Skip to content

After writing about saguaro flowers last week, I came across a lovely new children's book about them, The Night Flower by Lara Hawthorne.

Lara Hawthorne is an illustrator so it is no surprise this book is an incredible visual treat. The first thing you notice is the stunning cover with a bold white saguaro flower standing out against the black background of night. The image above doesn't do it justice because because many of the details are outlined with a metallic shiny gold. It has a luminescent 3-D effect. Check out the illustrations at her website.

Inside, the book starts with an informational paragraph about the saguaro cactus. From there gentle rhyming text takes the reader on a journey through one day and night in the desert. Along the way readers meet many different animals and learn about the role the saguaro plays in their lives.

You won't want to skip the fully-illustrated back matter. Hawthorne describes the life cycle of the saguaro and names the parts of the plant. Next she asks "Did you spot...?" In a two page spread she shows the different creatures mentioned in the text, giving more information about each and challenging the reader to go back through the book to find them. She ends with a glossary of the scientific terms she used.

The Night Flower is a beautiful introduction to a unique plant and its habitat. It is perfect to accompany a unit on deserts or plants, or to prepare for a trip to Arizona. Poke around in a copy today!

Related:

See this previous post for hands-on activity suggestions related to saguaro cacti.

For more information, check out our growing list of children's books about deserts at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 3 - 7 years
Publisher: Big Picture Press (March 12, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1536206164
ISBN-13: 978-1536206166

Disclosure:  This book was provided by our local library. 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. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

2

For STEM Friday we have the combined natural history comic and leveled reader for kids, We Dig Worms by Kevin McCloskey.

Kids of all ages are attracted to cartoons. The art helps tell the story and the humor makes it fun to read.

However, that doesn't mean cartoon illustrations shouldn't be taken seriously. This book has an underpinning of solid scientific facts. For example McCloskey shows the anatomy and life cycle of earthworms,

emphasizes the importance of earthworms in their natural habitat -- as food for other animals, for their role in the decomposition of plant waste, and as aerators of the soil --

and includes discussions of earthworm behavior.

Earthworms are great!

On repeat readings, you will likely notice other details that make We Dig Worms a special experience. At the beginning of the book (end papers), a worm is coming out of its burrow. At the end, the worm goes back into its burrow. Also, the illustrations are done on paper grocery bags to emphasize the theme of recycling. There is a lot to observe and talk about.

As if that weren't enough, in the back matter are tips and suggestions for parents and teachers on how to read comics with kids, with emphasis on going "for the shared pleasure." Wonderful!

We Dig Worms is a resource that young readers will want to return to again and again. Pick up and enjoy a copy today!

Suggested activities to accompany the book

Looking for a project on earthworms? You might want to consider vermiculture (worm composting). Providing a safe habitat for worms, feeding them, and being able to observe them closely can lead to valuable learning. All it requires is a container, bedding (like shredded newspapers and paper bags), vegetable food scraps, and worms (available at bait shops and from worm farms).

See:

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: TOON Books (April 14, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1935179802
ISBN-13: 978-1935179801

Disclosure: This book and the copyrighted illustrations were provided by the author. 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. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

If you gaze up at the night sky this weekend you might see some "shooting stars" from the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower.

Going out to look for meteor showers at night can excite an interest in space and astronomy.

It will likely raise questions, too. For example, have you ever considered that some of the stars you see while stargazing at night may have planets circling them? The new picture book Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley and illustrated by Jessica Lanan introduces young readers to idea that planets exist outside our solar system while at the same time exploring the things that make the Earth special.

Although "Goldilocks" in the title might give you the idea that this is a work of fiction, it is actually well-researched, detailed nonfiction. Readers learn about exoplanets, telescopes, the magnetic field, and much more.

What really makes the book work is that readers are guided on their path to discovery by a young girl who is shown in most of the illustrations (see the cover). As she moves on her journey from a park through a visit to a planetarium and back home to look at the night sky, the illustrator creates a story line that children relate to and understand. This is picture book nonfiction at it finest.

Just Right is guaranteed to thrill budding astronomers. It is also perfect for units on planets or space. Look up a copy today!

Age Range: 5 - 9 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (January 29, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1250155339
ISBN-13: 978-1250155337

Check out our growing list of children's books about planets and the solar system at Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. 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.