Posted in Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction

My First Book of Soccer explains the game to rookies!

My First Book of Soccer: Mostly Everything Explained About the Game (A Rookie Book), by the Editors of Sports Illustrated for Kids (May 2017, Sports Illustrated), $11.99, ISBN: 978-1-68330-002-1

Recommended for readers 4-8

Sports Illustrated’s newest book in their Rookie series introduces readers to Soccer – football, if you’re from anywhere other than the U.S. As with previous Rookie books, there are two Rookies on hand to show readers the ins and outs of the sports. I’m particularly excited about the Soccer Rookies, because we have a girl and a boy, and the girl – also the more knowledgeable of the two – is a lovely, brown-skinned young lady who’s too happy to teach her friend about the sport!

My First Book of Soccer is a light-hearted, informative introduction to the sport, featuring photos of current soccer stars (with silly word bubbles providing funny commentary) and the Rookies alike, interacting from the sidelines. The fonts are big and bold, with key words and ideas in capital, larger size. Scoreboards in the upper left- and right-hand corners keep track of the quarter and game time, giving kids a breakdown of what goes on during each part of a game.

Kudos to Sports Illustrated Kids for adding female players AND a female child of color Rookie! A must-add to sports bookshelves and collections for early readers, My First Book of Soccer joins previous Rookie books on football, baseball, and hockey. Put these out for a great sports-themed display and add them to a sports-themed storytime. I’d pair these with the Dino-sports series by Lisa Wheeler for a fun fiction/non-fiction pairing. Add some printables, courtesy of Sports Illustrated, for even more fun – check out My First Book of Soccer activity sheets.

Check out this giveaway! Get a copy of My First Book of Soccer plus two Rookie buttons! Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway!
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Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction

#AnimalPlanetAdventures mix fiction and fact for maximum fun!

Animal Planet has great nonfiction for kids. I particularly love their Animal Bites series, which looks at animals from different habitats, and offers a rich mix of beautiful photos and easy-to-read facts. For those beginning readers who want to feel part of an animal adventure, Liberty Street – Animal Planet’s publisher, a division of Time Inc. Books – introduced Animal Planet Adventures chapter books earlier this year. I read the first two adventures, Dolphin Rescue and Farm Friends Escape!

Animal Planet Adventures: Dolphin Rescue, by Catherine Nichols, (Feb. 2017, Liberty Street), $5.95, ISBN: 978-1-61893-417-8

Dolphin Rescue introduces us to siblings Maddie and Atticus, who live off the coast of Maine with their single dad and volunteer at the local aquarium. While trying to solve a rash of trash dumping incidents happening throughout their town, they notice a pod of dolphins in the nearby cove, looking very distressed. They’ll need to use their knowledge of animals, plus their problem-solving skills to help the pod out.

 

Animal Planet Adventures: Farm Friends Escape!, by Catherine Nichols, (Feb. 2017, Liberty Street), $5.95, ISBN: 978-1-61893-416-1

In Farm Friends Escape!, we meet cousins Luke and Sarah, who spend every summer at their grandparents’ farm. This year, their grandparents put them in charge of running the farm’s petting zoo. They’re thrilled, even if they don’t always agree on how to get things up and running. A mysterious kid lingers around the farm, though; and while they’re trying to figure him out, they discover that somehow, the animals have all gotten loose! The cousins need to track down each of the petting zoo escapees, relying on their animal knowledge and deduction skills – and they need to figure out how they got loose in the first place.

Animal Planet Adventures is a great way to reach readers who may struggle with nonfiction, but love a good story. There’s a little bit of mystery in each storyline, so your series fiction fans who love books like Ron Roy’s A to Z Mysteries, Capital Mysteries, and Calendar Mysteries will gobble these up. Books are in full color – both story illustration and nonfiction sections – and feature the beautiful photography that we already love in Animal Planet books. Nonfiction sections are spread evenly throughout the book, so it flows with the overall narrative of the story, often fleshing out information contained in the plotline. I don’t know if future books (there are two more adventures – Puppy Rescue Riddle and Zoo Camp Puddle – releasing in September) will introduce more new characters or if we’ll meet Mattie, Atticus, Luke, and Sarah again, but the character pair-ups are fun and appeal to both boys and girls. I’ve just ordered a set of Adventures for my library, because series fiction and animal nonfiction is aces around here. Display with your series mystery fiction and your animal nonfiction – it all works!

Posted in Early Reader, Graphic Novels, Intermediate, Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction

Something’s Fishy introduces kids to fishy fun

fishy_1Something’s Fishy, by Kevin McCloskey, (April 2017, TOON Books), $12.95, ISBN: 978-1-943145-15-7

The man behind Toon’s Easy to Read Giggle and Learn series is back again with his fun blend of science and art. Something’s Fishy teaches young readers about fish – from the ABCs (there’s a fish for every letter of the alphabet), to biology, to the history of keeping goldfish as pets, Mr. McCloskey uses his acrylic and gouache artwork to illustrate all kinds of fish. He also discusses responsible pet ownership by mentioning that some fish, while popular film characters, aren’t really supposed to be pets: they’re much happier in their natural environments. A just-about-actual-size rendering of a foot-long goldfish will make readers giggle… and learn!

I love the trend of graphic novels as nonfiction texts, and Kevin McCloskey’s work for young readers and listeners are among some of my favorites. We Dig Worms and The Poop On Pigeons are in constant rotation at my library, and I can’t wait to introduce kids to fish with Something’s Fishy. His books make for excellent nonfiction storytime reading and pair nicely with picture books. You can very easily pair Something’s Fishy with Rainbow Fish, Lois Ehlert’s Rain Fish, or any number of fish or sea life-related stories. This is a fun add to nonfiction collections and a great gift for your younger Nemo and Octonauts fans.

 

Posted in Intermediate, Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction

Black History Month: The Youngest Marcher, by Cynthia Levinson

youngest-marcherThe Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, by Cynthia Levinson/illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, (Jan. 2017, Atheneum Books for Young Readers), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481400701

Recommended for ages 5-10

In May 1963, children in Birmingham, Alabama, trained in peaceful, civil disobedience, marched to protest segregation. Nine year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks was the youngest marcher, fully invested in civil rights and aware that she would likely go to jail. She spent a week in juvenile hall with flimsy blankets and no toothbrush, but she persevered and made history. Nonfiction author Cynthia Levinson tells the story of the youngest marcher, with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley Newton, here for younger audiences, assuring children that no one is too small, too young, to make a difference in the world.

I’ve been handing this book to kids coming in, looking for African-American biographies for their Black History Month reports for just this reason. I want children to see that they are important. They count. At a time when many feel marginalized, books like The Youngest Marcher, with its powerful words and images, offer representation and affirmation. Children have a voice, and with support and encouragement, they can use them and be heard.

Cynthia Levinson’s author website offers links to further resources, including curriculum guides and videos. Illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton was spotlighted by the WeNeedDiverseBooks initiative, for which she also created original artwork. For more information about the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade, visit Biography.com or the Zinn Education Project, offering information about the award-winning documentary, Mighty Times.

 

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

Holiday Shopping: Nature

First tech, now nature. This latest round of holiday gift ideas looks at science and nature books. These are perfect for the kid who loves to be outdoors and wants to know more about our world and the animals he or she shares it with.

underwater_2Under Earth, Under Water, by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski, (Oct. 2016, Candlewick Press), $35.00, ISBN: 978-0-7636-8922-3

Recommended for ages 7-12

This book is stunning. It’s two books in one, each examining our worlds just below the surface: water and earth. The illustrations are amazing, and kids will flip as they see the inside of an anthill, take a look at an archaeological dig, check out a history of submarines, or tag along for a tour of the Mariana Trench. I can’t get enough of this book, and kids who love natural science won’t, either. Check out this spread on a Dreadnoughtus schrani!

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aliens-from-earthAliens From Earth: When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems, by Mary Batten/Illustrated by Beverly J. Doyle, (March 2016, Peachtree Publishers), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-56145-900-1

Recommended for ages 9-12

Aliens From Earth takes a fascinating look at what happens when animals or plants invade a new habitat, upsetting an ecosystem’s balance. Fire ants, gypsy moths, even the cute little starlings that I see every morning when I head to work are all in here. Introducing an invasive species into an ecosystem unprepared for it can be responsible for the spread of disease, loss of habitat for current inhabitants, and reduction of natural resources for an area. This volume is beautifully illustrated by artist Beverly J. Doyle, whose acrylic paintings make me feel like I’m walking through a museum exhibit as I read. Previously published in 2006, Aliens from Earth is an Izaak Walton League of American Conservation Book of the Year. Give this to kids who are interested in environmentalism, preservation, and conservation.

 

oceanpediaUltimate Oceanpedia, by Christina Wilsdon, (Nov. 2016, National Geographic Children’s Books), $24.99, ISBN: 978-1426325502

Recommended for ages 7-13

Know a kid who would live in the aquarium if she or he could? Fascinated by fish, crazy for sea turtles, smart about sharks? The Ultimate Oceanpedia is the book for them. Stunning photos accompany entries on earth’s oceans, sea life, exploration, weather, the coast, and conservation of our underwater habitats and saving sea life. There are fast facts, stats, food webs, and maps galore. Sections on climate change and offshore drilling take on today’s big issues and present the facts without bias, letting readers form their own opinions. A call to action provides simple ways kids can help make the world a better, cleaner, healthier place to live. A glossary and in-depth resources encourage kids to keep learning and changing the world around them for the better.

These books are all available right now and are dying to go home with you! Shop your local bookseller, or click on over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or Indie Bound to buy.

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction

Extreme Wildfire takes kids to the front lines of fire fighting!

extreme_wildfire_coverExtreme Wildfire: Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire, by Mark Thiessen, (Aug. 2016, National Geographic Kids), $12.99, ISBN: 9781426325304

Recommended for ages 8-12

It can go from a spark to a flame in almost no time. It can devour homes and forests alike, leaving destruction and devastation in its path. NatGeo Kids brings readers to the front lines of wildfires, and the people Рlargely volunteers Рwho fight them, in Extreme Wildfire.  Author Mark Thiessen is a NatGeo photographer and certified wildland firefighter has photographed countless fires over the last 20 years; Extreme Wildfire represents part of a lifelong project: to create a visual record of what these firefighters do.

Extreme Wildfire discusses the science behind wildfire; how firefighters battle the flames and how lookouts spot potential fires on the horizon; the equipment used in combating fire, the devastation – and nature’s adaptation – that fire leaves in its wake, and how communities come together to help one another. Chock full of facts and call-out boxes with more information, plus an emphasis on fire safety and prevention to finish up the book, this a good addition to nonfiction collections. There’s a glossary, list of resources, and index.

The kids in one of my library’s neighborhood schools have a unit on natural disasters every year. I’ve ordered two copies of this book – my Corona Kids know how much I love NatGeo books – to have available for them when the time comes around this year. It’s also a good book to have on display if you have fire safety talks. There are some good fire safety and education resources online, including Science for Kids¬†Club and The Kids Should See This.

extreme_wildfire_14-151Photo courtesy of Chat With Vera.

 

Posted in History, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

Great desk reference for kids: Time for Kids 2017 Almanac

tfkTime for Kids 2017 Almanac, by the Editors of Time for Kids, (May 2016, Time for Kids), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1618934154

Recommended for ages 8-12

The latest TFK Almanac presents facts, news, current events, and information, curated from previous issues of Time for Kids magazine in one fun, interactive volume that’s a great desk reference for middle graders. The almanac covers the following subject areas: A Look Back (covering the previous years’ current events); Animals; Arts; Body and Health; Books; Calendars and Holidays; Computers and Games; Countries; Energy and the Environment; Entertainment; Geography; History; Inventions and Technology; Science; Space; Sports, and The United States. There are over 600 photos, quizzes and activities at the end of each section, and maps and timelines throughout the book. Kids will get a kick out of the year’s entertainment and world events wrap up and benefit from reference resources like the breakdowns of the world’s countries, which includes literacy rates, languages, currencies, and capitals; a breakdown of the branches of our government, listing of the states and Presidents, and walkthrough of the scientific method.

This is one of those references that deserves space on students’ desks, right next to their dictionary and thesaurus. It’s a big homework help, with a little extra fun to keep things interesting. I’ll keep one copy in Reference and one or two on the shelves here at the library.