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This has been a big week for new picture books, but now let's turn our attention to a incredible middle grade title that was released this week, Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean by Patricia Newman and photographs by Annie Crawley.

Planet Ocean gives a global perspective to our ocean. Patricia Newman explains that rather than five oceans, there is actually only one ocean and it covers 70 percent of our planet. It produces the water we need to drink and the oxygen we need to breathe. We all depend on it.

After introducing the importance of the ocean, the book then delves deeply into three specific and very different regions -- the Coral Triangle, the Salish Sea, and the Arctic -- before ending with the stories of young people who have profound connections with the ocean and who are advocates for saving it.

Annie Crawley is an underwater photographer and dive instructor, and her photographs in this book is breathtaking. If nothing else, the side-by-side spread of vibrant, living coral versus a bleached coral reef will make you pause. If you are interested in photography, Annie has a page of pro tips for visual storytelling in the back matter. Plus, throughout the book you will find scan codes that will allow you to use a QR reader on your phone or tablet to view additional visual content by Annie. Talk about making a book come to life!

You can see Annie's amazing work and find out more about the book in this video:

Planet Ocean is a wonderful choice for celebrating Earth Day on April 22 and World Ocean Day June 8. It will appeal to budding oceanographers, marine biologists, conservationists, and up-and-coming underwater photographers. Get involved and pick up a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

Reading age : 9 - 14 years
Publisher : Millbrook Press ™ (March 2, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1541581210
ISBN-13 : 978-1541581210

Disclosure: This book was provided digitally 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. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

Today we have the lovely picture book, Seashells: More Than a Home by team who brought us the fabulous Feathers:  Not Just for Flying (previous review),  Melissa Stewart and Sarah S. Brannen.

 

This title really stands out because it does so much more than describe or identify shells a child might find on the beach. Instead, it breathes life into the creatures that inhabit different seashells by showing how all the various sizes, shapes, and colors help the members of the Phylum Mollusca -- or mollusks -- survive.

How good is it? My friend who is a retired school librarian and I discovered this book on the library shelf at almost the same time. Deciding to see who got to read it first nearly involved arm wrestling...

Other pluses:

Author Melissa Stewart uses the popular dual-layered text. Younger readers can find out the basics about seashells in the large-sized text at the top of the page, whereas older readers can explore more details with the denser, smaller text further down the page.

Sarah S. Brannen's watercolor illustrations incorporate both the mysterious beauty of the seashells and the delight of children when they discover one.

Seashells:  More Than a Home is a wonderful resource for studies on ocean or beach habitats. It would also make a great gift for nature lovers, especially before a trip to the beach. Discover a copy today!

Suggested activities:

  • See the free, downloadable  7-page Teacher's Guide at Charlesbridge (Click the "downloadables" tab at middle of the page).
  • What happens when you put seashells in vinegar? What does this tell you about what they are made of? (See instructions at Scholastic, for example).
  • Sue at Archimedes Notebook has some great activity suggestions, including an art project and a scavenger hunt. She also has a review of the book.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (April 2, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898106
ISBN-13: 978-1580898102

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.

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For STEM Friday, we are highlighting the middle grade title Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact by Jennifer Swanson.

At first the link between exploring the oceans and exploring space might not seem obvious, but the pioneering men and women who add to our understanding of both regions face similar challenges. Lack of oxygen, cold, darkness, and pressure extremes are just some of the trials they have to overcome.

In addition to loads of information about what exploring space and the deep oceans is all about, the book also explains some of the key science concepts:

  • Gravity and microgravity (in space)
  • Buoyancy and density
  • Pressure and temperature
  • Topography

Chapter 3 compares living inside a space habitat like the International Space Station (ISS) and and underwater habitat. Readers learn the two intersect because astronauts get ready for space by training underwater at Aquarius, an underwater research center off the coast of Florida.

Chapter 4 asks and attempts to answer why do humans explore. Why would someone want to become an astronaut or aquanaut? The final chapter wraps up with what some of the discoveries have been in these two areas, and then mentions that some people have suggested the two areas are similar enough that the government agencies NOAA and NASA should be combined.

Scattered throughout the book are three hands-on activities:

  • Sink or Float
  • Docking the ISS
  • Design Your Own Space Suit

The back matter includes brief bios of ten astronauts and aquanauts, including their training and current positions, which is a great resource for children who might be interested in similar careers.

Astronaut-Aquanaut is a must have for future explorers. It also shows where a career in STEM might lead. Explore a copy today!

Related activities:

1. Investigate Buoyancy and Density with Cartesian Divers

Make a Cartesian diverat Science Bob -- has different materials to try and has more suggestions for making a Cartesian diver demonstration a true experiment.

2. Try some astronaut food to accompany the book

It is relatively easy to find novelty astronaut food online, such as:

Astronaut Ice Cream Neapolitan, Mint, Cookies & Cream, Sandwich and Chocolate Chip Freeze Dried Food PACK OF 5

 

Learn more about the book and author at Nonfiction Monday blog

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (January 9, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426328672
ISBN-13: 978-1426328671

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher's representative 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.