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.

#Nonfiction Monday We Are Grateful

Let’s explore some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

We are featuring a perfect book to read this week, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Frané Lessac.

Members of the Cherokee Nation say the word otsaliheliga to express gratitude. They use it as a reminder not just for one celebration or day, but throughout the year. Starting in autumn and moving through winter, spring and summer, Traci Sorell describes the weather/environment for each season, reveals celebrations that occur during that time of year, and describes special activities and foods that bind families together.

The back matter is a must read. It gives a deeper explanation of some of the terms used, explains the author’s source materials –and how other books have got things wrong — and tells the story of a man named Sequoyah developed the Cherokee written language in the early 1800s.

Frané Lessac’s gouache illustrations contain small details that are likely to lead to further discussion and investigation.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga is a wonderful book that is hard to describe. It has things to offer that readers might not even know they want or need. Pick up a copy and you will be glad you did.

The book trailer helps with pronunciations.

Activity Suggestions:

Visit Traci Sorrell’s website (at bottom of book page) or Charlesbridge (downloadables tab) for a teacher’s guide and coloring sheets to accompany the book.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (September 4, 2018)
ISBN-10: 158089772X
ISBN-13: 978-1580897723

 

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.

nonfictionmonday

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

Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird

This week To Kill a Mockingbird won The Great American Read contest.


That makes it a perfect time for young children to learn about the author and how the book came about by reading Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird by Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Erin McGuire.

In spite of the overwhelming success of her novel, Harper Lee (full name Nelle Harper Lee) avoided doing interviews and rarely talked about herself. Regardless, author Bethany Hegedus was able to piece together details of Lee’s early life in Monroeville, Alabama and her later experiences writing the novel in New York City. I don’t want to give away all the details, but her relationship with a certain boy who she meets in her home town and then encounters again later in life is fascinating.

McGuire’s digital illustrations look like paintings. They capture the times and the tone of the book seamlessly.

It is important for children to realize that authors of books are real people because it helps them understand they might be able to become authors, too. Alabama Spitfire not only gives readers a glimpse into an author’s life, but also shows how she used details of her life to write a novel. It is a must read for those who love the novel, aspiring writers, and history buffs alike.

Related:

You can listen to what is touted as Lee’s only recorded interview on YouTube (from 1964). She discusses how she did not expect the popularity of the book.

This book was nominated for 2018 Cybils awards in the Elementary and Middle Grade Nonfiction category.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (January 23, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0062456709
ISBN-13: 978-0062456700

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.

nonfictionmonday

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

#Nonfiction Monday #Cybils: Chris Barton’s Picture Book Bio of Barbara Jordan

Let’s explore some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Today we have the inspiring new picture book What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes.

Barbara Charline Jordan was born in Houston, Texas in 1936. Before long, she was known for her oratory skills. She recited poetry and gave speeches in school. After she graduated from law school, her speaking skills led her into politics. Eventually, she was elected to the U. S. Congress where she fought against discrimination.

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

That voice
That big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice.
It caused folks to sit right up, stand up straight, and take notice.

The alliteration of the adjectives adds to the effect.

He also repeats the title throughout for emphasis:

“What do you do with a voice like that?

Ekua Holmes’s mixed media illustrations capture the time, which was the late 1960s and early 1970s. They are as bright and bold as Barton’s text.

The back matter consists of an author’s note and a two-page spread time line. In it readers discover that Barbara Jordan, who retired early from public service because she had multiple sclerosis, died too young at 59.

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? begs to be read aloud. Pull it out for Black History Month, for Women’s History Month, and for all the months of the year. Barbara Jordan’s voice should be remembered.

Activity Suggestion:

Check YouTube for some of Barbara Jordan’s speeches.

Sidebar:  How long does it take for a book to be published?

In the back matter, Chris Barton says he started writing the book in 2013. On his blog, he announced he had sold the text to Beach Lane Book in September of 2015. The book was published last month on September 25, 2018, the final step in a five year process!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (September 25, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781481465618
ISBN-13: 978-1481465618

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by my 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.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog. (Note:  this is a new URL for October 2018).