Early Elementary Books

Theme: Rivers

Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean - (ISBN: 978-0064451154)

by Arthur Dorros

Find out about the different kinds of streams, rivers, rivulets, and their movements toward the great sea. In addition, readers learn about the importance of keeping the waterways clean and how they interact with the earth. Look around your community. How many different names are there for bodies of water in your area, for example, brook, creek, etc.?

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! - (ISBN: 978-0375852183)

by Jonah Winter

This book of fiction tells the true story of a load of garbage that nobody wanted. It traveled half way around the world before coming back to Islip, New York. Traveling on a variety of waterways, the barge tries to dock at several ports in the U.S., Mexico, and South America. At the same time, the garbage is rotting and getting smellier! The illustrations, including the people, places, and objects, come from a mix of the garbage materials that were actually on the barge! Talk about how garbage is handled in your community and how big loads are transported from place to place.

Poppy and Max and the River Picnic - (ISBN: 9781843623953)

by Sally Grindley

Max the dog thinks Poppy’s plan to walk by the river will be OK as long as he can find a picnic spot. Poppy wants to walk and walk, but Max has other ideas in mind! Find out how these two friends (featured in other books in the same series) settle their differences and enjoy their time together.

River Beds: Sleeping in the World’s Rivers - (ISBN: 978-1934359310)

by Gail Langer Karwoski

Animal lovers will be entranced by this depiction of many of the world’s most beloved animals, and some of the more unusual ones as well, and how they settle down for the night. How they get to sleep and where they do it makes for very interesting reading. One good time to read this book would be just before you drift off for the night. Imagine yourself in the company of all these drowsy animals just before you close your eyes!

The River Ran Wild - (ISBN: 978-0152163723)

by Lynn Cherry

Trace the history of the Nashua River, from its beginnings as a beautiful and productive area through pollution and the loss of its marine life to an ongoing restoration. Look at the borders on many pages of this book. How do they add to its message?

Letting Swift River Go - (ISBN: 978-0316968607)

by Jane Yolen

Paddle to the Sea - (ISBN: 978-0395292037)

by Holling C. Holling

River Otter at Autumn Lane - (ISBN: 978-1931465625)

by Laura Gates Galvin

White Water - (ISBN: 978-0670892860)

by Jonathan London

Activities for this Theme

Read about the world's longest rivers


View a blog post about the Japanese floating lantern festival, many lanterns made of plastic and covered with special paper light up a river area.


For a birthday party or just for fun, buy or borrow some inexpensive floating ducks. Give the attending children inexpensive squirt guns and let them try to turn the ducks over with their water squirts!