Spring Blog Maintenance

A quick note to let you know I’m going to be doing a bit of spring cleaning behind the scenes on this blog (which means rooting out bad PHP, changing themes, and converting to https).

Hopefully things will continue working without too much interruption, but please check back later if you encounter problems.

 

#Nonfiction Monday National Geographic Kids Guide to Genealogy

Exploring their ancestry and relatives is a great way for kids to learn more about themselves and also about history, but how to go about it isn’t always clear and most resources are geared for adults.  National Geographic Kids Guide to Genealogy: Tips and Tricks on How to Uncover Your Roots and Build Your Family Tree! by T.J. Resler gives middle grade students the tools they need to become successful genealogists.

The main section in each chapter explains how to do a particular aspects of the search, from getting started, to places to find clues, to how DNA has changed genealogy. In addition each chapter also includes expert tips, suggestions for hands-on activities (like putting together a time capsule or a family cookbook!), case files, and best of all, how to solve problems. Researching genealogy can be difficult at times and the book gives kids a realistic view of what the stumbling blocks might be and how to avoid getting discouraged.

The book is illustrated both with stock photographs and archival images from the Library of Congress. The information is organized in attractive chunks, with plenty of sidebars to make the pages visually interesting.

Although this book is geared for kids, adults who are interested in exploring their roots might also find it to be a useful place to start. I took notes when I read it and found myself saying, “That’s a really good idea” on almost every page. I also liked that the author emphasized how to preserve and organize information, and also how to keep accurate citations so others can follow their trail.

National Geographic Kids Guide to Genealogy is a wonderful choice for young history buffs and budding genealogists, or anyone embarking on an investigation into their ancestry. It is the kind of resource that readers will want to return to again and again. Dig up a copy today!

Suggested Activity:

Consider touring a cemetery, preferably an older one or one where some of your ancestors are buried. Visit Find A Grave and/or BillionGraves websites to locate one.

If you haven’t visited a particular cemetery, check in advance that it is a safe place to visit. Carry along supplies to take photographs, do rubbings, and/or take notes about significant or interesting tombstones. Also, talk to little ones about cemetery etiquette so they don’t climb tombstones or disturb others.

If you or a family member develops an interest, consider becoming a volunteer for one of the cemetery websites and upload information for others to use to locate their own relatives.

Disclosure: The book was provided by our 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.

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

#Nonfiction Monday Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World

Hungry? If not, you will be if you read the new children’s picture book Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Tomoko Suzuki.

What better way to learn about new places than to explore their regional cuisine? McGinty takes the reader to breakfast from Australia to Nigeria in a series of two-page spreads. As she says,

It’s breakfast time around the world
in countries near and far.
Wake up world! It’s time to eat,
no matter where you are!

Each has dual level text, with short, bouncy rhymes for the youngest reader and a denser, detailed paragraph or two for the older reader. Suzuki’s bright illustrations bring the places and food to life.

Pancakes to Parathas will take young readers on a delicious trip around the world. Consume a copy today!

Suggested activities:

Pair a children’s book from countries around the world with a breakfast treat from the region. Find books, such as this list suggested by the Cooperative Children’s Book Council. You can also find many regional recipes online.

I chose Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge because it reminded me of a similar dish from my own childhood and because it can be made dairy free.

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, medium or fine grind
  • 2 cups plus 1 cup water (divided use)
  • 1 cup coconut milk, the beverage type (see photograph)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • vanilla, salt, or sweetener to taste

In a small bowl, whisk the cornmeal and 1 cup of cold water together until completely mixed. (This prevents lumps.) Measure the remaining two cups of water and 1 cup coconut milk into a medium to large saucepan and bring to boil. Quickly whisk cold water/cornmeal into the boiling liquid and cook, stirring constantly, for 12-15 minutes. Note:  boiling cornmeal erupts like mini-volcanoes so turn down the heat quickly and keep on a low boil throughout.

Once cooked, cool slightly and serve with fresh fruit, sweetener, and/or some cold milk. I used a small amount of brown sugar, dried blueberries, and a small amount of rice milk. Yum!

See the publisher’s website for:

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: little bee books (February 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1499807120
ISBN-13: 978-1499807127

 

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 no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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

STEM Friday #Kidlit Animal Noses by Mary Holland

Fresh off the presses we have the new STEM picture book Animal Noses by Mary Holland, whose previous title, Animal Mouths, received a NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Science Award.

Unless they are stuffed up due to a cold or allergies, we generally take our noses for granted. However, they serve two critical functions:  they allow us to breathe and to provide our sense of smell. In this book, readers explore how many different animals use their noses in special ways, including for finding food, finding mates, communicating with one another, and being alert to danger.

The book is illustrated with photographs of animals ranging from bald eagles to shrews, which allows the reader to see the range of different noses. There’s even a luna moth, which although it doesn’t have a nose, has structures that serve the same purposes.

Arbordale books always have wonderful pages to explore in the backmatter. In this case the “For Creative Minds” section has a detailed explanation of the sense of smell and “Fun Facts” (like the fact an albatross can smell it’s food 12 miles away!), as well as activities. You can see the pages here.

Animal Noses is a fun and educational look at a particular animal sense that will appeal to educators, and also thrill young naturalists and scientists. Sniff out a copy today!

Frogs and toads breathe through openings called nares.

Want to learn more?

At Growing with Science we have a post that talks about the vomeronasal organ in dogs (Dog Science) and and extensive post about insect senses, including the sense of smell.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing (February 10, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1607188066
ISBN-13: 978-1607188063

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 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.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 1/2019.