As we enter the month of March with spring just around the corner, we have the chance to highlight and celebrate women and their many achievements and contributions to society.
We also can’t forget St. Patrick’s Day which is a student favorite!
Below you will find recommended March read alouds for lower elementary with activity suggestions to go along with each book!
Do you teach 3-5? See your March read-aloud recommendations here!
(This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that Amazon sends me a little pocket change, at no cost to you, if you purchase through one of these links. This helps keep my site running!)
Lumber Jills: The Unsung Heroes of World War II by Alexandra Davis; illustrated by Katie Hickey
This book follows a group of 27 women known as Lumber Jills who helped to cut down trees during World War II. Many of the men were off fighting in the war, but Great Britain still needed wood to make things like planes, ships, and paper. The beautiful watercolor illustrations and lyrical lines tell the story of these brave women who had little wood-cutting experience but did what they had to do to contribute: “ Twenty seven new girls signing up to serve, with two hands willing to work and one stout heart.”
Visit this New York Times Article about the Lumber Jills. Have students compare the actual pictures of the women with those from the book.
A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison
This story tells about the life of Katherine Johnson (also made famous by the movie Hidden Figures). As a little girl Katherine loved to count and was an excellent student (she even skipped two grades). She had a love for numbers and eventually became a mathematician. She started her first job as a female mathematician at a research center in Virginia and was eventually asked to join the space team that planned to send America’s first astronaut to space.
Have students use a simple biography graphic organizer (like this one) to organize facts that they learned about Katherine Johnson from the book. This activity could be done as a class, individually or in small groups.
Audrey Hepburn (Little People Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara; illustrated by Amaia Arrazola
Audrey Hepburn grew up in the Netherlands during World War II. As a little girl, she had big dreams about what she would be when she grew up but many children during the war didn’t have enough food to eat and Audrey became very sick and weak. Once the war was over, she moved to London to become a dancer. Audrey worked hard to pursue her dreams even when her dance instructor told her that she was too weak from the war to be a ballerina. Despite adversity, Audrey became a dancer and actress and eventually came to be known and loved by millions of people around the world.
Have students identify a problem that Audrey faced (she was weak after the war) and the solution that she found for the problem (she continued to work hard to achieve her dreams). An alternative activity would be to research as a class some of the movies Audrey was famous for (e.g. Breakfast at Tiffany’s).
How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace; illustrated by Andy Elkerton
In this fun St. Patrick’s Day story a leprechaun visits children’s houses, much like Santa would, but instead of leaving gifts he does things like pulling out their shoe laces, putting glitter in hair, and turning toilets green. The children try to catch him with many different traps but the sneaky leprechaun is just too clever and quick.
Have students brainstorm, draw, or write about what kind of trap they think would work best to catch the leprechaun.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Calandro; illustrated by Jared Lee
In this St. Patrick’s Day twist on the original There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly the old lady swallows a clover, a daisy, a butterfly, a bird, a pot, some gold, and a fiddle. Once her belly is full, she meets a leprechaun and twirls with him high and low until she giggles so much that “out pops a rainbow.”
Have students sequence the events in the story using a handout such as this one.
Additional books to consider for Women’s History Month:
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison;
- Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris;
- Every Day Dress Up by Selina Alko;
- The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller.
Teacher tip: This post had many activity suggestions. Once you have the books, get a sticky note and write down the activity and stick it on the inside cover of the book. Any time you do the read aloud, you can remember the easy no-prep activity!
This post was written by my friend Erienne Jones. She is a former school librarian turned entrepreneur who continues to immerse herself in the world of books!