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

The giveaway is now closed.

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.

Travel the U.S. with Infographic Maps: Arizona Edition

Doing a unit on U.S. history or geography? Planning a trip across the U.S. with children? For several years, here at Wrapped in Foil we have had the Reading Across the States website with lists of children’s books from all 50 states. This week we are participating in a blog tour and featuring a fabulous new resource for learning about places, people, and history of the U.S., The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A with 50 fact-filled maps! by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sol Linero.

Information graphics or infographics have become the newest way to present complex information visually. The 50 States is a collection of two-page spreads about each state in the U.S. featuring an infographic map, key facts (state capitals and symbols) and a timeline of “Moments to Remember,” as well as mini-bios of famous people born in that state. It serves up loads of information in colorful, bite-sized pieces.

Let’s explore the state of Arizona as an example. We have a fantastic number of unique things to see and do in Arizona.

50 States_Arizona(Copyrighted sample spread provided by the publisher)

The “Key Facts” include

cactus-wren-closerthe cactus wren is the Arizona state bird,

gorgeous palo verdethe green-trunked palo verde is the Arizona state tree,

saguaroand the iconic saguaro blossom is the state flower. Check ✅.

According to the icon on the map, a saguaro cactus can live for between 100 and 200 years and grow 40 feet tall. You can see numbers of these unusual cacti at the Saguaro National Park, which is actually split into two parks near Tucson, Arizona.

Other featured places to visit in Arizona include the Grand Canyon,

petrified-wood-669_IMGthe Petrified Forest, where 225-million-year-old trees here have turned to quartz over time, leaving crystallized logs,

PaintedDesert2004and the Painted Desert, which got its name from its multicolored rocks and soil. All are excellent choices ✅

If you are planning to visit the Roden Crater shown on the map, however, you might want to double check. As of 2015, it is only open to limited visitors for fundraising purposes. Meteor Crater or Sunset Crater are nearby family-friendly choices.

A few of the people with Arizona ties highlighted in the book include former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, movie legend Steven Spielberg, and astronaut Mark Kelly. Only the briefest of bios are included, but if children are interested, more information is only an internet search away.

In fact, children will probably spend hours exploring all the important people, intriguing facts, and interesting places shown in The 50 States. What a great way to get them excited about their home while at the same time giving them the urge to travel and explore new places!

If you have any questions about Arizona or this book, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Grade Level: 2 – 5
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions (October 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1847807119
ISBN-13: 978-1847807113

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Disclosure: The Arizona section was provided electronically 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.

Exploring Minnesota’s Wildlife through Children’s Books

Minnesota is the land of prairies, lakes and coniferous forests known as the North Woods. Children can learn more about the diverse animals and plants that live in Minnesota through picture books like these:

Coming out April 15, 2014 is Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Betsy Bowen, which explores Minnesota’s prairies. Root starts by disclosing how the prairies are almost all gone. She then highlights examples of relationships between specific plants and animals in the prairie ecosystem, such as between foxglove beardtongue (a type of Penstemon) and hummingbirds; monarch butterflies and milkweeds; and goldfinches and sunflowers. She explains that by growing these plants, even in small pockets, the animals that use them will come to visit. In the back matter are lists of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants found in prairies, perfect for a jumping off point for designing a garden or writing a report about prairies.

Betsy Bowen’s woodblock print illustrations are a perfect accompaniment. They capture the feeling of movement and the look of the prairies beautifully.

Even though it explores the prairies of Minnesota, the book has a much more general appeal and a serious message about preserving habitats that can apply anywhere.

More about Plant a Pocket of Prairie and related activities at Growing with Science.

Phyllis Root and Betsy Bowen have paired up previously with Big Belching Bog, also from the University of Minnesota Press.

Sure to engross young readers, this book explains how the conditions of the bog produce methane gas. Root also reveals the plants and animals found in this unique habitat, including plants that eat insects!

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; First Edition edition (September 3, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0816633592
ISBN-13: 978-0816633593

Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet by Betsy Bowen

A special alphabet book to share with nature lovers, Betsey Bowen’s woodcut illustrations again shine. She writes about what she knows best because she lives on the north shore of Lake Superior. What is the word for Z? Zero degrees, of course!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 26, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0618226389
ISBN-13: 978-0618226382

 

Tracks in the Wild by Betsy Bowen

Ever seen tracks in the snow and wondered what animal made them? Tracks in the Wild shows the reader who made them and what they were doing.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (September 28, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0395884004
ISBN-13: 978-0395884003

Playful Slider: The North American River Otter (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage) by Barbara Juster Esbensen and illustrated by Mary Barrett Brown

A  reprint of an older book, learn all about the playful North American river otter.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; Reprint edition (August 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0816677654
ISBN-13: 978-0816677658

 

Interested in lists of books by states? Visit the Wrapped in Foil website Reading Across the States.

Are you from Minnesota? I could use your help to make this resource as useful as possible. Do you have any books or other resources to suggest for this list?  If you chose, please leave a comment. If you have reviewed books about or set in Minnesota, feel free to leave a link as well. Thank you.

 

Disclosures:  Plant a Pocket of Prairie was provided electronically for review purposes by NetGalley. 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.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Spring Cleaning and Children’s Books by States

This weekend I was doing a spring-cleaning project (more about that below) and found some books that would also be appropriate for Women’s History Month. The books highlight the lives of Helen Keller, Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin.  Do you know what these women have in common?

Maybe this will give you a hint:

Alabama_quarter,_reverse_side,_2003They are all from Alabama!

Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares is a picture book biography that uses quotations from Helen Keller to tell her own story. It is enhanced by big, beautiful illustrations.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (October 16, 2012)
ISBN-10: 078680890X
ISBN-13: 978-0786808908

Time For Kids: Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Pioneer (Time for Kids Biographies) by Editors of TIME For Kids with Karen Kellaher covers the life of Rosa Parks. The central theme is how she came to be an icon for civil rights.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (December 26, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0060576243
ISBN-13: 978-0060576240

Edit to add:

Rosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights by Jo S. Kittinger and illustrated by Steven Walker

With a focus on the events that swirled around bus #2857 during the 1950s in Montgomery, Alabama, Kittinger reveals a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Publisher: Calkins Creek (October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1590787226
ISBN-13: 978-1590787229

 

claudette

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose was a Sibert honor winner in 2010. Before Rosa Parks, there was a teenager named Claudette Colvin who also refused to go to the back of the bus. With her role in history largely forgotten, Philip Hoose brings her back to her proper place.

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S0, what is the spring-cleaning project? I am working on the Wrapped in Foil website Reading Across the States. I started with the first state in the alphabetical list, Alabama.

Background:  A few years ago a friend of mine was planning a trip across the United States with her children and she wanted suggestions for books to read on the trip. Taking up the challenge, I created a list of children’s books for each of the states. Thinking others might benefit from my research, I have since developed a website that I update from time to time. Right now the nonfiction sections of each page in particular could use some revising.

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Some other nonfiction books I found set in or about the state of Alabama:

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March (Jane Addams Award Book by Cynthia Levinson tells the unpublicized story of the 4,000 black students who went to jail voluntarily in Birmingham, Alabama, between in May 1963 to fight segregation.

Ages 10 +
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1561456276
ISBN-13: 978-1561456277

 

Alabama (From Sea to Shining Sea, Second) by Kathy Feeney is an informational book with maps, history, landmarks, natural resources, recipes and everything else you would expect to describe a state. It also contains a nice timeline of events that shaped Alabama.

Age Range: 8 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (September 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0531208001
ISBN-13: 978-0531208007

 

Alabama (Hello USA) by Dottie Brown also has maps, songs, and recipes, as well as colorful photographs.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: First Avenue Editions; 2 edition (October 2001)
ISBN-10: 0822541432
ISBN-13: 978-0822541431

Alabama (This Land Is Your Land) by Ann Heinrichs is organized into sections for ease of finding information.  It describes the history of Alabama, starting with the Native Americans. It also contains information about jobs, cultural life and significant landmarks.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Compass Point Books (September 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0756503329
ISBN-13: 978-0756503321

Alabama Facts and Symbols (The States and Their Symbols) by Emily McAuliffe is for the slightly younger reader. This title really focuses on the symbols for the state such as its name, flag and nickname. Other symbols covered include state tree, insect and reptile.

Ages 4-8
Publisher: Social Studies Collections; Rev Upd edition (September 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0736822313
ISBN-13: 978-0736822312

y-is-for-yellowhammer

Y is for Yellowhammer: An Alabama Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press) by Carol Crane and illustrated by Ted Burn features people and landmarks from throughout Alabama, Y is for Yellowhammer uses a two level approach to appeal to a wider range of ages.

 

 

Related:

Are you reading doing a unit on Alabama or want to take a trip there? The Alabama Department of Archives and History has youth activity sheets, plus a wealth of other information under the “Education” tab.

Are you from Alabama? I could use your help to make this resource as useful as possible. Do you have any books or other resources to suggest for this list?  If you chose, please leave a comment. If you have reviewed books about or set in Alabama, feel free to leave a link as well. Thank you.

 

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.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.