Elementary school age programs

Starry Nights

Books To Share

  • The Blizzard's Robe by Robert Sabuda.
  • City Night by Eve Rice.
  • The Night Rainbow by Barbara Juster Esbensen.
  • Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sis.
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.

Books To Show or Booktalk

  • Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller.
  • Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Minday Dwyer.
  • The First Starry Night by Joan Shaddox Ison.
  • Hold Up the Sky: And Other Native American Tales from Texas and the Southern Plains by Jane Louise Curry.
  • See the Stars: Your First Guide to the Night Sky by Ken Croswell.
  • Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist by Jan Greenberg.

Bulletin Board

Cover the bulletin board with black cloth or dark paper. Use white paper stars, glow in the dark stars, and planets to create a solar system.


Purchase Glow Max Paper, available from Sax, to create stars that will glow in the dark. Decorate the meeting or program room with the stars and other glow in the dark objects. After being exposed to light, the paper will glow for about 30 minutes when the lights are dimmed or off.


Suppliers like Oriental Trading Company sell neon glow bracelets, straws, and other items that make inexpensive and fun prizes. Give these to children for participating in the reading program or for attending a program.

Tongue Twister

Night Light

(Author unknown.)

There’s no need to light a night light

On a light night like tonight,

For a night light's light's a slight light,

And tonight's a night that's light.

When a night's light, like tonight's light,

It is really not quite right

To light night lights with their slight lights

On a light night like tonight.


Tell "The Sack of Diamonds" in Stupid Peter and Other Tales by Helen Kronberg Olson. The story explains how sparkling stars got in the sky. The story is also in Read for the Fun of It by Caroline Feller Bauer.

Tell “Coyote Helps Decorate the Night” in From Sea to Shining Sea compiled by Amy L. Cohn. The Hopi myth tells how Coyote tossed the stars into the night sky.

As an added feature for your storytelling, create constellations on paper cups ahead of time by drawing dots for the stars on the bottom of heavy paper cups, like those used for hot drinks. Punch holes with a sharp pencil or ice pick where the dots are. Turn down the lights and place a flashlight in the cup so that the light shines through the holes and create the constellation on the ceiling of the program room. Test your constellation in advance to be sure that you did not make the holes to big or leave them too small.


Would You Like to Swing on a Star?

This standard from the 1940’s is available in many music collections. If you do not want to try singing, play the Purly Gates version available on Singin’ on a Star.



  • Black or dark blue construction paper
  • Glitter in a variety of colors
  • White or clear glue
  • Small paper cups to hold the glue
  • Craft sticks, toothpicks, and coffee stir sticks
  • Disposable aluminum baking sheets (optional)
  • Newspaper or other material to cover tables

Create colorful art that looks like fireworks. In advance, cover the tables to protect them from glue. Provide each child with a small paper cup of glue and a sheet of construction paper. Each child dips the craft sticks, toothpicks, or coffee stirrers into the glue and spreads thin lines of glue onto the construction paper to create patterns. The width of the line will vary depending on the type of stick used to spread the glue. Encourage the children to try starbursts, geometric shapes, flourishes, and spattered lines. After each pattern is made and before the glue dries, sprinkle glitter on the glue. Shake off excess glitter into a shallow baking sheet or trashcan. Repeat the process of gluing and adding glitter until the sky is filled with fireworks. Use different colors of glitter for each firework.

Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis is rarely seen in the Texas skies, but it does happen. Go to www.spacescience.com/headlines/images/brushfire/texas.jpg for an image of the April 6, 2000 sighting at the McDonald Observatory in Big Bend. Show some photographs, either online or from books and magazines, of the Aurora Borealis. Note that the colors look like they take shapes—curtains are vertical wisps of color, spirals look windblown. Allow children to paint their own Northern Lights.

  • White watercolor paper
  • Watercolors and brushes
  • Water
  • White crayons

Let the children use the white crayon to draw a few stars and then they should brush watercolors in streaks across the horizon. The paint won't stick where the crayon has been used. Instruct the children to gently tilt the paper around while the paint is wet so that the colors drip into each other a little bit. This will create a dramatic picture of the sky. Let the paper dry thoroughly.

Star Finger Puppet

Make the “Twinkle Star Finger Puppet” on page 18 in Crafts from Your Favorite Children’s Songs by Kathy Ross. If you do not have room to do this craft in the library, provide the instructions and materials for a make and take craft that can be done at home.

Glow Art

Purchase Glow-Max Paper which is available from Sax. This paper glows in the dark. Allow the children to use it to create a star mobile, star masks, or other glowing items.


Hold a “star party” after the library has closed. Borrow several telescopes from the science department at the local college or high school or from an astronomy club. Hand out star charts, available in many books or online at www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/. This site allows you to print out guides for any location, date, and time of viewing. See how many constellations, planets, and stars the children can find in the sky. Be sure that you have plenty of adult supervision.

Guest Speaker

Invite a member of a local astronomy club to talk about constellations, nebula, black holes, and such. If you can't find a local club, check with community colleges and universities or www.astrosociety.org/resources/linkclubs.html.


Purchase sugar cookie dough or make your favorite recipe. Use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut the dough. Decorate with yellow, blue, and clear decorative sugar.

Audio Recordings

  • "Fly Me to the Moon" on At the Bottom of the Sea by Ralph Covert.
  • "Milky Way" on Down In The Backpack by Bill Harley.
  • “Vincent” on Legendary Songs of Don McLean by Don McLean


Vincent Van Gogh: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists. (23 minutes)

Web Sites

The Arctic Theme page

J. Paul Getty Museum: Space Art Through the Ages

Star Charts

Professional Resource

Sax Arts & Crafts



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