April Author of the Month: Leo Lionni

April’s Author of the Month is one of my favorites!  I first fell in love with Leo Lionni’s books from my mom’s book collection.  (As you can see in the picture, some of the books have been much loved over the years!)  I grew to love his books even more when I did a research project about him for a children’s literature class in college.  The possibilities with his books are endless and span all subject areas, and they all have nice morals – often about being true to yourself – to get kids thinking.

Leo Lionni Books

Leo Lionni Books

Little Blue and Little Yellow – I like to use this simple story about two friends to introduce Lionni’s technique of using torn paper to make collages for his illustrations.  After reading the story, let kids make their own pictures using torn paper – no scissors allowed!  The kids may be frustrated with the tearing at first, but they always get more and more comfortable and creative as they continue to work on the project.

Frederick and A Busy Year – These darling mice books are perfect for talking about the change in seasons.

Inch by Inch – I like to practice measuring in math when we read this story about an inchworm.

Fish is Fish – This story about a fish who dreams of being other animals is great for reviewing characteristics of different animal types in science.

A Color of His Own – This book about a frustrated chameleon is another good one to use in science as it provides a wonderful example of animal adaptations and camouflage.  I like to have kids cover a sheet with different colored tissue paper squares and then trace a chameleon over the top to illustrate camouflage after reading this book.

Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse and The Biggest House in the World – These stories about a mouse who wants to be a toy and a snail who wants a bigger shell provide opportunities to discuss and write about how important it is to be proud of who you are.

Swimmy – I love this story about a little fish who helps his friends work together even though he looks different from the rest of them.  It is a great discussion starter for talking about teamwork and how everyone in a classroom community has unique talents and skills to share despite their differences.

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