Elementary school age programs

Caribbean Colors

Books To Share

  • Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert San Souci.
  • The Jolly Mon by Jimmy Buffett.
  • My Little Island by Frane Lessac.
  • Niño's Mask by Jeanette Winter.
  • Painted Dreams by Karen Lynn Williams.

Books To Show or Booktalk

  • Jack's New Power: Stories from a Caribbean Year by Jack Gantos.
  • The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales by Diane Wolkstein.
  • The Twins and the Bird of Darkness: A Hero Tale from the Caribbean by Robert D. San Souci.
  • Under the Moon & Over the Sea: A Collection of Caribbean Poems compiled by John Agard and Grace Nichols.
  • Where the Flame Trees Bloom by Alma Flor Ada.

Bulletin Board

Create a Caribbean scene with palm trees. Cut out coconuts, pelicans, and other Caribbean items. As children join the reading club, let them put their first name on an item to add to the scene.


Traditional Crafts from the Caribbean by Florence Temko includes instructions for making Haitian metal cutouts and Puerto Rican Vejigante masks. Make some and hang them around the library. Teens could make them as a library project. The metal cutouts are made from aluminum baking sheets that are easy for teens to safely cut, while the masks are made of papier-mâché.

Papier-mache mask with horns


  • “Forty Performing Bananas” by Jack Prelutsky in New Kid on the Block.
  • “Poinciana Passion” by Cheryl Albury in Under the Moon & Over the Sea: A Collection of Caribbean Poems compiled by John Agard and Grace Nichols.


Knock-knock! Who’s there? Banana.

Knock-knock! Who’s there? Banana.

Knock-knock! Who’s there? Orange.

Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?


Tell or read the story “Bouki Dances the Kokioko” on pages 80-86 in The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales by Diane Wolkstein. This story tells about dancing the Samba. Set the mood by playing samba music before and after telling the story.


Tropical Bird Mask

  • Bright colored paper plates
  • Paint stir sticks
  • Lots of colored feathers
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Yellow construction paper

Tropical bird mask craft


Give each child a paper plate. Help younger children to cut two eyeholes from the paper plate. Cut two beak patterns from the yellow construction paper. Glue the beak in place. Glue lots of brightly colored feathers onto the bird's head. Glue the paint stir stick at the bottom of the mask to use as a handle. Let everything dry and then do a Bird Dance!

To do the Bird Dance, put on some lively music. Try Brave Combo’s version of “The Chicken Dance” on Group Dance Epidemic or listen to the music at www.whydidthechickencrosstheroad.com/the-chicken-dance.htm. Here are instructions for the dance. Hold your hands in front of your face like a beak and clap four times. Hold your arms up at the elbow and flap four times. Shake your bottom back and forth four times, and then clap four times. Repeat several times.

Flower Leis

  • Tissue paper
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch
  • Tube beads
  • Pasta tubes (optional)

Distribute copies of the patterns provided below to the children so that they can create flowers from tissue paper and construction paper. Cut or punch a hole in the center of each flower and lace onto the yarn. Separate the flowers with tube beads, or use macaroni or pasta tubes. Tie the yarn to close the necklace.

Flower lei craft with diagram of flower

Games and Activities

Caribbean Party

Announce in advance that children are invited to dress in island wear, muumuus, Aloha shirts, grass skirts, floppy hats, and sunglasses.

Hold a Limbo contest. Play island music such as “Limbo Rock” by Chubby Checker, available online at www.weddingvendors.com/music/lyrics/song-351.html. Or, play “The Banana Boat Song” which is on Baby Beluga by Raffi. Put up a limbo bar, and see “how low” the kids can go! Two adults hold the limbo stick (a bamboo bar, yardstick, or broom handle). Each person takes a turn dancing under the limbo stick by standing and bending backwards to get under the stick without touching it. Dancers who touch the stick are “out.” Keep lowering the stick after each turn until only one person is left.

Form a Conga line and dance! Desi Arnez is credited with making the Brazilian Conga popular in the United States. To dance the conga, everyone lines up, placing their hands on the hips of the person in front of them. Dance along by shifting from left foot to right foot each time the leader says “Everybody Conga.” The basic step is three steps forward, kick left, three steps forward kick right, and continue alternating. Zigzag around the room or around the library until the music stops.

Island Maze

Copy the maze and distribute it to the children so that they can help the monkey get to the palm tree on the Caribbean island.

Island maze


Serve fruit salad and brightly colored punch.

Guest Speaker

Invite a musician or dance troupe to play Caribbean music and teach simple dances.


Serve coconut candies, fresh or dried papaya, mangos, and pineapple, and brightly colored tropical punch.

Audio Recordings

  • Caribbean Party by Various Artists.
  • “Coconut Moon” on Coconut Moon by The Green Chili Jam Band.
  • "Down on the Bayou" on Cajun for Kids by Papillon.
  • “Islands” on Singin’ on a Star by Purly Gates.
  • "Monkey with a Coconut" on The Sea, Beach, and Summer Stuff by Geof Johnson.


  • Mr. Magoo: Treasure Island. (60 minutes)
  • The Real Mccaw. (90 minutes)


Orly's Draw-A-Story.

Web Sites

WWF Expeditions


Professional Resource

Traditional Crafts from the Caribbean by Florence Temko.


Texas Reading Club 2004 Programming Manual / Color Your World...Read!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011