#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.

#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.

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.

#kidlit On a Snow-Melting Day Inspires Both Science and Poetry @Steamteam2020


Have you seen Buffy Silverman’s delightful picture book, On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring, yet?

If not, you’re in luck. With permission from Millbrook Press, Buffy Silverman reads her book aloud and shares science activity suggestions.

What a perfect way to celebrate spring!

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring

Related Activities

1. There is something about spring that inspires poetry. In fact, April is National Poetry Month.

national Poetry Month

Check the National Poetry Month website for the Dear Poet Activity and videos of poets reading their poems. Write your own ode to spring.

See more poetry activity suggestions and related books in our National Poetry Month category.

2. For a list of STEAM activity websites and suggestions, visit the STEAM Team 2020.

Age Range: 4 – 9 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press TM (February 4, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1541578139
ISBN-13: 978-1541578135


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?