#Nonfiction Monday Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

Last week was incredibly exciting and busy because our new picture book How to Build an Insect came out. Woot! Woot!

Now it is time to change gears and celebrate some wonderful picture books for National Poetry Month. Our first selection is Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jonathan Voss.

Told in a series of haiku poems, the story follows a pair of great horned owls as they raise their owlets.

Pip. Pip. Pip. Poking
A hole. Cracking. Cracking. Out
Pecks the white owlet.

It seems like a simple premise, but in fact there is much packed into this book.

The life of the owls is not easy. Although great horned owls are predators, they also have enemies such as crows, raccoons, hawks, and foxes. The owlets are particularly vulnerable to danger.

The illustrations are gorgeous. The owlets look so soft and realistic that you want to reach out and touch them. If you look more carefully, you will see they contain much information about owl habitats in a subtle way. For example, the  nest is made of leaves, an abandoned squirrel nest. Without resorting to too many dark pages, you realize the birds hunt at night. The way Jonathan Voss controls the lighting is incredible. You can see examples in this video:

(A brief note:  care has been taken that the illustrations are not too graphic, but are realistic about owls carrying prey to their offspring. Highly sensitive children may still find some of the scenes disturbing.)

Although the text is written entirely in haiku and the emphasis on haiku in the title, it flows together so effortlessly that you get lost in the story and forget about the structure. Maria Gianferrari allows the owls to shine as the main characters.

The back matter also emphasizes the owls, giving more information about different aspects of their biology and resources for deeper research.

Whoo-Ku Haiku is a wonderful example of how to use poetry to entice readers into a nonfiction story. It is a must have for budding ornithologists, nature lovers, and poetry aficionados alike.  Enjoy a copy today!

Activity Suggestions:

We’ll be adding this to our growing list of STEM poetry books at Science Books for Kids

 

Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (March 3, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 0399548424
ISBN-13 : 978-0399548420

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.

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

#Womenshistorymonth #STEMkidlit Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers

 

For Women’s History Month we have a middle grade book that explores women who are making history, Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers by Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneideman.

About the Book

Using the scientific method as a template, authors Twamley and Sneideman propose “six superpowers important to STEM fields”:

  • Imagination and curiosity
  • Observation
  • Problem solving
  • Collaboration
  • Data-collection and analysis
  • Communication

After defining each superpower, they use an alphabetical organizational structure explore 26 STEM careers, from Astronomy to Zoology.  In case you are wondering, they have to be creative with some of the letters, such as X is “Xeroxing Our DNA”  and the featured career is geneticist.

For each career, they give an overview of what it entails and then present a short biography of a particular woman in that field with emphasis on the superpowers they use.

Their choices are a diverse group of amazing women.

For example, A features Astronomer Wanda Diaz Merced

When Wanda Diaz Merced lost her sight, she developed a way to convert data into sound so she could analyze it. You can hear a sample of the sound in her TED talk below at about 5:40.

 

Wow! Talk about problem solving!

The illustrations are digital images created by the Illustrator Collective, a group of artists from around the world. This gives a sense of continuity that photographs from various sources would not have done.

The last section includes an activity for young readers to plan a STEM career of their own, a way to inspire and empower the next generation.

The back matter includes “Steps to Become an Everyday STEM Superhero”, a list other books by the authors, “Recommended Books”,  three pages of quotes from book reviews by educational experts (I’ve never seen this kind of promotional material in a children’s book before),  and a glossary, but no index.

If you are looking for examples of incredible women in STEM, then look no further than Everyday Superheroes.

Activity suggestion:

Check out these STEM Everyday Superheroes trading cards and then research and design one of your own (click on the researcher’s name to see the card).

Reading age : 8 – 12 years
Publisher : Wise Ink Creative Publishing (March 15, 2019)
ISBN-10 : 1634891988
ISBN-13 : 978-1634891981

 

Disclosure: The book was donated electronically 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.

#50preciouswords Challenge: Beetle Small Talk

Vivian Kirkfield hosts a children’s story writing challenge each year. The idea is to come up with a story in 50 words or less.

Of course I thought of insects.

 

Beetle Small Talk

By Roberta Gibson

A lightning bug is a beetle,
Flying in the night.
No worries about getting lost
It carries a flashlight.

Gently touch a milkweed beetle,
It will give a squeak.
Bet you didn’t know an insect
So very small could speak.

 

We’re not supposed to include illustrations, but in case you wonder what a milkweed beetle looks like:

#kidlitSTEM Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever

 

Today we’re highlighting a new picture book that came out this week, Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Holly Hatam.

Ruth Spiro is the author of the popular Baby Loves Science series (previous post) for toddlers and preschoolers. Now she’s working on picture books for early elementary ages that celebrate problem solving and making things.

Maxine and Leo have a problem. Their beautiful garden is being eaten by all sorts of creatures. When they build a contraption to protect their plants, it goes awry and their friendship is on the rocks. Can they restore their friendship and solve the problem together?

Holly Hatam’s intricate illustrations are so creative. There are many interesting pieces to discover and discuss, like Maxine’s colorful colander hat.

Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever will be a huge hit with young makers and budding engineers. Explore a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestion:

Plan a garden

After reading the book, children may be interested in growing a garden.

Planning a children’s garden can be done any time of year, but right now is a great time to get started. By giving your child the freedom to design his or her own space, a budget to work with and a few simple tools, you can have a project that builds a lifetime of skills and memories.

Types of Gardens
First help your child decide on the type of garden he or she would like to plant. Does your child like vegetables? Then a kitchen garden would be perfect. Other types of gardens might be flower gardens or herb gardens. Theme gardens are also popular, like a pollinator garden, pizza garden, or rainbow garden.

Resources
Your local Cooperative Extension office is likely to have information about gardening with children. For example, the University of Illinois Extension has a Planning My Garden area for kids with information on how to grow different plants. PBS has information/ideas about gardening with children and KidsGardening.org has many resources.

If you want to be part of an organization, take a look at the Cooperative Extension’s Junior Master Gardener Program.

Seed companies can also be a cool resource. Many of these websites have a wealth of information about gardening in addition to having plants and seeds for sale (not affiliated with any of these sites).

For more information, see our growing list of books for gardening with children at Science Books for Kids.

 

Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : Dial Books (February 16, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 0399186301
ISBN-13 : 978-0399186301

 

Disclosure: The book was donated electronically 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.