Looking for a fun spring read-aloud? Look no further! Hippy Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer is just the story you’ve been hopping to read!

This book of rolicking rhyme will have your little ones  begging to go outside on their own toad hunt. And what better way could there be to celebrate spring than with toads and rhymes? How about with a free lesson plan and worksheets to go with that great book?

I’ve put together a cute HippyHoppyToad LessonRhymeCards, and a RhymeWorksheet just for you teachers and parents-who-are-now-teachers!

So go ahead – have a toad-ally awesome day!

Celebrating Lincoln with Free Activities and lesson Plans!

LINCOLN CLEARS A PATH is a fresh look at some of Abraham Lincoln’s amazing accomplishments. Written by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Stacy Innerst, this picture book examines how Lincoln’s life growing up in a farming community affected his presidency and his creation of the Department of Agriculture, the Homestead Act, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Thomas usues lyrical language to pull the reader into Lincoln’s early life and Innerst’s illustrations are evocative of sepia toned pictres from the time. This is a book that will capture the attention of students and the hearts of historians. It’s a book every library needs on its shelves. And every teacher is going to want to use the FREE activities and lessons created to accompany this great book. Click belwo for wfree worksheets and activities to accompany this book.

Author Interview

Author Peggy Thomas graciously agreed to answer a few questions about LINCOLN CLEARS A PATH.

What inspired this book?

I was poking around for a third president to go with Farmer George Plants a Nation and Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation.  Editors like trilogies:-) I researched James Madison, but his farming did not have a huge impact on America. Same with John Adams who would have been interesting because he was a farmer from the North. His approach to farming was very different from the southern plantations. Then I was surprised to discover that Abraham Lincoln had a huge impact on farming. I had never heard that, and was pretty sure kids hadn’t either.              

What do you want children to know about Lincoln?

I want kids to realize that Lincoln did more than write the Emancipation Proclamation. He drastically changed our culture and the landscape of the United States. He opened the west to homesteaders and approved the trans-continental railroad (good for agriculture, bad for Native Americans). He initiated the land grant colleges and established the USDA.

He did all of this during the Civil War, our darkest period in history. In a short 4 months in the summer of 1862, Lincoln managed to “clear the path” for the United States to become the bread basket of the world.

Do you have any favorite Lincoln quotes?

Yes. Here is a good one for writers: “When I read aloud, two senses catch the idea; first, I see what I read; second, I hear it, and therefore I can remember it better.”

You can also hear your mistakes clearer. That’s why I read my manuscripts, or have someone else read them out loud.

What project will you be working on next?

I have one more agriculturally related book coming out next year. It is a mid-grade biography of Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. He was an agricultural scientist who literally fed the world.

Borlaug was the kind of guy who ignored the status quo, knew what was right and would yell at the King of Pakistan in order to prevent a famine. He was a rebel. I think kids will like him.

Absolutely Truly – I love this book!

Have you ever fallen in love with a book? My latest middlegrade book crush is ABSOLUTELY TRULY by Heather Vogel Frederick. I highly reccommend this for a heartwarming winter read.

The adventure begins when Truly Lovejoy’s family moves from Texas to the tiny town of Pumkin Falls, New Hampshire. Her solider father, is recovering from an IED explosion in Afghanistan and goes to work managing the family bookstore. Truly has to endure moving in the middle of the school year, leaving behind her best friend and cousin, and being the tallest kid in seventh grade.

Soon after she arrives, Truly finds a mysterious letter hidden in an old copy of CHARLOTTE’S WEB. Enlisitng the help of her new friends, Truly embarks on a treasure hunt from the past. The town is full of crazy characters, and snowy charm. Truly’s family fights, forgives, and works together like a real family. This is one book that the whole family can enjoy. I highly recommend it as a read-a-loud.

And best of all – there are two more Truly books! You can follow Truly and the whole gang as they solve mysteries in YOURS TRULY and REALLY TRULY.

Really truly – I guarentee you’re going to love these books!

Winter Bird Fun! And FREE Lesson Plans!

Winter is a wonderful time to introduce little ones to the fun of birding. And it’s a great activity for classrooms, homeschoolers or fun family time. If you want to teach your little ones about birding – I have just the book for you. PLUS I wrote some fun FREE lesson pans.

FINDING A DOVE FOR GRAMPS is the creation of author Lisa J. Amstutz. ( fellow Nonfiction Ninja) This book tells the charming story of a boy participating in the Christmas bird count and his quest to spy Gramps’ favorite bird.

Lisa is an avid birder and she believes that getting kids interested in birding is a wonderful way to encourage a life-long relationship with nature. Birds live in backyards, and city trees. The can be found on every continent and in every climate. You don’t need any special equipment to watch birds, so they make the perfect subject for introductory animal observations.

If you want to add birds to your classroom, or family time, I highly recommend FINDING A DOVE FOR GRAMPS and be sure to check out my free lesson plans that go along with the book! To Download the free lessons just click on the link below.

Happy birding!!!


Wow! 2020 has been a year – Right?

Covid, economic shut-down, campaigns, home schooling, quarantine, protests, fires, elections, and still more covid. It’s the year that just keeps giving.

How have you coped with all the stress? I have friends who have taken up new creative pursuits like watercolor, woodworking, and bread making. Other friends have escaped to the outdoors to explore new hiking trails, watch birds, and start gardens. One crazy friend has taken up marathon running. Just thinking about that gives me stress.

As for me – I’ve taken up doll making. I’ve had so much fun sewing huggable cloth dolls

and their wardrobes. It felt like I was creating a story and an imaginary life for each one. I made shoes with tiny ribbons and buttons. They have outfits for school or parties, and of course cute nighties. They even have lacy underpants! It gave me joy to create each one.

Now It’s going to give me great joy to give them away!

I want to end 2020 by giving some joy to you dear readers! If you have a little girl in your life who would like a sweet doll leave a comment and tell me about her! I will do a random drawing and give away TEN dolls.

You can enter the drawing by doing one or more of the following things (the more you do – the more chances you have to win!!!) Subscribe to my blog, follow me on Instagram or twitter, or comment on this blog post. I can’t wait to see who will be receiving one of my girls!!

I’ll announce the winners in January!!!!

Applesause Day Free Lesson Plans

Looking for a way to add some fun to your learning this fall? Whether you are a parent teaching from home, a teacher leading a virtual class, or working in a socially distanced classroom, you can still celebrate fall with Applesause Day.

This delightful book by author Lisa Amstutz tells the farm to table story of creating applesauce. Follow Maria and her family as they pick apples and then follow Grandma’s recipe, cutting, cooking, and tasting delicious applesauce. Enjoy the FREE lesson plans I created to do some apple math, science, and art.

Apples are a great part of our American heritage and agriculture. Apples arrived with the settlers at James in 1607, and the first formal apple orchards were planted by the pilgrims in Massachusttes Bay. At first apples were mainly used for cider, but as farmers cultivated the seeds and blossoms, it became the sweet fruit we enjoy today.

Apples are grown in every state in the nation and are the third most important fruit crop in the United States. American farmers produce 48,000 tons of apples every year with every American eating 19 pounds of apples. There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, but American’s favorite apple is the Gala.

Ready to make an apple pie? You will need two pounds of apples for a nine-inch pie. Apples are fat sodium and cholesteral free and are a great source of fiber. They are the perfect snack and the perfect fruit for a class to study!

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