Make Way for Robert McCloskey in Your Homeschool

One of my very earliest memories of reading is from kindergarten. I remember being enthralled by the story of a little girl who went berry picking with her mother, only to end up following a mother bear. That book was Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. It inspired my imagination at an impressionable age and made me want to become a writer. It also started an interest in reading everything Robert McCloskey wrote.

Make Way for Robert McCloskey in Your Homeschool

About Robert McCloskey

Robert McCloskey was born in Ohio on September 14, 1914. He wrote nine books, winning two Caldecott Medals. He was married and had two daughters. His wife and oldest daughter were the models he used for Blueberries for Sal. The family often vacationed in Maine, where four of his books are set. He died in Deer Isle, Maine, in 2003 at the age of 88.

It’s clear from Robert McCloskey’s books that he valued the innocence of children and the way they look at the world. He drew inspiration from his own children to find those moments of wonder, capture them in words and pictures, and share them with the world.

Robert McCloskey’s Books

As author and illustrator:

Lentil (1940)
Make Way for Ducklings (1941), Caldecott Medal winner
Homer Price (1943)
Blueberries for Sal (1948), a Caldecott runner-up
Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price (1951); also issued as More Homer Price
One Morning in Maine (1952), a Caldecott runner-up
Time of Wonder (1957), Caldecott Medal winner
Burt Dow, Deep-water Man (1963)
Here Come the Chucks for Halloween

As illustrator only:

Yankee Doodle’s Cousins (1941) written by Anne Malcolmson
Tree Toad: Adventures of the Kid Brother (1942) by Bob Davis, illus. McCloskey and Charles Dana Gibson
Young America’s English Book One (1942) by Helen Fern Daringer
The Man Who Lost His Head (1942) by Claire Huchet Bishop
Trigger John’s Son (1949) by Tom Robinson
Journey Cake, Ho (1953) by Ruth Sawyer, a Caldecott Honor Book
Junket: The Dog Who Liked Everything “Just So” (1955) by Anne H. White
Henry Reed, Inc. (1958), by Keith Robertson
Henry Reed’s Journey (1963), by Robertson
Henry Reed’s Babysitting Service (1966), by Robertson
Henry Reed’s Big Show (1970), by Robertson

Robert McCloskey Homeschool Lessons and Activities

Blueberry Sal lapbook from In the Hands of a Child

Lentil Curriculum Pack from Learning Days Curriculum

Make Way for Ducklings Curriculum Pack from Learning Days Curriculum

Beyond Five in a Row and Before Five in a Row both use McCloskey books

Topics we’ve covered in our Robert McCloskey unit studies include:

  • bears
  • ducks
  • Boston, MA (where Make Way for Ducklings is set)
  • Maine
  • blueberries
  • how doughnuts are made (featured in Homer Price)
  • fisherman and boats (Burt Dow, Deep-water Man)

There are so many ways to incorporate these great books in your unit studies and delight-directed learning opportunities!

Robert McCloskey books take me back to my childhood days when life was carefree and full of wonder. I love sharing those books with my daughters now. They’ve inspired new memories for me as we read them as part of our homeschool studies with Five in a Row and just for fun on rainy days when you just want to curl up with a good book. Two of our favorite Caldecott Honor books were written by Robert McCloskey: Time of Wonder and Make Way for Ducklings. If you haven’t invited Mr. McCloskey into your homeschool yet, I highly recommend it!


Sara Jordan

About the author

Sara Jordan believes that curiosity, creativity, character, and connection are the building blocks for a lifelong love of learning. She is a homeschooling mom of three daughters, author, speaker, and homeschool consultant who strives to create helpful resources and share encouragement at Heart and Soul Homeschooling.

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