Book Bites: October 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 based on grade levels that help your family boost the way you enjoy a book together.


For Grades 1-3

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us and Truman

Borrow the Book

Pro Tip: Use Book Connections available through EPL to get everything you need to know about Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us and Truman. Explore author biographies and interviews, name pronunciations, book excerpts, book trailers, vocabulary list and more.

Try These Fun Literacy Activities

1. Create a real life or imaginary quest

Creating your own real life or imaginary quest is a fun literary activity. Use journaling to describe what you did one day this summer or to create an imaginative make-believe adventure.

To create your own real life or imaginary quest you will need to bring your imagination and creative thinking skills.  These suggestions will help guide your quest:

  • Decide what kind of quest it will be:
    • Is it a make-believe adventure such as traveling to the moon?
    • Is it an adventure that happened this summer when you went for a bike ride?
  • Collect your materials:
    • Do you want to include pictures? Do you have photographs or will you take some pictures with a camera? Do you want to cut out pictures from an old magazine? Or do you want to draw your own pictures?
    • Find something to write in, such as an old scribbler or pieces of paper stapled together.
    • Grab pencils, pens, markers and glue.
  • You can draw a map like in the book Our Friend Hedgehog to create your outline of your journey.
  • You can tell the story out loud in your own words or write it down.

Check out this article with more information about journaling. It includes activities which helps strengthen writing skills and communicate ideas.

2. Investigate, report and discover family adventures

Put on a detective hat, get a pen and paper and ask your family members about their everyday adventures. Here are some questions you could ask:

  • Ask a member of your family to tell you the story about when you were born.
  • Ask a family member to retell about when they were little. What school was like? How did they get to school? Where was their school located?
  • Find a family photo and ask a family member to explain what is happening in it.
  • Is there a story about how your grandparents or parents came to live in the place you're living now?
  • Does someone in your family have a fun story about a family holiday?

Write about these stories or just enjoy telling them to each other.

Check out this article about ways to teach and encourage kids to tell stories.

Use This Literacy Tip

Use expression when you’re reading. Be animated by changing the tone of your voice to fit the dialogue (e.g. happy, sad, yelling, whispering). When we read aloud to our children, we do the heavy lifting of decoding sounds and interpreting rhythm and vocal cues. This frees children to fall in love with the story.

Find More Great Books at EPL

If your family enjoyed Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us and Truman, you’ll also enjoy the titles in this booklist.


View Full List

For Grades 4-6

Amari and the Night Brothers and Twilight Hauntings

Borrow the Book

Pro Tip: Use Book Connections available through EPL to get everything you need to know about Amari and the Night Brothers and Twilight Hauntings. Explore author biographies and interviews, name pronunciations, book excerpts, book trailers, vocabulary list and more.

Try This Fun Literacy Activity

1. Lemon Juice Secret Messages

Now it’s your turn to feel like a magician! Practice your best spelling and writing skills to write secret messages and hide them. Remember to have an adult help reveal the message.

  • Step 1: Gather the following supplies: lemon juice, cotton swabs or paintbrushes, paper and a lightbulb or a hair dryer.
  • Step 2: Pour one tablespoon of lemon juice into a cup or a bowl. You can use either fresh or bottled lemon juice—they work equally well.
  • Step 3: Dip a cotton swab or paintbrush into the lemon juice and write your message or letter on the paper. You will be able to see the message when the paper is wet. It doesn’t become a secret message until the paper is completely dry.
  • Step 4: Have an adult help reveal the message. You can do this by holding the paper up to a lightbulb. Make sure the light bulb has been turned on for a while so it’s warmed up.

Use This Literacy Tip

Break the ice for tough conversations. When kids see, through reading, how characters approach tough situations, they gain perspective on how to approach difficult situations in real life. Books help kids feel less alone in their experience. Relating to characters after reading about them together opens a window for a child to discuss similar experiences. As the parent or caregiver, you are in the convenient position to offer support and guidance. Engage in those tough conversations with them to strengthen trust and connection.

Find More Great Books at EPL

If your family enjoyed Amari and the Night Brothers and Twilight Hauntings, you’ll also enjoy the titles in this booklist.


View Full List


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

Booklists for kids 6-12

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