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During a recent quiet morning walk I spotted something unexpected,

great horned owla great horned owl napping in a cottonwood tree!

I had some questions, so when I got back home I pulled out the new children's informational book Great Horned Owls by Melissa Hill and Gail Saunders-Smith, PhD (Consultant Editor) to find out more (It is Nonfiction Monday, after all.)

Are great horned owls common in the desert? Checking the map of where great horned owls live, it turns out they are found throughout North America and parts of South America. There is even a photograph showing a great horned owl nesting in a saguaro cactus. Another source suggests that great horned owls catch and eat scorpions, which makes sense since they are both active at night. Great horned owls do live in the desert.

Looking at the large photographs in the book, it was also surprising to see that the feathers of the great horned owl vary in color. Some great horned owls are predominately dark like the one in my photograph, some have more reddish-brown feathers, and others are quite pale in color. All have the tall tufts of feathers on their heads, however, that give them the name "horned."

Did you know that owls don't build their own nests? It turns out they use cavities in trees, nests built by other large birds, or even nests built by squirrels as places to lay their eggs. After laying, the female incubates the eggs for about a month, while the male brings her food. Once the baby owls hatch, both parents feed them.

Great Horned Owls helps early readers learn new vocabulary while exploring age-appropriate facts about these fascinating nocturnal creatures. Reading it will allow them to become as wise as owls!

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten - 1
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491460539
ISBN-13: 978-1491460535

Related Activities:

Hear owls hooting,  see highlight videos from a great horned owl nest cam, as well as visit an extensive list of great horned owl FAQs from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Related books from Capstone:

Burrowing Owls by Melissa Hill and Gail Saunders-Smith, PhD (Consultant Editor) is another title from the new Owls series.

Burrowing owls are small owls that live in tunnels in the ground. They are also commonly found in the desert.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491460466
ISBN-13: 978-1491460467

Why Do Owls and Other Birds Have Feathers? (Animal Body Coverings) by Holly Beaumont is new title that explains how owls use their feathers to keep warm and to fly, among other things.

Age Range: 5 - 7 years
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1484625382
ISBN-13: 978-1484625385

Don't forget our growing list of books about birds for children at Science Books for Kids.

childrens-books-for-young-birdwatchers

Disclosure: These books were 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.

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What better way to launch our week of ocean science books and activities than with a new children's biography of marine botanist and ocean conservationist Sylvia Earle, Sylvia Earle: Ocean Explorer (Women in Conservation) by Dennis Fertig?

sylvia-earle-ocean-explorer

Most of us go to the beach and marvel at the the beauty of the ocean, but we rarely get even the smallest glimpse of what is happening under the waves. Sylvia Earle has had a different experience because she is an explorer. Over her lifetime she has delved deeply into the oceans and learned as much as she can about what is happening under the sea, logging in more than 7,000 hours underwater. Now she shares her passion and knowledge with others.

As appropriate for a children’s book, the book starts with Earle’s childhood. Sylvia Earle spent her early years on a farm in New Jersey, where she remembers visiting the Jersey Shore at the age of three and discovering the power of the ocean. When she was twelve, Sylvia and her family moved to Dunedin, Florida. Suddenly, she had a beautiful ocean to investigate right in her own backyard. She jumped in and her life was changed forever.

Dr. Earle learned to scuba dive as a teenager, and then began studying marine botany. She earned her doctorate in 1966. Since that time, she has been pushing the boundaries of marine science, diving, and more recently, ocean conservation. Her passion has been rewarded, as she has been given over 100 awards and recognitions for her work, including Time magazine's recognition as the first "Hero for the Planet" in 1998. She has also been in the news in the last few months because she is the subject of a new documentary, Mission Blue (official trailer).

In addition to being packed full of information about Sylvia Earle's life, this book is illustrated with numerous color photographs. The back matter includes an extensive timeline and glossary, as well as suggestions for places to visit to learn more about oceans. It also has a list of three things people can do to help oceans starting today.

Sylvia Earle: Ocean Explorer is will be a hit with children who are interested in oceans, in science, in women's history, and/or in conservation. The incredible story of Sylvia Earle’s life is sure to inspire future explorers and conservationists alike.

Related:

2009 TED Talk

Age Range: 8 - 11 years
Grade Level: 3 - 6
Publisher: Heinemann InfoSearch (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 148460475X
ISBN-13: 978-1484604755

 

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This post is part of our ocean science series. Visit the landing page for links to all the related posts.

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Disclosure:  This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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

Let's get back to our science roots this week with an exciting new chemistry experiment book for young kids. Make It Change! (Whiz Kid Science) by Anna Claybourne, and illustrated by Kimberly Scott and Venetia Dean introduces some easy-to-do hands-on chemistry activities that are sure to intrigue and inspire kids.

make-it-change-book

Rather than coming right out and saying, "This is a chemistry book!" Claybourne instead uses the theme of change to tie the activities together. It works very well, and for those who are ready, the underlying science is there to find.

Are these unique, groundbreaking experiments? No, you will recognize the twelve activities, such as plastic bag ice cream and exploding soda. The difference is the instructions are clear, there are suggestions for troubleshooting, the science behind the activity is revealed and suggestions for extending the activities are included. For example, the exploding soda activity emphasizes that there are gases dissolved in the soda that are released when the candy is added, and asks the question whether crushing the candy before adding it would make it work better. The activities are all clearly presented and consistent.

The illustrations add an element of fun as well as help illuminate the instructions. Colorful photographs draw attention to the related scientific facts included in sidebars.

All in all Make it Change! is a wonderful book to have on hand for a unit on chemistry for elementary-aged kids or to have some weekend science fun. It is just what an educator or parent would want to inspire kids to get excited about science.

Want more?

Visit our Growing With Science experiment archive and scroll down to chemistry for links to activities

Zoom Science has chemistry activities for kids

popular-chemistry-books-for-kidsDon't forget our growing list of popular chemistry books for kids.

Grade Level: 2 - 4
Series: Whiz Kid Science
Publisher: Raintree (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1410967468
ISBN-13: 978-1410967466

 

Our review today is being shared for Nonfiction Monday on the new Nonfiction Monday FaceBook page. Edit: Nonfiction Monday is experiencing some difficulties, but try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

nonfictionmonday

Disclosure:  This books was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.