#Nonfiction Monday We Are Grateful

Let’s explore some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

We are featuring a perfect book to read this week, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Frané Lessac.

Members of the Cherokee Nation say the word otsaliheliga to express gratitude. They use it as a reminder not just for one celebration or day, but throughout the year. Starting in autumn and moving through winter, spring and summer, Traci Sorell describes the weather/environment for each season, reveals celebrations that occur during that time of year, and describes special activities and foods that bind families together.

The back matter is a must read. It gives a deeper explanation of some of the terms used, explains the author’s source materials –and how other books have got things wrong — and tells the story of a man named Sequoyah developed the Cherokee written language in the early 1800s.

Frané Lessac’s gouache illustrations contain small details that are likely to lead to further discussion and investigation.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga is a wonderful book that is hard to describe. It has things to offer that readers might not even know they want or need. Pick up a copy and you will be glad you did.

The book trailer helps with pronunciations.

Activity Suggestions:

Visit Traci Sorrell’s website (at bottom of book page) or Charlesbridge (downloadables tab) for a teacher’s guide and coloring sheets to accompany the book.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (September 4, 2018)
ISBN-10: 158089772X
ISBN-13: 978-1580897723

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Animal Families

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

‘Tis the season for family gatherings, so what better time to sit down with a child and read a book or two about animal families.

For the first book, Fur, Feather, Fin―All of Us Are Kin by Diane Lang and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis animal “families” are what are mostly defined as “classes” in the traditional scientific way:  mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Arthropods are also included, which are a phylum. It  is a basic introduction to animal classification.

  The rhyming text is likely to engage the younger readers in the targeted age range.

“All animals on Earth are kin,
while not the same outside or in.
Some we stroke with loving hand;
some we don’t yet understand.”

A few scientific vocabulary words (metamorphosis, oxygen, detritivore) are included.

The illustrations by Stephanie Laberis are just the right amount of vibrant and fun. They are filled with color, action, and excitement, as you can see from the swirling animals on the cover.

To compensate for all the many, many families of animals that are not discussed — understandable because of space constraints — towards the end Lang discusses two catchall ecosystems:  underwater and detritivores. Personally, I’m not sure how well that works because those are ecological rather than classification groupings. Fish live underwater, which makes two underwater “families” Plus, many detritivores are arthropods, another “family.” The overlap creates confusion.

The back matter explains further, plus gives concrete ways the readers can help animals.

Fur, Feather, Fin―All of Us Are Kin will delight budding scientists and animal lovers. It might also make a good “entrance book” to entice less-interested readers to want to find out more. Try out a copy today!

Activity Suggestion:

Hands-on classification activities at Growing With Science blog

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (May 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1481447092
ISBN-13: 978-1481447096

The families in Meet My Family!: Animal Babies and Their Families by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman reflect all the different groupings of parents and offspring found in nature.

In some animal families, both the mother and the father take care of the youngsters. In others, like sea turtles, the babies never meet their parents. Some offspring look like miniature versions of their parents, and some don’t resemble each other at all. Discover all the unique ways families are made up.

Throughout the text, Laura Purdie Salas injects words for mother and father in different languages, so it sounds as if the animals are speaking. If you are going to read this book aloud, I strongly recommend heading to the back matter and practicing the pronunciations in the glossary. While you are in the back matter, check out the awesome section on where these animals live.

Meet My Family!: Animal Babies and Their Families is not only a discussion of diversity in families that is likely to sooth youngsters who might be feeling their family is too “different,” but also a great introduction to a variety of cool animals.

Previously reviewed at the older Stem Friday site by both Sue Heavenrich and Anastasia Suen.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Lexile Measure: 550 (What’s this?)
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (March 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 151242532X
ISBN-13: 978-1512425321

 

Disclosure: These books were provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

#Nonfiction Monday: An Artist and An Architect

Let’s explore some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

So many wonderful biographies were nominated this year. Because we only have a limited time to talk about them, I’m going to pair books about two women who have produced public art that has changed lives.

In alphabetical order by the subject’s last name, first we have the picture book Ruth Asawa:  A Sculpting Life by Joan Schoettler and illustrated by Tracie Van Wagoner.

Ruth Asawa’s story could have been made into at least two books. She started out life as Aiko Asawa from Southern California. She was given the Americanized first name Ruth when she went to school. A short time later World War II started, and she and her family were taken to one of the Japanese internment camps. While inside, Ruth studied art and spent her free time creating. If the author had chosen, this could have been an entire story of its own.

But there was more to Ruth. Once she was released, she used her experiences to create astonishing looped-wire sculptures and later on, public fountains. She became a renowned sculptor.

You can see some of her amazing sculptures in this video.

The tone of both the text and the illustrations are appropriately more subdued than some of the other biographies on the nomination list (for example, last week’s post). The brightest illustrations are the first spread, when Ruth was Aiko on the farm where she grew up and the last spread showing the beautiful Garden of Remembrance Ruth designed to honor the Japanese-Americans who were interred during the war.

Black and white photographs of Asana and her work are included in the back matter.

Ruth Asawa:  A Sculpting Life will captivate readers interested in history and those who enjoy art. It is a perfect choice for women’s history month, too. Pick up a copy and be inspired today.

Activity Suggestion:

Fold an origami butterfly (Instructions — and links to more patterns– in this previous post)

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. (August 30, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781455623976
ISBN-13: 978-1455623976
ASIN: 1455623970

Moving on in time, we have the middle grade title Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands by Susan Goldman Rubin.

Not everyone knows, but the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D. C. was designed by a young student of Chinese descent. The architect Maya Lin has gone on to shape many more breathtaking buildings and outdoor spaces.

Abundant color photographs reveal Lin’s story and her projects, like a gorgeous two-page spread of the Storm King Wavefield covered with snow (see). The images give the book a vibrant, modern feel. They also make you want to go visit all the places she’s created.

Of note: Susan Goldman Rubin shows Maya Lin’s talent didn’t arise from thin air.

“…her aunt had been an architect and architectural historian in Beijing. She had come to the United States to study architecture, but she was not admitted because she was a woman. However, within a year she wound up on the faculty.”

Do you know a budding architect or artist? Get Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands into their hands right now!

Activity Suggestion:

Check out an informational video about Maya Lin and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Khan Academy (especially appropriate since today is Veterans Day).

Publisher: Chronicle Books (November 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1452108374
ISBN-13: 978-1452108377

Disclosure: The books were provided by our local libraries. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

STEM Friday #Kidlit The Big Book of the Blue Rises to the Top

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

 

 

Reviewing the new picture book The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer is a joy.

First thing you notice is the beautiful blue color and the oversized dimensions, perfect for a book about the huge, expansive ocean. Then you pop it open and you see the playful, lively illustrations. You can imagine the fish swimming and the jellyfish bobbing. Delightful!

That isn’t all there is to discover. In the front matter is a challenge to find a sardine tucked into the illustrations throughout the book (the answers are in the back). Delving deeper, you find general discussions of different creatures found in the ocean before discovering two page spreads about specific ones from sea turtles to dolphins. Each one makes full use of the extra space and some are oriented landscape versus portrait. They are gorgeous! And packed with great information!

The back matter includes “Did you find?” the answers to the sardine challenge, “Fishy Phrases” about scientific vocabulary, and a whale-sized index. But don’t expect to arrive at the back matter quickly. Once you start swimming into the book, you will want to immerse yourself.

The Big Book of the Blue is the type of book that begs to be shared. Grab a copy, find a quiet corner, and spend time with it. Children will love it.

Related

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (June 5, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0500651191
ISBN-13: 978-0500651193

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.