Two New #Kidlit Books About Chocolate

Chocolate is so popular. What better way to get children to delve into reading than offering books on a topic they love? Today we have a beginning reader and a young adult title, both of which will make you crave some chocolate. Better have some on hand before you read them!

The Sweet Story of Hot Chocolate! (History of Fun Stuff) by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Rob McClurkan helps beginning readers become History of Fun Stuff experts on chocolate.

Written with a breezy conversational style so appropriate for a fun topic like this, the book follows the history of chocolate from the Olmec people of Central America to how it is consumed around the world today. You will recognize many of the famous people named, including Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as well as industry names such as Hershey and Cadbury. Did you know cacao beans were once so valuable that they were used as money? Fascinating!

The back matter is includes a significant amount of information on the rainforests where cacao trees grow, other foods that came from the New World, and other unusual items used as money. The final page is a quiz to help reinforce learning.

Although it is a Level 3 Ready-to-Read, the text is interesting enough and complex enough that it would be appropriate for older reluctant and struggling readers, too. In fact, adults looking for a quick summary of the history of chocolate are likely to find it useful. Highly recommended!

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Simon Spotlight (October 28, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1481420526
ISBN-13: 978-1481420525

Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treatby Kay Frydenborg covers much of the same history as the beginning reader above, but also packs in science plus a serious look at environmental issues and the cultural impacts of chocolate.

I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to start by pointing out that a number of reviewers found this book had too much science in it. It is understandable that when someone picks up a book about chocolate, they might want something as light and sweet as the treat. Having just spent time teaching high school chemistry, however, I think there are definitely young adults out there who will appreciate reading about the chemistry of chocolate and will understand the difference between theobromine and anandamide. In the same vein, readers interested in biology will find sections on plant breeding and genetics intriguing. Those who skip or skim those parts will still find plenty to engage them, from the history of Hershey to the recipes for chocolate desserts sprinkled throughout.

Most of the book is illustrated with small black-and-white photographs, although there is cluster of pages of color photos inset into the center. The back matter includes a timeline and bibliography, as well as website resources and an index.

Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat may not be light and frothy, but it is an in-depth look at a popular food for the serious reader.

Grades 6-8
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 7, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0544175662
ISBN-13: 978-0544175662

Disclosure: Both of these books were from the 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.

Two Children's Books about Chocolate

nonfictionmonday

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

New #Kidlit Picture Book Simply Mesmerizing

Have you ever come across an outstanding picture book that just screams, “Award winner”? Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rocklif and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno is one of those books.

Mesmerized has everything going for it:  history, a mystery, science, art, language, and the remarkable Benjamin Franklin. It has complexity like the layered torte that is described in the book. Let’s look at each in turn.

History:  The book is set in the time of the American Revolution. Ben Franklin has gone to France to ask King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette for support for the war.

A mystery:  While in France, King Louis XVI asks Franklin to look into the mystifying Dr. Mesmer who supposedly can wave a wand and cure people using “animal magnetism.” Can it be true?

Science:  Ben Franklin (with a team of renowned scientists) use the scientific method to test the claims.

Art:  Iacopo Bruno’s illustrations perfectly capture the Rococo art that was popular in Paris, France at the time. The illustrations are also clever, with just the right amount of light humor.

Language: Besides learning the vocabulary of the scientific methods (observation, hypothesis, test, support, placebo effect), readers also learn the roots of the word mesmerized. Even better, common French words are also sprinkled about.

Ben Franklin:  The man had a simple appearance compared to the fancy French and Dr. Mesmer, but he also had many layers. He was a successful diplomat, prolific inventor and keen scientist, among other things.

The bottom line is that Mesmerized is an outstanding children’s book and every elementary educator is going to want to have a copy.

Further Resources:

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (March 10, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0763663514
ISBN-13: 978-0763663513

 

Disclosure: The book was from the 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.

nonfictionmonday

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

What I’m Reading for the 10th Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge

Are you ready for the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge, starting tomorrow?

48hbc_newI’ve pulled out four books so far, two young adult novels and two nonfiction titles. If I run through those, I have several dusty prospects waiting on the shelves. (Linked titles and images go to Amazon, where I am an affiliate.)

Strange Relations by Sonia Levitin

Age Range: 12 and up
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (June 12, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0375837515
ISBN-13: 978-0375837517

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (May 19, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006229010X
ISBN-13: 978-0062290106

 

Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treatby Kay Frydenborg

Doesn’t this look absolutely yummy?

Grades 6-8
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 7, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0544175662
ISBN-13: 978-0544175662

Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman (adult)

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 10, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1451691599
ISBN-13: 978-1451691597

Have you seen any of these books yet?

What books are you going to read this weekend?

Disclosures: All of these books are from the 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.

Learning the Trades with Whose Tools?

For STEM Friday we are excited to be participating on the blog tour for the interactive board book, Whose Tools? by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Jim Datz.

Many different specialized workers, or trades, use many different tools to build a house:

  • Masons
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Roofers
  • Painters

While exploring Whose Tools? youngsters learn to identify 24 different tools from cartoon illustrations and figure out which tradespeople might use them based on the clues provided. Readers then lift a gatefold page to see workers using those tools.

Toni Buzzeo is a librarian at heart and has published a number of children’s books. Her expertise is evident as this book is entirely age appropriate. It is short, interactive, and clever.

Although the book has been released right in time to share for Father’s Day, it would also work for Mother’s Day, as evidenced by the illustrations which show a diversity of workers, including female carpenters, roofers, etc. Coming from a family where my mom was a carpenter (she built her own horse barn almost single-handedly), I applaud illustrator Jim Datz!

Whose Tools? is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are interested in adult tools, but is also sure to intrigue most young readers. Be prepared to read this one again and again!

Related Activities:

  1. Be sure to check Toni Buzzeo’s webpage for awesome (and free!) .pdf teaching guides and activity sheets to accompany the book (scroll down).
  2. Tara Lazar has a lively interview with Toni Buzzeo and a Whose Tools? book giveaway (until end of June 2015).
  3. Gather some toy plastic tools and set up this shape matching activity for toddlers. Then let the children free play with the tools.
  4. Look for kid project workshops/clinics at your local home center (Home Depot, Lowe’s etc.) They are usually on Saturday mornings, are free, and the projects are fun. Check for recommended ages. They often have construction project kits to purchase, as well.

Age Range: 2 – 4 years
Board book: 16 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Ltf Brdbk edition (May 5, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1419714317
ISBN-13: 978-1419714313

Note: Tony Buzzeo is also the author of the Caldecott winner, One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small.

 

 

Disclosures: This book was provided 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.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.