50 Cities of the USA @QuartoKids #Kidlit: Exploring Tucson and A Giveaway

 50 Cities of the U.S.A.: Explore America’s Cities with 50 Fact-Filled Maps (The 50 States) by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sol Linero is a fun children’s book coming out in a few weeks. Let’s celebrate by exploring one of the featured cities, Tucson, and having a chance to win a copy of the book in a giveaway (see details at bottom of post).

This book gives information-packed tours of fifty prominent cities throughout the United States, including Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boise, Boston, Burlington, Charleston, Charlotte, Cheyenne, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Newport, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland MA, Portland OR, Rapid City, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, St. Louis, Tucson, Virginia Beach, and Washington, D.C.

Each city is presented in huge two-page spread (the book is an extra-large 11 inch x 13.4 inch format). Let’s take a look at Tucson as an example of how it works.

For each spread, the location of the city is given on a map in the upper right hand corner. Interesting historical information, places to see, and famous citizens of that city are scattered over the pages. If that wasn’t enough, the illustrator has included fun visual searches to some spreads, plus the author gives recommendations for children’s books set in each city.

Selected Fun Facts from 50 Cities about Tucson:

There’s a lot to see and do in Tucson. (Note:  The photographs are from my personal collection. The book does not contain photographs.)

• AGUA CALIENTE PARK Here, the cactus wren rests in the hole of a cactus, its nest protected by the prickly spines of a cholla or leaves of a yucca.


• DAVIS MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE  More than 5,000 B-52s, helicopters, and other aircraft are stored at The World’s Largest Boneyard (aka airport graveyard). (Our family also likes to visit the Pima Air and Space Museum, shown in the photograph above.)

• THE DESERT MUSEUM  cares for 230 native species, like the venomous gila monster, whose skull is covered in tiny smooth bumps. (These javelinas are some of the featured native animals found there.)

• THE EL CHARRO CAFE The chimichanga was invented here—by accident! Ingredients include rice, cheese, and machaca (dried meat), and avocado.

• THE SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK  This tree-like cactus grows additional arms as they age, sometime growing more than 25.

• THE TUCSON MUSEUM OF ART Make your own Day of the Dead-inspired art pieces at the annual Día de los Muertos celebration, which remembers relatives who have passed away.

• THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA  A collection of elegant mathematical models once used to teach concepts now live on as art. (The University of Arizona also hosts the Tucson Book Festival in March. It a fabulous place to introduce children to books.)

• TUCSON INTERNATIONAL MARIACHIS CONFERENCE In 2010, 555 mariachis broke a guinness world record when they played in honor of mariachi legend Nati Cano.

• VALLEY OF THE MOON  A former postal clerk created this landscape of winding paths, stone towers, and hidden grottoes to spark the imagination.

We also enjoy the Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tohono Chul Park, especially in early spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom.

As you can see from the examples, 50 Cities is a great book to have on hand if you’re planning a trip, moving to a new place, or studying the geography and history of the United States. It’s the kind of reference book kids will return to again and again.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions (September 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1847808700
ISBN-13: 978-1847808707

Giveaway

Would you like a chance to receive a copy of 50 Cities? Simply login the Rafflecopter below — making sure you leave a valid e-mail address — by 12:00 a.m. EST August 24, 2017. Rafflecopter will randomly pick the winner and I will notify @QuartoKids (they have kindly agreed to ship the prize.) Their only request is that the giveaway is open only to US residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any difficulty with the Rafflecopter form, please let me know in the comments

Want to find more children’s books with strong settings? Try our Reading Through The States website.

Disclosure: This book was supplied 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 no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

nonfictionmonday

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

Hopping into Summer with The Hidden Life of a Toad

Let’s take a look at the new picture book The Hidden Life of a Toad by biologist and photographer Doug Wechsler.

Many books feature what we commonly call frogs, but hardly any concentrate on their less colorful, bumpy cousins the toads. The Hidden Life of a Toad brings some well-deserved attention to these fascinating creatures.

In addition to filling a neglected niche, the book has a great deal more going for it. First of all, Wechsler went to great lengths to capture high quality images of every step in the toad life cycle, and his photographs are stellar. He waded into water, spent nights in the woods, and brought toad eggs home to watch in a tank. You can read about what he did to take the photos in the back matter.

Next, as a biologist, his facts are impeccable. Back matter is filled with supplemental information, including a glossary, toad facts, and suggestions for helping toads. It is sure to inspire future toad biologists to want to learn more.

Finally, what is even better is that he has studied children’s literature and his writing is spot on, too. It is full of lively verbs:

One embryo wiggles.
It wriggles.
It jiggles about.

The Hidden Life of a Toad delivers all you can ask for in nonfiction and more. Share it with a young reader today.

Related:
See Growing with Science blog for related activity suggestions.

Visit our growing list of children’s books about frogs and toads.

Similar review previously published on Nonfiction Monday blog.

Disclosure: This book was supplied by my 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.

Reaching New Heights in #Kidlit If You Were the Moon by @LauraPSalas

Laura Purdie Salas has long been one of our favorite authors (see previous reviews for Water Can Be… and A Leaf Can Be…) In her newest, If You Were the Moon* illustrated by Jaime Kim, Salas reaches new heights.

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Combining spare, imaginative text with denser scientific explanations, this book has potential for a multitude of uses. It can be a lovely bedtime book, the basis for a language arts lesson, or a great accompaniment to a lesson on the solar system.

Salas must inspire her illustrators to greatness, because Jaime Kim’s art positively shines.

If You Were the Moon is a must have for budding astronomers and poets everywhere.

See for yourself in this book trailer:

Related Activities:

1. Visit Laurie Purdie Salas’s website for downloadable teaching guides (long and short versions) and other goodies.

2. In the longer teaching guide, the author reveals that If You Were the Moon began as a list poem. Some of the earliest list poems were by Sei Shonogan, a Japanese writer/poet who lived around the year 1000. Here’s an example from The Pillow Book:

Things that Pass by Rapidly

A boat with its sail up.
People’s age.
Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
~ Sei Shonogan

My own example (see more here):

Things my cat George likes:
Rubbing faces when he gets up in the morning
A dropped Cheerio
The top of the cat-scratching post
Chasing ping-pong balls down the stairs
Things I like:
My cat George

Encourage children to try writing a list poem.

3. See our growing list of poetry books about space at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 146778009X
ISBN-13: 978-1467780094

Time to Celebrate #PoemInYourPocketDay

What poem is your pocket today?

Mine is

Allowables

by Nikki Giovanni

I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don’t think
I’m allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened