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Stand Up and Sing!

Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice
by Susanna Reich (Author) and Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Pete Seeger was born with music in his bones. Coming of age during the Great Depression, Pete saw poverty and adversity that would forever shape his worldview, but it wasn’t until he received his first banjo that he found his way to change the world. It was plucking banjo strings and singing folk songs that showed Pete how music had the incredible power to bring people together.

Using this gift throughout his life, Pete encouraged others to rally behind causes that mattered–fighting for Civil Rights, ending the Vietnam War, or cleaning up the Hudson River. For Pete, no challenge was too great, and what started out as a love for music turned into a lifetime of activism and change. His greatest talent–and greatest passion–would become an unforgettable part of American history.

Snippet: On a trip to Tennessee in 1957, Pete introduced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the song “We Shall Overcome.”

“That song really sticks with you, doesn’t it?” Dr. King said.

“We Shall Overcome” spread throughout the country. In churches and community halls, at civil rights gatherings and protest marches, people stood arm in arm, their voices forming a bond of hope and determination.

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever

Over at Growing with Science blog today we’re highlighting a new Middle Grade book, Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever by Sneed B. Collard III.

insects

How much fun is the book? Let’s take a look.

Starting out, it is written in an animated conversational tone, with a touch of silliness thrown in. Here’s a brief quote as a sample:

“Fireflies light up because they’re afraid of the dark. Not really!”

The information is handled in a less-than-serious way, as well. For example, there is a table in the introduction comparing the known number of species of different animal groups. Kids might not look too closely until they realize one of the categories is comic-book superheroes (there are more than 1,000 different comic-book superheroes according to the author.) The conclusion that the number of insect species far exceeds that of other animal groups comes through loud an clear, regardless, and if adding superheroes makes a reader pay more attention, then good for Mr. Collard.

Some parts are as the reader might expect. The illustrations are color photographs, mostly taken by the author. On the other hand, on page ten is an illustration of an insect’s anatomy hand-drawn by the author’s son. The back matter includes the standard glossary and index, but no list of books or websites to learn more. Instead the author encourages kids to go outside and observe insects in the real world.

All in all, Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever is a must-have title for budding entomologists and kids interested in biology. It will also appeal to kids who enjoy their nonfiction on the lighter side, making it an excellent choice for reluctant readers. Be sure to check out a copy today.

Look, a Shark!

Look, a Shark!
by Tessa Kenan (Author)

Booktalk: Look out! There’s a shark! Learn all about this famous predator and see full-color photographs of the variety of types, from a small pup (baby shark) to a Great White. Diagrams will help beginning readers identify the body parts of sharks.

Snippet:
There are many kinds of sharks.
One is longer than a bus.
One is shorter than a ruler.

Also available in Spanish as Mira, Un Tiburon!

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Mapping My Day Launches Today

Today is the “birthday” for the new nonfiction picture book Mapping My Day by Julie Dillemuth and illustrated by Laura Wood.

mappin-my-day

Mapping My Day introduces basic map concepts and vocabulary by following main character Flora through her day. She wakes up to a lesson about cardinal directions, races to the bathroom while learning about map scale, and goes outside to use a treasure map full of landmarks. And that’s just before breakfast.

The back matter includes a “Note to Parents and Caregivers” which encourages children to participate and reinforce learning with suggestions for hands-on mapping activities.

You might wonder if, with the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping might be becoming obsolete. Nothing could be further from the case. Maps are ways to present information visually, not only for geography, but also for many other fields including STEM. Plus, spatial skills learned from developing an understanding of maps are important for many careers.

All in all, Mapping My Day is a tool every educator of young children should have in their toolbox.

For more information and related activities, see Wrapped in Foil blog.

Hope you have a happy Pi Day tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

The Secret Project


The Secret Project
by Jonah Winter (Author) and Jeanette Winter (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Go behind the scenes of one of the most secretive scientific projects in history–the creation of the atomic bomb–in this nonfiction picture book.

At a former boy’s school in the remote desert of New Mexico, the world’s greatest scientists have gathered to work on the “Gadget,” an invention so dangerous and classified they cannot even call it by its real name. They work hard, surrounded by top security and sworn to secrecy, until finally they take their creation far out into the desert to test it, and afterward the world will never be the same.

Snippet:

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Pathfinders: the Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls, by Tonya Bolden (ages 10-14)

In her outstanding new book Pathfinders, Tonya Bolden shares the remarkable stories of sixteen African Americans who pursued their dreams, excelling in careers ranging from entrepreneur to race car driver, bank founder to spy.

Pathfinders: the Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls
by Tonya Bolden
Abrams, 2017
preview on Google Books
Amazon / your local library
ages 10-14
*best new book*

This collection of short biographical sketches will inspire today’s young people to go after their dreams. Bolden profiles a wide range of leaders from math and science, business, the arts and legal fields. With each profile, she helps readers understand both the achievements and the challenges:

“Over the centuries countless blacks in America have done amazing things against the odds. Had big, bold dreams, pursued passions. Caught up with their callings. Charted courses to success. Pathfinders.”–preface to Pathfinders

Bolden’s short biographical sketches are engaging and quick to read; timelines and background information help round out the overall picture. This would be terrific to read aloud at home or in class, highlighting different career paths these remarkable individuals pursued.

Read more at my post on Great Kid Books. ©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books