Sunday, November 20, 2016

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America

By: Jonathan Alderfer

Publisher:National Geographic Children's Books
Copyright: 2013
Age Range: 8-12
Format: Paperback

This is a great book to have if your child is interested in birds or bird watching.

The book includes color photographs of 100 species found in North America. The book is divided by location so it is much easier to locate what birds you would most likely see in each area. The book provides information about each species' habitat, diet, and other fun facts.


This pictures in the book are beautiful, my daughter's personal favorite is Anna's Hummingbird pictured above. This is not a book we sit down and read through but we will sit down together and read about a couple different birds together.  

The book also provides information on hot to spot birds, building a birdhouse, building a bird feeder, and much more. It's a great way to get involved in something with your child.

The only downfall to this book I have found it the cover does not stand up to repeated handling very well. My daughter loves this book and carries it with her and you can tell. 

Other books about bird watching!

Stokes Beginner's Guide to Birds: Eastern Region (Stokes Field Guide Series)                                           

A Beetle Is Shy

 A Beetle Is Shy

Dianna Hutts Aston & Sylvia Long

A beetle is a digger...a runner...a hopper

This book is full of beautiful water color illustrations done by the very talented Sylvia Long.

Each of the beetles in the book is labeled so you know what kind it is.  As I read it to my daughters we had to read the names of each and every beetle and they each picked their favorites.
 Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Copyright: April 5, 2016
Age Level: 5-8 Years

If you are reading this to a younger child you can focus on the pictures and the large font, but if you are reading to a child that has a longer attention span you can also read the smaller font that provides greater detail about the beetles.

A beetle is helpful....or harmful.

I try to read books about bugs to my girls so they are not scared of them and see how useful they are to the world around us. This book shares the many cool things about bugs as well as information about their life cycle. The book also introduces many scientific words to children in a way they can understand.

We really enjoyed this book as a family and will be checking out more of this author's work.

Other books about bugs!!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas

Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks

This nonfiction graphic novel tell the stories of  three of our greatest primatologists.

This graphic novel is the perfect introduction to the lives and work of these great women and their studies of primates. Louis Leakey found these women and helped secure funding for their research, he was positive that women would make greater strides with primates then men, Goodall studies chimps, Fossey studied gorillas and Galdikas studies orangutans. 

 Here is an illustration from the book where Jane Goodall first observes the chimpanzees using a tool. This was a major breakthrough in her research.

I think the graphic novel format is perfect for this story because it is an introduction to each of these scientists and their work. If you are wanting to go more in depth there are other resources available.

This book would be great for an Ecology unit, a study on animal behaviors, a project on scientists, a STEM/STEAM book club, or a graphic book club.

Age Range: 12-18
Grade 7-12
Publisher: Square Fish
Pages: 144


    Product Details                                                                                                                 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Crime and Forensic Science Young Adult Pairings

Crime and Forensic Science Young Adult Pairings

I am focusing on pairing crime fiction and forensic/true crime
nonfiction for young adults. My inspiration for this topic is the recent
Holiday, many students love scary movies and I recently read My
Friend Dahmer, I really enjoyed it and I know it has a high circulation
at our school library. I would design a display with most wanted signs,
crime tape, magnifying glasses, and evidence bags. I would set the
display up close to the Young Adult section and on a major path in the
library. I would advertise on the library website, Twitter and Facebook
pages. A potential problem could be that some parents may not like
the graphic nature of the material. The benefits of these pairings is
that it can introduce a variety of type of nonfiction books to young

My first pairing is about Jack the Ripper, a famous serial
killer from London in the 1800s. A study or display is not
complete without Jack the Ripper.

Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel
Murders 1888-1889
Rick Geary

This is a black and white graphic nonfiction work about the
serial killer Jack the Ripper. This case is very fascinating because the killer
was not found and the murders were never solved. I chose this option
because it is done in black and white so it is not as controversial as some of
the other graphic novels about Jack the Ripper.

Stalking Jack the Ripper
Kerri Maniscalo

This gothic thriller is set in the 1800s focuses on a lord’s
daughter who secretly studies forensic science in her
uncle’s laboratory. Her work brings her close to the
investigation of a serial killer which may put her in grave

My second pairing takes a look at what it looks like when someone is trying
not to be a serial killer. I thought this pairing would be unique because in My
Friend Dahmer, Jeff doesn’t know how to escape his unusual desires and in
I Am Not a Serial Killer, John has a very strict set of rules to ensure he does
not become a serial killer.

My Friend Dahmer
Derk Backderf

This graphic novel is a true accounting of what Jeffrey
Dahmer’s high school experience was like. It is written by
one of his high school classmates and probably one of his
only friends. This memoir gives real insight into some of
the things that probably led him on his path.

I Am Not A Serial Killer
Dan Wells

John is obsessed with serial killers and knows he is
dangerous. Is he really capable of being a serial killer, he
thinks he can prevent it by following a set of rules that will
make him appear as normal as possible. Will he be able to
keep this up when presented with danger?

My third pairing is based on a novel that kind of resembles the Natalee
Holloway case. The first is a novel and the second is an informational text
about forensic science.

Dangerous Girls
Abigail Haas

On a spring break trip to Aruba Anna’s best friend is brutally
murdered. Anna is trapped in the country and everyone is
convinced she is guilty. Will the judge agree or will she be
proven innocent.

Hidden Evidence: 40 True Crimes and How Forensic
Science Helped Solve Them
David L. Owen

This informational text explains the scientific procedures that
helped solve 40 cases. This includes: fingerprinting,
autopsies, handwriting analysis, ballistics, hair sampling,
blood typing, DNA testing, dental records, gas
chromatography, mass spectrometry, compound and electron microscopes,
and toxicology.

My fourth pairing is all about bones, can you solve a crime just based on a
skeleton, can you solve a crime without a body?

The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

A family is devastated by their teenage daughter’s
disappearance. Susie describes the murder from heaven,
while the family suffers not knowing what happened. Susie
keeps vigil over her family while hoping her murderer is
found and punished.

Forensic Identification: Putting a Name and Face on
Elizabeth A. Murray

This book looks at how forensic scientists identify victims
and criminals by studying autopsies, facial
reconstructions, fingerprints, and DNA evidence.

My fifth pairing is a novel about cold cases in the FBI being solved with the
help of gifted teenagers and a nonfiction forensic title looking at how forensic science plays a role in the criminal justice system. This would be a great
pairing for those that love TV shows like Criminal Minds and CSI.

The Naturals
Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Cassie has been asked by the FBI to help use her gift
at profiling people to help solve cold cases. As Cassie
works with other gifted teenagers to solve these cases
they are caught up in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic
Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA
Bridget Heos

The author uses real life cases to tell the history of
modern forensic science. In doing this she shows the
the essential part forensics plays in the criminal
justice system.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Bad Girls of Fashion

Bad Girls of Fashion: Style Rebels from Cleopatra to Lady Gaga

By: Jennifer Croll

The book  cover the lives of ten women who made history and hugely impacted fashion. If it had not been for their influence fashion would not be what we know it today. Included are Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. Sidebar subjects include: Elizabeth I, Marilyn Monroe, Rihanna, and Vivienne Westwood.

Photos and illustrations show the fashion risks and trends that these ladies took or started in their lives. This book will educate you about how fashion has changed through history but also how it has been used socially and politically as a tool to cause change. 

The book includes lots of trivia interspersed throughout.  For example Cleopatra knew nine languages and wrote medical texts and Marie Antoinette did not say "Let them eat cake".

I did find the way the book was organized confusing, but overall enjoyed learning about these powerful women and the history of fashion.

I think this would be a great read for those interested in fashion, art, history, or feminism. 

Publisher: Annick Press
Date: October 11, 2016
Age Range: 12 Years
Grade: 7+


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Stronger Than Steel

Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope

By: Bridget Heos
Photographs: Andy Comins

First of all I hate spiders with a passion so for me to read a book that has anything to do with spiders is pretty unusual. Despite this fact, I found the book to be quite enjoyable.

The book takes us both in the field and lab to learn about the world of genetics through the study of spider silk. The book has a narrative approach and contains difficult science topics that are explained 
in a way young readers can understand. A wide variety of pictures are included that adds to the understanding of what is being explained. 

Randy Lewis takes spider DNA and injects it into goats, bacteria, silkworms and alfalfa in an attempt to discover a better way to produce spider silk. The books takes you through each of these process in detail. 

The strongest spider silk is five times stronger than steel, the possibilities for this are amazing! Spider silk could be used to produce a lighter but safer bulletproof vest and could be used to produce replacement tendons and ligaments in the medical field to just name a few of these amazing possibilities.

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: February 26, 2013
Lexile Level: 860L
Grade Level: 5-7

Educator Information:

I would recommend this book as a read aloud to introduce a unit on DNA or genetics, a topic for a book report or a book for a student that is very interested in spiders, DNA, or genetics. This book also addresses GMOs and could be used to start a discussion, a debate or introduce the topic to a class.

This book is part of the Scientists in the Field Series. This series introduces young readers what goes on in the field and the lab during various scientific studies in a way that is both entertaining and educational. The series covers a wide variety of scientific topics and would be a great resource in any science classroom.

The website provides an educators guide that is available for download.

Here are a few of the other books in the series I would recommend if you like this book.

Wonder By P.J. Palacio

If you were to ask me some of my favorite books of all time, this would definitely be in my top 5! I won't describe what I look like. ...