STEM Friday #Kidlit Buzzing With Questions

Entomologist and teacher Charles Henry Turner passed away 97 years ago today on February 14, 1923, so it seems appropriate to highlight the picture book biography Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.

Driven by a fascination with living things, Charles Henry Turner defied the odds and went to college. He kept asking questions and working hard. In 1907 he earned his PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude. After graduating, Turner worked at several different teaching positions while continuing to research and publish. He made many lasting contributions to the field of insect behavior, as well as being known for helping others.

Author Janice Harrington does a great job of weaving repeating threads through the text, like the fact that Turner loved books, “never stopped asking questions” and that he was “indefatigable.” Those are wonderful take away messages.

Turner’s message about studying biology to help people see connections between all living things is particularly poignant.

“Biology taught us to think less about ourselves and more about others.”

As for STEM, this book is important because it reveals the inner working of how Turner set up experiments to answer questions that he had. For example, he trained honey bees to come to red platforms and when he offered blue, the bees ignored them. Thus, he established honey bees can see color. Children are often taught the result of experiments, but aren’t exposed to the experimental process as much.

Buzzing with Questions is an obvious choice for budding entomologists and to share for Black History Month, but its message of hope and persistence in the face of adversity will also resonate with a wide range of readers. Celebrate Turner’s love of books by sharing a copy today.



Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Calkins Creek (November 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1629795585
ISBN-13: 978-1629795584


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.

Looking for New #Kidlit? Check #SteamTeam2020

If you are on Twitter, you might have seen the hashtag #SteamTeam2020 and wondered what it was.

We are a group of authors with Science Technology Engineering Art and Math children’s books in a mix of genres that are coming out in the year 2020.

Check the website for much more information.

We have STEAM books for everyone, ranging from:

Rhyming picture books that beg to be read aloud

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman, Millbrook Press TM (Published February 4, 2020)

Can’t wait to use this one for STEM Story Time.

Nonfiction picture book biographies

Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane by Kirsten W. Larson and illustrated by Tracy Subisak, Calkins Creek (publishing February 25, 2020)

Middle grade nonfiction books with hands-on activities

Amazing Amphibians: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and More by Lisa J. Amstutz (Chicago Review Press; First edition (published January 7, 2020)

Middle Grade Fiction

Chirp by Kate Messner, Bloomsbury Children’s Books (Published February 4, 2020)

and more. What an amazing assortment!

Expect more announcements and reviews over the upcoming year.


Have you seen any of these books yet? What genre(s) are you interested in?

#Nonfiction Monday and #NFFEST: The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon

Today we have a nonfiction picture book biography that is out of this world, The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean by  Dean Robbins and illustrated by Sean Rubin.

Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the third and fourth people to walk on the moon, but they aren’t the household names their predecessors Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are. This picture book helps correct that omission and bring Alan Bean’s story to the next generation of readers.

Dean Robbins doesn’t present Alan Bean’s life in strict chronological order. Instead he captures the reader’s imagination with the tension of the spacecraft launching, then interrupts the flight and goes back in time to Alan’s childhood interest in model airplanes, and later in painting as a hobby.  The back story helps readers understand how Bean began painting again after he retired and why he considered himself to be an artist.

As to be expected, the illustrations are amazing. They combine the look of Alan Bean’s art with Sean Rubin’s skillful images. The highlight is a wordless two-page spread of the surface of the moon with the shadows of the two astronauts in the foreground and the blue, spherical Earth in the distance. Wow!

Check out the trailer to see what I mean:

Isn’t it cool that Dean Robbins knew and worked with Alan Bean, who helped to to create the book? That personal knowledge and access adds such depth.

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon will thrill budding astronauts and artists alike. Be inspired by a copy today!

Related activities:

Check out the activity suggestions on Dean Robbins website (scroll to half way down the page).


Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Orchard Books (May 28, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1338259539
ISBN-13: 978-1338259537

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.

For an assignment  at NF Fest

Also part of reading for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020

As well as Nonfiction Monday

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

#ReadYourWorld Esther’s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim

For Multicultural Children’s Book Day, we have  Esther’s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim by Martha Seif Simpson and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard.

On the surface Esther’s Gragger is a tale of two children who overcome a bully with the help of an adult shopkeeper and some loud noisemakers. It is based on the ancient story of Queen Esther, who is celebrated during the Jewish holiday, Purim.

If you look deeper you find multiple layers of value. First of all it, introduces the reader to words such as gragger, Purim masks, and the characters in the Purim story. For those who want to learn more, the back matter is extensive with a page of information each about Purim, how it is celebrated (with fruit-filled cookies), what graggers are, and how to make simple ones with children.

The story is also is a gateway to encourage readers to talk about bullies and what to do about them. The idea that victims should stand together, makes noise, and talk to people in authority are all answers that have lasting value.

Esther’s Gragger is one of those books that you didn’t know you needed, but that open your eyes once you discover them. Look for a copy today!

Suggested activities:

1. This year Purim begins on Monday, March 9, 2020.  Learn more about how it is celebrated in your community.

2. Make a Purim gragger (noisemaker). In addition to the instructions in the backmatter, there are also plenty online. Check out this one for multiple graggers made out of recycled materials:

3. There is a study guide, coloring page, and a crossword puzzle to download at Wisdom Tales Press.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Wisdom Tales (January 7, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1937786757
ISBN-13: 978-1937786755


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

MCBD 2020 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board


Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,


Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,


Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,


Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,


Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales


Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Lauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series Green Kids Club, Inc.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!


Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Disclosure: This book was gifted the book to me to review for this event. 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.