Sea Turtle Scientist Shines

Today we have a book that is part of the outstanding Scientists in the Field Series.  Sea Turtle Scientist by Stephen R. Swinburne follows Dr. Kimberly Stewart in her efforts to investigate and conserve sea turtles on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts. But be warned, reading this book will make you want to jump on a plane and become a sea turtle scientist, too.

Sea turtles have been around for a long time, but are now facing a myriad of problems that are causing their numbers to decline. In fact, as is mentioned right at the outset of the book, in most places only one in a thousand sea turtle eggs makes it to adulthood. Those are not good odds. Dr. Kimberly Stewart wants to change the odds through her research and education outreach efforts.

Although sea turtles are vulnerable to a number of threats, human-caused deaths are taking a steep toll. For example, local fisherman on St. Kitts have been known to kill sea turtles, even though there are rules against it. Dr. Stewart met with poaching fisherman, not to chastise them, but to use the deaths as an opportunity to collect important data. Over time she has been able to create a trusting relationship with the poachers. Using this trust and mutual respect, she has suggested alternative sources of income such as creating and selling beach glass art, and tourism. She has also educated the poachers about the importance of conservation. In fact, Chapter 3 tells the story of a local fisherman, Theophilus Taylor, who used to poach sea turtles. Now Mr. Taylor volunteers with the sea turtle conservation efforts and no longer harvests them. You can see him in this video trailer for the book, demonstrating how hatchlings move across the sand:

 

Part of the excellent Scientists in the Field seriesSea Turtle Scientist also stands out on its own. The story is particularly compelling and well written. As with others of the series, it reveals what it is like to work as a scientist, trudging through sand in the middle of the night or taking samples from poached sea turtles. I appreciated that the photos and text were more balanced by talking about and showing both the scientist and locals impacted by the conservation effort.

Sea Turtle Scientist would be a useful title to include in units on oceans, animals, reptiles, and conservation. It is sure to inspire budding scientists and veterinarians, as well.

Now, about that flight to the Caribbean…

Want to explore more? See our sea turtle science post at Growing With Science blog.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (January 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0547367554
ISBN-13: 978-0547367552

Disclosures: 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 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.

 

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Anni Moon and The Elemental Artifact: An Elemental Fantasy Adventure

Today we are excited to be participating in a blog tour for a new middle grade book, Anni Moon and The Elemental Artifact: An Elemental Fantasy Adventure (The Anni Moon Series) (Volume 1) by Melanie Abed and illustrated by Hisham Abed.

 

Anni Moon

Anni is an orphan who is going through some difficult times. Her guardians have mysteriously disappeared, and are presumed dead. Even worse, the school where she has been living, Waterstone Academy for Girls, is being sold and she might have to move. When her best friend and fellow orphan Lexi also disappears, Anni knows she has to do everything she can to save her.

While writing the first book in what is destined to become a fantasy series, the author must devote some time developing the parameters of her new world while still moving the plot forward. Abed does this deftly through Anni’s adventures. At first the reader is as confused and naive as Anni, but as Anni barrels forward, more and more is revealed.

There are “elements” in the last few chapters that some readers might find disappointing. Without giving away the ending, Anni performs an important task, but then credit is given, out of necessity, to another person. This is a wonderful opportunity for a reading group or class to discuss how it might feel to have someone else receive credit for work you did or an idea you had. What does this say about Anni’s character? It could also be a jumping off point for a discussion of plagiarism.

Anni Moon and The Elemental Artifact is a fast-paced adventure, a mystery, and a fantasy world all rolled into one. Be sure to visit Melanie Abed’s website for an opportunity to download the first 6 chapters for free, and to see more information about the characters and their world.

Series: The Anni Moon Series
Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: Oculus Print (September 27, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0990706214
ISBN-13: 978-0990706212

AnniMoonVBT

 

Disclosures:  This book was supplied electronically 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.

 

 

 

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Ninja Mouse: Haiku

Quietly, stealthily Ninja Mouse: Haiku, written and illustrated by J. C. Thomas, creeps into your heart.

It isn’t easy to know what to expect when you see the cover of this book. The fierce mouse in the ninja garb and the comic book/graphic novel illustrations might lead the potential reader to believe this will be an action-packed story full of conflict and violence. Instead it is an almost silent journey of discovery, beautifully delivered entirely in haiku.

The illustrations in this book are inspiring. There’s something about dignity of the mouse, set against nature scenes, the dark versus light, and the splashes of color that are mesmerizing. Each two-page spread consists of the left-hand page divided into thirds, with the haiku text spread throughout. The right-hand page is a full scene with the Japanese text down the right side.

The book trailer gives a taste.

Author J.C. Thomas has a degree in International Relations and East Asia studies and he is currently an elementary school teacher. He is also a sixth-degree black belt in Taekwondo. This combination assures that the book is authentic, detailed, and useful for the classroom. There is a note about haiku in the back that explains how it differs in Japanese.

Ninja Mouse:  Haiku would be perfect for poetry month and to accompany a unit on haiku, especially for reluctant readers who might be drawn in by ninjas and comics. It would also be a wonderful accompaniment for a unit on Japan and East Asia studies.

Suggested related activity:

This book is so inspiring, it begs to be accompanied by an activity for children to create haiku and then illustrate it. For example, Scholastic has a haiku lesson plan. The Exploring Nature Educational Resource has a number of drawing lessons, like this one for a grasshopper.  Please feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments, if you choose.

Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: SuperUltraGo! Press (October 16, 2014)
Language: English and Japanese
ISBN-10: 099132403X
ISBN-13: 978-0991324033

Disclosures:  This book was supplied by the author 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.

 

Posted in Books for Exploring World Languages, Japanese, Multicultural Books, Poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hands-On Science Finalist: The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature

A few weeks ago the AAAS/SubaruSB&F announced their 2015 finalists for the Prize for Excellence in Science Books and it is a wonderful list. For example, in the Hands-on Science Book category, one of the finalists is The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature (BBG Guides for a Greener Planet) by no less than a team of educators from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and illustrated by László Veres.

What an exciting book for young nature lovers and scientists alike! It has fabulous photographs and illustrations to help identify common plants, animals, and fungi, as well as activities, descriptions of common careers held by naturalists, and explorations of different habitats.

The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature is organized by season, with activities, career summaries and habitat information for each (you can see a table of contents here.) This organization allows readers to skim and skip to sections that interest them most.

In addition, László Veres’ digital illustrations are just amazing. You could spend hours delving into them and still find more the next time you look. They would be perfect seek-and-find pages for younger children.

Is there any down side? I have to admit that growing up in western New York, I recognized many of the wildflowers, wildlife and weeds that were described, for example:

plaintain-plant-44broadleaf plantain…

pokeweed-fruit-11and pokeweed.

However, I do have to say many of the plants and animals featured are not found throughout North America. After having moved to Arizona, it has become evident that many nature books for kids are incredibly East Coast-centric. Because this book was written by the staff of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, that is understandable since they write about what they know. Fortunately most of the activities, such as keeping a nature journal or creating a boat from natural materials, can be done anywhere. If you live on the West Coast, just be prepared to substitute information about local species from local field guides in some sections.

The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature is a wonderful book that is likely to inspire budding naturalists and scientists to learn more about their world and to observe closely. It is also an incredible resource for nature educators.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: Brooklyn Botanic Garden (August 5, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1889538884
ISBN-13: 978-1889538884

Disclosure: Book provided by my local library. 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.

nonfictionmonday

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

 

Posted in Middle Grade Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Nonfiction Monday Review, Science | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Conflict Resolution and The Olive Tree

In the new picture book, The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston and illustrated by Claire Ewart, the main characters are having trouble sharing the fruit of an olive tree. Will they learn to resolve their differences?

Sameer had long enjoyed climbing in the old olive tree and gathering the fruit, although the tree technically was in the neighbors’ yard. The house next door has been empty for a long time, but now the neighbors are moving back in.  Although he would like to get to know their daughter, who is named Muna, she does not greet him. In fact, when Sameer starts to gather the olives that have fallen in his yard, as he has done so many times before, Muna gets angry and tells him to stop because the tree belongs to her family.

Set in Lebanon against the backdrop of a recent war, the story helps guide children through the process of resolving their conflicts. After Sameer and Muna’s initial differences about who should own what drive them apart, the two children learn their shared experiences may be more important and extensive than they first thought.

Elsa Marston studied Middle Eastern history and has traveled extensively in the Middle East. This background allows her to realistically capture subtle details of setting that others with less experience might overlook, such as the fact Sameer’s mother processes the olives in jars with salt and lemon. At the same time, Claire Ewart’s vibrant watercolors are awash with bright sunlight, giving the feeling of actually being in the Middle East, which you can see in this trailer for the book:

Being able to find common ground and to forgive someone for past disagreements are important skills for children to learn. The Olive Tree is a gentle, delightful book that helps bring this message to light and might bring some understanding of how arguments can arise, as well as how to begin to mend relationships. It would also be useful for children who are learning about the Middle East.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Wisdom Tales (November 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937786293
ISBN-13: 978-1937786298

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Disclosures:  This 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.

 

 

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