STEM Friday #Kidlit A River’s Gifts

Right in time for World Rivers Day (September 25, 2022), let’s jump in with wonderful example of picture book nonfiction,  A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn by Patricia Newman and illustrated by Natasha Donovan.

Running through the book is the story of the Elwha River, which courses from Olympic National Park to the ocean in Washington state.  Centuries ago several varieties of salmon and trout swam up the river to have their young.  Then in the early 1900s people dammed the river, blocking the salmon from swimming upstream and flooding the landscape. The salmon numbers dwindled and wildlife disappeared. But the dams fell into disrepair and members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and others persistently  advocated to get them removed. Finally, in 1992, Congress passed The Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act, allowing for the dams to be demolished. Since that time, the river has made strides towards recovery.

In addition to the uplifting story of the restoration of the river and the salmon, plus the wildlife and people that rely on them, Patricia Newman packs the book with STEM. Young readers will learn about river vocabulary words like headwaters, channels, riverbanks, etc.  Do you know what an alevin is? Find out in the wonderful illustration of the life cycle of salmon.  Learn about the workings of a hydroelectric dam and how the dams were removed. Explore how important salmon are to ecosystems through food webs. See examples of wildlife and other kinds of fish found in and around the river. This book is jam-packed with all the fascinating information needed to truly understand the impact of the main story.

Natasha Donovan’s illustrations (website) are the water that keep it all flowing. In the note in the back matter, she explains that she grew up on the West Coast and had a wealth of sensory experiences to draw on for her work.

A River’s Gifts is one of those special books that fit into many different lessons:  geography, history, science, technology (dams), nature, ecology, art, and literature, to name a few. Essential for American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, Earth Day, and of course, World River’s Day, readers will return to it again and again.  Invest in a copy today!

Related Activities:

The book trailer is lovely.


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 – 12 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Millbrook Press ™ (September 6, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1541598709
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1541598706

Disclosure: This book was provided as an E-ARC 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.

Sunflowers For Bees, Birds, and Butterflies

Every year a small patch of wild sunflowers pops up in my front yard.  And every year I’m amazed at how many living things use them for food and shelter. Take last week:

One flower had this teeny, tiny praying mantis nymph.

This flower was so popular, it had a skipper butterfly and a digger bee. Can you see the bee?

Every morning a small flock of lesser goldfinches hang from the sunflower seed heads, pulling out the seeds. I have never gotten a good photo or video, but this is what they look like:

 

The birds drop and scatter enough seeds so that next year there’s sure to be another patch of sunflowers sprouting up.

Do you grow sunflowers?  What visitors do you see?

#Nonfiction Monday #kidlit: Swoop and Soar

After decades of declining numbers, ospreys are on the rise again. Discover more about how people are helping ospreys recover with the new picture book,  Swoop and Soar: How Science Rescued Two Osprey Orphans and Found Them A New Family In The Wild by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp.

In the first part of the book, we hold our breaths following the perilous journey of two newly-hatched osprey chicks. One night a storm destroys  Swoop and Soar’s nest and the chicks fall to the ground. Nearby, another osprey family has lost their offspring, but still come back to their nest. With a little help from Jane, will the new family adopt the homeless chicks?

What comes after is not so much back matter as a second fascinating book about ospreys and how biologist Jane Veltkamp works hard to rescue them.

The illustrations are glorious full color photographs. The text matches the illustrations perfectly. Some of the photographs will make you ask, “How did they get that?”

With Swoop and Soar, get hooked by the nail-biting story of the chicks, then stick around for some amazing information about ospreys. Highly recommended!

Related activities:

Visit Deborah Lee Rose’s author website for a free educational guide.

Birds of Prey Northwest has additional information about Swoop and Soar and other raptors.

Activity: Check the status of ospreys where you live.

Growing up in western New York state, we  rarely saw ospreys even though we had ponds and lakes everywhere.  Now, a few decades later,  it is common to find the huge osprey nests atop utility poles. It is wonderful that the birds are on the rebound.

Check with your local Audubon Society or bird watching organization to find out whether ospreys are found in your area. Take a trip to look for them.

See our previous post about eagles and ospreys for information on how to identify both birds.

Looking for more children’s books about birds? Check our growing list at Science Books for Kids.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 13 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Persnickety Press (September 5, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1943978565
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1943978564

Disclosure: An e-ARC of 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.

 


Love children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

« Older posts