June 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

It’s Natural: Science Picture Books for Storytime │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

Kids love facts. They also like to learn about animals. Take children to the park, and it won’t be long before they find a leaf, a caterpillar, or a rock to take home. It will be easy to appeal to their curiosity in a lesson or STEAM-themed storytime when you choose from the following titles selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild. Add an experiment, or visit the resources suggested, and kids will leave the library with a plethora of new knowledge about their world.

Junas harBAHK, Jane. Juna’s Jar. illus. by Felicia Hoshino. 32p. Lee & Low. 2015. ISBN 9781600608537. JLG Category: CE : City Elementary (Grades 2–6). LiveBinder Resources.

Juna and her best friend Hector have many adventures in the park until he unexpectedly moves away. She still has the kimchi jar that they used for their collections, but who will play with her? Juna is never short on imagination, and her dreams take her on beautiful journeys that lead to friends in unexpected places.

Bahk, winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, features her debut picture book on her home page. Follow her on Twitter. View illustrations from other books on Hoshino’s website. The title is also featured on the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s multicultural blog, BookDragon.

Blue WhaleDESMOND, Jenni. The Blue Whale. illus. by author. 48p. Enchanted Lion. 2015. ISBN 9781592701650. JLG Category: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K–2). LiveBinder Resources.

Readers who pick up this title will absorb a plethora of facts. A blue whale’s heart is as large as a small car, weighing about 1,300 pounds. On land no bone structure can support its weight, but salt in the water keeps the whale afloat. The mammal, however, isn’t really blue: its gray skin only appears that way. What do blue whales eat? How long do they live? How do we know how old they are? Learning about whales has never been so fun!

On her website, the author and illustrator writes that she wants her work to be entertaining, beautiful, and funny. It’s also very informative. Build your lesson or storytime around this title, and include National Geographic Kids or the NOAA’s Kids’ Time article about the mammal. ReadWriteThink and Wonderopolis have lesson plans that can be used as a guide.

Raindrops RollSAYRE, April Pulley. Raindrops Roll. photos by author. 40p. S. & S./Beach Lane. 2015. ISBN 9781481420648. JLG Category: PK : Pre-Kindergarten (Grades PreS-PreK). LiveBinder Resources.

Raindrops Roll is a splash of science with a generous dose of poetry. “Rain waters…and washes…and weights down. It thuds. Makes mud.” Gorgeous close-up photos create even more reasons for readers to linger over the pages.

The book is simply written but features sophisticated vocabulary, and even older readers will want to soak up the rain facts. In fact, the back matter explains processes such as evaporation, magnification, and the water cycle. A visit to Sayre’s website reveals book-related activities, news, and contact information. Follow her on Twitter. The USGS Water Science School offers information on water, including pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center.

Woodpecker WhamSAYRE, April Pulley. Woodpecker Wham! illus. by Steve Jenkins. 40p. Holt. 2015. ISBN 9780805088427. JLG Category: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K–2). LiveBinder Resources.

“Swoop and land. Hitch and hop. Shred a tree stump. Chop, chip, chop!” Sayre and Jenkins reunite for another nature book, this time focusing on woodpeckers. With vivid collage work and descriptive verses full of onomatopoeia, this volume will delight those who enjoyed Eat Like a Bear (2013). This title is perfect for reading aloud, but be sure to allow kids time to take in the illustrations.

For more on the author and illustrator, visit their websites. Visit AllAboutBirds.org, where you can even listen to audio voices of woodpeckers.

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.)

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.