STEM Friday for October 21

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)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596435631
ISBN-13: 978-1596435636

Secret of the Sleepless Whales…and More!
by Ana Maria Rodriguez

at Ana’s Nonfiction Blog

My Friend the Box Turtle
by Joanne Randolph

At NC Teacher Stuff

Tracks in the Sand by Loreen Leedy is now out of print,

but is available as an iBook

at Loreen Leedy Books

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
By Georgia Bragg
Illustrated by Kevin O’Malley

at Simply Science

Explore Simple Machines!: 25 Great Projects, Activities, Experiments (Explore Your World series)
By Anita Yasuda

at Nomad Press

Garbage: Investigate What Happens When You Throw It Out with 25 Projects (Build It Yourself series) by Donna Latham

at Wrapped in Foil

Uninvited Guests: Invisible Creatures Lurking in Your Home (Tiny Creepy Creatures)
by Jennifer Swanson

at Chapter Book of the Day

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.


  1. Shirley

    I hit the wordpress logo and now I can’t remove it! Interesting start to a long day!

  2. Ana Maria Rodriguez

    Sorry to bother you, Roberta, but although I could see the “Secret of the Sleepless Whales” book cover when I added my blog to your blog earlier this morning, now the cover is not visible. Good news is the link still works. Any ideas how to fix it. (I cannot see the STEM Friday log from my computer either) Thank you! Ana M

  3. Roberta

    Sorry everyone is having problems with this Linky Tool. I’m going to go ahead and add your books to the post manually and delete the Linky at the end of the day.

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