STEM Friday Two #Kidlit Books About Exploring the Ocean

Over the last few months we have been exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that were nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Let’s dive into two children’s picture books about deep sea exploration.

First up is Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin by Michelle Cusolito and illustrated by Nicole Wong, which is a finalist in the Elementary Nonfiction category.

The reader is taken on a day-long ride in the submersible Alvin to the bottom of the ocean, almost two miles down. Find out what you might see, how you might feel, even what you might eat and drink while cramped inside a three-person exploration craft. It is so real, you will want to stand up and stretch when you are done.

The digital illustrations stay in the cool color plate and are appropriately dark in the deepest depths. The underwater creatures are beautifully drawn and detailed. Some of the spreads fill the pages lengthwise, giving even more sense of traveling down beneath the water.

Flying Deep is a wonderful adventure in book form. Climb in and explore the ocean depths today!

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (May 22, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1580898416
ISBN-13: 978-1580898416

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Katherine Roy reveals the collaboration that led to the first deep ocean dive back in June 6, 1930.

Years before the Alvin submersible, two men decided they wanted to be the first to explore the deepest ocean. Otis Barton and Will Beebe designed a round metal ball they called a bathysphere to carry them far beneath the water. Because they were the first, they bravely faced the many dangers to successfully explore areas that no one had seen before and see sights no one could have imagined.

Katherine Roy’s watercolors are playful and full of action. The climax of the book, when the two reach the lowest point, is a surprising two-gatefold spread.

Otis and Will Discover the Deep is a suspenseful tribute to two brave men. It will appeal to budding marine biologists and engineers alike. Dive into a copy today.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (June 5, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0316393827
ISBN-13: 978-0316393829

Disclosure: Otis and Will book was provided by our local library and Flying Deep was provided by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can share 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 10/2018.

2018 #Cybils Shortlists Announced

If you have been following this blog, you know for the last few months I have been a round I judge in the 2018 Cybils Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category.

After reading some 140+ books in about two months, we have picked out 7 elementary finalists and 7 middle grade finalists. Today the shortlists were announced on the Cybils blog. Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators whose books made the cut.

Although all the children’s and young adult books on the nomination lists have merit, the books on the shortlists have a little something extra that caught the attention of our experts.  During the next few weeks they will be read and assessed by another set of judges and the overall winners will be announced on or around February 14, 2019.

Here are the lists from the nonfiction elementary/middle grade categories (numbers on list are random, I just needed to make sure I got all seven):

Elementary Nonfiction (Picture Books)

1. Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala.

A picture book biography with an important “It’s okay to be different” message. Reviewed here.

2. Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

This picture book biography about the incredible history of one of the Navajo code talkers whose contributions during World War II were kept secret for decades.

3. Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin by Michelle Cusolito and illustrated by Nicole Wong

Review will be posted for STEM Friday this week.

4. Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo by Thane Maynard

The story of the premature birth and fight to save this tiny hippo oozes adorable.

5. A Frog’s Life by Irene Kelly and illustrated by Margherita Borin

Reviewed at Growing With Science (with activity suggestions)

6. What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes.

You can hear Barbara Jordan’s voice in the rhythm of Chris Barton’s brilliant text. Reviewed here.

7. The True Tale of a Giantess: The Story of Anna Swan by Anne Renaud and Marie Lafrance

This picture book biography explores the life of one of P. T. Barnum’s Gallery of Wonders.

Middle Grade Nonfiction

1. Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands by Susan Goldman Rubin.

Not everyone knows, but the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D. C. was designed by a young student of Chinese descent. The architect Maya Lin has gone on to shape many more breathtaking buildings and outdoor spaces. Reviewed here.

2. Dog Days of History:  The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends by Sarah Albee

Reviewed at Growing with Science.

3. The Hyena Scientist by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop

Another fabulous title in the Scientists in the Field series. Reviewed at Growing with Science.

4.  Frenemies in the Family: Famous Brothers and Sisters Who Butted Heads and Had Each Other’s Backs by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Maple Lam

  Kathlenn Krull takes the reader on a raucous ride through the history of some famous sibling rivalries.

5.  Death Eaters: Meet Nature’s Scavengers by Kelly Milner Halls

The cover shows it all in this book about decomposers and decomposition,

6. Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

The premise is to try to figure out which stories are facts and which are fakes.

7. The Ultimate Book of Sharks (National Geographic Kids) by Brian Skerry

This middle grade title is chock full of gorgeous photographs and fascinating facts.

If you are resolving to read more in 2019, here’s a great list of books to start with.

Disclosure: These books were mostly provided by our local library, although some were provided 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.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Truth About Dolphins, Hippos, and Bears

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Let’s check out the hilarious “The Truth About…” series by Maxwell Eaton III.

Don’t let the cartoon illustrations and silly comments in the speech bubbles fool you. These picture books are serious nonfiction.

The Truth About Dolphins: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals by Maxwell Eaton III

In The Truth About Dolphins, readers learn how dolphins are different from fish and discover some of the different kinds of dolphins, like the spinner dolphin and the Atlantic white-sided dolphin. Did you know there are more than 40 species?

The back matter wraps up some more facts, like the differences between porpoises and dolphins and how long a dolphin can stay underwater. There are also lists of tucuxi-sized books and orca-sized books (isn’t that cute?)

Don’t know what a tucuxi* or ocra are? Then you should read The Truth About Dolphins!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 15, 2018)
ISBN-10: 162672668X
ISBN-13: 978-1626726680

The Truth About Bears: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals by Maxwell Eaton III

This book features three bears, but not the ones from Goldlilocks. Instead they are the brown bear, black bear, and polar bear.

Learn about where the bears live and what they eat (there’s a cute running joke about the fact they eat rodents). Other topics include hibernation and threats to bears.

I thought the bear safety page that explains how you should behave if you encounter a bear was a good idea. You shouldn’t run seems sensible, but I didn’t know that you shouldn’t try to climb a tree either.

Don’t know what you should do if you encounter a bear? Check out The Truth About Bears.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (February 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1626726663
ISBN-13: 978-1626726666

The Truth About Hippos: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals by Maxwell Eaton III

If I had to pick a favorite of the three, it would be this one. The text compares and contrasts the two species of hippo, common and pygmy. Because there are only two kinds, the author was able to pack in more information about them.

Do you know whether hippos can swim? Don’t guess, because the answer will surprise you. Find out by reading The Truth About Hippos.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (February 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1626726671
ISBN-13: 978-1626726673

 

* A tucuxi is a a species of freshwater dolphin found in the rivers of the Amazon Basin

Disclosure: These books were 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 12/2018.

STEM Friday #Kidlit All Eyes on Alexandra

For STEM Friday we’re thrilled to be taking part in a blog tour for the picture book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine and illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto.

Millions and millions of birds migrate through Israel on their way to Europe, Asia, and Africa. All Eyes on Alexandra is the fictional story of one young stork who has trouble following the rest of the flock as they prepare for the big trip. Readers will soon learn, however, that those who have trouble following might have other talents instead.

The illustrations are full of action and fun. They were done by Chiara Pasqualotto, who was born in Padua, in northern Italy, and who currently teaches illustration and drawing classes to children and adults, in particular in Padua during the summer at the Scuola Internazionale di Comics and in Rome. To help youngsters figure out which crane is Alexandra in each illustration, Chiara has wrapped her neck with a bit of red string. Although an unusual tactic, it seems to fit right in with Alexandra’s dare-to-be-different character.

All Eyes on Alexandra is a perfect example to show that STEM books don’t have to be nonfiction. It introduces children both to an amazing natural phenomena, a massive bird migration, and also to a personal story that they might be able to relate to their own lives or families. Those who love fiction are introduced to facts and those who love nonfiction are introduced to stories. It is win-win.

It would also be useful to share before a trip to Israel because it mentions and shows several locations to visit. Children might pretend they are Alexandra and find out more about each site online, which is likely to help them prepare and perhaps excite them to discover more. I know I’m inspired to sign up for a bird watching trip after reading it.

It is a lovely and versatile picture book. Let All Eyes on Alexandra take you on a journey today!

Activity Suggestions:

Author Anna Levine has three awesome activity suggestions to accompany the book at our sister blog, Growing With Science.

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub (August 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1512444391
ISBN-13: 978-1512444391

Curious to learn more? Be sure to visit the remaining stops in the blog tour:

December 15th @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog where she features Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra in a spotlight post.

December 17th @ World of My Imagination
Stop by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 18th @ Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Visit Erin’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post featuring activities for young children to explore their world.

December 19th @ Cassandra’s Writing World
Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about naming your characters.– oh, I need this one.

December 19th @ Linda’s Blog
Make sure you visit Linda’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 20th @ Word Magic: All About Books
Visit Fiona’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 21st @ Bring on Lemons
Make sure you grab some lemonade and stop by Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 27th @ Linda’s Blog
Visit Linda’s blog again where you can read her interview with author Anna Levine.

December 28th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog
Visit Beverley’s blog today you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 31st @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi’s blog and read Anna Levine’s guest post on learning about families and different cultures.

January 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog where he shares his thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

January 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog
Visit Beverley’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about getting into the head of your middle-grade characters.

January 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about using fiction to write non-fiction. **can’t wait to see this.

January 7th @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog
Visit Wendi’s blog again where you can read her thoughts about the book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine.

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically  by the author 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.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.