Books about Bugs and a FREEBIE too!

Hi there, I am thrilled to be joining my #kinderfriends for another great blog hop!  We are sharing some of our favorite books for the classroom.  The books I'm sharing today are all about bugs.  I always end my school year with a big unit on insects and these are some of my must have books on the topic.  I also have a great FREEBIE for you, so keep reading to go grab it.

Bugs for Lunch is written by Margery Facklam and illustrated by Sylvia Long.  I love this book because it introduces the concept of predators who eat insects.  It has wonderfully written rhyming text just right for young children.  The detailed illustrations are realistic and easy to understand for the little learners who will be looking at each page.  It has a section in the back of the book with more information about each of the predators including humans with some of the countries and cultures where people eat bugs.  You can go grab this book at Amazon by clicking on the image above.  If you purchase this book through my link, I will recieve a tiny commission for sending you there.  Thanks!  (This is true for any of the links to Amazon on this post or anywhere on my blog.)  All the book images on this post should take you to Amazon so you can get the book.

The Backyard Books series by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries are MUST HAVES for a unit on insects.  I alternate the focus of my unit each year between butterflies, ladybugs, and honeybees.  I have one of these books for each of those insects.  You can also find these books for ants, dragonflies, snails, and spiders.  This book, Are you a Butterfly?  takes your class through the journey of a butterfly's life cycle in a fun and conversational way.  It is loaded with information including food, molting, growth, and also has a section at the end with more interesting facts.  The illustrations are incredible and depict many important concepts you will be teaching your students if you do a unit on insects.  You can grab this over at Amazon by clicking on the image above.

Beetle Bop is by Caldecott Honor winning author and illustrator, Denise Fleming.  This book is so much fun!  Her colorful, vibrant illustrations and energetic, rhyming text will keep your little students engaged as you enjoy a variety of examples from the largest group of insects - beetles.  My kiddos were interested to learn that ladybugs are part of the beetle family and we discussed that they are actually named ladybird beetles.  This book is perfect for pre-k and kindergarten students!  There are lots of language lessons you could connect with this book.  It also makes a great five minute filler when you just need something quick. 

Do you know these books written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long?  I absolutely adore them.  I own every single one they have created and my kiddos love them too!  A Butterfly Is Patient is a non-fiction introduction into the world of butterflies that covers a variety of interesting concepts.  The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and they will delight your little entomologist's minds.  I consider this book a treasure and I can't recommend it enough.  If you teach a unit on insects or butterflies, you need this book in your collection.  It touches on life cycle, pollination,  protection from predators, food, size (smallest and largest), wing scales, comparison to moths, and migration.  You may also want to check out some of the other titles by this dynamic duo.  My other favorites include A Seed is Sleepy and An Egg is Quiet

After reading an awesome non-fiction book, I like to  record some of the information my students remember or find interesting.  This year we used a tree map to do that.  We recorded information after reading A Butterfly is Patient and Are You a Butterfly.  The check marks on the chart show when a second or third child contributes an idea that has already been recorded.  The tree map becomes a handy reference in the classroom during our unit.  This chart is blank and laminated so I can use it for any topic we are studying.  I use Vis-a-vis wet erase markers to record our ideas.  Then when we are done with our topic, I just wipe it down and tuck it away until we need it again.  That's a little time saver for charts you know you will use over and over. 

I also want to share a fun art project you can do with your students to make the butterfly life cycle come to life for them.  We made caterpillars using egg cartons cut down to four sections.  First my students painted them and then we decorated them another day.  The caterpillars were up on our flower garden bulletin board for several days.  Then, when our live classroom caterpillars went into chrysalises, each of my little students wrapped their egg carton caterpillar into a butcher paper chrysalis.  Then we hung those back on our bulletin board.  Meanwhile, I also had my students paint a set of wings that were perfectly sized for the egg cartons.  I framed this painting activity as a lesson on symmetry and didn't mention that the wings were for our caterpillars.  The kiddos only painted one side of the wings and folded them in half to paint the other side.  If you do that with your students, make sure they use LOTS of paint.

This is the bulletin board with the chrysalises hanging in the garden:


this is the sneaky part...

on the Friday afternoon before our open house, I take the caterpillars out of the paper chrysalises and glue the wings onto the caterpillars.  I come back in on Sunday, when they are dry, and gently fold the wings around each body as I tuck it back inside the chrysalis and tape it back together.  They go back on the bulletin board so that my little learners don't suspect a thing.  Each student gets to open up his or her chrysalis during open house and discover that the caterpillar grew wings inside!  This project is a bit of a time investment for the teacher, but the payback in joy for children is so worth it. ( It makes parents really happy too.)

Here is another one up close:

Her rainbow striped wings match her rainbow caterpillar perfectly!  I think she knew what the wings were for...     I usually put the butterflies back up on the bulletin board for another week before I send them home.  Here it is:

OK, this is my last book recommendation for you about bugs.  I Wish I Were a Butterfly by James Howe and Ed Young is a fictional story about the littlest cricket at Swampswallow Pond.  The cricket is desperately unhappy because he has taken a criticism to heart and believes he is ugly.  He whines "I wish I were a butterfly" on just about every page of this classic tale.  After lots of great advice from other bugs at the pond, it finally takes a long talk with a dear old spider friend to make him realize that being special is about much more than outside beauty.  The story ends with a fantastic realization as a butterfly hears the cricket's beautiful music and declares "I wish I were a cricket"  leaving young readers to infer how that made the littlest cricket feel and what he might have said next.  The almost abstract illustrations by Ed Young are truly extraordinary and create a pond environment from a bug's perspective that will inspire a young child's imagination.  I adore this book and read it to my class every year.  I would read it even if I didn't do an insect unit.  It's a great story with a good message.  

And finally... here is your freebie!  This story map page can be used in many ways.  Here you can see we used it as a way to record the setting, characters, and plot from the story above.  I have my students do this as a small group activity with an adult to do the labeling and dictation.  It is a great way to check comprehension and extend learning about any piece of fiction.  Students can also use it as a map for their own story writing.  Here is another by one of my little students:

And here is what the blank looks like.  The section in the upper right hand corner is blank so that you can write in the title and author/illustrator of the book you are using before you make copies.  I hope this is helpful to you and your students!  You can go grab this in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Just click on the link below the story map to go get it.

There are lots more great books and ideas from the #kinderfriends.  Keep hopping along and go visit my friend Robin over at Class of Kinders Just click on the link below her picture.

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy teaching!