Bookgarteners: Donald Crews

For an overview of the Bookgarteners program, please visit this post.

Donald Crews was a natural pick for the Bookgarteners program. His books are beloved by children, and he also has a huge fanbase with all of the fabulous vehicle books at our library.

Group Program

To begin our program, I explained what an author was and what an illustrator was. I talked about how each book has one of each. Sometimes they are the same person and sometimes they are not. Donald Crews had written and illustrated all of the books I had with me today, but I knew that he had worked as only an illustrator on a few books so I mentioned that to the kids. Then, we watched a YouTube video from the Association of Library Service to Children that Crews recorded about his influences.

Afterwards, it was time to read Freight Train together.

Sequencing Color Bracelets with Freight Train
2.B.ECb: With teacher assistance, retell familiar stories with three or more key events.

This is a weird source of inspiration, but nonetheless…I will forever remember a church story/lesson because it was told with a beaded bracelet. I thought that the kids would benefit from making a pipe cleaner beaded bracelet to “tell” the story of Freight Train. This did require a bit of prep work on my part. I sorted beads into ziploc bags to make the distribution of the activity easier. You could also set up a line with small buckets with each of the colored beads.

Activity Stations

Four activity stations were spread out around the room. I had one teen volunteer in the room with me to help control the flow of kiddos.

Sensory Transportation Scene for all books
19.A.ECd: Use eye-hand coordination to perform tasks.

This sensory transportation scene came from Lalymom, via Pinterest. I bought foam stickers from Oriental Trading and used clear contact paper with the sticky side out towards the kids. And if you’re wondering what it looked like at the end of the class, I give you this:

Shape Train Matching with Freight Train
7.A.ECa: Compare, order, and describe objects according to a single attribute.

This shape matching activity came from Toddler Approved, via Pinterest. I made two trains so that more kids could use this station at the same time. I also did not create an outline of the shape and opted instead for the word since I was aiming for preschoolers as opposed to toddlers. The kids LOVED this section and I had some families who asked if they could take this one home.

Counting Dots with Ten Black Dots
6.A.ECd: Connect numbers to quantities they represent using physical models and informal representatives.

This math activity came from Munchkins and Moms, via Pinterest. I invested in some foam puzzles from the dollar store and splurged for the black gems online. I absolutely plan to reuse both of these items in future Bookgartener programs. This was the most self-directed station and I think it gave the kids great confidence to be able to do it “all by themselves”. (The two art stations were also self-directed, but needed supervision from me and my volunteer.)

Wheel Stamping for all books
25.A.ECd: Visual Arts. Investigate and participate in activities using visual arts materials.

This art station came from Pre-K Pages, via Pinterest. I didn’t need to buy anything for this station as both ink and vehicle cars were something that the library already owned. This was a FRENZIED station, as exhibited by the only picture I managed to get during the program:


I loved every minute of this program and the activities that I had curated and chosen. I think this would be better suited for a fall session though, as my older kids breezed through a lot of activities. Luckily, they all wanted to go back and go the activities again, so I was safe!

3 comments on “Bookgarteners: Donald Crews

  1. Stacey
    March 12, 2019 at 11:15 am #

    Your sensory activity is awesome. We have done several of these over the past two years. We put cover them with another sheet of clear contact paper and hang them across the front of our circ desk as a community art project.

    • Katie
      March 25, 2019 at 10:58 am #

      That’s a great idea!

  2. Keilianys
    May 20, 2019 at 6:54 pm #

    Los cuentos son lindos los amo😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😘😍😘😍😍😘😘😍😘😘😍😍😘

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