June 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Turn STEM to STEAM: Arts-Themed Nonfiction for Kids │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

The success of the maker space movement underlines the fact that kids want a safe haven for experimenting, crafting, and learning. The power of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) becomes even stronger when combined with literacy. As you plan your lessons or storytimes, make a conscious effort to include art books. Talk about the artwork in picture books you share with students. Make sure your booklists include STEAM titles when appropriate. The following selections by the editors at Junior Library Guild will inspire your creative geniuses.

KREIG, Katherine. Claude Monet. illus. by J.T. Morrow. 24p. Child’s World. 2014. ISBN Claude Monet9781626873483. JLG Level: S35 : Series Nonfiction: Social Studies 3–5 (Grades 3–5).

French painter Claude Monet was not always a famous artist. His early works were considered unfinished by art critics of the day. Monet’s determination to paint in his own style led the way for Impressionism, which brought new colors and techniques to the movement.

Krieg’s introduction to the artist includes a glossary, index, and suggested bibliography. Read an excerpt on the Child’s World site and follow links to the research assistant for supportive content. This title was featured in SLJ’s Series Made Simple.

Fun Things to do with Egg cartonsLAUGHLIN, Kara L. Fun Things to Do with Egg Cartons. 32p. A+. 2015. ISBN 9781476598963. JLG Level: HT35 : Series Nonfiction How-To (Grades 3-5)

While it’s a good practice to recycle trash, it’s much more fun to reuse it to make something. By following simple directions and photographs, kids can create puppets, games, and bird feeders with paper egg cartons. Extension activities allow for even more creativity.

Educators may want to check out fiber artist Laughlin’s Etsy shop and follow her on Twitter. You’ll find even more “egg-citing” ideas on the author’s Pinterest board. FactHound.com sniffed out DIY websites and readalikes. You’ll find her bio at Capstone.

Turning Wax into CrayonsMCKINLEY, Herald. Turning Wax into Crayons. 24p. Cavendish Square. 2014. ISBN 9781627123662. JLG Level: CK2 : Series Nonfiction: Science K–2 (Grades K–2).

Do you ever wonder how a crayon is made? Follow the journey from wax to box as the transformation occurs.

Educators will want to check out the Crayola site for lesson plans, grants, crafts, and more. Collect old crayons and recycle them at CrazyCrayons.com. Teach the Wonderopolis lesson, “How Many Crazy Crayon Colors Can You Color With?” Pair this nonfiction book with the free informational text, “Colorful Crayons: Inside a Crayon Factory” at ReadWorks.org, which includes a quiz.

Grandma BlueMENCHIN, Scott. Grandma in Blue with Red Hat. illus. by Harry Bliss. 32p. Abrams. April 2015. ISBN 9781419714849. JLG Level: E+ : Easy Reading (Grades 1-3).

What is art? It can be something beautiful or funny. It can tell a story or make you feel good. A little boy’s grandma has and can do all of these. Can she be art?

Follow Menchin on Facebook and read about Bliss on the publisher’s website. Readers can find more information and activities on the author’s favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh, on MakingArtFun.com. There’s more about the illustrator’s favorite artist, Honoré Daumier, at Scholastic.

3D PrintingO’NEILL, Terrance & Josh Williams. 3D Printing. 32p. Cherry Lake. 2014. ISBN 9781624311383. JLG Level: HT35 : Series Nonfiction How-To (Grades 3-5).

Who would have ever thought that by drawing a picture on a computer, a child could print a real object? With 3-D printing, kids can make their own creations, but how does it work?

If you’re using Thingiverse to share ideas with other makers and ReplicatorG to convert files, you can get step-by-step instructions in a great overview of the increasingly popular technology from authors O’Neill and Williams. For kids who have their own ideas, they can check out several websites, such as Trimble SketchUp and 123D Catch. You can follow O’Neill on Twitter and Williams at his maker space, All Hands Active. Read an excerpt at Cherry Lake Publishing.

Cool Stuff ot PhotographTURNBULL, Stephanie. Cool Stuff to Photograph. 32p. Smart Apple Media. 2015. ISBN 9781625881908. JLG Level: HT35 : Series Nonfiction How-To (Grades 3-5).

Turnbull provides plenty of tips for a wide range of activities and projects—whether a student is using a digital camera or smart phone. It’s easy to brush up on your photography skills and learn new ones in this practical book for kids of all ages.

Readers may be interested in publishing their own photographs on National Geographic Kids. Kodak posts dozens of lesson plans for incorporating photography in your curriculum or programming. Use the Wonderopolis unit, “How Does a Round Camera Lens Produce a Rectangular Picture,” which includes a video, vocabulary, and a test.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in JLG Booktalks to Go: Spring 2015 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com. (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

Maker Workshop
In this two-week online course, you’ll create a maker program that aligns with your budget and community needs, with personal coaching from maker experts—from libraries and beyond—May 23 & June 6, 2018.