Fireflies & Lightning Bugs

I love it when the magic of summertime casts its spell.
Longer days.
Starry nights.
Flashlight tag.
A good book.
Or two.
And lightning bugs. 

Every once in a while, a magical story comes along unexpectedly. I wasn't looking for Nightlight by Jeannine Anderson, this tender tale about Aurora Mae and Borealis Burl. It kind of came looking for me and, to be perfectly honest, the first time I read it I wasn't necessarily all that fired up. But the way this treasure came my way will forever make it dear to my heart. You see, my dad was on one of his everyday errands, and he found it sitting on the shelves at a little mom-'n-pop fix-it shop in Green Bay. He was like a kid in a candy store when he came back to the house and told me he had a surprise for me. It was AdOrAbLe!

Now that I'm back from vacation, I'm re-reading it in a quiet room, by myself, fondly thinking about my dad wanting me to have this book. So I read it again, twice. I'm enamored with the bears' nighttime frolic through the forest that waxes poetic with its incredible extension possibilities. The text is chunk full of similes and personification and its imagery will certainly stir your soul. And totally make you want to one day experience the Aurora Borealis up close and in person.

Oh, and don't those dancing bears on the cover remind you of the portrait silhouettes that teachers used to do of us in elementary school? Maybe we could resurrect that frame-worthy fun as a grandparents' day gift ... I'll definitely be sharing it with our art teacher. I can only imagine the beary bold and beautiful canvases that our little Picassos might create after traveling through the forest into the night with these two fast friends. 

There's also science integration opportunities; encourage students to research fireflies, the northern lights, and nocturnal animals.

Use it as a way to find out how kids let their lights shine, then create a double bubble graphic organizer to compare and contrast it with Leo, the Lightning Bug by Eric Drachman.

Building self-confidence and doing whatever it takes to accomplish your goals is what little Leo experiences as he tries trains to shine his light. Read it aloud using a flashlight for fun. Ask your students to talk about a time when something was difficult for them but they persevered through tough terrain to learn a skill, overcome a fear, or master a concept.

Then talk about names. These might be obvious questions, but why did Leo's mom give him a lion's name? And where did the two bears get their names? Have students research what their names mean. This might also be a good time to create a name acrostic. 

Finally, use Leo to talk with your little lights about how they handle frustration and anger as well. How might they feel if they were Leo? How do they think Leo did at managing his feelings? What might they do to manage those feelings? Finally, find out what they think about how Lester treated Leo and how Leo treated him back.

Check out these two books; I think you'll be delighted that you did!


  1. Both those books sound so lovely. And what a sweet present from your dad!

    1. I think your firsties will LOVE them both, Barb.

  2. These are a couple of excellent looking books! i especially like that bear one. I can see why your Dad couldn't resist - I would be pulling that one off the shelf as well. Thanks for sharing them both!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rhythm. I know that you can sniff out a good book from miles away, and these two will probably be right up your alley. Nightlight is definitely more of a treasure to me ... because of my dad!

      ps. I just love it when you visit me at the Corner.


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