What started as a Before Five in a Row homeschool unit studies around the Blueberries for Sal book, became a lesson plan and search for books about blueberries! Not only did we go blueberry picking but we also started canning blueberries like Sal’s mom, made a bunch of kid-friendly blueberry recipes, and froze some blueberries for the cooler months.
Here are some fun books about blueberries, a Blueberries for Sal book summary, and some activities and resources you can use your homeschool during storytime, Poetry Tea Time, or just whenever you feel like it, because, as you know, homeschoolers do what they want!
Blueberries for Sal Book Summary
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Summertime in Maine
I grew up spending summers in Maine, in a little town called Freedom. Its population is currently around 700 right now, so I imagine in the eighties it was significantly lower. My aunt, uncle, and cousins lived in a cute little farmhouse with rolling meadows, woods, a pond, and on and off they kept a variety of animals. There was also a carriage house on the property that I remember so distinctly.
Summers were lazy days filled with watermelon, lobster, seafood gumbo, and all the fresh apples we could eat. We spent our days swinging on the back porch, walking in the woods and climbing trees, and drinking gallons of lemonade. Nightime was relaxing and listening to ghost stories from the older cousins. My aunt and uncle had eleven children; there was always something going on.
As some of the cousins got older, they all began working at a blueberry patch, picking blueberries. I’d tag along to drop them off and pick them up from work. Maine is the setting for Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal, a book that I had actually never read until I became an adult, despite living a similar life to Sal and her family.
Kids Picture Books about Maine
Blueberries for Sal
Sal and her mother head out to Blueberry Hill in Maine for an afternoon of blueberry picking. She eats the blueberries as fast as she can pick them. Sal’s mother warns her that she needs to stop eating the picked blueberries or there won’t be any left for the winter.
There just so happens to be a mama bear and her cub eating their fill of blueberries as they prepare to hibernate for the winter. The bear mom says just the opposite; eat as much as you can so you can stay full for the winter. Ultimately, Sal and the bear cub both get separated from their mothers and begin following the wrong mom around the patch. The story ends with Sal safely back with her mom in the kitchen canning blueberries for the winter.
Blueberries for Sal – Robert McCloskey
Robert McCloskey Books and Author Study
One fun thing I like to do when I find an author with several quality books is to do an author study. Robert McCloskey is one such author. He wrote and illustrated eight books and received the Caldecott Medal for Make Way for Ducklings and Time of Wonder. The latter is a book of poetry about Maine.
- Lentil – this book inspired my youngest to learn how to play the harmonica
- Make Way for Ducklings – having grown up and spent most of my adult life in Massachusetts, we spent a lot of time at the Boston Public Garden and on the Swan Boats
- Homer Price
- Blueberries for Sal
- Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price
- One Morning in Maine – this is a follow up to Blueberries for Sal
- Time of Wonder
- Burt Dow, Deep-water Man
Additional Books about Blueberries
Whenever we do a homeschool unit study, Five in a Row series or have a specific book theme, I like to include additional reading resources.
Kids Picture Books about Blueberries
Blueberry Girl – Neil Gaiman
The Blueberry Pie Elf – Jane Thayer
an elf and a blueberry pie, what could possibly go wrong – this is a cute addition to any homeschool blueberry unit study
Peter in Blueberry Land – Elsa Beskow
Peter is on the hunt for blueberries and embarks on a magical adventure
Blueberry Mouse – Alice Low
an adorable story about a little mouse who lives in a blueberry pie
One Little Blueberry – Tammy Salzano
a perfect counting book for preschoolers – include this in your homeschool storytime when working with multiple age levels!
More Blueberries – Susan Musgrave
short, fun sentences – ideal for babies and toddlers though older kids will enjoy this book!