#kidlit Nobody Hugs a Cactus, A Way to Talk About Distancing

cactus flowers

Want an adorable picture book the “pokes” a little fun at prickly characters while at the same time being a cute way to introduce the idea of distancing? Then look no further than Nobody Hugs a Cactus* by Carter Goodrich.


(*Amazon affiliate link)

Hank the Cactus sits all alone in his pot on a windowsill and that’s the way he likes it. Whenever someone tries to visit him, he ignores them. Sometimes he even yells at his neighbors, tortoise and jack rabbit. Over time, Hank realizes his lifestyle is making him lonely. Will he ever find a friend?

Carter Goodrich is an illustrator who is known for his covers on The New Yorker, so it is not surprising that it is the art that strikes you first when you open the book. The colors capture the brilliant light of the desert Southwest. Plus, Hank’s expressions range from silly to enchanting.

To gush about the illustrations, however, is not a knock to the text. The story is concise, yet lyrical enough for reading aloud. Kids are going to love the light humor.

In addition to being an introduction to social skills, Nobody Hugs a Cactus would be appropriate to accompany a unit on deserts.  Get a warm, fuzzy feeling from a copy today!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (April 16, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1534400907
ISBN-13: 978-1534400900

Looking for more children’s books about deserts? Try our growing list at Science Books for Kids.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids

Right in time for Women’s History Month we have the middle grade title Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids: Her Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities and Experiments (For Kids series) by Rowena Rae. What could be better than an in depth history combined with hands-on activities to reinforce learning?

Rachel Carson is an amazing woman who is often credited with starting the modern environmental movement. She was a trained marine biologist, conservationist and outstanding nature writer. Her final book, Silent Spring, revealed the dangers of overuse of pesticides to a wide audience.

As to be expected from a middle grade title, the book delves deeply into Rachel Carson’s life. For example, perhaps you may wonder how the author handles the fact that Rachel Carson had health problems and was dying of breast cancer while she wrote Silent Spring? Rowena Rae does not pull any punches. She explains that Rachel found lumps and had a mastectomy. My mouth dropped when I read on pages 88-89 what happened next.

Although centered on Rachel Carson’s love of nature and ecology, Rowena Rae also highlights Carson’s writing process and the power of the written word. For example, she reveals that that Carson worked hard on her early pieces to make sure they sounded good when read aloud.  Then she has the reader explore how to revise their own writing using audio. In fact, several of the activities for children in the book center on writing and honing writing skills.

Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids is another outstanding title in the Chicago Review Press For Kids series. It will appeal  to young nature lovers, history fanatics, and budding authors. Check out a copy today!

Related Suggestions:

Read one of Rachel Carson’s books, such as Under the Sea-Wind, The Sea Around Us, or The Sense of Wonder.

See even more activity suggestions to celebrate Rachel Carson at readwritethink.

Want to learn more? Visit our growing list of children’s books about women scientists at Science Books for Kids, including:

 

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (February 4, 2020)
ISBN-10: 0897339339
ISBN-13: 978-0897339339

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher 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.

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.

#Nonfiction Monday Wood, Wire, Wings by @kirstenwlarson

Just in time for Women’s History Month we have the picture book biography Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane by Kirsten W. Larson and illustrated by Tracy Subisak.

*****

Emma Lilian Todd loved to tinker. As a child she made a weather vane and took apart a clock. As an adult, she made model airplanes and tested their designs until she was ready to build a real one. Could she achieve her dreams and get a flying machine off the ground?

With text that soars, Kirsten W. Larson reveals the compelling story of a woman whose contributions might otherwise be forgotten. She draws young readers in and establishes the setting with a fascinating collection of inventions made around the time Lilian Todd was growing up. She then cements their interest with details of Lilian’s childhood love of tinkering. Finally, she uses Lilian Todd’s own words to describe what she was thinking during the significant events of her young life.

Tracy Subisak’s lovely illustrations lend just the right amount of airiness to match the theme of flight. At times it seems like young Lilian might fly right off the page. Learn more about Tracy Subisak and how she created the illustrations in a recent interview at Writing and Illustrating Blog.

Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane will thrill young inventors as well as budding historians. It is also a perfect example of how picture book biographies should be done. Check out a copy today!

Related activities:

A book about a maker -tinkerer- inventor begs to be extended with activities.

1. Visit a museum that celebrates the early pioneers of flight.

Glenn Curtiss Museum

2. Make a paper airplane.

Encourage youngsters to make their own paper model airplanes and fly them.

Check our How to Make a Paper Airplane Pinterest board for suggestions.

paper-airplane-pinterest-board3. What better month than windy March to make and fly a kite?

 

 

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Calkins Creek (February 25, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1629799386
ISBN-13: 978-1629799384

Disclosure: The book was provided 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.

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

Also read for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020

New #kidlit #Nonfiction Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

For the the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020 we have a new title that is sure to create a buzz, Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann.

If you have any interest in nonfiction picture books or honeybees at all, you need to read this one. Both the text and the illustrations are phenomenal!

The concept is straightforward enough, follow the life of a single adult worker honeybee from emergence from the pupal chamber, starting with:

One summer morning deep in the nest,
a brand-new honeybee
squirms,
pushes,
chews through the wax cap of her solitary cell and into…

Just because the story follows an adult, doesn’t mean that the life cycle is missing stages. The worker becomes a nurse bee and tends to the eggs and larvae, so the full life cycle is represented.

After reading this book, my first reaction was that this is a textbook example of how children’s nonfiction should be written. It is full of active verbs, sensory details, and a lovely thread of repetition (about flying) that keeps the reader turning pages. Plus, following the life of a single bee gives it a relatable and memorable structure.

If readers will find anything objectionable about the book at all, it is that it takes the honeybee’s life right to her end. Her death is sad, but tastefully done. The next spread shows a new worker emerging.

Illustrations in Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera are amazing!

Eric Rohmann’s illustrations knock it out of the ballpark. The detailed close-ups make the reader feel like they are right in the hive with the bees. The gatefold-spread section of the honeybee going on her first flight is beyond breathtaking.

The backmatter includes a guide to honeybee anatomy, a section about helping honeybees, and more facts about honeybees.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera is the ultimate book about these fascinating and important creatures. You don’t want to miss this one!

Related Activities

Fly over to Growing With Science Blog for honey bee STEAM activities .

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (February 4, 2020)
ISBN-10: 0823442853
ISBN-13: 978-0823442850

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.