Lantern and fireflies

With Memorial Day in the review mirror, it’s time to look ahead to summer vacation days and starry summer nights.  If there are kids in your life, you may be thinking of how to fill their summer with learning and STEM-fueled fun.  If you’re lucky enough to have fireflies where you live in the summer,  why not plan an evening firefly spotting session on the back porch?  You might want to try to capture a few fireflies (or ‘lightning bugs’) in a mesh ‘bug box’ or clear plastic jar with a lid to take a close-up look before releasing them back to wink and blink across the back yard.

What if you don’t have fireflies to study ‘up close and personal’? You can read books about them.  And, while I’ve written a picture book about the subject—IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT (Blue Apple Books, 2013)—there are lots of other titles choose to share with your little ones this summer.  Here are a few you might consider choosing:

Sam and the Firefly by P.D. Eastman (Author/Illustrator) and edited by Dr. Seuss.  This 1958 classic stars Sam the Owl and Gus the Firefly, a dynamic duo who literally light up the night.  Suitable for kids age 3 – 7 years.  (Find it by searching ISBN-10: 0394800060.  ISBN-13: 978-0394800066.)

Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe (Author/ Illustrator).  This 1986 picture book from Aladdin Books features a young boy who is proud to have captured a jar of fireflies, until he realizes, as their light begins to dim, he must set the insects free or they will die.  Suitable for ages 5 – 8 years.  (Find it by searching ISBN-10: 0689710550. ISBN-13: 978-0689710551.)

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle (Author/Illustrator). I found a 1999 board book version of a The Very Lonely FireflyVERY classic from Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! published by Philomel Books for the very youngest reader, ages 2-5.  (Find board book edition by searching ISBN-10: 0399234276. ISBN-13: 978-0399234279.)

Among a Thousand Fireflies by Helen Frost (Author), Rick Lieder (Author), published by Candlewick in 2016.  Exquisite photographs and poetic text evoke a sense of mystery and magic. Rick Lieder and Helen Frost, creators of the critically acclaimed Step Gently Out and Sweep Up the Sun, offer a true story of how two fireflies come together after finding each other’s light among thousands of others. Perfect for ages 3 – 7 years. (Find it by searching ISBN-10: 076367642X.  ISBN-13: 978-0763676421.)

Good Night, Firefly: by Gabriel Alborozo (Author/ Illustrator) for kids aged 4 – 7 years and published by Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers in 2015.  When the power goes out, Nina traps a firefly to serve as a naturally-powered nightlight in her bedroom.  While her new friend keeps her from fearing the dark, Nina eventually realizes that she must let the firefly go to be a real friend to him.  (Find it by searching ISBN-10: 1627792228. ISBN-13: 978-1627792226.)

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko (Author), Melissa Sweet (Illustrator). In this reprint edition from Candlewick, released in 2018, celebrated poet and anthologist Paul B. Janeczko pairs with Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet for a collection of short poems that are centered on the joys of summer….and all the other seasons, too.  (Find it by searching ISBN-10: 0763699713. ISBN-13: 978-0763699710.)

Night Lights by Tish Rabe (Author), Aristides Ruiz (Illustrator), Joe Mathieu (Illustrator).  Kids age 3-7 years will learn why fireflies flash their lights in this 2014 Glow-in-the-Dark Pictureback from Random House Books for Young Readers.  Based on the hit PBS Kids show The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (Find it by searching ISBN-10: 0385371160. ISBN-13: 978-0385371162.)

The Fireflies Book: Fun Facts About the Fireflies You Loved as a Kid by Brett Ortler (Author).  A thick, handy nonfiction title from Adventure Publications, released in 2014.  It’s chockful of firefly facts the whole family will enjoy.  (Find it by searching ISBN-10: 1591934826. ISBN-13: 978-1591934820.)

What’s YOUR favorite book about fireflies?  Please share it with me!  My next blog post will feature places to find great STEM craft projects and activities that are ‘all about fireflies’.  Meanwhile, HAPPY READING!


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