Bright Horizons Growing Readers October 2022

A little girl and a child care teacher reading together

We believe that books have the power to build empathy in children, introducing them to new perspectives and ideas. Through stories, children come to understand others’ hopes, dreams, joys, and sorrows. We’re committed to offering diverse stories and voices to our readers. Books of Excellence and Notable books are selected annually by a panel of Bright Horizons early childhood experts and represent some of the best new writing in children’s literature.

October 2022 Book of Excellence: Preschool/Kindergarten Prep

Rainbows in Bloom: Discovering Colors with Flowers, Written by Taylor Putnam and Michael Putnam

Unlike any early concept book you’ve ever read, this book features extravagant photos of flowers as well as a few hidden treasures to introduce children to the rich variety of hues. Written by New York florists Putnam & Putnam, the book even has a flower key in the back. 

Storytelling Tips

  • Take your time. Each page is a visual feast. Examine each spread and open the gatefolds slowly. Follow the “look and find” prompts. Point out and name the varied colors from chartreuse to fuchsia to violet.
  • Set up a display. Place the book on a shelf with some flowers or colorful objects to encourage your child’s engagement. Add a few additional books on colors or gardening from the library.

Extend the Learning

  • Go on a color walk. The next time you walk through your neighborhood, pay attention to the flowers and foliage. How many different colors can you find?
  • Paint the rainbow. Offer your child some watercolors or temperas and sturdy paper. Show your child how to mix paints to get new shades and hues.
  • Go green. Learn more about flowers by visiting a florist, botanical garden, or even a neighbor with a green thumb. Look through seed catalogs and choose a few plants to grow at home.

Notable Books: Infant & Toddler

Counting on the Earth, Written and Illustrated by MudPuppy

Bright illustrations and a simple text introduce children to numbers and the beauty of the earth. 

Storytelling Tips

  • Look and find. Ask your child to search for and find something small on each page, e.g., a snail, ladybug, or star, to build focus and language, and make reading together an interactive experience.
  • Count the objects. Older toddlers can begin to understand that the number one stands for one object, a big step in their math learning. Point at each object and say the corresponding number.
  • Guess what’s next. After a reading or two, older toddlers can predict what will come next before you turn the page. Say to your child, “Oh, here are the butterflies. What comes next?” 

Extend the Learning

  • Get real. Find as many real-life examples of the objects in the book as possible. Watch the stars, point out a rainbow, or examine a butterfly.
  • Count, count, count. Make a game of counting everything – crackers, the stairs, your child’s shoes, etc.

Notable Books: School-Age (K-4)

Bread for Words, Written by Shana Keller; Illustrated by Kayla Stark

Written in a simple first person narrative, Bread for Words tells the inspiring story of Frederick Douglas and his quest for education and freedom. 

Storytelling Tips

  • Read the book first. Read the story on your own ahead of time. Think about your child’s temperament and ability to understand the story. What questions will your child have? Be ready for a thoughtful discussion.
  • Make text-to-self connections. As you read the book, ask thoughtful questions. Has your child ever seen or experienced something unfair? How did it feel? What did your child do? Why did learning to read become the path to freedom for Frederick Douglas?
  • Examine the illustrations. Kayla Stark’s multi-media illustrations combine soft pastels with pen and ink. A red-winged blackbird (often a symbol of spring or hope) figure in several of the pages. Take time to look at each illustration carefully.
  • Follow along. Visit the Gilder Lehman Institute of American History to hear Hamilton actor Simon Longnight read the story and share additional information. 

Extend the Learning

  • Learn more. Based on your child’s interest and readiness, read other stories about brave abolitionists, such as Harriet Tubman and Henry Brown.
  • Get involved. Frederick Douglas made a difference for himself and others. What changes would you like to see in your world? As a family, choose a project or charity to work with.
  • Make a “doing hard things” chart. Frederick Douglas took seven years to learn to read and write. He probably felt discouraged at times, but he kept trying. Talk about things that your child is doing that might feel hard. Make a list and congratulate them on their efforts. 


Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
A little girl and a child care teacher reading together