Tag: nonfiction science picture books (Page 1 of 5)

Night Creatures #kidlit Soars and Slinks

Today we are featuring the first in a series of fabulous STEAM picture books that are coming out this month, Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep While You Sleep by Rebecca E. Hirsch and illustrated by Sonia Possentini.

Even though we don’t see them as often, about half of the animals on the planet are nocturnal (active after dark). This book is a wonderful introduction.

The book starts in a soft, lyrical settling-down-to-bedtime voice.

A cool night breeze
blows softly on your face
As night creatures wake…

Soon, your heart begins to race as bobcats leap, owls pounce, and rabbits run away.  No worries, however, because the quiet descends again as night turns into day.

Young readers will enjoy Sonia Possentini’s marvelous illustrations. Possentini uses a pallet of blues, greens and black tree silhouettes to reflect nighttime, but also capture the warm hues of a bobcat’s coat or an owl’s feathers.

In the concise and informative back matter, learn more details about the featured animals.

Night Creatures is a celebration of animals that are active when many people are sleeping. Slip into a copy and discover what you have been missing.

Related Science Activities:

Check out the incredible free activity guide to download. Seriously! Perfect for any unit on nocturnal animals. Rebecca has instructions for taking a night hike, as well as activities that reflect how your senses change in the dark. What might you touch and feel? How might your color vision change? What might you hear? What might you smell?

In this video, listen to some of the sounds you might expect to hear at night. Note:  The video is silent except for the parts with the animal sound recordings.

 

Consider having a moth ball, which is a nighttime moth watching party (previous post).

See our growing list of children’s books about nocturnal animals at Science Books for Kids.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 10 years
Publisher:  ‎ Millbrook Press ™ (September 7, 2021)
ISBN-10 : ‎ 1541581296
ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-1541581296

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically 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.

 


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

#STEMfriday #kidlit: Fearless World Traveler

Today we have a new picture book biography, Fearless World Traveler: Adventures of Marianne North, Botanical Artist by Laurie Lawlor and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander.

You may not have heard of Marianne North, but she was a fascinating woman. She grew up privileged and sheltered in England. Her father was a member of Parliament who owned multiple homes. On the other hand, her parents said she had no need for an education and insisted she get ready for marriage. Instead, Marianne taught herself to paint and immersed herself in nature whenever she got the chance. After her father passed away, Marianne began to travel the world. She made up for lost time by accurately painting every plant she could find. In the remaining years of her life, she produced more than 848 paintings, most of which she donated to Kew Gardens (see photograph of some of the display below).

Why is North’s work considered to be scientific? It is because she advanced the field of botanical illustration. Her technique of painting specimens in their natural environment rather than isolated on a light background was groundbreaking. The fact, she documented so many rare plants with such accurate detail that several of them are named in her honor.

As for the book, Becca Stadtlander’s lush illustrations are a fitting tribute to Marianne North’s art. Readers will want to get lost in them. And Marianne North’s story is captivating. Readers will want to visit it again and again.

Fearless World Traveler will appeal to a variety of young readers, including those interested in history, travel, plants, art, and science. Pick up a copy and join the adventure!

Suggested STEAM Activities:

1. Make a botanical illustration.

For inspiration, first visit the Kew’s Virtual Gallery to see scans of Marianne North’s paintings, organized by place and by plant type.

Gather some plants. Consider houseplants or vegetables, too. Note:  avoid sampling plants you can’t readily identify because some plants can be poisonous. Also, make sure you have permission to gather plants. Collecting plants can be forbidden in certain public spaces, such as parks.

Examine the plants from a scientific standpoint. What kind of plant is it? Does it have any unique features? Identify the parts of the plants (previous post) and other details (inside plants post).

There are many instructions for drawing and painting plants for different grades or ages online. The video below has a nice introduction to botanical illustration and explains how to use plaster cloth to make a botanical impression.


The lesson is available for download as a PDF at the Blick website.

 

2. Incorporate scientific illustrations in a nature journal.

If you are interested in nature journals, speed over to the Exploring Marianne North website. Toward the bottom of the page they are currently offering a PDF booklet put together by volunteers. It chronicles some of North’s travels, a wonderful mix of history and art. The illustrations are amazing!!! Caveat:  the text is in old-fashioned cursive, so may be difficult for young children to read.

LitLinks blog also has some great ideas about how to introduce children to the art of keeping a nature journal.

3. Make a leaf collection

There are many, many ways to make a leaf collection.

Plants and art are a perfect mix.

 

Reading age : 6 – 9 years
Publisher : Holiday House (May 11, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 0823439593
ISBN-13 : 978-0823439591

Public domain image of the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens from Wikimedia.

 

Disclosure: 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.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

#Nonfiction Monday #kidlit: Spi-ku for #NationalPoetryMonth

 

Right in time for National Poetry Month (April), we have Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Robert Meganck.

Author Leslie Bulion has a subtly playful approach to spiders.

All spiders are arachnids
But some arachnids
mite not be spiders.

If you like that kind of word play, you are in for a real treat.

Illustrator Robert Meganck also has a subtle sense of humor. For example, in the front endpapers he shows a fly near a spider web. The back endpapers shows the same spider with a small webbed up package. He leaves it up to the reader to figure out what happened to the fly.

Intermingled between poems of different forms — in spite of the title, not all are haiku — is detailed information about spiders, from what they eat to how they build webs.

If the text isn’t enough, there’s extensive back matter as well:

  • Glossary
  • A Few Notes on Poetic Form
  • Spider Identification (scientific names of the spiders in the book)
  • A “Spider Hunt” activity suggestion
  • For Further Study (Books and websites)
  • A cool info-graphic of the relative sizes of all the spiders
  • Identification of the spiders on the cover.

Readers are likely to find something new every time they read the book.

Spi-ku is perfect for budding arachnologists and poets alike. Investigate a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

  1. Visit Leslie Bulion’s website to download an awesome teachers guide and folding spider booklet activity.
  2. Read and discuss “Allowables” by Nikki Giovanni (MSU Poetry websitefor example).
  3. Reading Rockets has whole page about National Poetry Month, including interviews with poets and activity suggestions.
  4. Write a spider poem.
  5. See our beginners guide to identifying spiders (previous post)
  6. Check out more children’s books about spiders at Science Books for Kids.

Reading age : 8 – 12 years
Publisher : Peachtree Publishing Company; Illustrated edition (March 1, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1682631923
ISBN-13 : 978-1682631928

Disclosure: This book is my personal copy. 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.

 


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

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