Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where did our Halloween traditions and stories come from? fun facts for children, ages 6 - 10

My kids are counting down the days until Halloween.  All they can think about is their costumes, the fun they'll have, the treats they'll collect.  If you'd like to share some interesting background on this favorite holiday, take a look at Celebrate Halloween and The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, two great nonfiction books for kids.

For younger kids, I'd start with Celebrate Halloween, part of National Geographic's Holidays Around the World series.
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Halloween
by Deborah Heiligman
D.C.: National Geographic Society, c2007
ages 6 - 9
What do you like doing around Halloween?  Visiting pumpkin patches, carving jack-o'-lanterns, and telling scary stories? Dressing up in masks and costiumes, going to parties, and trick-or-treating for candy? We share many traditions with children throughout the world, but each culture has its own unique traditions.  I liked learning the history behind this holiday and especially seeing how children in other places celebrate Halloween today.  Children will definitely be drawn in by the vivid images - true to form, National Geographic excels in this area. The text is clear and reassuring, giving the message throughout that Halloween is a fun holiday for all to enjoy.

For slightly older readers, try looking at The Halloween Book of Facts and FunIt delves into the history of Halloween traditions in a little more depth.

The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun
by Wendie Old
illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye
IL: Albert Whitman & Company, 2007
ages 8 - 12
In this informative book, Old delves into the history behind many of the traditions and stories we associate with Halloween.  Children learn about how the original Celtic festival Samhain developed as a transition between summer and winter seasons.  This fall festival then mixed first with Roman traditions and then Christian holidays.  My daughter especially liked the story about how jack-o'-lanterns got their names from an old Irish tale.  I found Old's descriptions clear and interesting, especially how Halloween became popular in the United States in the 1850s, after many Irish immigrated to America.

The review copies came from my local public library.  Search WorldCat online catalog to see if your library has either Celebrate Halloween or The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, or stop by your local bookstore.

Would you like to explore more nonfiction with your children?  Check out Nonfiction Monday, a regular feature on the web.  Today's event is hosted by Wrapped in Foil.

This books is available online at Amazon. If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review. I've also included a good choice for the preschool set, Halloween Is... by Gail Gibbons.

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