Latino/a Kid Lit Challenge: Iguanas in the Snow/Iguanas en la nieve

For the April 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge,

2014-reading-challenge

and to honor National Poetry Month, we have the Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series by poet Francisco X. Alarcón and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez.

Starting the year is the Pura Belpre Honor Award book Laughing Tomatoes: And Other Spring Poems / Jitomates Risuenos: Y Otros Poemas de Primavera. As with the other books in the series, poems in the book have both an English version and a Spanish version. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been to get the ideas and sounds/rhythm down pat in two languages? In the downloadable Teacher’s Guide (link at bottom) at Lee & Low books, Alarcón explains that some of the poems came first in Spanish, some in English and some he wrote in both languages at the same time.

Next, in From the Bellybutton of the Moon: And Other Summer Poems / Del Ombligo de la Luna: Y Otros Poemas de Verano Alarcón takes a slightly different track than the first book by revisiting a trip to Mexico that occurred during his childhood.

The third in the series, Angels Ride Bikes: And Other Fall Poems / Los Angeles Andan en Bicicleta: Y Otros Poemas de Otoño (The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series), explores the city of Los Angeles and activities families do there.

Winding up the year is Iguanas in the Snow/Iguanas en la nieve: And Other Winter Poems/Y otros poemas de invierno. In this book Alarcón moves to northern California. The Spanish poems are generally presented first except for the title poem, “Iguanas in the Snow.” In this intriguing poem, children experience snow for the first time. Their mother laughs, saying that their green cold-weather clothing makes them look like iguanas.

The books in this series would be useful for poetry units, as well as for learning languages.

Related:

The downloadable Teacher’s Guide (link at bottom)

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: 1 and up
Series: The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books Inc; First Trade Paper Edition edition (March 10, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0892392029
ISBN-13: 978-0892392025

Look for 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge books on the third Wednesday of each month.

Interested in multicultural children’s books? Follow the our pinterest board.

Disclosure: 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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

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Dixie Wants an Allergy

Today we’re on a blog tour for the new fiction picture book Dixie Wants an Allergy by Tori Corn, with fabulous illustrations by award-winning illustrator Nancy Cote.

Book Cover

Dixie listens to the stories of her friends with allergies and decides she would like an allergy, too. After all, her friends seem to get special treatment, like custom meals, and Hannah even gets to wear a “sparkly” bracelet. Will Dixie get her wish? Will it mean she gets extra attention, too?

Young readers are going to relate to a girl who wants what others have because they have likely done it themselves. It is an important lesson to learn that, more often than not, having shiny things and extra attention comes at a cost. At the same time readers are also subtly learning about what it is like to have an allergy, so important for learning empathy.

How did author Tori Corn come up with this unique perspective to help others learn more about allergies? She was gracious enough to stop by for an interview to let us know.

Tori, how did you come up with the idea for the book?

I came up with the idea of Dixie Wants an Allergy when my son developed a sensitivity to gluten and had to bring special food to nursery school.  I wanted to write a story to make him (and others who suffer from allergies) feel better about being different.

Your book really struck a chord with our family because my son is allergic to dairy products (he has an anaphylactic reaction like Charlie in the book). People often have difficulty understanding what that means.

Since there aren’t many picture books about this subject, I decided to write one. I think it’s a great way for teachers and parents to have a discussion about allergies.

I wish I had this book when my son was in elementary school. I particularly like how you made it humorous.

I think it’s important to find the humor in life’s toughest situations, which is why I wrote a funny story about a subject that can be serious and scary.

That is very true. How did you decide to tell the story from the point of view of a girl who apparently didn’t have allergies, rather than one who did?

I wanted the story to be appealing to kids who don’t suffer from allergies, so it’s also a story about watching what you wish for and that the grass isn’t always greener. In the end, I hope my book teaches children that they should think twice about what they want and be wary of wanting what other people have. Last but not least, I hope they get the message that our wishes may not always perfect, but they’re still worth wishing for.

Tori CornTori Corn

Thank you, Tori.

If you’d like to learn more about Tori and her books, be sure to visit her website,

Tour Badgeas well as the other stops on the blog tour.

 Dixie Wants an Allergy by Tori Corn and illustrated by Nancy Cote.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (April 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620879913
ISBN-13: 978-1620879917

Disclosures: The book was provided for review purposes electronically. 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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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World War I for Kids

Did you know that it is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I this year? Chicago Review Press is releasing World War I for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by R. Kent Rasmussen on April 1, 2014 to mark the event.

World-War-I-for-kids-ps

How and when did World War I start anyway? Author Rasmussen explains that trouble was brewing when the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on June 28, 1914 set off a chain of events that led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia a month later. As things spiraled out of control, Germany declared war on Russia, France and Belgium on August 1, 1914 and the “European War,” as it was called at the time, had begun.

While Rasmussen details how World War I is thought to have come about, he emphasizes, “Understanding history involves much more than memorizing facts and dates.” He concentrates on how World War I differed from earlier wars and how it changed the “political systems, economies, and cultures” of the countries involved.

Even though the For Kids in the title might sound light or informal, at 192 pages this is a serious, comprehensive work about war. Among the many period photographs and illustrations, it contains scenes of men and dogs in gas masks and in the trenches, but none showing injuries or dead bodies. The cover gives you a good idea of what kinds of illustrations to expect.

Some people might be concerned about presenting a weighty book about war to children, since it is recommended for ages nine and up. It probably would be more appropriate for older kids, but there will be those few younger ones who will devour it. Having an intense history buff for a son I can say with experience that if the tween or teen reader is interested in the topic, he or she will wade through adult nonfiction if that is all that is available. It is refreshing to have a book geared for older children that is so well written and thorough.

Books in the Chicago Review Press For Kids series stand out because they contain hands-on activities sprinkled throughout the text. These activities are so important for readers who are kinesthetic learners, but also for all kinds of learning styles. As anyone involved in the maker trend can tell you, hands-on activities encourage the participants to actively think about concepts, which makes them more memorable. Applying concepts also often generates questions and ideas that lead to further experimentation and research. For example, there are instructions on testing how camouflage works by hiding colored eggs that are camouflaged versus brightly-colored ones. The participants are asked to predict which will be harder to find and then actually test it. Extensions might involve varying the colors, the patterns or the materials to generate better camouflage, etc. Other activities included in the book are making a periscope, teaching a dog to carry messages, making a parachute, and cooking a common ration fed to the troops called Maconochie Stew.

World War I for Kids is a must-have for serious young history buffs, particularly those interested in war history. Mine loves it! Consider it as a resource for high school students studying world history, as it covers WWI with clarity and depth not commonly found in most textbooks. It also will work well for Women’s History Month and Black History Month because it emphasizes the contributions of women and African Americans during the war.

Related Activity:

poppy II

Red poppies have become a symbol of remembrance for war, particularly for WWI (info at BBC). It is said to have started because of a poem and from the fact scarlet corn poppies, Popaver rhoeas, tend to grow in the disturbed soils that result from wartime activities.

1. Research the poem “Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.

2. Obtain some red corn poppy seeds and grow them.

3. World War I for Kids has an activity to press flowers, inspired by actual letters containing pressed flowers sent home by Harry S. Truman (Harry S. Truman Library) How sweet is that?

4. Make a red poppy craft. If the video doesn’t load, try the website.

 
World War I for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by R. Kent Rasmussen

Age Range: 9 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Series: For Kids series
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (April 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613745567
ISBN-13: 978-1613745564

 
Disclosures: The book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. 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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Posted in Middle Grade Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Nonfiction Monday Review | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Girls Research: Amazing Tales of Female Scientists

It’s Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate than learning about groundbreaking women with Girls Research!: Amazing Tales of Female Scientists (Girls Rock!) (Girls Rock!) by Jennifer Phillips?

girls-research
Sometimes it may seem like there were only a few significant women scientists in the past because the same names keep popping up.  This book changes all that by giving brief overviews of the lives of 56 women scientists. That’s right, 56! Some are famous, some are lost in the annals of history, but all made important contributions to the field of science and medicine.

Especially useful is the timeline that records the decade in which the women performed their most historical research. The timeline runs from Maria Mitchell in the 1840s to Elena Aprile in the 2010s. Haven’t heard of Aprile? She’s an astrophysicist who is looking for evidence of dark matter in an underground laboratory in Italy.

Girls Research! is the perfect jumping off place to start a research project into women’s history. When children come to you with instructions that their report that must be from a book that is at least 100 pages long, hand them this 64 page book and let them figure out which stories make them want to learn more.

Perhaps the story to inspire them might be that of Barbara McClintock, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her discovery of jumping genes.

Barbara-McClintock-2(Photograph: Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) Acc. 90-105 – Science Service, Records, 1920s-1970s, Smithsonian Institution Archives)

Girls Research!: Amazing Tales of Female Scientists (Girls Rock!) (Girls Rock!) by Jennifer Phillips.

Age Range: 9 – 13 years
Grade Level: 4 – 5
Lexile Measure: 900L (What’s this?)
Series: Girls Rock!
Library Binding: 64 pages
Publisher: Savvy (January 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 147654056X
ISBN-13: 978-1476540566

Looking for more books about women scientists?

Try our list of 21 Children’s Books about Women Scientists at Science Books for Kids.

21-books-about-women-scientists

Disclosures: This book were provided by the publisher for review purposes. 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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Posted in Nonfiction, Science, STEM Friday | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Water Can Be… a STEM Book

For STEM Friday we are introducing a new picture book Water Can Be . . . (Millbrook Picture Books) by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija, the same ultra-talented pair who brought us the wonderful A Leaf Can Be…

water-can-be

Opening the book, the reader will first notice Violeta Dabija’s sublime mixed-media illustrations, which are mesmerizing. Her illustrations in A Leaf Can Be… were fabulous and these are even better, if possible.

At the same time, the perfect rhyming text by Laura Purdie Salas appears, peaceful, gentle, just a few words on every page:

Water can be a…

Thirst quencher
Kid drencher
Cloud fluffer
Fire snuffer

After spending more time with the book, readers begin to discover the depth. They might notice how it is subtly organized by the passing of the seasons -  spring, summer, fall, winter – perhaps on the second reading. Then they might discover the back matter, which has “More About Water” with explanations for each rhyming phrase, also noticing the scientific vocabulary – words like “condense,” “water vapor,” and “upstream.” The book could be used to learn about weather, the importance of water to living things, and even life cycles. On the back they will find a dedication to WaterAid.org, an organization that helps bring water, sanitation and hygiene to areas that lack it (Salas has committed to donate 10% of her royalties of this book to WaterAid). It is soon obvious that this book has a lot of substance. This is not a “hit-them-with-facts” STEM book, but instead it is a gentle, “pull-them-in-and-let-them-find-out-the-science-for-themselves” title.

Ready for a preview? Check this trailer:


 
Isn’t the sound of the rain delightful?

Water Can Be . . . (Millbrook Picture Books) is a quiet little book with a huge message about the importance of water. Pick it up today to share and see where it takes you.

Looking for science activities to accompany the book? Growing with Science has some science experiment suggestions.

Links
•    Violeta Dabija’s Website
•    Laura Purdie Salas’ Blog
•    Laura Purdie Salas’ Website

Ages 5-8
Series: Millbrook Picture Books
Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1467705918
ISBN-13: 978-1467705912

Disclosures: These book were provided by the publisher for review purposes electronically via NetGalley. 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 not 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.

Posted in Nonfiction, STEM Friday | Tagged , , | 1 Comment