Monday, April 5, 2021

Read Across America Day 2021 - Bedminster School Kindergarten


Opened by mentioning that this has been a year with a lot of changes, then shared the book Changes by Anthony Browne encouraging them to notice all the strange things in the pictures!  (You can hear me read this book again here and visit for more of my read-alouds.) 

 Then followed up with Joanne Ryder's book EarthDance and encouraged kids to get up and move with the book as well.

Mentioned I also have created a compilation of fun family sites for at-home reading & learning at:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Family Literacy Night - Superheroes are Everywhere (Virtual for Washington Elementary, Roselle)

Introduced myself as portraying Alice Paul, NJ Suffragist who had picketed the White House and even been imprisoned for demanding that women have the right to vote. 

Read Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote by Barb Rosenstock, the brand new book that depicts their struggle of wills in the fight to win the vote for women.

Talked about women finally getting the right to vote 100 years ago and that thousands of women (and men) worked for many years for women's suffrage. Shared the info and coloring page on Alice Paul from Remembering the Ladies: From Patriots in Petticoats to Presidential Candidates which profiles 69 women of all colors and creeds who worked for women's rights in this country. E-book available free of charge at my webpage

Mentioned we now for the first time in our history have a woman Vice-President - Kamala Harris!

Shared her book Superheroes are Everywhere which shows how our own family and friends can be superheroes...and we can be too!  We read the "superhero Pledge" together. Asked them about superheroes in their own lives.  

Booktalked and shared selections from Barack Obama's inspirational Of Thee I Sing.

Finished by sharing the Schoolhouse Rock video "
Suffering Till Suffrage"

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Read Across the Ocean -- Virtual Storytime for the Students at Kiwimbi School in Kenya


Carol reads EarthDance by Joanne Ryder to the students of Kiwimbi School Kenya. If you want to have a reading that shows close ups of the book, you can find it here.

Possible follow ups:

Book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer – the true story of a boy from Malawi, who, when a drought threatened his village, used books found in a library to learn to build a windmill from scraps. Read Aloud :

Kids can make their own pinwheels - directions You can meet him "in person" here: Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba story 6 min. interview His first TED Talk (2009) William KamKwamba: How I harnessed the wind Updated with TED Talk (2018) (after he studied engineering at Dartmouth University!!) Catching up with inventor William Kamkwamba | William Kamkwamba Interview with Chris Anderson (Also now a full-length Netflix film: "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" – has more ideas for this title. Another innovative real-life solution to a problem of lack of power:

Book: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul tells how plastic bag trash was becoming a terrible problem in a village – even killing the goats – until a clever and enterprising woman and her friends figured out how to take this trash and make it into useful purses that could be sold for income. Reading with music available here Instructions to make them: Related videos: Young woman is recycling plastic into building bricks:

Book: Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams tells the story of a young child who uses scraps of wire to create his own toy. Reading Rainbow: Galimoto book starts around 2:50.

Book: Masai and I by Virginia Kroll offers a child's perspective comparing the daily lives of a child in a U.S. city and a Maasai child in Kenya. Musical reading

Book: 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy Maasai tribal members, after hearing the story of the September 11th attacks from a young Massai who was in New York on that day, decide to present the American people with fourteen sacred cows as a healing gift. Reading Author interview: My favorite follow up is Tom Chapin's beautiful song "This Pretty Planet" (with beautiful pictures) or Children doing it as a round with Tom Chapin Many more ideas -- and other books I could read -- are here:

Here are some of my favorite booklists from "What Do We Do All Day" 

American Girls Superheroes - True Superheroes

American Girls Club - True Superheroes Party (
Sussex County Library Virtual Program)
"Don’t miss this very special meeting of the American Girl Club featuring Carol Simon Levin! Ms. Levin shares stories of remarkable women throughout history (our true Superheroes!). There will be activities too! Miss Jenise hosts. Kindergarten and above. American Girl dolls are welcome, but you don’t need a doll to join in." 
March 27 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm FREE

Superheroes-->Flight-->Real female flyers

Opened by having each attendee introduce her American Girl doll(s), then had a discussion of characteristics of "superheroes." After "able to fly" came up, said that while real people can't fly by themselves, they can become pilots and I was going to share a story about a real person named Bessie Coleman who, despite people saying she couldn't learn to fly an airplane because she was Black and a woman, went on to become a famous aviatrix.

Read: Nobody Owns the Sky by Reese Lindbergh (daughter of Charles Lindbergh)

Booktalked other picture book biographies of aviatrices (above) Jenise Sileo, Sussex County Library Youth Services Librarian sent out this terrific video booktalk after the program)

Showed the Bessie Coleman segment from the Reading Rainbow episode "Ruth Law Thrills a Nation" (starts at 7:45)

Introduced the concept of "lift" then we experimented Asked what they thought would happen if they blew above and below a strip of paper, then using strips of paper, blew and watch how they lift UP either way! (air moving faster above the paper causes low air pressure which counteracts the force of gravity which is how airplanes can fly" 
(“c” from

Make and fly our own paper airplanes – “classic” plus unusual “Flying Saucer” “Spirit of Alabama” (instructions:

Here are links for lots of more great paper airplanes:  More ideas at: 

Then asked who knew who Kamala Harris was and read her book Superheroes are Everywhere. 

Booktalked: Barack Obama's marvelous Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters (more like this in my program called "Big Dreamers" ) and the new book Dreams for Our Daughters.  

You can find lots of great booklists at: What Do We Do All Day
Profiles of groundbreaking women at A Mighty Girl
Daily math problems from Bedtime Math

You can hear me read-aloud "Soar Elinor" another book about a daring young female flyer here

We share the story of the plucky young female pilot who flew under four NYC bridges then talk about "lift" and make a paper airplane to fly. Find instructions for a variety of paper airplanes at my website: http://www.carolsimonlevin.blogspot.c...
or check out this video:
. Want to read "Soar Elinor"? You'll find it here:
. More activities at:
. You might also enjoy Flight! by Robert Burleigh (a book about Charles Lindbergh's solo across the Atlantic Ocean) here:
. Interested in learning about other female flyers, check out the links at:
flying! You can find more of my storytime videos at:
. I also have created a compilation of fun family sites for at-home learning at:

Friday, January 31, 2020

School Age Storytime: “Soup’s On”

School Age Storytime: “Soup’s On”   K-2 Bedminster School

Featuring soup stories and songs, incorporating fiction and non-fiction, concepts of alphabet, emotions, and months of the year, and participatory storytelling of a classic folk tale.

Kdg only: Book: Growing Vegetable Soup – Lois Ehlert (vocabulary, non-fiction concepts of gardening & food prep)
“Piggy Back” Song/Action: This is the Way we… make the Soup (lyrics for this and all other songs below) (reinforces sequencing)

All classes:  Interactive story with props (pot, puppets, & veggies): Stone Soup  (Participatory storytelling, mentioned old story many variants – I use the Ann McGovern version with old lady and young man - script and songs here:

Song/Flannel:  "Alphabet Soup" by Tom Chapin (reinforces alphabet) 

Book: Mean Soup – Betsy Everitt (A great idea for a difficult day – could also make "Mean Cheerios!") (Alternative: That is NOT a Good Idea -- Mo Willems)

Song:  "If you are happy and you know it…" .. sad, angry, excited, etc.

Book : Monkey Soup – Louis Sachar – author of Sideways Stories from Wayside School  (child makes her father a special kind of soup to help get him well – silly!)   Don't try this at home! 

Book/Cards/Song: Chicken Soup with Rice – Maurice Sendak, tune by Carole King from “Really Rosie” concept: the names of the months (Watch on Youtube here: , more tracks from the musical here:

Book (1st & 2nd grade):  Armadilly Chili – Helen Ketterman (Armadillo fails to get help from her friends in chili preparation but when they return with "sackfulls of apologies plus apple cider, cornbread, and brownies, she finds sharing dinner with friends is best of all. This is a  folktale variant of "Little Red Hen" – which I challenged students to identify midway through the story.)

Song/Action: “Doing the Chocolate Shake” (chocolate soup)


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2020 Mock Caldecott Election Results Bedminster School K-4

Another by Christian Robinson
Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman
Daniel's Good Day by Micha Archer
Elvis is King! by Jonah Winter
Fly by Mark Teague
Going Down Home With Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Hey, Water by Antoinette Portis
My Heart by Corinna Luyken
River by Elisha Cooper
Saturday by Oge Mora
Small World by Ishta Mercurio, Illustrated by Jen Corace
A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel
Truman by Jean Reidy, Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Vamos! Let's Go to the Market by Raul the Third
Vroom! by Barbara McClintock
Why? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Arrived too late to use:
Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, Illustrated by Zeke Pena
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, Illustrated by Carson Ellis

Friday, January 25, 2019

Read Across America 2019

Thank You, Mr. Falker -- Patricia Polacco. Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who would not let her fail and encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. 

Imagine -- Juan Felipe Herrera
Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside under the starry sky and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his migrant family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? With this illustrated poem of endless possibility, Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo breathe magic into the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.  

Building Books -- Megan Wagner Lloyd  (I wanted to find the pix from the woman who designs sculptures with books but didn't find it today. Didn't find that, but found some other cool stuff. Will send the link when I find it.)
  • Katie loves to build. She loves the way the blocks click together, the way they crash when they topple to the floor. But most of all, she loves to build something brand-new. Unlike her brother, she hates reading. Owen loves to read. He loves the way the pages rustle when he turns them, the way the paper smells. But most of all, he loves to read something brand-new. But, unlike his sister, he has no interest in building. When their rivalry finally comes to a head, a librarian suggests a solution. Books for Katie to read and books for Owen to shelve. Can they learn to appreciate their siblings hobbies and build something together?
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (based on the 2011 Short Film) -- view here:
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a 2011 animated short film directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, and produced by Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana. Described as an "allegory about the curative powers of story," the film centers on bibliophile Lessmore and his custodianship of a magical library of flying books. It was created using computer animation, miniatures and traditional hand-drawn techniques. After winning over a dozen film festivals, the film was awarded the Best Animated Short Film at the 84th Academy Awards. 

Reading Makes You Feel Good -- Todd Parr
For more books and songs celebrating reading, visit my website:

Bedm 1st Grade - Lovejoy 3/1/19

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