For the summer of 2023, Riverside School has chosen Caldecott Medal Winner and New York Times Bestseller "Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear" (a picture book for K-2nd grade readers) and the accompanying "Winnie's Great War" (a chapter book for 3rd-5th grade readers). Both books were written by Lindsay Mattick, the great granddaughter of Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I who rescued a baby bear that he named Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg. They tell the story of the journey - true to life in the case of "Finding Winnie" and artfully imagined in the case of "Winnie's Great War" - undertaken by the extraordinary bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, and touch on themes of bravery and the indelible power of friendship.  



What is the “Riverside Summer Book Read”?
The Riverside Summer Read is a shared reading experience for all the students and families at Riverside. It not only encourages students to read over the summer but also becomes a reference point for conversations between parents, children, teachers, librarians, neighbors, and friends.
See how many times you end up discussing the books with your friends and family!


For Early Readers (K, 1st & 2nd Grades)
Hardcover Picture Book


Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear



For Middle Grades (2nd, 3rd & 4th)
Paper Back Chapter Book



Winnie's Great War

by Lindsay Mattick




Support Local and buy at Athena Books!
We have partnered with Athena Books in Old Greenwich. Books can be purchased at a 10% discount when you mention “Riverside Summer Read” at Athena Books, 228 Sound Beach Avenue. Free books, e-books, and audiobooks are available from Greenwich Library Online.

Summer Activity Suggestions


Grades K, 1, and 2:

  • Create Bravery Badges: Engage with the theme of bravery by helping your child create their own “Bravery Badges.” They can draw a picture of a time they were brave, write a sentence about it, and decorate the badge with stickers or glitter. 

  • Make an IllustrationFinding Winnie has beautiful illustrations. Encourage your child to pick their favorite illustration and draw their own version of it or create a new scene they think might fit into the story.

  • Animal Care: Work with your child to research bears and another animal of their choice and what it takes to care for them. Make a chart to compare and contrast the two animals' habitats, diets, etc.

Grades 3, 4, and 5:

  • Keep a Bravery Journal: This summer, encourage your child to draw inspiration from Winnie’s brave feats by keeping their own Bravery Journal, writing down instances of their own bravery or courage. This could include instances when they tried new things, faced their fears, or helped others.

  • Map It Out: Trace Winnie’s journey from Canada to England, researching each stop, and finding interesting historical and geographical facts. This can be extended to a larger discussion about World War I and the countries involved.

  • Write a Poem: Winnie-the-Pooh loved poetry. Encourage your child to write a poem about Winnie, one of the other characters from the book, or the themes of courage and friendship.




Who can we contact if we have any questions about which book to read or anything else?
Feel free to email Jennifer Bird and Ann Stedman at


How does Riverside use these books in the fall?
This varies every year.  One year, the Summer Read was “Peter Pan,” coordinating with the 4th/5th grade play. It was also the theme of the yearbook.  Another year, we read "James and the Giant Peach” and the 3rd graders used the theme for their September programming, Play-in-A-Day. During all of the years, some of the teachers read parts of the stories during dismissal and use the texts in other ways.  This all depends on how it might work into their curriculum. 
Who organizes the Summer Read?
The Summer Read is organized by the PTA, as well as two fabulous Riverside teachers, Media Center Specialist Fionnuala Browning and 3rd grade teacher and published author Stacy Mozer.


Upcoming Dates

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    2023-2024 District Calendar

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