STEM Friday #Kidlit One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution

Prolific and award-winning children’s book author Sneed B. Collard III is not afraid to tackle tough STEM topics, such as fire ecology (Fire Birds) and climate change (Hopping Ahead of Climate Change). Now he’s taken on evolution with his new middle grade book One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution, which is a Junior Library Guild selection and earned a starred Kirkus Review.


You may have heard about the Darwin’s finches that live on the Galápagos islands, but did you know that there are two related, but very different species of iguana found there? One of the species lives on land and eats the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. The other species is the only iguana in the world that can swim in the ocean. It is the marine iguana, shown in this video grazing on algae underwater.

 

Genetic testing have shown that the two species are related. Collard introduces the reader to a puzzle how the two such divergent lifestyles may have come about and how they ended up on an island chain 900 miles from their nearest relatives. He also discusses the geology and history of the islands, and how that impacts the iguanas and the other creatures that live there.

Although this is a middle grade book by text level and content, it is illustrated with many large color photographs. Many of the photographs were taken by the author, who is also a photographer. Others were taken by his friend Jack Grove.

As the author states in the back matter, “considering how important evolution is to the history of the earth, it’s surprising how few books for young people have been written about it.” One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution steps in to fill the gap. This book is a must have for budding scientists and anyone interested in nature. Scoop up a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

This book would be great to accompany lessons on lizards, as well as evolution. See our Growing with Science post with information and activities inspired by Sneed Collard III’s All About Lizards book.

National Geographic Kids has a Galápagos islands page.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers; 1 edition (December 4, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0884486494
ISBN-13: 978-0884486497

Photograph of marine iguanas from publicdomainpictures.net

 

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review. 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.

STEM Friday #Kidlit The Ultimate Book of Sharks

Let’s explore a few more of the fantastic STEM-related middle grade books nominated for 2018 Cybils awards with one of the finalists, The Ultimate Book of Sharks:  Your Guide to These Fierce and Fantastic Fish (National Geographic Kids) by Brian Skerry.

You really need to pick up a copy of The Ultimate Book of Sharks to feel the true impact of it.

Starting out with the cover of this large-sized book, you notice the huge shark at the top with gaping jaws that almost jumps out of the page. Whoa! Underneath, the words Ultimate and Sharks in the title are in silver reflective letters that grab your eye.

Inside, chapter one hooks your further with some cool information. Did you know some sharks have organs that glow in the dark? Freaky!

The rest of the chapters mix the amazing photographs we’ve come to expect from National Geographic with sidebars and other bite-sized chunks of stories with facts about sharks from around the world.

The Ultimate Book of Sharks will thrill both young readers and educators alike. It will entice the most reluctant of readers, but it also has the factual underpinnings to serve as a go-to reference book. Capture a copy today!

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books; edition edition (May 15, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781426330711
ISBN-13: 978-1426330711
ASIN: 1426330715

Check out our recently-updated list of ocean science children’s books at Science Books for Kids.

 

 

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for a Cybils review. 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.

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.