Tag Archives: science

Nonfiction Books Enrich Summer

by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership

What can you and your children do this summer? Read nonfiction books together and you’ll learn fascinating facts, be inspired by incredible events, and maybe find a favorite activity!

Read about people in history or in present day. Delve into other cultures. Find out more about animals, plants, minerals, oceans, mountains, deserts, and jungles. Learn how to create something or develop a new skill.

Nonfiction books are a special type of picture book for children. The best of them tell a story that is relevant to children while incorporating well-researched facts. Nonfiction children’s books are in their own section of the library apart from fiction, arranged by subject.

Try some of these nonfiction picture books and find more books on topics that your family enjoys:

“Island: A Story of the Galápagos” by Jason Chin. Award winning author and artist Jason Chin tells the fascinating life story of an island from birth to old age. With intricately detailed paintings you’ll learn about the unique plants, insects, and animals that live only on the Galápagos Islands, and nowhere else in the world. Chin uses successions of small images and full spreads in glorious color to show the island growing and changing, affecting what can live there. Chin also wrote and illustrated “The Grand Canyon,” “Redwoods,” “Gravity,” and many other exquisite works of non-fiction for children.

“Me, Frida,” by Amy Novesky, illustrated by David Diaz. The story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her determination to create artwork that expressed her feelings. Moving to San Francisco, Frida had to find her way in a new country and develop her own painting style that was unlike her husband’s, the famous muralist Diego Rivera. Children will be inspired by Frida’s belief in herself and courage to follow her dreams.

“A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin” by David Adler, illustrated by John and Alexandra Wallner. In easy to understand text, Adler tells about American statesman Benjamin Franklin, starting with his life as a child and describing his many interests and contributions as an adult in science, writing, inventing, and government. Adler has written over 175 books for children including many biographies and the Cam Jansen series.

“Ranger Rick’s Guide to Hiking” by Helen Olsson. This is not a story but a very practical guide for children on where to go hiking, what to wear, safety precautions, and creative things to do while outside. It’s a “how to” guide that will give children the information and confidence to set out on a trail with the family. Also in the series are children’s guides for camping and fishing.

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Filed under activities, art, exploration, field guides, nature, non-fiction, science books, summer

A Book for Every Child!

by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership

Every child responds to different types of stories. What does your little one love hearing you read the most? There is something for everyone.

Humorous. “Duck in the Fridge” written and illustrated by Jeff Mack. Mother Goose is one type of story to read at bedtime, but why? A little boy finds out that his dad has had some big experiences with ducks! Starting with one duck in his refrigerator, the boy’s dad tells about how it got worse and worse with more animals. Told with an abundance of puns!

Positive Self-Concept. “Thelma the Unicorn” written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey. A pony wishes she could be special. She wants to be a unicorn! When she finds out what it’s like to be a famous celebrity, she realizes that she misses her old life and likes herself just as she is–a pony.

True Tale. “Hero Cat” by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen. Realistic artwork rendered in pastels depicts a drama that really happened. In 1996, an abandoned warehouse began burning and a mama cat rescued her 5 kittens, one by one, from the smoke-filled building.

Concepts. “You are (Not) Small” by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant, Book 1 of 3 in the “Not” series and Winner of the 2015 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. Two fuzzy creatures argue about who is small and who is big, but then even smaller and bigger creatures appear. Who is bigger and smaller now? The story is a great opportunity to talk about differences and if they matter.

Non-Fiction. “Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years” by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield.  “Hi, I’m Earth! But you can call me Planet Awesome.” This story, told from the point of view of The Earth, is both funny and filled with kid-friendly facts. The book includes back matter with more interesting bits of information.

Modern Classic. “Circus Train,” by Jennifer Cole Judd, illustrated by Melanie Matthews.  Circuses may be events of times past, but if you want to experience this American classic happening, “Circus Train” leads the reader through the circus train rolling into town and children and their parents waiting in line and going into the show. Clowns paint their own faces, lumbering elephants dance, and trapeze artists flip. Rhyming text and playful illustrations.

Classic. “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). Published in 1957, this timeless story embraces the premise that the 2 children in the book are home alone–all day–with no parents! The Cat in the Hat, with his red striped hat, finds many activities to fill up the day. This book was presented as a possible alternative to the debatably ineffectual “Dick and Jane” primers. Geisel used the most popular rhyming words (“cat” and “hat”) and created a story that eventually became an acceptable alternative to those primers of the past to help children learn to read.

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Filed under classics, family reading, imagination, non-fiction

Go Buggy for Books!

What’s the difference between a spider and a beetle? Do you know how many legs a butterfly has? How many queen bees live in one bee colony? You can find the answers to all these questions and more in the non-fiction sections of your neighborhood library. The children’s section has its own non-fiction area and you can find books about insects, spiders, and other crawling creatures in the 595s. Ask your librarian to show you around.

Try out some of these books and gain a new appreciation for our multi-legged friends.

“The Beetle Alphabet Book” by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by David Biedrzycki. Big, detailed illustrations of 26 different kinds of beetles have a few short sentences about each. Learn about the huge variety of these hard-shelled insects, from the African Goliath Beetle that is as big as a hand, to the Zinc Metallic Beetle, that looks precious and shiny.

“Honeybees” by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by Carla Golembe, published by National Geographic Society. Easy-to-read scientific facts about honeybees and their fascinating lives are illustrated by with brightly colored paintings. The back of the book has instructions for doing your own Honeybee Dance with a secret code to communicate with a friend.

becoming butterflies“Becoming Butterflies” by Anne Rockwell, pictures by Megan Halsey. Illustrations are created with watercolor and cut paper and show children in school caring for monarch butterfly caterpillars until they change into butterflies. The text tells the story of the life cycle of the monarch and the stages of metamorphosis. Find out what is about to happen when a chrysalis turns dark!

“Make it Work: Insects” by Wendy Baker and Andrew Haslam. One of a series of “Make it Work” books that gives facts, creative projects, and activities about a subject for a multi-sensory learning adventure. In this book you’ll find directions for making different insects out of folded paper and styrofoam as a way to understand insect anatomy. There are also instructions for making a homemade moth trap and a box that can house an ant colony so your child can observe insects like a scientist.

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Explore Summer with Books

Help your children discover the wonder and magic of the outside world this summer with some choice children’s books. You’ll be satisfying their curiosity and giving them experiences that will be happy summertime memories for years to come. You can explore your own backyard, the beautiful night sky, or your vacation spot on the ocean with field guides written especially for young children.

• The “Take Along Guide” collection is a wonderful series of non-fiction books. Learn about seashells, crabs, and sea stars, caterpillars and butterflies, eggs and nests, trees, leaves, and bark, and more!

• “Once Upon a Starry Night: a Book of Constellations” by Jacqueline Mitton and illustrated by Christina Balit brings the sky to life with animals and people that emerge in the glowing patterns of stars.

• “Pop! A Book About Bubbles” is one book in the “Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out-Science” series that features photographs of children on each topic. How fun to blow bubbles, send them off into the warm summer sky, and then learn how and why they work!

There are also plenty of stories about summertime activities that feature children on adventures picking berries or chasing after butterflies.

• “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McClosky is a classic written in 1949 that young children today will still find fascinating. As a mother and daughter set off to pick blueberries so they will have some fruit to can for the winter, a mother bear and her cub set off to find blueberries to eat on the same hillside. As the story unfolds, we see how both mothers and the two children have more in common than just loving blueberries.

• “Summer Days and Nights” by Wong Herbert Yee was just published in 2012. This is a delightful story of a little girl enjoying a beautiful summer day from sun-up to bedtime. Told in gently rhyming verse the author describes the delights of daytime and nighttime summer fun, which will give you and your child many ideas for things to do and explore.

• “Beach Day” by Karen Roosa, illustrated by Maggie Smith, is a favorite of very young children. Two-year-olds will love the sandy beach images and the sing-song text. “Waves roar, rush and soar! Rolling, crashing to the shore.” From water-skiers to picnic blankets, this book encompasses an entire joy-filled day at the ocean.

After you read a new book together, you will most likely learn some new words that you can put right to use as you enjoy time as a family. Happy summer reading!

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Filed under children's books, family reading, science books