Welcome to the October 21, 2011 edition of STEM Friday.
Are you looking for Science, Technology, Engineering or Math children's books? Then you've come to the right place. We've gathered some of our favorites here today.
My submission today is the wonderful new book that is coming out next week, Coral Reefs by Jason Chin.
Have you ever been so immersed in a really good book that you felt like you entered a new world? In Coral Reefs, Jason Chin's illustrations show a young reader experiencing just that when she picks up a book about coral reefs and enters a glorious underwater world of corals, fish and sea turtles.
If you saw Jason Chin's previous book, Redwoods, you will know what an interesting mix of highly imaginative watercolor illustrations (fictional) and straight nonfiction informational text to expect. This time the reader picks up a book at a city library and is swept into what the author calls the "cities of the sea," the coral reef community. The reader floats through every underwater scene, carrying her (magically intact) book with her.
Having the child reader in every illustration gives interesting advantages. It gives a clear sense of scale. It also draws the real reader into each scene, giving him or her more of a sense of participation. Finally, each illustration is so different from what is typical of a nonfiction book that it really takes time to study and absorb all the nuances. Clearly, capturing the child's imagination has a potential to lead to greater understanding of the topic.
Jason Chin thoroughly researched his book, including a visit to the coral reef off the coast of Belize. His personal experiences give to real "depth" (sorry) to the book. Did you know that some sea turtles graze on the sea grasses that grow in lagoons that form behind coral reefs? Or that the biggest fish in the world, whale sharks, visit the reef in Belize each spring to feed on eggs of spawning fish? Coral reefs are dramatically important sources of food for ocean dwellers.
In the backmatter, Chin has included a page about how coral reefs are threatened and some straightforward ways to help prevent further loss. He also shows a cross section of the structure of a typical coral reef and more information about the symbiotic relationship between the coral organisms and algae that live inside them.
Even the endpapers are informative, showing soft pencil sketches of various sea creatures with their names and size ranges underneath. It gives the feel of sketches in a nature journal.
This book would be a fabulous addition to a unit on marine habitats or to tuck into the bag for a read at the beach. Follow up with a visit to your local aquarium or even better, a snorkeling trip to a real coral reef.
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Flash Point (October 25, 2011)
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If you would like to participate in STEM Friday in the future, go to the new STEM Friday blog for more information.
Book was provided by publisher for review purposes.