Author Archives: Roberta

Have you ever wondered what life is like for insects?

For example, take these aphids feeding on a sunflower stem. Look at how spiky the stem looks from a closer perspective. Must make getting lunch a bit more challenging, don't you think?

We usually consider aphids to be fairly sedentary. They put their straw-like mouthparts into the plant and stand sucking the juices. Do they ever get uncomfortable? Too hot? Too full?

Just as I was pondering this, the biggest aphid pulled out her mouthparts and walked away, leaving the tiny nymphs behind.

Apparently aphids aren't so sedentary after all.

For Nonfiction Monday we have a new Middle Grade book, Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever by Sneed B. Collard III.

It's a great title, but how much fun is the book, really? 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 sample:

"The thorax, or middle part, of an insect is its transportation center. Insect manufacturers always attach an insect's legs to its thorax. If you see an insect with legs on its head, don't buy it!"

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 the number of species in other animal groups comes through loud an clear, regardless of any humor. If adding superheroes to the mix makes a reader pay more attention, then good for Mr. Collard.

Some parts appear to be serious. The illustrations are color photographs, most 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. Check out a copy today.

Related:

Age Range: 9 - 12 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (March 21, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1580896421
ISBN-13: 978-1580896429

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title or cover links and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

With the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS ), people of all ages are forgetting how to use or create maps. This is an issue because maps aren't just for finding our way to Grandma's house. Not only are they useful for organizing information visually, but they are also a relevant way to develop the spatial relations skills that are so useful in many careers.

We often underestimate the ability of young children to learn how to read and understand maps. That's why a resource like the new nonfiction picture book Mapping My Day by Julie Dillemuth and illustrated by Laura Wood is such an asset for educators.

Mapping My Day introduces basic map concepts and vocabulary through a day in the life of a young girl named Flora. 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 all before breakfast.

The back matter includes a "Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals" with explanations of why mapping skills are so important and an extensive section explaining map concepts with suggestions for numerous activities. Activity pages to encourage children to try out their mapping skills are included.

Mapping My Day explores an important topic that is often ignored. Educators will find it to be a valuable resource.

Related:

  1. Download the activity pages from the back matter for free at the Magination Press website (publishing arm of the American Psychological Association)
  2. Learn NC has an extensive discussion about Map skills and higher-order thinking for educators
  3. Read a book and do an activity for Pi Day from a previous post at Growing with Science

Pi Day is coming up on Tuesday March 14 (3/14). It's a fun way to celebrate the mathematical constant π and all things math.

What does mapping have to do with math and Pi Day? Although often associated with geography, mapping is a way to present visual information that is useful in many STEM fields. Think of genome maps for genetics. Or, how about all the coordinates you learn about in geometry? Mapping is everywhere.

Explore more children's math books for Pi Day and every day at Science Books for Kids.

list-math-books-for-pi-day

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Magination Press; 1 edition (March 13, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1433823330
ISBN-13: 978-1433823336

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.