Practical #Kidlit: Let’s Hatch Chicks

Just in time for spring, meet Violet the Lavender Orpington hen and learn all about the life cycle of chickens in Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore the Wonderful World of Chickens and Eggs by Lisa Steele and illustrated by Perry Taylor.

 

When my son was in fourth grade, his teacher incubated eggs in the classroom. One weekend it was our turn to bring the incubator home and take care of the eggs. My son was thrilled and followed the instructions he had been given closely. He was even more excited when a few days later, the chicks that he had helped take care of began to hatch. Learning how the care for another creature was a valuable experience.

The new picture book, Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore the Wonderful World of Chickens, would be a great resource to accompany an egg incubation project. It gives context (that the eggs come from a hen), gives detailed information about what is happening inside the egg as it develops, and discusses how to care for the chicks once they hatch. Important vocabulary words are bold in the text, plus there’s an extensive glossary in the back matter.

Lisa Steele is an expert on keeping chickens and her knowledge shines through (see her website/blog: Fresh Eggs Daily). Even though I grew up on a farm where we had free range chickens, I learned a few things from reading the book. I didn’t know that some breeds of chickens have five toes on each foot, rather than the standard four. I also didn’t know the behavior of clucking to call chicks to food was called “tidbitting.” It is a sound that reminds me of my childhood.

The book has a nice look and feel. Perry Taylor’s illustrations are fabulous.  His chickens are so expressive, and the lavender/gray, and yellow and green color palette set the tone for spring.

Overall, Let’s Hatch Chicks! is exactly what educators look for in quality nonfiction picture books. A perfect choice not only for children who are experiencing chicken raising first hand, but also for those who might be curious about it and have not had the opportunity. Delightful!

See the author talk about the book and meet a chick in this video:

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Young Voyageur; 1 edition (Imprint of Quarto Group)(January 9, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0760357854
ISBN-13: 978-0760357859

Disclosures: This book was provided 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.

Escargot by Dashka Slater

We’ve had a few children’s books featuring French over the years, so of course we were delighted by Escargot by Daska Slater and illustrated by Sydney Hanson. It has a sprinkling of French phrases and a charming French feel.

Escargot is a treat because the main character, a snail named Escargot, speaks directly to the reader. He explains he has two goals:  To be the reader’s favorite animal and to go visit the salad at the back of the book. Neither work out quite as he expects.

You can find out all about what happens in this reading by Sophia:

Escargot is absolutely adorable and the message of trying new things is a laudable one. Check out a copy today. C’est magnifique!

Check out a bit more information about snails at Growing with Science blog.

Midnight Teacher #kidlit for Women’s History Month

For Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at the fantastic new historical fiction picture book, Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by London Ladd.

What do you do if you find hints that there’s a fascinating person in history, but you can only find a few tantalizing mentions of her existence? What if the person’s name changed in the records, making it nearly impossible to get more information? If you are Janet Halfmann, you don’t give up.

Janet Halfmann followed the thread through history by tracing ancestral records. Once she contacted Lilly Ann Granderson’s descendants, she was able to pull together more of the story. This book is the result of persistent sleuthing and it paid off. Although this had to be a work of historical fiction because of the scarcity of details, Janet Halfmann built it on a solid foundation of historical fact.

Why did Halfmann want to tell this story so much? As an enslaved woman growing up in the 1820s and 1830s, Lilly Ann Granderson wasn’t allowed to learn read. Regardless, when her master’s children played school she joined in and used an old speller to teach herself. Later, she shared her learning with many other slaves. She held school at midnight so the owners wouldn’t find out, at the threat of a painful punishment if she were caught. She knew the ability to read was important enough to risk the consequences and she was dedicated to learning. She stood up and made a difference in the lives of those around her, and those who came after.

Adding tension to the story, London Ladd’s acrylic illustrations give just the right touch of drama. Check out his artistic process, starting from rough sketches. He even acts out the scenes and takes photographs of himself to help capture the mood.

Midnight Teacher would be perfect for Women’s History Month, but it also would be great for reluctant readers who might just be inspired to try harder by Lilly Ann Granderson’s dedication to education. Pick up a copy to share today!

Related:

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Illustrated edition (February 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1620141639
ISBN-13: 978-1620141632

Disclosures: This book was provided electronically 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.

Rocket Shoes: #Kidlit Picture Book with STEAM Potential and More

Today we’re featuring a fantastic new picture book, Rocket Shoes by Sharon Skinner and illustrated by Ward Jenkins.

 

José works hard to buy a pair of special rocket shoes. They are a blast to wear. His neighbor thinks they are too dangerous, however, and talks the mayor into banning them. When the same neighbor gets into trouble during a snow storm, will José break the rules and put on his shoes to save the day?

Author Sharon Skinner is serious about promoting children’s literature. In addition to being the awesome Regional Advisor for our local SCBWI AZ, she also teaches writers through the Writer in Residence programs at local libraries. When she’s not helping adult writers, she’s doing story times for kids. With a GPC, a BA in English, an MA in Creative Writing and a Poetic License, she knows her stuff.

That’s why it’s not surprising that this book has it all. It features diverse characters, the text is full of action verbs and catchy rhymes, it has just the right touch of humor, readers learn about conflict resolution in a lighthearted way (not at all pedantic), plus there’s plenty of potential to tie-in STEAM activities. What more could you ask for?

Rocket Shoes is such a fun book that it will fly off the bookshelf. Share a copy with a young reader today!

Suggested STEAM Activities:

At a recent library program, Sharon showed the kids how to make air-powered rockets using drinking straws.

Buggy and Buddy has instructions. It requires a disposable pipette bulb and a drinking straw, tape, scissors, and paper.

  • NASA has a an extensive list of rocket-related lessons sorted by age. See the K-5 list.
  • The Jet Propulsion Laboratory also has lesson suggestions, including a K-2 lesson on measurement called “Rockets by Size.”
  • Another version of a “Soda-Straw Rocket” that doesn’t require a pipette bulb

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (October 3, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1454921528
ISBN-13: 978-1454921523

Disclosures:  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.