Squish #1: Super Amoeba

A few weeks ago I was in a local bookstore looking for middle grade novels. The salesperson suggested a graphic novel that had “science.” A fictional graphic novel that contains science? Intrigued, she lead me to  Squish #1: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm, part of a new graphic novel series. What a “novel” idea for STEM Friday!

squish

The Holm siblings are the authors behind successful Babymouse series. In the book Babymouse: Mad Scientist, they introduce Squish the amoeba as part of a science fair project and then “bud” him off into his own series.

Matt Holm explains in this fun video:

Squish the amoeba encounters the same problems a middle school human would have, like dealing with a friend who mooches his lunch money. There’s even a bully who wants to copy Squish’s science test (Squish is good at science). In a twist, the bully is another amoeba that has a tendency to engulf and eat his friends. Squish wants to be like his comic book hero and save the day, but finds that doing the right thing isn’t always as easy as it seems in books.

Squish appears to be a quick read at first. The humorous elements in the book, like the expressive hat Matt Holm mentions in the video, means that the reader will want to return again and again. Each time there is a little bit more to discover and, dare I say, absorb? If they pay attention, the readers will learn scientific vocabulary and concepts. For some readers, this fun graphic novel series just might spark an interest in learning more about science.

For more details about the science behind the book, visit Growing with Science.

 

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Squish (Book 1)
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2011)

Usually I suggest a fiction to pair with nonfiction, but today I suggest Protozoans, Algae & Other Protists (Kingdom Classifications) by Steve Parker for children who want to find out more about the microorganisms introduced in Squish.

Age Range: 9 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Series: Kingdom Classifications
Publisher: Compass Point Books (July 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0756542243
ISBN-13: 978-0756542245

The rest of the series:

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.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Taking a Look at Things That Float and Things That Don’t

Children love to investigate buoyancy, and Things That Float and Things That Don’t by David A. Adler and illustrated by Anna Raff is a perfect picture book to accompany their experiments. things-that-float

Although floating seems simple on the surface, it is actually quite a complex phenomena. Adler walks the reader through the main concepts by relating ideas to common experiences and suggesting questions to test using household materials.

The illustrations by Anna Raff are drawings with sumi ink washes that have been incorporated digitally. They are straightforward, but with enough humorous touches to keep the reader interested, as you can see in this fun trailer:

Things That Float and Things That Don't - by David A. Adler and Anna Raff from Anna Raff on Vimeo.

Things That Float and Things That Don’t is sure to inspire budding scientists to pull out their bathtub toys and investigate floating.

Ages: 4-7
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Holiday House (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823428621
ISBN-13: 978-0823428625

Related activities:
Floating ocean trash at Growing with Science

Looking for fiction to pair with this title? Try Toy Boat by Randall de Seve and illustrated by Loren Long

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.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös

You have probably already discovered The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, but if you haven’t, you are in for a real treat. Add the fact that Paul Erdös is an amazing, unique human being to the fact Heiligman’s passion for her topic is palpable, and the result is one incredibly special children’s picture book biography.

boy-who-loved-mathHeiligman’s book explores the life of a boy who thinks about math all day. In fact, he is so busy thinking about numbers that he never really learns to tie his shoes or other basic life skills (his mother and nanny do all those things for him). It isn’t until he is 21 and is attending a meeting of mathematicians for the first time that he butters his own bread!

Messages I love from this book:

  • Math can be exciting and interesting
  • It is okay to be different from everyone else

The Boy Who Loved Math is as special, lovable and one-of-a-kind as its subject. Share it today!

It was nominated for a Cybils in the Elementary and Middle Grade nonfiction category.

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 44 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (June 25, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596433078
ISBN-13: 978-1596433076

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.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia

Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia (My First Picture Encyclopedias) by Steve Kortenkamp is a visually-stimulating way to learn about our sun, the planets, moons and even far away galaxies.  show-me-space

The first thing you should be aware of is that both Steve Kortenkamp and his wife are professional astronomers, so you know the facts are accurate and up-to-date. Kortenkamp is also committed to elementary and middle school science and has written over 20 children’s books, so he realizes how to make the facts interesting and accessible to children.

The best way to describe the organization is “photographic encyclopedia.” The book is illustrated with brightly-colored photographs and other images, with the key vocabulary word set off from a block of text that defines and describes it. This encyclopedia isn’t meant to be read cover-to-cover, although children certainly might want to do that. Instead, they can review a few of the over 100 concepts and vocabulary words found in the book, and come back as needed.

Pick up Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia and before you can say “transneptunian object,” your kids are going to be excited about astronomy.

Reading level:  1-2
Ages 4-8
Series: My First Picture Encyclopedias
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620659220
ISBN-13: 978-1620659229

Disclosures: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 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.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.