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Garbage in Space

Garbage in Space
by Margaret J. Goldstein (Author)

Booktalk: Did you know that companies and governments send more than one hundred satellites into space every year? And that most of those satellites continue to orbit Earth–even after they have stopped working? More than 500,000 old satellites, pieces of metal, and other bits of junk currently pollute Earth’s orbit. And that number is growing.

Snippet:

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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Bugs! An Animal Planet Chapter Book

Bugs! (Animal Planet Chapter Book)
written by James Buckley, Jr.
2017 (Liberty Street)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

There are about 10 quintillion (19 zeroes) individual insects alive at any given time. There are about 7 billion human beings on Earth. That means insects outnumber us by 1 trillion to one!

You’re at a cookout. You forgot your bug spray and you haven’t eaten or worn enough garlic. If you say, “There must be a million mosquitoes out here.”, you may not be exaggerating. I say know your enemy! That would be chapter 9 where you can also read about flies and fleas. Now, not all insects are enemies. Many are quite helpful. For example, in chapter 11 you will read about bees and wasps. How are wasps helpful? Would you rather have a tarantula or a female tarantula hawk wasp that will dispose of a tarantula for you? I’m going with the wasp. This chapter book is loaded with insect information. It’s like you are buying seven or eight picture books work of information for the price of one chapter book. That’s a bargain! The first of three Bug Bites (a quick snack of facts) and two chapters of the book cover basics like anatomy, why insects are insects, and life cycles. Don’t forget to pick your favorite version of the head, thorax, abdomen song to sing. From there, you’ll get nine more chapters about different aspects (moving, insect senses) and species (ants, beetles, butterflies, mantids) of insects. Inside each chapter is a two page Fact File that goes further in depth with more information. Did you know about the Arctic woolly bear caterpillar? It has a chemical like antifreeze in its body to keep from freezing.
In the back matter, there is a list of 13 of the 31 insect orders in the world. Within these lists of orders, there are estimates about the number of species in the order and examples of some of those species. This is fascinating stuff!

I appreciate how crisply James Buckley, Jr. writes this book. Many of the sentences are short and there isn’t any waste here. That’s important when you’re trying to coax a reluctant reader to take on an informational text. You can ask them to read a chapter or even a Bug Bite and have them work on retell and/or summarizing. Pieces of chapters can also be used for working on identifying main idea and supporting details. This book is something buggy that readers will enjoy.

Check out more stuff at NC Teacher Stuff.

The Strongest Man in the World


The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr
by Lucie Papineau (Author) and Caroline Hamel (Illustrator)

Booktalk: North America, late nineteenth century: a little boy is born whose destiny will prove exceptional. Travelling across the Northeast, he will show extraordinary physical strength. Soon, his exploits will spread around the North American continent, then Europe, making him truly the strongest man in the world!

Snippet: Lost, Mr. Gagnon had sprained his ankle and couldn’t walk back to his horse and cart. Rather than running to the village for help, the boy picked him up and carried him on his shoulders to his cart. The man was so impressed that he immediately hired him.

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

The Hidden Life of a Toad

Over at Growing with Science blog today we are featuring The Hidden Life of a Toad by biologist and photographer Doug Wechsler.

the-hidden-life-toad

Many books feature what we commonly call frogs, but hardly any concentrate on their less colorful, bumpy cousins the toads. The Hidden Life of a Toad brings deserved attention to these fascinating creatures. In addition to filling a neglected niche, the book has a great deal more going for it.

First of all, Wechsler went to great lengths to capture high quality images of every step in the toad life cycle, and his photographs are stellar. You can read about what he did to take the photos in the back matter.

Next, as a biologist, his facts are impeccable.

Finally, what is even better is that he has studied children’s literature and his writing is spot on, too. It is full of lively verbs.

One embryo wiggles.

It wriggles.

It jiggles about.

The main text concentrates on toad development and life cycle. Back matter is filled with supplemental information, including a glossary, toad facts, and suggestions for helping toads.

The Hidden Life of a Toad delivers all you can ask for in nonfiction and more. Share it with a budding naturalist today.

See Growing with Science for related activity suggestions.

 

Engineer Academy

Engineer Academy
by Steve Martin (Author)

Booktalk: Practical projects, each carefully designed to introduce the kinds of skills required by real-life engineers, help kids pick up the basics in a fun, hands-on way. Packed full of great illustrations, fun facts, and absorbing activities, it guides readers through each strand of engineering science — Mechanics, Aerospace, Robotics, Energy, and Materials.

Design a robot, learn how to construct a simple car, create levers and pulleys, build paper planes, plus many other educational and inspirational activities — the sky’s the limit!

Snippet:

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

This Book Stinks!

This Book Stinks!
written by Sarah Wassner Flynn
2017 (National Geographic Kids)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

People around the world daily throw away roughly enough trash to fill ten Empire State buildings. 

A book about garbage? Initially you might think that’s a stinky idea. But here’s the thing: What else could you write about that affects everyone as much as this does? All of us create waste and contribute to landfills. That levels the playing field when it comes to background knowledge too, so readers of all abilities can add to discussions.

The facts presented in this book are staggering. What if you told your students that the average person throws away in food the equivalent of 120 pizzas a year? Or that a family of four wastes about $1,500 worth of food a year? More than one quarter of all fresh tomatoes in the U.S. are tossed before they are sold. But a great thing about This Book Stinks! is that it’s not all about amounts of garbage. There is a lot of information about how we can make things better in regards to dealing with waste and how people around the world are doing this right now. For example, Adidas is now developing a sneaker that is made of fishing nets and recycled ocean waste. The last chapter, Take Out the Trash, is devoted to what students can do.

As a teacher, my favorite part of this book are the different formats that are used to convey information. It’s like a buffet of informational text. There are terrific infographics like the spread on pages 60-61 that illustrates how much food is wasted each year. Another presents info on garbage in space. Did you know that about 14 million pounds of space junk is floating up above? Other formats include question and answer, narratives, and flow charts. This is a great book to showcase how many different ways a young writer can reveal facts about a subject.

Students (or adults) may not like taking out the garbage, but This Book Stinks! will help them see it in a whole different way.

Check out more garbage from Jeff Barger at NC Teacher Stuff.

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Prince: The Man, The Symbol, The Music

Prince: The Man, The Symbol, The Music
by Eric Braun (Author)

Booktalk: Prince Rogers Nelson wrote his first song at age seven, and soon taught himself to play the piano, drums, and guitar. In the early 1980s, Prince wondered how to make his music–a mix of pop, funk, soul, and R&B–more appealing to an audience that loved more mainstream rock shows. He ended up making Purple Rain, the hit movie and soundtrack that turned him into a megastar.

Snippet: From an early age, Prince was tuned into music. His mother said that when he was three years old, he would slip away from her in department stores to find the musical instruments. He would play the piano, the organ, or any instrument he could find in the store. “I’d have to hunt for him,” his mother said, “and that’s where he would be–in the music department.”

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.