New STEM books from Pogo

Pogo Books
Fall 2016 (Jump!)
Source: Review copies provided by the publisher

Written at a second grade reading level, each title is packed with infographics, sidebars, activities, and bright, colorful spreads that appeal to young readers.

So I’m looking at Measure It! which is one book in the seriesMath It! from Pogo Books. What catches my eye first are the bold colors. As you flip through the pages, those colors continue to make this an attractive selection. Next, like its sister Bullfrog Books, you have an ideas page for parents and teachers that encourages making this reading an interactive experience, with opportunities to front load and measure things. If you’re going to hawk a STEM book, there need to be plenty of chances to do something active. Measure It! fulfills that requirement with measuring activities on nearly every spread. The choice of content is impressive as readers will relate to pictures of gardens, kittens, and toys as they measure away in their classroom and at home. Another STEM series sure to please is Space Explorers. In Rovers, readers learn how and why rovers are used to explore Mars. The photographs of the surface of Mars are fantastic and readers will enjoy learning how these machines travel and how they work.

One of the big pluses with Pogo Books is the opportunity they give to struggling readers, in upper elementary classes, to dig deep into STEM material without having to worry about decoding. I also like having a culminating activity in the back matter. In Solar Power, part of the Green Planet series, young scientists use a pizza box, a leftover slice of pizza, and other materials to make a solar cooker. Do your students know why roads are treated with salt during an ice storm? After performing the task at the end of Ice Storms,  they will know.

If we are going to make strides with encouraging students to be more STEM oriented, we need engaging content like Pogo Books to be part of our resources.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark


I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
by Debbie Levy (Author) and Elizabeth Baddeley (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.



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Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

My First Book of Hockey

Editors of Sports Illustrated for Kids. My First Book of Hockey: A Rookie Book: Mostly Everything Explained About the Game
September 20th 2016 by Sports Illustrated
Copy provided by Blue Slip Media

Like My First Book of Baseball, this is a good overview of the sport for the youngest readers. Terms, plays and equipment are explained in simple language with a mix of photographs of actual players and cartoon-style font and characters. Not only is this a good format for younger students who are learning about the sport for the first time, it is a great way for English Language Learners to be introduced to a sport.

The explanations of how the game is played are accompanied by diagrams that show the field and a variety of tactics. For parents or older readers, the jokes in the asides will enliven things as well. I was glad to finally find out exactly what a “hat trick” is, although I’m still in the dark as to WHY people throw their hats on the rink after a player’s third goal!

These are a must for elementary school libraries and a great way to hook reluctant or struggling readers in the middle school.

See more reviews at Ms. Yingling Reads.

Band (D.I.Y. Make It Happen)

Band (D.I.Y. Make It Happen)
by Virginia Loh-Hagan (Author)

Booktalk: How do you start a band? Follow the steps in this book to organize your own band for your friends and your community!

Snippet: Do you love singing songs? Do you love playing instruments? Do you love performing? Then starting a band is the right project for you!

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Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Taking Action for Civil and Political Rights


Taking Action for Civil and Political Rights (Who’s Changing the World?)
by Eric Braun (Author)

Booktalk: Do you ever worry about people being treated unfairly? Do you wish you could help make things better? The civil rights activists profiled in this book do that every day. One teenager organized a hunger strike and a protest of 120,000 people to demand voting rights. Three friends started the Black Lives Matter movement by commenting on social media. Another activist started a petition that asked teen magazines to stop altering photos of girls’ bodies. And a farmworker organized other farmworkers and consumers to ask for higher wages and better working conditions. Explore the stories of these inspiring kids and adults, and learn how to start making a difference yourself.


Political candidates and advocacy have long worked hard to get young adults to vote. They know that young voters can be the key to winning elections. But many get-out-the-vote efforts focus on college students and young professionals.

That’s where the Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. comes in. He’s the founder and CEO of a group called the Hip Hop Caucus, an organization that promotes political activism among US voters using hip-hop music and culture.

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Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

In the Shadow of Liberty

shadow-of-libertyIn the Shadow of Liberty

by Kenneth C. Davis

304 pages; ages 10 – 14

Henry Holt, 2016

“Most of us learn something about the US presidents,” writes Kenneth Davis. “But this book is about some people who are not so famous.”

Davis introduces us to five enslaved people who lived with and worked for four famous founding fathers: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson. These enslaved people were bought and paid for by the writers of the Declaration of Independence, the very same men who declared that all men are created equal and fought for their own freedom from another master, the king.

It is fitting that this book hits the shelves now, as September 22, 1862 is the day that President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Under the War Powers act, Lincoln warned that he would order the freedom of all slaves in any state that did not end its rebellion against the Union by January first 1863.

Davis begins his history with a look at how slavery began, and the importation of slaves to the colonies. By 1700, he notes that enslaved people are being imported into Virginia at the rate of 1,000 per year. Each subsequent chapter focuses on the story of one enslaved person and his (or her) connection with a president.

At the end of each chapter is a timeline of slavery in America. These points in history – British banning the slave trade (1804), Thomas Jefferson signing a ban on importing slaves (1807) put the personal stories into a national and international context. Historic photos, cartoons and illustrations from the archives add to our understanding of the history. I appreciate the chapter notes, bibliography, and index.

Read a longer review over at Sally’s Bookshelf.

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Copyright © 2016 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved. Site Meter