STEM Friday #Kidlit The Great Shark Rescue by Sandra Markle

For STEM Friday this week, we have a middle grade book,  The Great Shark Rescue: Saving the Whale Sharks by one of our favorite authors, Sandra Markle.

Whale sharks are not only the biggest fish in the world, but also the coolest sharks because they feed by vacuuming up tons of the smallest creatures in the water (see pages 18-19).  Unfortunately, along with many other fascinating creatures, their numbers are plummeting and they have recently become endangered.

Markle gives numbers and explicit reasons why the populations are in decline. Sometimes the sharks are caught is nets during legal fishing while at other times they are killed by people who fish for sharks illegally.  Climate change is also a factor.  Scientists want to try to help the sharks, but they know little about them. It is a race to learn about whale sharks before they disappear.

In the back matter we learn that wrote the book based on interviews with experts (see “Source Notes.”)  Sandra Markle makes a point of using only primary sources, if she can (see post about meeting her at the Tucson Book Festival.)

The Great Shark Rescue will thrill budding marine biologists as well as those interested in conserving endangered species.  Realistically, this title could work with upper elementary readers as well as middle grade. It could be a great addition to your shelf.

Related:

 

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Series: Sandra Markle’s Science Discoveries
Publisher: Millbrook Press TM (October 1, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1541510410
ISBN-13: 978-1541510418

Disclosure: This 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.

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.

#Nonfiction Monday Hello Crochet Friends

At the end of the month on January 31, 2020 we’re participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day. But  there are way too many wonderful multicultural/diverse books to limit ourselves to just one day.

Let’s get started with the inspiring picture book autobiography, Hello, Crochet Friends!: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy by Jonah Larson and Jennifer Larson, with photographs by Erin Harris.

 

Jonah Larson is a phenomenon. Born in Ethiopia, a family from Wisconsin, adopted him when he was an infant. Later he struggled at school until one day — at five years old — he picked up a crochet hook. Soon crocheting became his passion and it has changed his life. Now he says he wants to share the joy of crocheting with everyone.

Although this is an autobiography, Jonah tells one part of his story and his adoptive mother Jennifer Larson tells another part. The duel points of view are poignant.  Jonah also shares one crochet pattern (this is NOT a how-to book).

I was so impressed with the map that shows the location of all his crochet friends from around the world. He really is spreading the joy.

Hello Crochet Friends! is a one-of-a-kind book about a one-of-a-kind boy.  It might just inspire readers to find their own passions.

Related:

Jonah shares his projects on the Jonah’s Hands website. Check out the videos and see his enthusiam for yarn and crocheting for yourself.

Age Range: 5 – 12 years
Publisher: KWiL Publishing (July 23, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0999143700
ISBN-13: 978-0999143704

 

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.

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

STEM Friday #Kidlit Mary Had a Little Lab

Let’s celebrate STEM Friday with the fiction picture book, Mary Had a Little Lab by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis.

 

Using her patented rollicking rhyme, Sue Fliess re-manufactures the Mary Has a Little Lamb poem into a  modern tale of girl power and a blueprint for building friendships.

This fun picture book is great to read aloud. Once beginning readers hear the pattern, rhyming text  makes it easier for them to guess the next line or words. Soon they will be “reading” along.

In addition, Petros Bouloubasis has added loads of visual gags to the illustrations that will make young readers want to look more closely.

Intrigued? You can get more of and idea of the flavor of the book from this official book trailer:

If the book is fiction, why promote it for STEM Friday? The best reason is that it portrays girls in STEM in a positive light. I could have done without the stereotype lab coat and lonely scientist working by herself trope, but overall Mary is imaginative, persistent, and resourceful. What more can you ask for?

Mary Had a Little Lab takes the familiar and makes it new.  It’s a winning combination that children will want to read again and again. Pick up a copy to share and you’ll see.

Suggested activities:

1. Build a “lab”

Gather:

  • A big cardboard box for each participant or group
  • Art supplies like markers, crayons, paint
  • Assorted knobs, buttons, etc (optional)
  • Glue, tape, painter’s tape
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • Construction paper
  • Paper cups (optional)
  • Yarn (optional)
  • Cardboard tubes, egg cartons

Encourage the children to design and construct their own “lab.” Provide adult assistance to cut flaps and doors.

2. Learn more about sheep science

Visit our post about sheep and goats at Growing With Science blog

3. Make a sheep craft

There are millions of cute ideas for sheep crafts online, like these on Pinterest.

 

 

Public Domain Photograph by Jean Beaufort at Publicdomainpictures.net

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (March 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0807549827
ISBN-13: 978-0807549827

Disclosure: This 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.

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.

#Nonfiction Monday #Kidlit Always Looking Up by Laura Gehl

Movies, plays, and books about pioneering women in STEM are now receiving main stream attention. Take, for example, Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson, and Dorthy Vaghan who stole the show in the film,  Hidden Figures. Recently our local theater featured the play Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson based on the life of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. It is an exciting trend.

In the same vein, today we’re highlighting the new children’s book, Always Looking Up: Nancy Grace Roman, Astronomer  by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Louise Pigott and  Alex Oxton.

 

Known affectionately as the mother of the Hubble Telescope, Nancy Grace Roman was passionate about studying space from an early age. However, she had problems with her vision and and gender stereotypes got in the way of  her goal. She learned how to work hard and be persistent to overcome the obstacles, then used those skills to drive the Hubble telescope project to success.

Author Laura Gehl has the science background — with a PhD in Neuroscience — but she also totally understands young readers. The text is lively and includes the right amount of detail.  For example, when the Hubble Telescope began sending back data from space, expectations were high.

“But the first images were blurry. And hopes plummeted like a falling meteorite.”

She uses a space-related term to playfully invoke the emotions of the scientists during this crisis.

Louise Pigott and Alex Oxton express Nancy Grace’s passion for space with imaginative illustrations, particularly the deep blue and black panoramas of the night skies. The art also evokes the loneliness and isolation she must have felt at times.

The back matter is also well done. It includes an “Author’s Note” and an extensive “Timeline” of Nancy Grace Roman’s life from 1925 to her death in 2018 at 93 years old.

Always Looking Up is sure to inspire budding astronomers and historians alike. Investigate a copy today!

Activity Suggestions:

– Explore Hubble Telescope Images at NASA

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows IC 4653, a galaxy just above 80 million light-years from Earth.

 

For even more about pioneering women, see our growing lists of children’s book biographies:

  1.  21+ Children’s Books About Women Scientists
  2.  Women Who Count (mathematicians)

at Science Books for Kids.

 

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company; None edition (October 1, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0807502960
ISBN-13: 978-0807502969

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by Blue Slip Media 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.

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