Cynthia Rylant

Children's Literature to Use in Your Classroom!

The following is a list of quality children's literature books written by Cynthia Rylant as well as ways to use them in your classroom! This is a great resource for teachers for their K-2 classrooms!

The Stars Will Still Shine

Reading Level- 2
This book is about how a new year brings new experiences and new beginnings. This book is reassuring especially when you’re having a bad day. Every page points out something good in life that is meant to lift up the reader. This is a great story to read to lift the spirits in a classroom. The overall message is that whatever you are going through, there is always something good that can come from it.
Lesson Idea
After reading this story, discuss how the story is meant to lift the reader up. Write down all of the encouraging things in this book. Give students the task to write a classmate a nice note that is meant to lift them up throughout the week. Explain to students that they should include things that make people happy. This is a great activity to promote community in a classroom.

Night in the Country

Reading Level- 2.7
This book describes some of the mysterious sounds you may hear during the nighttime in the country. You may hear owls, frogs, apples falling from trees, and dogs in the distance. Then you hear birds telling everyone that night in the country is nearly over. Lastly all the animals will spend the whole day in the country listening to all the sounds you make during the day. This book contains wonderful imagery and adjectives to describe the country in the nighttime.
Lesson Idea
In a classroom, you could read this book and discuss the imagery throughout the story. Discuss how important it is to include detailed adjectives when telling a story. Have the students close their eyes and imagine the story as you read it again. Students should see that detail helps the reader picture the story. Have students write their own narratives about a given topic. Make sure they are including detailed sentences. Proofread narratives and have students draw an illustration.

Alligator Boy

Interest Level- K-2
This book is about a young boy who is tired of being just a regular boy. He wants to be something different and new. Unsure what to do, he calls his aunt and she sends him a box in the mail. The box has an alligator suit inside. He puts on the alligator suit and immediately becomes an alligator boy. He goes to school as an alligator boy and loves being something different. His days are full of joy after becoming an alligator boy.
Lesson Idea
A lot of children are always looking for something new and exciting. I think this book could really engage any class in discussion and an activity. After reading Alligator Boy, have students write a story with the prompt: "If you could be somebody new what would you be and why?" Students can write a short story and draw an illustration. Make sure students give detail about what they want to be and why just like in the story.

The Ticky-Tacky Doll

Interest Level- K-2
In this story, a young girl has a ticky-tacky doll that has been her best friend ever since her Grandma sewed it for her. They do everything together-eat, sleep, play, and even dream. When school starts, the little girl has to leave her doll at home for the first time. Without the ticky-tacky doll by her side, she grows more sad and lonely each day. Luckily, her Grandma knows just what to do. She makes a child ticky-tacky doll that fit in the little girl’s book bag. The little girl takes the child ticky-tacky doll to school and was happy. She could focus in school and didn't feel sad or lonely anymore. She now had a small and big ticky-tacky doll to love!
Lesson Plan
Students can relate to this book. Students are frequently afraid or worried about new things or school. Have students think about what they have or do when they are scared of something new. They can also think about a blanket or doll that they had when they were younger. Have them write a story about it. If they still have the blanket or doll, students can bring it in as they share their stories.

Christmas in the Country

Reading Level- 2.9
A woman tells the story of what Christmas was like when she was a little girl. She lived with her grandparents in the country. This book tells of all of the simple joys that the holiday season brings. The snow slows everything down, boxes of old ornaments get pulled out of the closet, the tree lit up at night, and relatives gather for a delicious meal. The woman tells of the warm and loving celebration of Christmas: the memorable moments we cherish forever.
Lesson Plan
This story is a great introduction to different holidays people celebrate. This story is about Christmas and all the traditions a little girl does with her family for the holiday. The teacher can then proceed to read books about other holidays people may celebrate and some other traditions. Students may share any unique traditions or holidays they celebrate. Students can then pick one holiday and complete a mini research project. They can research the holiday they choose and create a report about it. Then students can share their reports to the class. This lets students learn about other holidays they may not celebrate.