Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day!

May Day is a celebration of spring... and surprisingly, there are very few books relating to this, loosely deemed holiday. I was only able to come up with three, and one of them is from 40 years ago! There are several customs related to May Day (details of these customs can be found here)...
  1. Flowers and Garland Making
  2. Maypole Dance
  3. May Queen
  4. Morris Dance
  5. Face Washing in May Dew

Foster, Mariana.
Miss Flora McFlimsey's May Day.
Lathrop, Lee & Shephard Co.

While this book does have a focus on Miss Flora McFlimsey's May Day, I think children will have a hard time sitting still for this one (unless you can find a newer, more updated version than I was able to get my hands on)! This version lacked colored illustrations (which helps keep children interested). It's also a very small book, so the illustrations that are there will be difficult for groups of children to see.

The May Day customs mentioned to some extent in this book are the May Queen, May Flowers/Garlands. I think the book does a great job of showing the holiday for what it is - a celebration of Spring, involving not only a little girl who's enjoying spring but also many "spring" animals!

Mora, Pat.
The Rainbow Tulip.
Penguin Group (USA).
Guided Reading Level: M

Love this one! Not only is it a perfect read for May Day, but it would also perfectly complement the diversity aspect of character education. The focal points relating to May Day in this book are the spring flowers (Tulips) and the Maypole Dance.

Stella is a little girl of Mexican heritage living in the United States. While she embraces her culture, at the same time she doesn't enjoy being different from the other kids at school. As Stella participates in the school's May Day Parade (dressed as the only rainbow tulip), she learns a valuable lesson that being different has its benefits as well as fitting in with the crowd!

Silverman, Erica.
On the Morn of Mayfest.
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

This cumulative rhyming text focuses on the May Queen. The self-proclaimed Queen of May sets off on a sleep walk that winds up resulting in a great adventure before she truly is crowned as Queen of May Day with a flower garland.

Kids are sure to love the growing rhyme and activity that ensues... not only will they be 100% focused on the story, they're bound to learn a great deal about May Day as well!

May Day Fun:

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to