Hi there! Welcome to Booktomato! I hate to bring you a list of text-book style picks during what might be your kids' time off for summer break (no school=no boring text books/work sheets), but not to worry, these are fun! I wanted to share with you some of the reference books geared towards kids that I have collected over the years. I have no worries bringing educational books to you during spring break because unlike some text books, these make learning fun! There are a lot of really great dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias for kids that strike a great balance of informative and fun/playful. Whenever my kids have a question about a country, a unique word, or a science concept, sometimes it is more helpful for them to research the topic on their own rather than hear me just give them an explanation.
I found this set of The Little Golden Book Illustrated Dictionary at a second hand store a few years ago. I was so happy to find the complete set in one place! It has six volumes, over 10,000 words, and 3,000 pictures. It was published in 1951, so like most older reference books, I'm sure there are some outdated word entries. However, overall, this is still a great first dictionary set. Not every word entry has a picture, but each entry provides an easy but thorough definition and a sentence that really helps with understanding. I have seen illustrated dictionaries with more pictures, but those tend to be more cute than functional. This set is actually functional for reference purposes.
This student thesaurus by The American Heritage has been a life-saver for my third-grader this year. He is learning to write "big kid" paragraphs in his reports, and that means learning how to find new and interesting words. This edition is not illustrated and is really meant for upper elementary and possibly junior high level readers.
If you check out one book from this post, this should be it! We purchased this My Picture Atlas by Roger Priddy probably 7 years ago through a montessori catalog, and it has been used every week since its purchase. I couldn't love it more. Its cover says it all - it gives kid-friendly facts along with colorful pictures and a map of every country in the world. When you have this book, you know how to say hello and thank you in every country's official language. You know what each country produces, what the people like to eat, and what their houses look like. It is such a great reference for kids who want to learn about the world!
Do you have any kid's reference books that you go to again and again? Ones that your kids love? Let me know!