Book Bites: July edition

Welcome to Book Bites! Every month, we'll take a bite of a book for elementary-aged children and digest it with fun literacy activities that help your family boost the way you enjoy a book together.


For Grades 1-3

On Account of the Gum and The Panda Problem

Borrow the Book

Try These Fun Literacy Activities

1. Make a Reading Comprehension Fortune Teller

This activity is suited for older children, closer to Grades 2 or 3, as they will need to be familiar with the elements of storytelling. This activity helps children practice spelling and counting and can be adapted to any book you read. Use these fortune teller templates or make your own. All you need is paper, scissors and a few crayons.

2. Practice your rhymes

Rhyming helps develop your child’s phonological skills. A fun game to play together is back-and-forth rhyme time. Take turns saying a word and challenging the other person to match the word with a rhyme of their own. Or, say a word and challenge your child to think of as many rhyming words as possible. Switch roles to keep the fun going!

Use This Literacy Tip

Bring the book to life. Use Book Connections, opens a new window available through EPL to explore author biographies, name pronunciations, book excerpts, book trailers, vocabulary lists and more for On Account of the Gum, opens a new window and The Panda Problem, opens a new window.

Find More Great Books at EPL

If you liked On Account of the Gum or The Panda Problem, check out this list of similar picture books.


View Full List

For Grades 4-6

Lightfall, The Girl and the Galdurian and Beetle and the Hollowbones

Borrow the Book

Try These Fun Literacy Activities

Both books end in such a way that it's fun to imagine what might happen next! Try writing your own sequel (or just the first chapter or page of a sequel) to either book. You could do this using an online graphic novel or comic creator, but you could also do this by using pencil and paper. And if you aren’t keen to draw, you can write it all out, describing what each panel would show.

If you’re looking for more activities, try erasing the text in the word bubbles in a scene and creating your own dialogue for a new twist or take on the story.

Use These Literacy Tips

Bring the book to life. Use Book Connections available through EPL to explore author biographies, name pronunciations, book excerpts, book trailers, vocabulary lists and more.

  • Check out the author interviews on Book Connections for Beetle and the Hollowbones.
  • Read this article to learn how author, Aliza Layne, created the fantasy world in Beetle and the Hollowbones.

Incorporate easy discussion. Reading together with your child is a time to share ideas and deepen their thinking. To help start conversation, use discussion prompts! These questions should be light and open ended, meaning they can’t be answered easily with “yes” or “no” answers. Here are discussion prompts with Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian:

  • How do you think Bea came to live with her adopted grandfather, the wise pig wizard?
  • Bea’s anxiety is shown with black ribbons around her body. What are some other ways that emotions could be shown in a graphic novel that aren’t facial expressions?
  • Which character do you identify with the most and why?
  • Who is the bravest in this story? What makes you say that? Can you give an example?
  • Bea and Cad get outfitted for their adventure at Boisenberry and Snore’s Traveling Travel Shoppe. What items would you add to the shop? What would their function or purpose be?
  • The book ends with the question, “where are we?” Where do you think Bea and Cad have ended up?
  • What would you change about the setting (the land of Irpa) if you were writing this book?

Find More Great Books at EPL

If you liked Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian or Beetle and the Hollowbones, check out our book list to find more great adventures.


View Full List


Stay tuned for the next Book Bite, coming in August! Looking for more suggested reading?

Book lists for kids 6-12

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