicization. They're important to both be aware of and be aware of along with our own personal response to them.

The e-textbook also includes options to annotate and mark the text

In addition to marking your text, I'd suggest taking a few notes. Most of the quizzes and tests let you bring in one sheet of paper with notes on it. 

The instructions for the quizzes and tests are very detailed, as seen below:

The course ends with a 50-question final that you have 2 hours to take.

Overall, the course was very user-friendly, easy to access, contained useful information, and was interesting and engaging! I think this partnership between CCEI and StraighterLine is bringing teachers and educators more user-friendly and accessible opportunities for professional development and degrees, and I'm really excited about it!

This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only recommend products and companies I love!

Happy Educating,

Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More

Monday, June 26, 2023

// // Leave a Comment

2022's Best Picture Books for Preschoolers Awards

Welcome to the 2022 Best Picture Books for Preschoolers Awards!

I am super excited to share my choices for the best new picture books with you! There are laugh-out-loud silly, serious, inspirational, and more!

This is the 3rd year I have hosted these awards! Every year, I spend countless hours reading literally hundreds of books that were released in the featured year. These books have been nominated by authors, publishers, and readers around the world. There were many awesome books that I just couldn't include. Narrowing it down to a manageable list is always the most challenging part of hosting these awards.

This year I have (in my ever-so-humble opinion) the absolute best 22 books for preschoolers published during 2022! These are books that I think every preschooler should get to enjoy! Most are in your library, all are available on Amazon, and many can even be found on other websites. I will share an Amazon affiliate link with each book if you want to look at it on Amazon.

Before we get started I'd like to introduce your sponsor!

My name is Carla, and I run both Preschool Powol Packets and Turtle Trails Publishing. Last year, I released A Dinosaur Made Me Spill, a hilarious picture book that introduces the water cycle with a disastrous tea party, a dinosaur, and more! Since including it in the awards would present a conflict of interest, I'm just sharing it with you here. I hope you love it!

Now for the awards! 

I've divided the winners up into seven categories with two honorable mention titles. Here are the categories:

Understanding & Friendship
Being Brave

You can scroll down to see all of the titles, a few of my thoughts about the book, and a link to each book. 


2022's Best Picture Books for Preschoolers:


Imagine a World Full of Wonder by Leigha Huggins & Heather Lean features a beautiful poem filled with hopeful imaginations and musings and illustrations by artists around the world. Each artist has a slightly different style, and together with the poem, they create a rich, hopeful experience for our children.

Maybe I'll be an Architect by Tenille Bettenhausen & illustrated by Ira Baykovska inspires children to imagine a huge variety of careers and ways that each profession contributes to a better world. This book would go great with a Careers or Community Helpers preschool theme!

Eyes That Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho & illustrated by Dung Ho made me cry. Not even exaggerating! It begins with a young boy whose feelings get hurt by another child drawing him with unnaturally squinty eyes (just two lines). He spirit is lifted, though, as he realizes his eyes speak to the stars, and he has the power to change the world. My eyes are not shaped the same as the main character's, but the poetic story made me want to connect with my family, learn about my heritage, and make a better world for my children. This book could easily lead into a discussion on how each of us (no matter how small!) can make a difference in our worlds, confidence, and/or a conversation on kindness and inclusivity. 


I could have included Poo-Dunit?: A Forest Floor Mystery by Katelyn Aronson & illustrated by Stephanie Laberis in the science or nonfiction categories, but it is so funny that I had to put it here. The poor little mouse wakes up one morning and discovers a big pile of poo outside its door. Who put it there? The mystery is on... as well as a contest amongst forest animals to create the biggest poo ever! Throughout the story, you learn a little science about different forest animal scats too!

This Book is Perfect by Ron Keres & illustrated by Arthur Lin begins with an adorable frog who has the most perfect book... until a reader gets it dirty... and dirtier! In the end, you not only spend a fantastic journey laughing with a hilarious frog, but you also have a great opportunity to discuss the opportunities in embracing some imperfection.


Splats by Simon Crack is one of the most unique books I've seen. Each page features a critter like the green one on the cover and a very short description of it. It feels like a catalog of fantasy creatures, and the preschoolers I've shared it with were glued to each page. When we reached the end, there are two pages with "splats" on them that invite children to create their own creatures. My 4-year old jumped up and ran (not walked, ran!) to grab pens to create his the instant we finished it. This book would make a fantastic introduction to an art project day too: read the book, then give kids paper, paint, markers, or anything else they want to make their own creatures! You could even put them together into a book by the kids!

My son fell in love with Trucks at First Sight by Martha Jaworwski the first time we read it. He has had me read it to him over a hundred times since. He now reads it on his own. It has so many things that preschoolers love: numbers, trucks, colors, patterns, and more! The presentation is simple--predictable trucks getting counted--but incredibly engaging! It would fit in perfectly with a Truck or Construction theme or as part of a counting/numbers station!

"Did you know there's an N on your nose? Can you catch the T on your toes?" There's an N on Your Nose by Dennis Canfield & illustrated by Stella Maris is a creative, playful way to engage with the letters in the alphabet. It integrates the letters as objects in a rollicking rhyme that gently introduces prepositions and parts of the body with adorable illustrations.


When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Dinosaur by Mikayla Ruvalcaba & illustrated by Maria Burobkina introduces paleontology, science, and big dreams! Not only does this fun story include names of dinosaurs and great science, but it also features a girl getting excited about these topics. I love finding new science books with girls in them!

Respectfully introducing preschoolers to their bodies is an important developmental step for children. Your Whole Body by Lizzie DeYoung Charbonneau & illustrated by Misha Ivre makes this easy with gorgeous artwork and gentle descriptions of detailed body parts. It includes everything from wrists and ankles to specific parts that are usually covered with a bathing suit. Obviously, I have to avoid using specific examples in this article because search engines will censure my site, but I think it is incredibly important that children learn correct names for all parts of themselves, and this book is a powerful tool to do so.

Underwater ABC by Barbara Pinke & illustrated by Alvin Adhi is a beautiful, cheerful, preschool-friendly alphabet book. Each letter comes with an illustration and a fun "Did you know?" fact about the critter featured!

Luminous by Julia Kuo is a delightful collection of animals that glow. From fireflies to fungus to underwater critters, adults will learn almost as much as children with this fun book!

Where do you Sleep? by Marie Miller & illustrated by Erika Parker Rogers is a beautiful introduction to six different animals and their homes. It would fit into several preschool themes (like forest animals, biomes, family) so easily and answers so many questions that preschoolers love to ask!


When I Caught You by Izzy B has all the feelings! It is a story of a father bear who takes his son fishing. They have a wonderful time, but don't catch any fish. The story takes a tender turn, though, as the father explains all the wonderful things they did catch. This book is perfect for snuggling with your kids, reminding them what a wonderful "catch" they are, and/or for using in preschool themes like family, fishing, or camping.

Uncle John's City Garden by Bernette Ford & illustrated by Frank Morrison made my kids want to grow a garden! It is inspired by a true story, and is a wonderful connection to family, history, gardening, and more. It even includes a recipe in the back!

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall also has roots in a true story. The author/illustrator was inspired by an old farmhouse. Just before it was renovated she collected pieces of the home's history in things like scraps of wallpaper. She researched its history, the family that lived there, and tied in the physical mementos she'd collected to create this beautiful book that children and adults can relate to. 

Understanding & Friendship

Gibberish by Young Vo is about a young boy who has just immigrated and does not speak the new language. From his perspective, everyone around him speaks an un-understandable gibberish... until a girl steps up and shows him that they just might have things in common outside of language. And through their willingness to be friends with each other, they begin to speak the same language. This book is simple, but touching, and can begin conversations with children about how we can reach out to people who might feel distant, whether it's because of a language barrier or anything else.

Like by Annie Barrows & illustrated by Leo Espinosa is a unique comparison book that shows how we are more alike than different. It begins with comparisons as hilarious as people and cans or pools, and works its way to more meaningful relationships. This book is awesome for taking advantage of preschooler's reasoning skills and reminding them that we can all be friends. Perhaps this should be required reading for adults, too.

Being Brave

There are SO many ways to be brave! Whether we are facing our own fears, horrible experiences, or a new challenge, these books cover them all!

Oh, how I love Knight Owl by Christopher Denise! It is hilarious, has gorgeous pictures, and follows a loveable main character. Knight Owl finally achieves his dream of being a knight (even though it was a lot of hard work) and is faced with the challenge of saving the kingdom from a dragon! His clever problem-solving builds his confidence, creates friends from enemies, and protects the kingdom. This is a brilliant reminder that we can do hard things, solve problems, and be friends (even to those who don't realize they need a friend).

Thursday by Ann Bonwill & illustrated by Kayla Harren is the most beautiful book for children that I've ever read about divorce. I'm including a trigger warning: it is poignant. I bawled through the whole thing, beginning on about the second page. It is told through the child's unicorn's perspective as the stuffed animal carries her friend through a painful experience. It is simple, but carries a message of hope: life works out, it's okay to hurt, and some days will be better (or worse) than others. I also think that, even though this book is about divorce, it may be a comfort to any child going through a difficult time, including a loved one's death or any other struggle.

On a more light-hearted note, Nellie vs. Elizabeth: Two Daredevil Journalists' Breakneck Race around the World by Kate Hannigan & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon is fun, inspiring, and fast-paced. It is based on the true story of two women who decided to travel around the world in a time when women were considered too weak for such adventures. The message I got when we read this book was you can do anything you want to, and that is a message I want all my kids to feel deep in their bones!

Swim, Jim! by Kaz Windness is about a crocodile who is afraid to swim. It is adorable, friendly, and encouraging to children who may be afraid of water or swimming. I have known too many kids nervous about swimming to not include this book in this year's list! It is kind in its presentation of Jim's fears, and I think it could encourage children to cautiously and confidently approach their own fears in their own time and with whatever tools they may need.

Honorable Mention

Where Do Pirates Go On Vacation? by Kim Ann & illustrated by Nejla Shojaie is a super cute exploration of where pirates might go on vacation. It ties in perfectly to a pirate theme and has repetitive text that will help preschoolers predict language and read along!

Octopuses Have Zero Bones by Anne Richardson & illustrated by Andrea Antinori might be my favorite math-based, nonfiction, animal-themed picture book. A lot of preschoolers will love the fun facts and illustrations! 

Thank you for joining me for this year's Best Picture Books for Preschoolers awards! 

I would love to hear if you have any new favorite books too! Feel free to share my list with friends and family--they would all make awesome summer reading material! 

If you were an author or illustrator featured in this year's awards, feel free to use the badge below in your social media or other promotional plans!

If you are an author or publisher interested in next year's Best Picture Books for Preschooler's awards, please sign up to receive a notification when the submission period opens by clicking here.

Happy Educating,

Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze!
This awesome book introduces the rock cycle with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more!
(hint: You can buy it on Amazon or use the code Dinosaur25 at OakieBees.com!!)

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

Read More