Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Forest Bright, Forest Night


Jennifer Wards book, Forest Bright, Forest Night is an excellent resource to use when teaching life science to elementary age children.  The book uses a fun format with rhythmic text and gorgeous detailed illustrations by Jamichael Henterly. The illustrations will certainly capture the attention of children and adults alike!  Additionally,  Henterly cleverly “hid” animals throughout the pages which will also keep children entertained as they try to find these animals  while they read this book.

Forest Bright, Forest Night covers all the activity that occurs in the forest from daybreak to nightfall which is wonderful for children who are learning about nocturnal and diurnal animals and also habitats and ecosystems in general. The book is like two books in one because Forest Bright focuses only on the animals that are awake during the day and each page covers different animals and how they spend their time. The stories of each animal are written with fun silly rhymes and are accompanied by the vivid colorful illustrations. Upon flipping the book over to Forest Night, the pages take on a darker appearance as they describe the many animals who are only active at night. This book does a nice job of showing that even when we are tucked away in our beds sleeping soundly, the forest never sleeps because certain animals only come out at night as opposed to those who are only out and about during the day.

Curriculum Connections: 

This book would be ideal for the lower elementary grades and would be a great reading resource for children who are learning about ecosystems and animals who share habitats. The book covers the forest habitat and the animals who call the forest home both during the day and at night, which is great for children who are learning about the differences between nocturnal and diurnal animals. This book satisfies several Virginia SOLs including VA SOL 2. 5 (a) & (b) and 2.8 (c). These  standards cover information ranging from how organisms are interrelated to how habitats change over time to the fact that plants provide homes and food for many different types of animals.

Additional Resources:

1) Excellent lesson plans to accompany Forest Bright, Forest Night.

2)  Numerous printable coloring pages including many forest animals.

3) USDA website with numerous forest related activities for children.

4) Check out the U.S. National Park Service website for information about forest parks you can visit on field trips!

General Information:

Book: Forest Bright, Forest Night

Author: Jennifer Ward

Illustrator: Jamichael Henterly

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Publication Date: 2005

Pages: 32 pages

Grade Range: K-2nd

ISBN: 1584690895

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