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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Everyday Detox by Megan Gilmore

After making a decision to eat healthier, many people wonder where to start.  It’s so easy to get confused or paralyzed into inaction by a flood of conflicting information.  Often a tendency is to go all out: no junk food, no dairy, no meat, no gluten, no fat. Then after a week of kale salads with a rye cracker on a side, the siren call of old habits gets impossible to resist.  What I like about Everyday Detox by Megan Gilmore is that it makes it easy to introduce healthier choices into your life without making too many changes at once. She concentrates on what is proven to work: eating more whole foods and eating less processed ones.  You can start by incorporating one or two recipes from this book into your week.  As time goes by you can add more.  And the best thing?  You never have to say “no” to dessert.  

Chocolate Pudding from the book.  My execution and photography.
I was not familiar with the blog of Megan Gilmore until reading this book, but I am a long time fan of healthy eating and everyday detox.  Healthy body, healthy mind is a motto I live by.   And I think with a bit of practice it is so easy to feed my body healthy foods with naturally detoxifying properties every day, rather than go on erratic diets from time to time and hope for a quick-fix.  What I like about this book is that it offers recipes that use normal, everyday ingredients that I already buy regularly.  The recipes are very easy to follow and in most cases a meal can be put together with just a few ingredients.  At the end of a busy day the last thing I need is a complex recipe with weird ingredients.

One important plus for me is that recipes are kid friendly.  It was always one of my parenting goals to establish healthy eating habits from the start.  I put a lot of effort into feeding my kids healthy, nourishing foods. I like that with a few creative tricks author puts a healthier spin on classical kids’ favorites.  The cauliflower flatbread pizza pleases all my pizza fans.  And meatball lovers will enjoy Gilmore’s Italian “meatballs” (meat-like balls without any processed soy substitutes).  When you (and your family) are ready for the next step you can start making your own almond milk, no-cheese cheese (walnut “parmesan”) and nut butter.  You can even advance to the Food Groups, something that the author goes into in this book, but personally for me the whole food grouping topic is a bit too much to think about at the moment.  

Lentil Chili.  Recipe from the book.  My execution and photography.
If you are all eager to get started and detox all the way, there is an easy 7 day Detox Jump Start menu with a shopping list and tips for maximizing the results.  Need help with stocking your detox-friendly kitchen?  The book has a guide to pantry essentials, helpful kitchen tools, and tips on maximizing kitchen success (i.e. how to measure coconut flour). 

The recipes in the book are divided into seven sections.  

Liquid Nourishment
This chapter has ten easy recipes that can be whipped up in minutes.  My favorites are Cucumber Lime Cooler (cucumber, celery, pear, lime) and Back to your Roots (carrot, beet, apple, ginger).

Some other recipes in this section V-6 juice, Banana Nut protein shake, Blended Apple Pie a la mode (apple, dates, almond milk, avocado, vanilla, cinnamon), and Peachy Green Cleanser (peaches, pineapple, dates, almond milk).  

Morning Favorites
In this section there are ten healthy recipes that are perfect for your morning: grain-free, dairy-free foods like homemade granola, muffins, banana bread, frittata, cinnamon coffee cake, etc.  We loved the Blender Banana Pancakes (bananas, eggs, coconut flour, vanilla and coconut oil) and Caramelized Onion and Red Bell Pepper Frittata (butter, onion, bell pepper, spinach, eggs, salt, soft goat cheese).   

Salads, Dressings & Sides
Give your favorite salads a makeover with healthy, homemade dressings, like Creamy JalapeƱo, Honey Dijon and Hemp Seed Ranch.  Try some classical side dishes like Classic Guacamole and Go-To Greek salad, or venture into unusual with Almond Pulp Hummus, Seasoned Sweet Potato Home Fries and Crispy Zucchini Chips.  

Soups, Sandwiches and Wraps
Expect these healthy soups to become staples of your soup repertoire.  The Carrot Ginger Soup is to die for.  Broccoli Cheese soup was well loved by all my three kids.  And I particularly enjoyed the lentil chili because it froze well in individual portions and I could quickly defrost it when I just didn’t have time to cook.  Also in this section delicious Quinoa Mushroom Burgers (my personal favorites), Juice Pulp Sushi Rolls and Wild Salmon Sliders. 

 Casseroles & Comfort Food
This is a great collection of easy, healthy, satisfying foods.  With a few strategic swaps you can enjoy your old favorites without the guilt.  Vegan Mac-and-Cheese, Zucchini Lasagna and Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo was not only delicious, but easy to make.  Creamy Pumpkin and Sage Pasta and Mexican Butternut Pilaf are perfect dishes for the fall.  

Sweet Treats
Healthy desserts do not need to be tasteless and this cookbook is a proof of that.  Everything we tried was absolutely delicious.  Do you crave chocolate?  How about Dark Chocolate Pudding, Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cozy Hot Chocolate, and Chocolate Cupcakes.  Is it something fruity you want?  How about Raw Lemon Bars or Banana Soft Serve?  In mood for cheesecake?  Raw Cheesecake (pecans, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, cashews, zucchini, lemon juice, honey, and vanilla) will blow your mind away.    

Back to Basics
Are you ready to take your detox game up a notch?  Ditch store bought healthy products like almond milks and creamers that contain stabilizers and preservatives.  Make homemade version of Classic Coffee Creamer, Hemp Milk, and Coconut Milk.

Last thoughts
I think the biggest compliment to any cookbook is to say that it is used a lot.  I’ve had this book for 2 months and it has been in constant use. This book proves that eating healthier doesn't mean you need to stop socializing with friends. On the last pages it offers Detox-friendly Entertaining menus that will inspire you to throw a get together (Burger Night, Taste of Mediterranean, Dairy-free Italiano, Chinese Takeout, Holiday Celebration….).  I think this book will also make a nice present.  

You can learn about the author here and check out her beautiful recipes on her website here.  And you can buy this book on Amazon or at Penguin Random House

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Learning Kid Linkup

Welcome back to our weekly Learning Kid Linkup!  Do you like to travel?  I love it!  For six years - before the kids came into picture - we traveled far and wide.  It's not easy to travel with small children though.  We try from time to time.  We went to Germany, Russia and Austria with them.  (Each time we did it we said it was the last time ever... it was VERY hard!)  Since we can't get on a plane to Australia any time soon, we do the next best thing.  We do touristy things in our own city.  We go to the popular tourist destinations, walk slowly, take in Chicago's sights and sounds, eat at outside cafes, and enjoy carousel rides.  Yesterday we went to Navy Pier.  My son took a picture of me walking.  It has such a beautiful skyline of downtown I had to show it to you.

You would never guess what was another fun thing this week.  We attended a birthday party for a pair of Dexter Steers at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  We were the only people, besides employees of the zoo, who were present for The Gift Opening Ceremony.  The birthday gift was... a box of hay.

This week we've been doing lots of apple activities and eating lots of apple ice-cream (it's not actually ice-cream but a healthy sorbet, but shsh... don't tell my kids, they think it's an ice-cream).
    And now to the linkup! 

Meet your hosts for Learning Kid Linkup:

Eva from Kid Minds 

Melanie from Tree Valley Academy

We try to make it worth your while to linkup with us!  Every post linked up with us gets pinned!  We also promote our favorite posts across our social media networks!  Three hosts mean triple exposure! 

The most clicked on post from last week was Apple Fun Round Up from Tots and Me.  Check out this blog by a mom of many children.  She is currently home-preschooling her three youngest girls and she has great many ideas (some of them from five years of working in a Montessori school).

The featured post this week is Lego Math from Tree Valley Academy.  Anything that is related to LEGO is a big hit in my house.  I want my kids to be excited about math, so if I can find math activity they enjoy, I love it!

Grab a button, if you were featured.  Ha-ha!  Just kidding!  Melanie is one of the hosts!  But if you've been featured in some point in the past and still didn't grab a button, now is your chance!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Apple Sorbet

When my friend told me she never had apple sorbet I was speechless for 30 seconds.  And if you don’t know me well let me just clarify.  30 seconds is a very long time!  If you don’t make apple sorbet, what do you do with leftover apples?  You know when you eat half an apple and don’t feel like finishing it.  Or when your kids only take two bites out of an apple and say they are done.  Or when you grab a box of apples at Costco and come home to discover three more apples in a fridge?  I chop them up and freeze them.

I think keeping some frozen apples in a fridge is handy for a couple of reasons.  

1. You brewed some chamomile tea for kids or yourself and it’s burning hot.  Throw some frozen apple chunks in your tea to cool it down fast and to add a little flavor (nothing too strong like with lemon ice cubes I talked about here).

2. You finished dinner and can’t decide if you are full or not.  Don’t go for seconds, suck on frozen apples while cleaning the table.  Not only you will save time (eating takes time), your waistline will thank you.    

3. Craving ice-cream?  You are probably in need of some TLC.  Open a good book, sit in a comfy chair and set a bowl of frozen apples by your side.  By the time you are done with the bowl of frozen apples, all thoughts of ice-cream will vanish from your head.

4. Most importantly, if you need some delicious and comforting dessert quickly just turn frozen apples chunks into apple sorbet.  If you ask me, it’s pretty divine any time of the day!  (But then again I do have a peculiar taste and a bag of baby kale can throw me into an ecstasy). 

For us making an apple sorbet is such a permanent part of our lives I can’t imagine anyone not doing the same.  Besides, it’s the healthiest and yummiest dessert I know.  We crave what we eat most often.  Why not train our buds to crave healthy things? 

This dessert is impossible to screw up.  Chop, freeze and blend!  Feel free to peel apples before freezing them but keep in mind that apple skin is full of beneficial nutrients.  If you are not in love with lemon, add less lemon juice, but I think it brings out the apple flavor.  The quantities suggested are our favorite proportions; adjust them to your taste. 

3 apples
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp water

1. Wash apples and chop them into cubes.

2.  Put it into freezer in a plastic bag at least over-night.

3.  When you are ready for sorbet throw frozen apple cubes, lemon juice and maple syrup into a blender equipped with a S blade. 

4.  Add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to help the processing, if you are not getting the desired consistency. 

5.  Process until smooth.  Enjoy! 

Have you ever had apple sorbet?

Some other posts you might be interested in:
Russian Apple Pie - Sharlotka
Books about apples for Kids
Guide to Apple Activities

Friday, September 18, 2015

The ultimate guide to Apple Activities

What comes to your mind when I say “apple”?  Quick!  Don’t think about it!   

We asked this question 100 people and, if our little research is anything to go by, “pie” is by far one of the most popular answers people give.  Some other popular answers were “tree,” “fruit,” and “red.”  Women with children were more likely to say, “healthy” and “snack.”  Men were more likely to say “core” and “laptop.”   When we asked this question outside school we heard a good many “hungry” (ok, what really happened was: one kid yelled "hungry" and the other seventeen joined in).  When we asked this question outside supermarket people said “cinnamon” and “sauce” more often than not.  “Seed” and “orchard” were two common answers outside Home Depot Gardening center.  And our Facebook friends came up with “crisp,” “juicy,” and “gravity.”  One student said, “pomme” (apple in French).  Grandpa said, “Holler” (a place where we went apple picking this year).  I said, “banana” because our car CD has a song called “Apples and Bananas.”  And a cantankerous woman down the street said, “Orange” (and if by any chance, you are reading this “we love you!”).  "Computers," "sweet," "picking," "green," "New York" … we were amazed to get so many different answers.

The most important lesson we learned from this not very scientific experiment is that people indeed do think differently.  My 7-year old expressed it this way,
 “I just don’t understand why everybody says a different thing!  Why can’t they all say “apple pie?”
“You didn’t expect people to name so many different things?”
“No! I thought everybody would say “apple pie.”  That’s what I think about.”
A lot of our communication is based on the assumption that we can guess what the other person is feeling and thinking.  I didn’t think it was in store for us when we started asking people what apples make them think about but now we are on the path of perceptual psychology.  We talk about how each word and event means different thing for each person in the same situation.  We are trying to learn more about reflective listening and conflict resolution.  Hopefully the things we learn will be relevant to the decisions my kids will make every day of their lives. 

Another lesson we learned is that the setting does play a role in our perception.  So what we are trying to do now is to set a positive mood before asking for something.  “Thank you for putting my airplane back on a shelf when you were done looking at it.  Can I have a turn with your Barbie now?”  Ok, it doesn’t really work most of the time, but it’s a kind of a start. 

And now reflecting the fact that all people have different tastes and interests here is our guide to different apple activities.  Try them all or skim them until something catches your eye.  The goal of this roundup is to provide you with inspiration to do something fun with apples today!

Apple Activities

1. Apple Picking
Oh, you knew I was going to say this one first, didn't you?  I can't think of too many activities that are so much fun for the whole family and work for kids of multiple ages.  I count it as one of the best childhood experiences.  In my childhood apple picking meant sitting on an apple tree in my grandmother's backyard and eating unripe apple after unripe apple after unripe apple.  Who could possibly wait for fall when apples were hanging so invitingly on a tree swaying in a breeze all summer, singing their siren song.  By the time apples were actually ripe the thrill of eating them usually wore off.  Besides by that time it was September and I was back in a city sitting behind school desk bored out of my mind.  Now that I have kids and a small apple orchard in a back yard (3 apples trees to be exact), we still take time to enjoy a family trip to a nice big orchard.  

2. Cooking with Apples 
I love baking with my kids.  I believe baking is a science and a great introduction to math.  Try it with you kids!  You might like this classical American pie or go for our healthy gluten-free Russian Apple pie.  Can you almost feel a delicious aroma of baking pie just by looking at the photos?

If you are looking to branch out and try some new ideas get Cooking with Apples! from your local library.  This cookbook for kids is fun to explore together.

My favorite dish with apples is Apple-Eggplant bake (I made it up myself, so I don't know if there is anyone who actually tried combining apple and eggplant in one baking pan).  My favorite apple treat is Homemade Apple Sorbet.

3. Apple Science
Science is my favorite thing to teach and I try to work it into every subject we get interested in.  My focus is to stimulate investigation.  We start with, "ok, here is an apple.  What can we done with it?" Usually, the first thing I hear is a chorus of, "Let's explode it!"  Enter baking soda and vinegar!  (Before I had kids I would never have believed the quantities of baking soda and vinegar we would go through on a regular basis.  We buy a 13lb bag of baking soda and 1.3 lb bottle of vinegar pretty much on every trip to Costco).  So, the first thing I recommend to do with apples is what we call Apple Volcano.  Scoop apple out, fill it with baking soda, add a few drops of food coloring, then carefully add vinegar.  Voila!  Loads of foamy fun all around.

Another fun experiment to like we call Dancing Apple Seeds.   Dissolve a couple of teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of water (leave an inch of empty space at the top), add apple seeds, then a teaspoon of vinegar.  The seeds should start traveling up and down in the glass.  Dancing Seeds! If nothing happens, just add more vinegar.  If nothing still happens, add more baking soda. You can also try extracting apple juice with pectinase, brown apple experiment, or this simple one on a study of acids.

4.  Apple Sensory Play
Green peas, oh green peas, how I love you… scattered all over my carpet… Not really, but everything has a price and I’m willing to deal with peas on my carpet for some sensory play fun.  For this project I found some free apple tree printouts (we like this one and this one because they are easy for kids to cut out) and printed them on green construction paper.  Then we cut out the trees without the trunk.  And fashioned toilet paper rolls for trunks by cutting two slits on the sides and inserting the apple tree in (look at the top photo for guidance).  Kids glued on red pom-poms.  We added our apple trees to a tray filled with dry green peas, threw in a tractor, some Lego duplo people and voila… hours of fun!

5.  Bobbing for Apples
If you think that bobbing for apples is an outside game, think again!  All you really need is a large salad bowl, water and apples!  (Keep a mop nearby).  Kids will have a good time AND end up having a great snack!

6.  Apple Unit Study
There are lots of wonderful posts on how to create an apple Unit study for your kids.  Here are some ideas to get you started.
Montessori-Inspired Apple Unit from Living Montessori Now
Apple Unit Study for Preschool and Kindergarten from Real Life at Home
Apples in Autumn Unit Study from Deep Roots At Home
Apple Math, Literacy and more from Tots and Me
and a very comprehensive guide to everything apple from This Sweet Life of Mine

7. Apple Crafts
There are so many apple crafts I would probably get carpal tunnel syndrome typing them all up.  Let me just tell you about a couple we find most interesting and I will also share a couple from other kid bloggers.  
Apple Stamp: If you like to eat apples, you probably end up with apple cores and here is a fine way to use them: turn them into stamps.  It's the easiest craft to set up.  Eat an apple.  (Don't forget to enjoy it).  Instead of throwing the core out, cut it out like on a pic above, and use for stamping.  Fill a whole page with stamps or write a nice card for someone and decorate with an apple stamp.  (We like to finish this project with lots of glitter).  
Threading an apple: Print out a fun apple like this one.  Punch holes all around and thread the yarn through it.  You can glue it to a piece of construction paper and send it as a card.  
Yarn Apple 
3D apple fall decor (coming up)
Also check out a roundup of 25 Apple Craft Activities from No Time for Flashcards
And 30 Apple Craft ideas from 123homeschool4me

8. Apple Activities on Pinterest
Check out my Apple Activities Pinterest Board for more Apple Activities.  There you will find roundups from some of the most popular bloggers on the web.

Follow Kid Minds's board APPLE ACTIVITIES on Pinterest.

What is your favorite dish with apples?  What are your favorite apple activities?  What comes to your mind when I say "apple"?  If you like apple books here is a long list of apple books  that we put together recently.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Learning Kid Linkup

Welcome back to the weekly Learning Kid Linkup!  We are so glad you are here!  How was your week?   We have been enjoying lots of outside time.  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous in Chicago.  Better than in a summer.  We go for long walks every day.

On a home front we are still trying to find balance between school work, chores, scheduled activities (gymnastics, soccer, swimming, art, dance, music, yoga), social life (playdates with friends, family engagements, homeschooling events), outside time (just being in an open air) and unscheduled time.  Somewhere in there I also try to fit in my daily exercise, time with my husband and blogging.  Sometimes I have to move so fast to fit it all in I feel dizzy.  But I love every minute of it!  I usually go to bed feeling like a superwoman and I wake up in a morning with a smile, anticipating all the fun things I get to do each day.  What does life balance really mean anyway?

And now to the linkup!  If you are a blogger, please, go ahead and link up your educational posts.  And if you are a reader, enjoy some awesome educational ideas from the bloggers from all walks of life.  

Your hosts for Learning Kid Linkup:

Eva from Kid Minds 

Melanie from Tree Valley Academy

The most clicked on post from last week was 8 Dollar Store Busy Bags for Preschoolers by Tara from Embark on the Journey.  Check out her blog!  It has lots of homeschooling ideas and free printables.

Last week (as usual) we had many great ideas, so it's really hard to pick just one.

I decided to feature Welcome to Third Grade from xoxoRebecca because I'm still adding, deleting and moving things around on our calendar and I studied this post very carefully for ideas and inspiration.  (And Yes, I got both: ideas AND inspiration).

I also want to feature DIY Mancala Game Board form Math Geek Mama because I really like her ideas and I like her blog.  Check it out!  Whether you are homeschooling or not, you will not be disappointed.

Grab a button, if you were featured.

We try to make it worth your while to linkup with us!  Every post linked up with us gets pinned!  We also promote our favorite posts across our social media networks!  Three hosts mean triple exposure!

A few things you should know before linking up:
  • By linking up your post(s), you are giving the hosts permission to use your graphics in the featured posts and on social media outlets.  All proper credit will be given.
  • Visit other participants for some good blogging karma.  
  • The hosts would be very happy, if you follow them on social media.  
  • We would appreciate it, if you spread the word about the Learning Kids Link up. 
  • Chat in the comments section!  What are you linking up today?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yarn Apple Craft

In a summer we decorated one of our trees with lanterns and it looked adorable until rain, wind and squirrels wore all the beauty away.  Since it's an apple season now, we decided it would be fun to decorate a tree with apples.  Kids didn't want any paper crafts and insisted on a 3D design.  At first we were going to take a bunch of tennis balls, paint them red, twist some pipe cleaners around them and hang them on a tree.   But before we could get to that project I discovered an almost full container of water balloons.  We just had to get rid of them before winter.  Besides, we have a dog, which means tennis balls are always in short supply in our house.  This is how the idea for our water balloons, yarn, glue and glitter apples was born.

This is an easy craft that can be done with kids of different ages.  Obviously, the older the kids, the better the apples.   But the beauty of these apples is in the eyes of the beholder my 2-year old held his flat, oval apple in his hand and said, "My apple!  I like it!"

What you need
Red yarn (or green yarn if you are making green apples)
School Glue (not glue stick)
Brush to mix and apply glue
Piece of paper or bowl for glue
Glitter (my kids like red one for everything)
Green pipe cleaners
Water balloons (one for each apple you are making)

What to do

Put a generous amount of glue on a piece of paper and add glitter to it.  Mix it well with a brush.

Cover water balloon with glue-glitter mixture.  Don't worry about the oval shape.  Once the glue is dry we will pop the balloon.

Wrap yarn around the balloon in any way you like.  Feel free to sprinkle with glitter now while glue is still wet.

And let it dry outside...

Bend and twist the green pipe cleaner in the shape of leaves and stem and attach it at the top.

Here we popped the first balloon with a tip of a pipe cleaner.  Sometimes it can be the most exciting part of the whole experience!  (Never mind the acrylic paints.  It was from another project.)

As you can see, these apples come as different as people who make them.  The most important consideration is that everyone has as much fun as possible!  Don't forget to use your apples to decorate your house, tree or each other.

More apple crafts are coming up soon.  Meanwhile, check out our list of 75 Apple Books and Apple Recipes Pinterest Board, where I pin the best apple recipes I find on the internet.

Follow Kid Minds's board APPLE on Pinterest.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Apple Books for Children

Apples are fascinating.  Four thousand years old they are the earliest cultivated fruit in the history of the world. Egyptian pharaohs liked them, the ancient Greeks praised them, the first Botanical Encyclopedia created by Bartholomeus Angelicus in 13th century called apple tree “noble” with a fruit “gracious in sight and in taste and virtuous in medicine.”

Today the average person eats 65 apples per year. Scientists discovered two amazing facts: apple seed contain cyanide and have heterozygosity, genetic characteristic that ensures that an apple grown from seed won’t be anything like its parents.  (Think how it would have worked for humankind).  

The other day I was holding an apple in my hand and tried to understand why I like it so much.  It felt nice on the palm of my hand.  It made my mouth water as I anticipated biting into it.  I thought of different times I picked an apple, washed it, cut it, cooked it, baked it, preserved it… I decided that it's quintessential apple-ness of an apple that appeal to me.  It's round, firm, a peaceful symbiosis of sweet and crunchy.  I could talk about apples all day long, but I think you have things to do.  

In the beginning, we were happy with the same old few apple books that somehow made their way into our house, but then one day I started to wonder, if there were some amazing, old, classical apple books out there that we didn’t know about.  And after some search we discovered such treasures as Rain Makes Applesauce (Caldecott winner in 1965), Apples to Oregon, and The Apple that Papa Baked among others.  I was a bit disappointed that when I asked my kids to pick their top ten, they skipped most of MY favorite books (like No Ordinary Apple) and picked the books that we read for the most years.  It just shows that the longer you know the book, the dearer it becomes (unless the book is Dostoevsky’s Brother Karamazov).  

For ease of navigation I divided the 75 Apple books on my list into four categories: Top Ten Favorites (picked by my kids), For the little ones (0-3), As they Grow (3-7), and for the Very Serious Explorers (7 and up).  Our collection is a mix of silly books and science books, flip-the-flaps for the little ones and information books for older kids, counting apple books and counting-down apple books, kids apple cooking books and books about apples that stand up to bullies.  I hope to keep this list growing, so if you know apple books that are not here, please, comment.     

The age recommendation is here only for a very general sense of guidance. All kids are different, mature differently, have different interests at different stages of their lives and relate to different material in a different way.  I base all recommendations on my experience of reading those books to my own kids who are currently 7, 4, and 2 years old.  

Top 10 Favorite Apple Books

1. Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer (2-9).  This 1965 Caldecott winner is an imaginative and playful tale open to many interpretations.  Its lilting poetry encourages creativity and my kids come up with a different meaning every time we read it.  Detailed, but lightly colored drawings remain interesting no matter how many times you looked at them.  In my house it’s enough to quote from the book, “Oh, you are just talking silly talk…” and they can’t stop laughing.  When I asked my son why he likes this book, he said, “It’s silly like A Very Special house,” (a book by Krauss illustrated by Sendak) and so it is!

2. Apple by Nikki McClure (2-7). This is the most creative book on a life cycle of an apple that we ever came across.  Every illustration is a 3-color paper cut.  We decided to copy some of the paper cuts and let me tell you this it’s extremely hard!  But I’m glad we tried it anyway because my kids discovered that something can look very simple, but actually be a result of hard work.  Each illustration in the book has just one word to go with it.  My kids try to read/guess what it is.  I call this type of book an open-end book.  It tickles imagination and sparks volumes of discussion.

3. Apples by Gail Gibbons (4-7).  This book can alternatively be called Everything you ever wanted to know about apples and more.  The first American colonists, Indians, Johnny Appleseed, parts of an apple and pollination... but wait there is more… varieties of apples, how to plan an apple tree, a recipe for an apple pie, an illustrated guide to apple cider extraction, and apple trivia.  Why are you still reading?  Go put it on hold at the library already!  (You might also enjoy The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by the same author)

4. How do apples grow? by Betsy Maestro (4 and up). This is introduction to science at its best.  In this book you will get more complex explanation about pistil, apples blossom ovaries and male cells, and how they come together to create a miracle.  I do distinctly remember copying the parts of the blossom in biology class, but I must have forgotten everything.  Do you know that the ovary of the blossom becomes the inside core of the apple?  How fascinating!  Is it somehow related to the fact that apple seeds contain about 700 milligrams of cyanide per kilo?  Is it where the expression Femme Fatale came from?  (And wait!  Before you go around quote me saying that an apple core can kill a human being, let me clarify.  You need about 1 milligram of cyanide per kilo of body weight to kill a person, and that’s about 18 apple cores that need to be thoroughly crashed first to let the digestive enzymes to get to the substance inside the seed called amygdalin.  So, if you eat an apple core, or two, or ten, you would probably be fine).  A book makes a good case for the bees.  As soon as we read this book my kids started making plans on how to make our backyard more attractive to bees.

5. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins (2-7). I know, I know, you have to read the same thing on EVERY page.  Is it a form of a torture?  “…nibble, nibble, nibble, baa, baa, fiddle-dee-fee… crunch, crunch, crunch, hiss, hiss, fiddle-dee-fee… pick, pick, pick. Quack, quack, quack…” I happen to think that this rhyming, repetitive cadence is awfully good for child’s ears.  And show me a kid who doesn’t like the sounds of farm animals.  I can think of no better way to teach how to count to 10, how to add and subtract and how to make predictions.  On every page there is a bright illustration of farmer and his animals that look like old times wooden toys.   This might be the book that inspired us to do the Apple Farm.  Look for it in the Apple Activities post coming up next.

6. Ten Red Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss (1-9). This is another counting book with apples.  This is the first book by Dr. Seuss that I ever read and it is still my favorite one.  What is it about this book that makes it so popular with kids and parents?  Simple rhymes and fun illustrations?  The chase, apple balancing and the good, old competitive spirit?  The fact that kids quickly memorize the book and can “read” it on their own?  All of the above perhaps?  There is no end of activities to go with this book.  Try Making Learning Fun for a wide variety of ideas.  As a variation we like to play Ten Legos up on top.

7. Apples A to Z by Margaret McNamara (2 and up).  Usually alphabet books are written for preschool crowd learning their first ABCs, but not this book.  It has something for all ages.  My 2 year old likes colorful, cartoon illustrations.  My 4-year old is all about following a group of animal friends as they share their apple experiences and making their way through the alphabet.  My 7-year old is all about new words: D is deciduous, G is for grafting, N is for nutritious… each word convincingly comes with a few concise sentences to go with it.  I was surprised to discover that there is a variety of apple for each letter of the alphabet! At the end of the book there is a list of common expression that use the word “apple,” apple activities, story of Johnny Appleseed, and apple jokes.

8. Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (3-7).  The bunny family goes apple picking, talks about parts of an apple, and finds things that can be made out of apples (apple pie, apple cider, apple butter, apple jelly, applesauce… did you know there were that many!)  Every year as I read this book I dream of finding some free time to put together a Shutterfly book about our family going apple picking combined with information about apples, apple biology and apple uses.  (One day I will!)  The distinctive feature of this book is its artwork.  All the illustrations are cut out of paper and glued to the page to give them 3D dimension.  We traced the bunnies by the window, cut them out and acted the story out.  (Then the dog ate the bunnies).  At the end of the book there is a cute apple song with piano score that we love.  I made a copy of the page, laminated it and keep it by the piano.

9.  How to make an Apple Pie and see the world by Marjorie Priceman (2 and up). This book easily makes it on our list of the top favorite books of all times.  It has humor, wonderful and silly plot, beautiful watercolor illustrations, a lesson on sharing and on where our food comes from, and an introduction to geography all in one.  I’m so glad that this book was part of our Five in a Row curriculum because that’s how we discovered it!  (Are you familiar with this curriculum?  It takes great books for kids and offers some creative ways to incorporate history, science, math and what not into the lesson).  There are so many ideas to try with this book.  Here is a good scented one to get you started.

10. Apples by Jacqueline Farmer (7 and up).  What I like about this book is eight pages of apple history.  Do you know where the name “apple” comes from?  Or why the science of growing apples is called “pomology” and what a Roman goddess has to do with it?  I learned a lot of interesting facts from this book.  Hippocrates' (father of the medicine) favorite “medical prescription” was an apple.  China grows 41% of world apples and 24% of apple’s volume is air (which explains why it floats).  This book is generally recommended for 5 and up, but I think kids can’t really retain the more advanced facts until they are much older.

For the little ones (0-3)
11.  Up, up, up!  It's Apple Picking Time by Jody Fickes Shapiro.  This book is recommended for preschool crowd, but my 2-year old can't get enough of it.

12. Apples, Apples! A lift-the-flap book by Salina Yoon

13. Pat the bunny: At the Apple Orchard by Golden Books.  Just released!!!

14. Ducking for Apples by Lynne Berry.  Favorite with my 2-year old!

15. 5 Little Apples by Yusuke Yonezu

16. Secrets of the Apple Tree: a shine-a-light book by Carron Brown

17. Red Apple, Green Pear: a book of colors by Scholastic

18. Ted Red Apples: A Bartholomew Bear Counting Book by Virginia Miller

As They Grow (3-7)

19. Apple Picking Time by Michelle Benoit Slawson

20. A bad apple: a tale of friendship by Edward Hemingway.  "It takes a strong core to stand up to bullies."

21. The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson

22. Apples, Apples Everywhere!  Learning about Apple Harvest by Robin Koontz

23. Our Apple Tree by Gorel Kristina Naslund

24. Apples for Everyone (Picture the seasons series by National Geographic for kids) by Jill Esbaum

25. Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd.  This might be our favorite Johnny Appleseed book.

26. Fall Apples: crisp and juicy by Martha Rustad.  It's fall.  Time to visit Apple Orchard.  The story is told by a little girl who is spending a day at the orchard with her family.  One chapter is dedicated to How Apples Grow and another chapter is all about Using Apples.  There is a recipe for an Upside-Down, Inside-Out Apple Crisp that takes about five minutes from start to finish (in a microwave).  I think this book will be good for kids who have never visited an orchard.  My kids who go every year enjoyed reading it through once, but I don't think they will be interested in reading it again until next apple season.  

27. I am an Apple by Jean Marzollo.  This Hello Science Scholastic Reader is attractive to beginner readers and introduces science concepts in a simple way. 

28. One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert

29. Annie the Apple Pie Fairy by Make Believe Ideas.

30. Apples and Pumpkin by Anne Rockwell

31. Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington

32. Autumn is for Apples by Knudsen Michelle

33. The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall

34. The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

35. Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish

36. Ned's New Home by Kevin Tseng

37. Applesauce by Shirley Kurtz

38. A day at the Apple Orchard by Amy Ackelsberg

39. Johnny Appleseed: a poem by Reeve Lindbergh

40. Apples Grow on a Tree (How Fruits and Vegetables grow series) by Mari Schuh

41. The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara

42. Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson.  This cheerful book is about an fall habit that become a family tradition.  "One day, Grandma says, "It's time for applesauce."  And this city boy's family goes to the market to buy six pounds of apples for sauce.  Women prep the apples and cook them. Daddy makes potato pancakes to go with the apple sauce.  And then neighbors and family gather around a large table to celebrate the first sauce of the season.  I love the beautiful illustrations and happy faces.  There is a recipe for applesauce on the last page.  I have a sweet spot for books that celebrate family togetherness and traditions.

43. One Green Apple by Eve Bunting

44. Apple Countdown by Joan Holub.  Fun way to practice math: counting down 20 to 1, grouping and simple addition.

45. Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray.  My 2-year old loves the book, but it's only my older kids who actually "get" it.

46. Curious George: Apple Harvest H. A. Rey

47. Apples here by Will Hubbell

48. Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore (I can Read Level 1) by Jane O'Connor

49. Found an Apple (I'm Going to Read series) by Elliot Kreloff

50. Big Red Apple (Scholastic Reader Level 1) by Tony Johnston

51. Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purmell

52. Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Allison Sarnoff Soffer

53. A was once an Apple Pie by Edward Lear

54. A day at the Apple Orchard (Scholastic) by Megan Faulkner

55. Apples to Oregon: being the (slightly) true narrative of how a brave pioneer father brought apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes and cherries (and children) across the plains by Deborah Hopkinson.  This is possibly my most favorite children's book about apples.  The year is 1847 and a family of nine (mom, dad and seven children) is moving from Iowa to Oregon.  "[Daddy] couldn't bear to leave his apple trees behind," but no worries, he can take his apple trees with them, all hundreds of them.  What follows is a laugh-out-loud tale of their daring adventure.  The family braves river floating, treacherous hail stones, dessert crossings and mountain climbing, all with hundreds of apples in tow.  The book is loosely based on a true story.  I'm in love with gorgeous and hilarious illustrations.  After reading this book you will never take your car for granted again.

56. Red are the Apples by Wade Zahares

57. Max's Apples by Grosset and Dunlap

58. Johnny Appleseed: a tall tale retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg

59. Johnny Appleseed (Read to Read Level One) by Jane Kurtz

60. Amazing Apples (Scholastic Science Vocabulary Readers series) by Jeff Bauer

61. Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta

62. Let's cook with Apples: delicious and fun apple dishes kids can make by Nancy Tuminelly.  We tried a couple of recipes from this book with my 4 and 7 years old.  They enjoyed "helping."  I suppose older kids would actually be able to use this book on their own.

63.  The Biggest Apple Ever by Steven Kroll.  Lots of excitement is in the air when Mrs. Mouser (the teacher) announces competition for the biggest apple.  Kids comb the neighborhood apple trees, grocery store and apple orchard.  James finds the biggest apples.  Clayton and Desmond are pretty upset until they decide to use all the leftover apples into the biggest apple pie ever was!

64. An Apple a Day: over 20 Apple Projects for Kids by Jennifer Storey Gillis.  GREAT apple activities book!

For the Serious Explorers (7 and up)

65. The Life and Times of the Apple by Charles Micucci

66. The Life Cycle of an Apple Tree by Linda Tagliaferro

67. An Apple Pie for Dinner by Susan VanHecke

68. Apples by Ken Robbins

69. Life Cycle of an Apple Angela Royston

70. The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Apples by Andrew Mikolajski

71. No ordinary apple: a story about eating mindfully by Sara Marlowe

72. Apples (a true book) by Elaine Landau

73. Who was Johnny Appleseed? (Who Was...? series) by Jean Holub

74. In the Land of the Big Red Apple by Roger Lea MacBride.  This book has a lot of information that is not about apples, but reading about young apple trees rescue from the ice storm is exciting.

75. From Seed to Apple (How Living Things Grow) by Anita Ganeri

76. From Seed to Apple Tree: following the Life Cycle by Suzanne Slade

If you like to eat Apples you might enjoy checking out my Apple recipes board.

               Follow Kid Minds's board APPLE on Pinterest.  

We put together a post that contains all our favorite Apple Activities. Check it out, if you are looking for something fun to do this fall.

Did I miss any Apple Books?  I would like to keep this list growing, so any suggestions are appreciated.  Do you like to read about apples with your kids?  What are your favorite apple books?