Holiday Book List 2021

For a link to the video previewing the following books check out

Christmas 2021 can be the year of the book!   Visit your local bookstore and check out these books with an agriculture and food spin!

Barn at Night by Michelle Houts (978-1-948898-05-8). One of our favorite authors, who penned The Beef Princess of Practical County is back with a beautifully illustrated children’s book exploring a barn at night, by one of our favorite publishing companies, Feeding Minds Press.  Look for some special social media from Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom about this great book and it is available for purchase for at the IAA Foundation Country Store at the IAA Annual Meeting.

Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol (978-1-250-31487-1)  Freda is reminded that her gran saves the flavor of fresh blueberries in her homemade blueberry jam.  Soon Freda is saving, but soon finds that she can’t enjoy what she is saving in a jar.    The story shows that memories are the best thing to save.   A perfect addition to your reading collection.

Lincoln Clears a Path: Abraham Lincoln’s Agricultural Legacy  by Peggy Thomas (978-1-68437-2) Not only does this book feature our Illinois native son, it is completely researched by one of our favorite authors.  Explore the impact that Lincoln had on agriculture across Illinois and the nation.

How to Grow a Monster by Kiki Thorpe (978-1-63592-277-6) Part of a new book series called Makers Make it Work that have and emphasis on a STEM challenge included.  You will enjoy this book for k-3 readers.

Watercress by Andrea Wang (978-0-8234-4624-7) Enjoy this story of a memory as a family learns to enjoy a hard memory in a new way by eating watercress.

This Very Tree by Sean Rubin (978-1-250-78850-4) As we remembered the 20th anniversary of 9/11, this is the story of the survivor tree at the site of the World Trade Center.  Not only is this a powerful story, it is important to remember that all of our K-12 students were born after 9-11.

Try It!  How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff (978-1-5344-6007-2)  Frieda Caplan was a produce pioneer that changed the way we eat, how grocery stores stock fresh produce and this book highlights her accomplishment.   Pair this with an opportunity to try some new fruits and vegetables.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming (978-0-8234-4285-0) We are excited about the is book by an Illinois author highlighting the life and times of our honeybees.  Beautifully illustrated, you won’t even realize you are learning new facts!

Erosion: How Hugh Bennett Saved America’s Soil and Ended the Dust Bowl  by Darcy Pattison (978-1-62944-150-4)  An outstanding biography introducing students to the dust bowl and original conservation efforts on the farm.

The Great Pumpkin Smash by Lori Haskins Houran (978-1-63592-268-4)   Another in the Makers Make It Work series with a STEM challenge.  This book focuses on pumpkins and ends with constructing a catapult.  Geared K-3 but certainly has appeal to a higher level.

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (978-978-1-328-78150-5) This upper elementary novel reminds you of the ‘Little House’ series but features a unique look at Asian Americans in the frontier. Proud to recognized this Illinois Author

Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish:  Tales of the Dairy Godmother by Viola Butler (978-1-948898-01-0)   Another excellent book from Feeding Minds Press that discusses the production of ice cream from cow to cone.

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice Harrington (978-1-62979558-4) A book about an Illinois scientist by an Illinois author!  Charles Henry Turner was a groundbreaking entomologist and the book describes his researcher coupled with the racial tension of the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang (978-1-4998-0703-5)   The story of instant ramen and the man who invented it.  Just a fascinating look at a common staple.

Nacho’s Nachos:  The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack by Sandra Nickel (978-1-62014-369-8) from Ramen to Nachos, discover the power of corn and the treat that has been around since 1940.

Slime King by Catherine Daly (978-1-63592-122-9) Another from the Makers Make It Work series.  This one focuses on chemistry.   We pair the activity with corn and make corn starch slime which is a nonnewtonian fluid. 

The Pig War by Emma Bland Smith (978-1-68437-171-6)  The story of a pig, some potatoes and two nations ready for war in 1859 off the coast of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.    The heart of the story is sharing.

The Dirt Book by David L. Harrison   (978-0-8234-3861-7)  A unique look at soil told in the form of poems.   Perfect for learners of all ages.

Butterflies Belong Here by Deborah Hopkinson (978-1-4521-7680-2)   A story of students and communities helping butterflies.  The importance of milkweed and what everyone (including farmers) are doing by becoming citizen scientists to help our pollinators.

Better with Butter by Victoria Piontek (978-1-338-66219-1)  Finally, a goat book.   This looks at anxiety, a fainting goat and a girl coming to terms with a multitude of ideas that cause her anxiety.  A great YA read.

Zee Grows a Tree by Elizabeth Rusch (978-0-7636-9754-9) The story of Zee growing a Christmas Tree.  Zee’s parent plant a tree seedling when she is very young and we follow the story of Zee and her tree through the time, patience and care till it becomes a Christmas Tree.  A great Christmas book, without being a Christmas book!  See the story behind your live tree.

A Simple Christmas on the Farm by Phyllis Alsdurf (978-1-5064-7136-5)   A perfect book for the 2021 Holiday season.  The last 18 months have been a challenge to say the least, and this story takes a look at what is really important at Christmas.  This story showcases the family barn becoming the setting for a unique cast of characters for a simple Christmas. 

These, and many other books are available at your local library or your local bookstore. 

Happy Reading–

Kevin Daugherty

Education Manager

Illinois AITC

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