News & Blog

Sign up to receive Elaine's newsletter for the latest book news, giveaways, and more
Sign Up
Gone Fishing a Novel

Backyard Book Club: Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger

We had such a great time reading and celebrating Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger! This book is such a fun, fast read and a great way to introduce kids to all types of poetry. As usual, we started out with a brief book talk and discussed favorite parts and characters. (There were a lot!) Then […]

See more
Fortunately the Milk book cover

Fortunately, the Milk

About the Book: “I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see […]

See more
Fortunately the Milk Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: Fortunately, the Milk Overview

For a fun, fast book club pick, it would be hard to beat Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. Even our littlest members were able to finish this one, and there was plenty for the big kids to enjoy too. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas. As usual, we started with […]

See more

Colorful Milk Science

Our Backyard Book Club pick this month was Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, so naturally, we needed to do a milk science activity. This is a classic, colorful, and very cool “trick” that appeals to lots of ages. But of course, it’s even cooler if you know the science behind it. Materials: milk, dish soap, cotton […]

See more
James and the Giant Peach Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: James and the Giant Peach Overview

The Backyard Book Club is back in action! For this month’s meeting, the kids read James and the Giant Peach, thanks to a request by one of our members. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) We started with a quick talk about what the kids loved best in the book, then went straight […]

See more
rainbow Science

Rainbow Science

In this month’s book, James and his friends shatter a rainbow by flying right through it! (Not to mention all the other fantastical weather-related things that happen in the story.) Is it really possible to shatter a rainbow, or even reach one? Rainbows are made from light reflected off tiny droplets of water in the air. […]

See more
Girl looking at bugs

Bug Hunt!

This month’s book, James and the Giant Peach, was filled with fun bug characters. But were they all insects? Nope. Insects are a type of arthropod, and all of the bugs in the book were arthropods. So what’s the difference? Arthropods have segmented bodies, jointed apendages (legs), and exoskeletons (a hard shell). And so do insects, […]

See more
James and the Giant Peach Book Cover

James and the Giant Peach

About the Book: When James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. When James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit and crawls inside, he meets wonderful new […]

See more
Ivy and Bean book cover

Backyard Book Club: Ivy + Bean Overview

For this month’s meeting, the kids read Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) After weeks of waiting, it was time to meet in person! We did our fossil-making activity first so the plaster could dry before the kids had to go home.  Then it was time for the Excavation […]

See more
Excavation Supplies

Backyard Book Club: Excavation Trivia Challenge

When the Backyard Book Club read Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record, we decided to follow in Ivy and Bean’s footsteps and do a little digging of our own. Before the rest of the kids arrived, our trusty assistants buried these items in the sandbox (some of them protectively sealed in plastic bags): Ivy Beans […]

See more