What is the first book you remember hearing or reading when you were a young child? Which book was your favorite? Why?
Which children's books written today do you think are most worthy of being included in the Library of Congress's digitized collection? Why?
According to the article, The Rocket Book, published in 1912, was a tactile as well as literary experience. The book had an intentional hole on every page to reflect the rocket's movement through the building. Think about the books you read when you were younger. What kinds of tactile experiences did they feature? How did these elements make the book more enjoyable for you to read?
In the article, the Library of Congress's Lee Ann Potter noted that children's books of the past reflect attitudes, perspectives and beliefs of different times. What kinds of lessons do you think parents can or should teach their kids as they review these books together?
- Ask students what type of book they like to read most, fiction or nonfiction. Then invite students to identify their favorite genres, such as mysteries, biographies, romance, or even guides explaining how to fix things.
- Discuss reasons why it can be fun or even helpful to discuss what you've read with a friend. For example, you can share the experience and laugh. Or, your friend might be able to help you understand something you missed.
- Explain that these are reasons why people form book clubs. But point out that in order for a book club to be successful, it must be organized. Everyone has to read the same book, somebody has to be in charge, and everyone must participate. It helps if members have written discussion questions beforehand to keep the conversation flowing.
- In small groups, have students start their own book clubs. Instruct them to decide how they will format and run their groups. Then have them identify the first book they will read and come up with a list of discussion questions for their first meeting. Encourage groups to meet regularly over the next few weeks as they make their way through their first books.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, elementary school students will explore the relationship between the form of books and the content inside. Using a piece of creative writing as inspiration, students will design and produce a book that reflects a theme in writing.
Step one: Pretend you don’t like books. Step two? What would that be? Read this Smithsonian magazine article to find out.
Artists’ books and African Artists’ books are not normally associated with African art, so the goal of this Smithsonian Libraries exhibition is to introduce the genre and survey its “African manifestations. Invite students to explore a wide variety of forms and structures in these books that were created by both African and international artists.
Watch this video, presented by Smithsonian magazine, to learn how Thomas Jefferson’s respect for the Enlightenment ideals of Memory, Reason and Imagination shaped how he organized his library.
Watch this video from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery to learn how to create your own miniature book!
In this lesson plan from the Smithsonian’s History Explorer, students are introduced to the variety of mechanisms included in movable books. Then they are encouraged to build their own pop-up in support of a social studies lesson.
Sitting in a corner reading silently—as you might be doing right now, for example—turns out to be impossible. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to find out why.