#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.

#Nonfiction Monday #Kidlit: Ocean Waves for All

Today we are featuring the nonfiction picture book, Ocean! Waves for All by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by David Litchfield. This book is part of the Our Universe Series published by Henry Holt and Co.

As with the other books in the series, Ocean! is narrated in the first person. The tone is lighthearted and conversational, including words like ‘bro’ and ‘righteous’.

Dude, I am Ocean.

The tone might be light, but the facts are deep. For example, did you know that more people have visited space than the deepest parts of the ocean?

David Litchfield’s illustrations are as big and vibrant as the ocean itself. They are packed full of emotion and creativity. To coincide with the first person voice, the ocean has a floating face with eyes, nose, and mouth.

The back matter includes a note from the author, a discussion about how the ocean is really global — the names don’t reflect real boundaries, “Ocean by the Numbers,” a Q-and-A with Ocean, a list ways to be a friend to Ocean, and “Sources.”

Overall, Ocean! represents a new “wave” of picture books that push the boundary between fiction and nonfiction in interesting ways. Get on board and check out a copy today!

Related:

Check out this interview with the author and illustrator. They are energetic and fun.


Note:  Stacey’s latest, Mars! Earthlings Welcome (Our Universe, 5)  comes out February 23, 2021.

Growing with Science Blog has a week of Ocean science books and activities for kids.

Want more information? Try our growing list of Children’s STEAM books about the ocean at Science Books for Kids.

 

Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (May 5, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1250108098
ISBN-13 : 978-1250108098

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.

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

Let The Marketing Journey Begin

So excited and a bit intimidated. Starting out the New Year with a journey to reveal my new picture book, How to Build an Insect  illustrated by Anne Lambelet, to the world. It’s coming out April 6, 2021, which suddenly seems right around the corner!

First step was to add the cover image to my Twitter accounts. Here is the new header for @RobertaGibson.

What do you think? Does it catch your eye? Any suggestions?

I just made a to do list with over 20 items on it. Next, I have to update my website. Wish me luck!

Regular followers:  Would it be helpful for you if I posted about some of the steps in the marketing process like this? 

 

(*Amazon Affiliate Link – Preorder is now available)

Or preorder at Lerner.