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Rocket believes reading rocks and kids will too after they hear Tad Hills read R Is for Rocket: An ABC Story. Rocket and his animal pals go on an alliterative journey from A to Z while introducing readers to art and nature. Your early reader will enjoy seeing Bella the squirrel balancing on a ball, Owl offering a cawing crow a cookie and a crayon, and a guest appearance from Tad’s most popular waterfowl friend!
Do you have the book at home? Open up the dust jacket to find a poster of thewondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet! Feel free to read along too.
KidLit TV’s Read Out Loud series is perfect for parents, teachers, and librarians. Use these readings for nap time, story time, bedtime … anytime!
From Random House Kids R Is for Rocket: An ABC Book– Learn the ABCs with Rocket, the dog who inspires kids to read and write! This irresistible alphabet book from the creator of the New York Times bestsellers How Rocket Learned to Read and Rocket Writes a Story is sure to appeal to kids, parents, teachers, and librarians. From finding acorns, to balancing on a ball, to offering a cookie and a crayon to a crow, readers will love exploring the wonderful world of Rocket and his friends. The whole cast is featured, among them the little yellow bird, the owl, Bella the squirrel, and more. Even Goose from the beloved and bestselling Duck & Goose books makes a cameo appearance! With charming and delightful scenes for every letter, here’s an ode to the wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet.
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog Written by Dev Petty Illustrated by Mike Boldt Doubleday Books for Young Readers 2/10/2015 978-0-385-37866-6 32 pages Ages 2—6 . “Let me ask you something . . . If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be? Probably NOT a frog, right? …
What is all around us, terrifies a lot of people, but adds enormously to the quality of life? Answer: chemistry. Almost everything that happens in the world, in transport, throughout agriculture and industry, to the flexing of a muscle and the framing of a thought involves chemical reactions in which one substance changes into another.
One day, a little girl’s father does an inconceivably bad thing. Granted he is not even aware of the crime he has just committed, which for the girl makes it all the more unconscionable. She’s too late to thwart his mindless destruction and cannot save the dandelions he has just mown in their backyard. Thus […]
Mia Charro is a spanish illustrator and children’s book author, who is inspired by nature, fairytales and magic. Her illustrations are very whimsical, highlighting her love for the outdoors. When she’s not illustrating she loves nothing more than walking through the woods and writing.
Find out more about this great illustrator at her website andblog
The Secret Lives of Animals: 1,001 Tidbits, Oddities, and Amazing Facts about North America’s Coolest Animals Written by by Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer Illustrated by Rachel Riordan FalconGuides® 10/01/2015 978-14930-1191-9 254 pages Age 7—12 “Did you know that a grasshopper’s ears are on his belly? Or that a bison can …
Autumn has arrived here in Northeastern Ohio, bringing with it crisp weather, all things pumpkin, and beautiful fall foliage. The trees are only starting to reveal their brilliant hues of orange, yellow, gold and red here, but soon I’ll awaken to a glowing landscape that seemingly exploded overnight. As this season traditionally brings many requests for fall themed library materials, as well as special fall programming, I was inspired to think of ways that technology may add further enjoyment and educational opportunities to this time.
The best way to experience the beauty of fall is to strap on your hiking shoes and venture to the nearest wooded park (or your backyard!). Bringing along your smartphone or tablet, loaded with fall foliage apps, can enhance your exploration of autumn’s beauty. Children of a variety of ages will enjoy learning more about our natural environment with these apps and websites highlighted below, although most young users not yet in elementary school may need some parent or caregiver help.
Yankee Leaf Peepr– This free app by Yankee Publishing Inc., available for Apple and Android devices, provides you with a very handy color-coded map that indicates where the leaves are changing anywhere in the United States. Users contribute to the map by posting photos and ratings of the foliage, making this app not only useful, but
Image from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ypi.leafpeepr&hl=en.
interactive. The current foliage color is determined by averaging user ratings in a geographic area.
Chimani apps- These apps, offered as free downloads on all major mobile platforms, are a really fun way to explore various National Parks. They help you with planning your trip, letting you know when Ranger-led trips occur, and more. These apps work with or without WiFi or a data signal, which is especially helpful when you are out on the trail.
LeafSnap– Once you’ve found some beautiful leaves, you may be left wondering what kind of tree they’re a part of. Make this a great learning opportunity with LeafSnap! Developed by researchers at Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institute, LeafSnap helps users identify trees by allowing users to take a picture of a leaf from the tree and then providing them with the species. The app is free for iPhone and iPad, and also has a website displaying tree species. The only negative is that this is only usable for species found in the Northeastern United States and Canada.
U.S. Forest Service website and Yonder app– The U.S. Forest Service has partnered with Yonder, a free app, to help nature lovers share their adventures. The website also provides a map of fall color based on eyewitness accounts and allows users to choose their state or local forest to see specific fall foliage information. You can find weekly color updates in your state using this tool!
Foliage Network – The fall foliage prediction map on this website helps users visual the changing leaves around the United States and plan when to see the most beautiful colors in your neighborhood.
You can pair these fun apps and websites with traditional activities for a great autumn library program. How about leaf rubbing (which was recently discussed here on the blog), sharing a classic fall read-aloud such as Ehlert’s “Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf” and then using LeafSnap to identify the tree outside the storytime window? There are many possibilities to incorporate technology and nature into library programs and family time. What are some of your favorite hi- or low-tech autumn extension activities? ___________________________________________________________
Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Rocky River Public Library in Rocky River, OH and is writing this post for the Children and Technology Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artist and naturalist Jim Arnosky has been honored for his overall contribution to literature for children by the Eva L. Gordon Award and the Washington Post/Children’s Book Guild Award for nonfiction. His latest book is "Frozen Wild."
Wise old owl who lives in this tree has seen it all before, but in fact there’s something reassuring about his experiences. Seasons come and seasons go, but life continues. And it’s a beautiful life, one to take time to savour.
Tree by Britta Teckentrup (@BTeckentrup) explores the life of a tree across the span of a single year, watching changes in leaves, blossom, fruit and the landscape around. Teckentrup celebrates the seasons with eye-catching beauty and soothingly rhythmic, lullaby-like text, reminding me of Walt Whitman’s tree which “utter[s] joyous leaves“.
We witness the circle of life not just on the tree, but also with the animals who visit; look out for the birds who build a nest and see what happens! What makes this book about seasonal changes stand out is its beauty, attention to detail, and lovely, quiet text which works very well for reading aloud. The physical book is incredibly inviting – from the textured hardback cover, to the satisfyingly thick pages, and most delightful of all – the peep-through holes, which page-turn by page-turn reveal and then conceal visiting animals.
The illustrations look like relief printing, with a handmade texture and matt finish that perfectly reflects a delight in nature and “the natural”. Jubilant use of colour lights up every page.
Interestingly, the text for this picture book was actually written by Patricia Hegarty, but her name doesn’t appear on the book cover or title page inside. I imagine this is because the book is really a vehicle to let Teckentrup’s illustrations sing – which they do in all their glory – but it’s an interesting detail given the current debate about equal recognition for authors and illustrators reflected by the Pictures Mean Business campaign. Do you know of any other picture books where the author doesn’t get the same credit as the illustrator?
Sumptuous, strokable and always in season, Tree tells a timeless tale to delight all.
Inspired by Teckentrup’s artwork, we set about creating our own colourful trees. First we stencilled a trunk…
…before adding tissue paper leaves in a variety of colours.
When dry, we cut out our trees to include their canopy, added a few hand-drawn animals, and put them up somewhere a little bit unusual – by our skirting board – so that other woodland creatures could come and play.
A combination of allergies and Monday brain has me staring at my computer screen with a rather blank expression on my face. Seriously, if you could see me you’d be concerned whether I’d gone zombie or something. But it came to me through the fog, that I have been thinking frequently about wanting to read some good nature books over the winter. I really like reading about nature when I am snuggled up indoors and it is bitterly cold and the world has turned to shades of black, white and gray. I’ve got lists of books too, but let me tell you, the lists have gotten so unwieldy I have no idea what to choose any longer. Proof that when there are too many choices a sort of paralysis sets in.
I don’t often ask for recommendations, but I am going to now in the hopes that your suggestions will help kick me out of my too many to choose from stupor. So here is your chance to make a recommendation and I know we all like to advocate for favorite books but are often hesitant to do it. But don’t hold back, lay it on me!
What I mean by nature book can be a broadly interpreted. It might be a science-y book on moss or a sociology/psychology/philosophy kind of book on coping with climate change or a travel through the jungle/desert/forest/arctic sort of book or it could be about a cabin on a pond and planting beans and watching ants or about a garden or a farm. You get the idea. Something to take my mind outdoors while my body is stuck indoors.
Winter might be a little way off yet, but it is never too early to start planning!
Kate Wilson is a New Zealand based illustrator. Her illustrations are peaceful and whimsical, concentrating on the wildlife and small beings that live outdoors. She has a keen eye for small things, which translates in her work. Her influences include; gardening and spending time with animals but she does dislike mowing the lawn!
The scent of Spring is in the air. But that’s not all that’s lifting us up. From the tiny details to the wider world, our environment has so much to offer. For different reasons, these following picture books discover beauty and how the elements of nature can capture our hearts and strengthen our human kindness. […]
In The Oak Tree, written by J. Steven Spires and illustrated by Jonathan Caron, the reader is given the opportunity to revisit the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast 10 years ago.
“The pattern of this landscape is folded deep, deep within her memory. She rides the currents of air that curl like rapids over the mountains. Below, the lochs reflect the cloud and sunlight. They lie in the valleys like scattered fragments of fallen sky. The cold north wind carries the remembered scent of pine and heather. The ice-carved valleys guide her.”
She is coming?
So begins the beautiful and touching story of an Osprey, a boy named Callum and a girl with an adventuresome spirit named Iona McNair. Wild Wingsby Gill Lewis tells the griping story of Callum who lives in Scotland and a girl from West Africa who together save a migrating Osprey and saving each other as well.
Striving to protect the osprey nesting on his family’s farm in Scotland, 11-year-old Callum McGregor watches the bird throughout summer, uses a computer to follow her migration to Africa and sets in motion a remarkable chain of events. This rich, moving tale begins with a shared secret: It was classmate Fiona McNair who found the nest. When the bird is snagged in fishing line high in her pine, the circle expands to include Callum’s sheep-farming family and a ranger from a nearby preserve. When she migrates, Callum and friends Rob and Euan track her through the transmitter she carries on her back. When her signal disappears in a Gambian mangrove forest, 10-year-old Jeneba, hospitalized with broken legs, mobilizes the fishermen of her village and a visiting American doctor to rescue and rehabilitate her. Eventually—and entirely naturally—the bird’s story reaches around the world. The suspenseful story line is surrounded with precise details: the Scottish landscape, osprey behavior, the work of a sheepdog and the joy and pain of riding a trail bike. Short chapters, some with cliffhanging endings, will read aloud well. Callum’s first-person narrative is occasionally paralleled by the osprey’s own experience, as Callum imagines it. With universal themes of life and death, friendship and respect for the natural world, this is still quite particular, a powerfully memorable story of a boy’s grief and determination to keep a promise. Kirkus Reviews
This is a modern day story which flows easily and grabs the readers attention immediately. It is a captivating story which has us in the countries of Scotland and Gambia. Wild Wings is a perfect combination of fiction based narrative and actual nonfiction facts about Ospreys and their living environments and migration patterns. A perfect read for a child who loves nonfiction as well as enticing a reluctant reader. Wild Wings is also good for the deep thinker and has children reflecting on many deeper issues as hand such as decisions about friendships, not giving up, moving on after losses, and awareness of how we take things for granted in our relatively privileged society.
It is an engaging story of how every one of us makes a difference and working together as a community both near and far can solve what seemed an insurmountable problem. Grab your copy of this wonderful and compelling kidlit book here.
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Something To Do
What would you think if I invited you on an Osprey’s incredible journey, just like the one Callum and his friends took? Flying high above mountain ranges, oceans, and expansive and huge deserts, the osprey travels thousands of miles to migrate to warmer weather. Using satellite tagging, scientists are able to learn more about the osprey’s migration routes and about where they breed and where they winter.
Author Gill Lewis in 2011 followed such a journey and has shared it with all of us. Start here for an amazing high flying adventure.
The osprey also known as the fish eagle, sea hawk, river hawk, or fish hawk, is a fish eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 24 inches in length and 71 inches across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.
The osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding visitor.
It’s known as a fish eagle and the osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish.
The osprey weighs between 2 and 4 pounds.
After the peregrine falcon, the osprey is the second most widely spread raptor in the world. It can be found in mild and tropical climate. In North America it breeds from Alaska and Newfoundland and to the south in the Gulf Coast region as well as Florida. The osprey then winters in South America. In summer it is found throughout northern Europe, in Ireland, Scandinavia, Scotland, England, and Wales but not in Iceland. When in Europe the osprey winters in Africa.
In Australia the osprey doesn’t migrate at all but remains on the coast and then flying to Western Australia to breed.
Common Core Interdisciplinary Curriculum
To learn more about the Osprey here is a very in-depth interactive Curriculum from Friends of Blackwater Reservoir in Maryland called Project Osprey Curriculum . This guide is very through and covers everything you need for Common Core. Matched with the book Wild Wings, it’s a perfect combination.
Great BBC Program on the Scottish Osprey Conservation Project
Do your young readers love nature and all of nature’s critters? Experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr. The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together.
From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Come watch as they navigate this wildly dangerous but still wonderful world. Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, there is an information-packed resource section at the end of the book that includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family. Grab your copy of this beautiful and inspiring book HERE.
The latest educational scuttlebutt when it comes to books and the Common Core State Standards is multi-subject non-fiction, or combining math facts with science and history in one book. Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree by the multitalented Kate Messner, with superb illustrations by Simona Mulizzani is a perfect example of this!
Tree of Wonder: The Many
Did you learn about Mrs Gren at school? She was a useful person to know when you wanted to remember that Movement, Respiration, Sensation, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, and Nutrition were the defining signs of life. But did you ever wonder how accurate this classroom mnemonic really is, or where it comes from?
Dot The number of dots on a ladybug's wings tells us what type of beetle it is. How many do you count? Line Look at the pigeons on the telephone line. Together they take a break from flying in the sky. Curve Snakes curve from side to side as they slither along.
Premise/plot: A nonfiction concept board book for young(er) children. The focus this time is on shapes found in nature. Readers are introduced to the following shapes: dot, line, curve, round, triangle, square, rectangle, diamond, oval, semicircle, coil, spiral, crisscross, star, pentagon, hexagon, ball, and trapezoid. These 'shapes' are found in photographs.
Spiral The chameleon can twirl its tail to grab on to branches. See the spiral as it sits in a tree?
My thoughts: I like this one. I do. I enjoyed it just as much as Homes. Both books are definitely worth seeking out. It's never too early to start sharing good nonfiction titles with your children!
Ant The weaver ant twists leaves and twigs together with silk thread to make a home. Spider This wasp spider spins a web in tall grass, where it rests and catches its food.
Premise/plot: A nonfiction concept book for young(er) children. Readers are introduced to a wide variety of animals and learn where they live. The book is full of photographs of animals and their homes. The book is quite simple in concept, yet, oddly fascinating at the same time. Some animals may prove familiar (polar bear, ant, bee) others may seem more exotic (Fennec fox, eel, village weaver).
My thoughts: I liked this one. I did. I loved looking at the photographs. As I said, I wasn't expecting to find the book fascinating. (Board books, well, they rarely fascinate me. They can make me smile now and then. And now and then even sing.) If you're looking for a nature-themed concept book, this one is worth your time.
Written by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Cathy Morrison, published by Dawn Publishing
Ok, it's not a birthday image, (our inspirational word for June is Birthday) but it's the cover for a book I have coming out Spring 2016. Artwork for this book is complete and I'm working away on a second book that will be released the same date. I'll post more about this book and others on my Studio With A View Blog soon.
If you like your prophecies pin sharp then look away now. The 16th century celebrity seer Nostradamus excelled at the exact opposite, couching his predictions in terms so vague as to be largely meaningless. This has not, however, prevented his soothsayings attracting enormous and unending interest, and his book – Les Propheties – has rarely been out of print since it was first published 460 years ago. Uniquely, for a renaissance augur, the writings of Nostradamus are perhaps as popular today as they were four and a half centuries ago.
Up-and-comer author illustrator, Trace Balla, has quickly hit the scene with the recent success of ‘Rivertime‘, being both shortlisted in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards, and winning this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Her work stems from a background in art therapy, animations and community involvement, with […]