The January days are chilly and the moon seems to be shining brighter than ever. As we flip our calendars we know that the days are getting longer, but it can hardly feel like it with the cold afternoon chill. Given the desire to snuggle up and read, we thought it would be the perfect time to share a book list about the passing of time. Throughout human existence we have generated ways to record time, and while many of our earlier innovations are no longer used, the old has been blended with the new. (A very interesting article with a unique perspective on time can be found here.) Most children are curious about time, yet it can be a tricky subject to comprehend for younger ones. Check out this list for some helpful suggestions.
The Reasons for Seasons
Gibbons writes books for children that are beautifully illustrated, clearly written, and tend to mesh very well with the style of Montessori education. The Reasons for Seasonscan be appreciated by younger and older children; it contains simple text that explains the science behind our seasons. It differentiates between the Northern and Southern hemispheres and teaches kids about solstices, equinoxes, and why the Earth’s axis plays an important role.
I Had a Favorite Dress
Boni Ashburn, illustrated by Julia Denos
This is a fun days-of-the-week book in which the main character begins by telling readers about her favorite dress that she wears each Tuesday, which happens to be her favorite day of the week. One day she discovers the dress is too small, but her creative mother transforms the dress into a shirt that the girl then wears every Wednesday. That is, until it no longer fits…
A Second, a Minute, a Week with Days in it: A Book About Time
Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Brian Gable
The title of this book says it all: it’s a simple and straightforward explanation about simple units of time. The illustrations help give children a clear visual representation of these abstract concepts.
About Time: A First Look at Time and Clocks
This fabulous book teaches children about the history of timekeeping. Throughout time, humans have needed to track the passing of time and have discovered many creative ways of doing so. This book is sure to delight children in the elementary grades and beyond.
The Story of Clocks and Calendars
Betsey Maestro, illustrated by Guilio Maestro
Like Koscielniak’s book, The Story of Clocks and Calendars fills the important role of teaching children about the history of time. Maestro details the differences in calendars from different societies, along with descriptions of various types of clocks.
Chicken Soup with Rice
“In January it’s so nice while slipping on the sliding ice to sip hot chicken soup with rice. Sipping once sipping twice sipping chicken soup with rice.” This classic Sendak book will help young children learn the names of the months while being delighted by his poems and illustrations.
Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back
Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London, illustrated by Thomas Locker
A young Abenaki child is treated to a lesson and storytelling from his grandfather. The grandfather explains that just as there are thirteen scales on the old turtle’s back, there are thirteen moons during the year. This book honors the Native American tradition of storytelling, and each page teaches about a different nation’s moon story. This book would be best appreciated by elementary-aged children.
When the Moon is Full: A Lunar Year
Penny Pollock, illustrated by Mary Azarian
Another book about the Indigenous lunar year, the illustrations in this book make it come alive. Poetry and tradition guide the reader through twelve moons. While older children would likely enjoy this book, it easily appeals to younger children as well.
A Child’s Calendar
John Updike, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Updike’s poems carry readers through the months of the year, highlighting seasons, holidays, and favorite childhood pastimes. A Child’s Calendar is a Caldecott Honor Book.
Me Counting Time: From Seconds to Centuries
Joan Sweeney, illustrated by Annette Cable
As a child prepares to celebrate her seventh birthday, she pauses to think about time. This story is relatable, informative, and entertaining for kids. Written at about a second-grade reading level, the content would be best enjoyed by children ages 4-7. They will learn all about units of time, from a second to a millennium.
We hope you and your family enjoy these books. Let us know what you think, and what you would add!