Scientists encounter amazing phenomena in their work. Narrative nonfiction provides readers with answers and teachers with informational texts for curriculum standards support. The following science titles, selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild, are sure to foster an interest in knowing more about our world, and the scientists who study it.
In both of today’s nonfiction titles, the authors speak directly to their readers. Both have the potential to become favorites with the right teen reader. First up, Edward O. Wilson’s passionate and inspiring Letters to a Young Scientist. Maybe it’s the time of year, but I can’t help thinking that this would make a terrific graduation [...]
We love Jim Ottaviani’s science graphic novels here at Good Comics for Kids, and his latest one is a real treat. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, illustrated by Maris Wicks, is a delightful book that distills the story of the three women who went out and studied primates [...]
Following Stiff, Spook, Bonk and Packing for Mars, Mary Roach is back with Gulp, in which she maintains her punning, entertaining writing style, as well as her willingness to go to the gross-out extreme. There were actually moments in this book that made me nauseous, and there is one chapter in particular that I believe [...]
It’s your turn to change the world. It’s about time we remixed science fair for a networked, flattened, participatory world. Think of all those experiments year after year that lived for a few fleeting moments on a gym or cafeteria table, summarized on a cardboard tri-fold, only to be trashed days later. Think of all [...]
The Mighty Sky. CD. 31:31 min. with lyrics. NewSound Kids. 2012. ISBN unavail. $14.98.
K-Gr 4–This production is the brain child of Grammy nominee and NAMMY’s Songwriter of the Year (given by the Native American Music Association), Beth Nielsen Chapman. She was joined in the effort by songwriter Annie Roboff and lyricist Rocky Alvey, director of the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory. The trio has put together a fantastic album of 11 songs in various musical styles including rock, doo wop, zydeco, English [...]
On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: More Outstanding Science Books for Elementary Readers
On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Award-Winning Science Books for Elementary Readers
Moonbird: A Year On the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2012. Review copy from publisher. Finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. It’s About: B95 is a rufa red knot, first tagged in Argentina in 1995. Since then, B95 has been seen again and [...]
In October eyes are usually drawn to ghosts, goblins, and things that go bump in the night, but reality can be just as scary. Wasps sting the brain of a cockroach, paralyzing it so that the predator can lay its eggs in the zombified body. Tarantulas liquefy their prey in order to suck up dinner with their stomach muscles. Crocodiles can grow 3000 teeth in their lifetime, but they can’t chew their food. Detection rats use their sense of smell to sniff out explosive land mines. Forest fire beetles can discover a conflagration more than 20 miles away. And there’s nothing more unique than the distinct about the shape of wombat poop.
JOHNSON, Rebecca L. Zombie Makers: . 48p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. CIP. Millbrook. Oct. 2012. RTE $30.60. ISBN 978-0-7613-8633-9; ebook $22.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-0125-9. LC 2011046181.
Gr 5-8–Ratchet up your ick-factor and practice your eeyuw’s because Johnson’s researched text will reveal enough details to cause squeamish (or highly imaginative) readers to quail. Hairworms that cause crickets to commit suicide; jewel wasps that turn cockroaches into walking pantries for their larvae; and a fungus that drives its ant host [...]
Marc Aronson discusses a set of books that looks at the same moment in history from three different angles. Taken together, the three titles offer a more comprehensive picture of a time of invention and discovery than we’d typically get from an individual book: one title focuses on a remarkable genius; another on a breakthrough invention; and the third title, which explores a transforming theory, is really best seen as a moment in which circumstance, individuals, and technology converge to make change possible.
Biographies and introductions on scientists can introduce young readers and listeners to the excitement that inspires a lifetime of study. They can also encourage students to consider such pursuits themselves—now and in the future. From Galileo to Barnum Brown, the titles recommended here range from gorgeously illustrated picture books to exciting stories of phenomenal discoveries supported by clear color photos, generous lists of additional resources, detailed author notes, and website updates.
On the Radar—Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: New Science Nonfiction Supports Common Core
During the last ten years, researchers have learned that elementary students are more likely to read and hear fiction in their classrooms more than informational text. However, if you ever visited an elementary school library, you’d see that far more nonfiction is circulated on average than fiction. Kids love to see the photographs and learn more about their world. Consequently, those books have the commonly known disease of the banana-peel spine. They’ve been read so much their spines are literally peeling off the book. With an increase in emphasis on informational text due to adoption of Common Core State Standards, nonfiction circulation is bound to increase. These new nonfiction releases will satisfy the standards while feeding your starved-for-information students and patrons.
What do scientists do in their laboratories and on their research expeditions? How do they become interested in the subjects they pursue? Biographies and introductions to professionals in the field can introduce young readers and listeners to the excitement that motivates a lifetime of study. They can also encourage students to consider such pursuits themselves—now and in the future.
The plethora of projects and experiments suggested in this handful of recent books offer just such inspiration. Rather than simply providing one bare recipe after another, the collections below combine tested sets of ingredients and clearly described procedures with specific explanations of the physical or chemical principles , relevant historical background, probing questions about results, and tantalizing suggestions for further, more challenging experiments—an approach designed to give children both a stronger grasp on how the natural world works and a systematic method for reaching out to conduct enquiries of their own. More importantly, all convey an enthusiasm for science that requires no intervention from parents or educators to prove contagious.
The Known and the Uncertain: The Special Challenge of Teaching Students to Think Like a Historian or Scientist
One of the joys of reading the Times Literary Supplement (TLS), the British book review journal that arrives in my mailbox more or less on schedule four times a month, is that it periodically includes lengthy essays drawn from lectures or from introductions to new books that are aimed at that borderline place between the educated layperson and the browsing academic. TLS’s editors often group a selection of each week’s works by theme, and its July 6 issue included several interesting reviews related to medieval heresy. One sentence in the piece stopped me in my tracks: “he” (I’ll tell you whom in a moment) “frames what he is not sure of within the boundaries of what he is sure about.”