STEM Friday #Kidlit Waiting for a Warbler

Today we’re highlighting a new informational fiction picture book, Waiting for a Warbler by Sneed B. Collard III and illustrated by Thomas Brooks.

The story is told in two separate strands. The main text shows two children, Owen and his sister, as they watch for birds to return to their area. They particularly anticipate the arrival of the Cerulean warbler whom they had briefly spotted the year before.

The second strand follows a group of migrating birds as they take the harrowing journey north across the Gulf of Mexico. It is intense and fraught with danger.

The story switches back and forth between the two story lines before converging. Along the way, readers learn about the importance of providing habitat for birds.

Thomas Brooks has a background as a scientific illustrator, which is readily apparent. Although the illustrations have a soft focus rather than being photo real, the birds look like they can fly off the page. The baby birds are adorable.

The backmatter (we love backmatter) includes an “Author’s Note”, birding information for kids, and guidance for using native plants to transform yards into bird and wildlife habitats.

Waiting for a Warbler is perfect for young birdwatchers and nature lovers. They will likely want to return to it again and again. Enjoy a copy today!

Related:

Check out more books by Sneed B. Collard III (links to reviews here or at Growing With Science). Many of the posts have activity suggestions.

See the bird category at Growing with Science for many more hands-on activity suggestions based on children’s books.

And be sure to visit our growing list of children’s books about bird migrations at Science Books for Kids.

 

Reading age : 6 – 8 years
Publisher : Tilbury House Publishers (February 2, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 0884488527
ISBN-13 : 978-0884488521

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher. 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.

#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.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Numbers in Motion

 

 

Today’s picture book biography puts the M in STEM:  Numbers in Motion: Sophie Kowalevski, Queen of Mathematics by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg.

 

Laurie Wallmark specializes in biographies of women in STEM and for this book she has chosen a lesser-known subject for much-deserved recognition.

Sophie Kowalevski grew up observing the pages of calculus problems her father had used to paper her bedroom walls. The desire to understand the intriguing symbols propelled her to study advanced math. Later she became a prominent mathematician — the first to earn a doctorate at an European university — and professor in a time when women weren’t even allowed to enter many college campuses. Sophie broke down barriers for women who came after her.

Public domain image from Wikipedia.

Why Sophie?

In a recent interview, author Laurie Wallmark mentioned that she looks for two criteria when considering a subject for a picture book biography. First, she looks at how much material is available for research. In this case Laurie found a rich source of information because Sophie Kowalevski wrote extensively, including about her own life in her own words. Laurie found so many facts that there are four full pages of back matter,  which spills over into the end papers.

Next Laurie looks for hooks that will make the subject’s life interesting to young readers. She realized that Sophie’s work using mathematics to describe the motion of spinning tops would be fun and understandable to non-mathematicians. She was right!

Illustrations

Sophie grew up in Russia. Yevgenia Nayberg was a perfect choice to illustrate her life because she studied art in Russia. She uses a light touch with Sophie’s life, then makes Sophie’s math vibrant. In one scene the tops look like they are going to spin right out of the book. Her approach makes sense because those were the things Sophie cared the most about.

Numbers in Motion will inspire budding mathematicians and historians alike. Readers will likely end up wanting to learn more about this remarkable woman. Investigate a copy today.

Related:

For a STEM activity to accompany the book, make or find tops and play with them.

This video shows how to make a simple top with a CD and a marker. Hacks:  try to find markers with a rounded tip and the better you balance it, the better it will spin. If your marker is narrow, fill the gap by rolling tape around it as evenly as possible. No clay? Hot melt glue will also work to hold the marker in place, although it is a more permanent solution.

You can also decorate it (another video). Or if you have the DIY gene, try more methods to make spinning tops.

Visit our growing list of children’s books about women who count at Science Books for Kids.

 

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Creston Books (March 3, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1939547636
ISBN-13: 978-1939547637

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 #Kidlit Secrets of the Loon by Laura Purdie Salas

 

Tomorrow is the book birthday for a beautiful new picture book, Secrets of the Loon by Laura Purdie Salas and Charles Dayton.

Loons are water birds that live in lakes in northern North America in the summer where they dive under the water to catch fish and other small swimming animals. They are known for their haunting calls that travel great distances over the water, and for their striking black and white plumage.

According to a recent interview with Chuck Dayton, Secrets of the Loon started with his amazing photographs of loons taken over years spent at a family retreat on a lake in Minnesota. He wasn’t, however, used to writing for children, so his editor brought fellow Minnesotan and prolific children’s author/poet Laura Purdie Salas on board to write the main text. The combination is a winning one.

The main story, which is written in rhyme, follows the life of a loon named Moon from hatching to taking off for her first migration flight.

Below white pines at water’s edge,
in guarded nest of mud and sedge,
squeezed inside an olive egg,
bill meets wing meets folded leg.

Dayton’s original text is included as four pages of back matter, revealing some amazing facts. For example, loons have heavy bodies, which makes it hard for them to lift off out of the water. Once in flight, however, they can fly faster than a cheetah can run. Wow!

Secrets of the Loon is a must-read for budding ornithologists, especially ones who live near lakes where loons swim. It is also a treat for the rest of us who wish we could visit a cold lake and listen to these fascinating birds. Dive into the book today!

Related:

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 28, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1681341581
ISBN-13: 978-1681341583

Interested in more children’s books about birds? Check our growing list at Science Books for Kids.

 

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher. 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.