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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: national geographic, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 44
1.

Hi there! boo on me for lack of updates! Summer’s been busy for me.

Working on a few things I can’t wait to share, but it probably won’t be for a while. In the meantime here’s a spread I did last November for National Geographic I believe it was published last March so I’m assuming its ok to share. More to come for this year and next! Can’t wait! I hope you guys are having a great a summer as I am! Cheers!

natgeo_large“The Sun Song”
© National Geographic – Learning Cengage 2013.

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2. Interview with Jan Reynolds, Who Circumnavigated Mount Everest

jan reynoldsJan Reynolds is a writer, photographer, and adventurer who has written over fourteen nonfiction books for children about her travels. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including National Geographic, The New York Times, and Outside Magazine. Reynolds is an avid skier, mountain climber, and adventurer who held the record for women’s high altitude skiing, was part of the first expedition to circumnavigate Mount Everest, and performed a solo crossing of the Himalayas.

You are a world-class adventurer and athlete in addition to being a children’s author. Were you always a writer, or were you inspired to begin writing by your travels?

I’ve always been a writer…. I had a short story, fiction, that was published when I was in high school. I’m working on a young adult fiction book right now!

What was your hardest trip or exploration? Was there ever a moment in your travels when you wanted to turn back? What inspired you to keep going?

When I was crossing the Himalaya solo, I almost turned back, I was so sick (I talk about this in my documentary video, “Cultural Adventure with Jan Reynolds”). I lived in my tent alone for about four days and nights, and was found by a Sherpa and his son who nursed me back to health, and I finished my journey going from Nepal into Tibet over the Himalaya following the salt trade. I kept going because I needed to complete my trade on this salt trade route. I was working for National Geographic magazine, and I wanted to get my story!!jan reynolds_quote

Your books, especially your Vanishing Cultures series, chronicle the time you spent with endangered indigenous groups around the world. Since those books were published, have you gone back to visit any of the communities you connected with? Do you know how they’re doing?

I’ve been back to visit many of the places in my Vanishing Cultures series, and what I’ve found is that they are vanishing in terms of their traditional lives. The young are looking for jobs in the cities and towns nearby. It isn’t possible to make a living  traditionally. For example trucks and planes are much faster crossing the Sahara than a camel, so camel caravans cannot make profitable trades anymore.

Many of the groups about which you’ve written have a history of being exploited by outsiders. How do you first approach them about doing a project? How do you build trust with the community?vanishing cultures mongolia

When I visited these people it was a matter of me just showing up. So approaching them was literally just being there, it was so far out in most cases, they were just curious about me, that was my approach! I built trust by making one really good friend, and they became my mentor and guardian of sorts, and I always traveled as a trader with trade goods, silk, wool scarves, gold and silver jewelry, that opened doors too.

It is not always easy to get people to “act natural” in front of a camera, especially people who are not often photographed. How do you get your subjects comfortable in front of your camera? What do you do to ensure that your presence as a photographer does not change their behavior?

I dress like the locals as much as I can so that when they look at me behind the camera they aren’t having funny expressions! I also hang out with people quite a while before I start shooting so they are comfortable with me. I also give them a little snap shooter with a flash. Kids really love that, and they take pics of me, whether they know they are or not…. it’s like playing a game together. I try not to bring in things that are junky or techno, my trade items are things they know, and I try to blend in as much as I can so I’m not intrusive. I’m not there to teach or train, I’m just there to be, and record.

vanishing cultures amazonWhy do you think it’s important for a young reader from, say, Nebraska, to learn about a small indigenous culture from the Amazon Basin? What do you think are the big benefits of geo-literacy and global education?

I think all kids need to know that all environments around the world have people in them, the Amazon had a thriving community of people throughout, before the Spanish explorers brought disease and killed the local Indians by the thousands. Now kids study plain environments, the rainforest, the desert, etc. without people in them, and it gives kids the wrong idea, that man and environments are separate.

We are part of every environment, we are connected, and we need to live in harmony. Man lived his daily life in all the environments on earth. We can still, we just need to be partners with the earth. So what I tried to do with my books is have students study the environment AND the people in that environment at the same time, that’s more normal….together, not separate.

What travel tips can you offer to young readers traveling abroad for the first time?

When you travel abroad, befriend a local, they are the doorway to understanding the people and the environment, and how they work together, through traditions, food, ceremonies, and so on.

Thanks for joining us, Jan! Feel free to leave further questions for Jan in the comments section below.

Further Reading:

Raising Global Citizens: Jan Reynolds Author Study

Where in the World: How One Class Used Google Maps to Explore the Vanishing Cultures Series

Beyond “Did You Know. . .”: Teaching Geo-Literacy Using the Vanishing Cultures Book Series

 


Filed under: guest blogger Tagged: environmentalism, Himalaya, informational text standards, interview, Jan Reynolds, National Geographic, nonfiction, photography, Travel, vanishing cultures

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3. Review of the Day: The Griffin and the Dinosaur by Marc Aronson with Adrienne Mayor

GriffinDinosaur 254x300 Review of the Day: The Griffin and the Dinosaur by Marc Aronson with Adrienne MayorThe Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science
By Marc Aronson with Adrienne Mayor
Illustrated by Chris Muller
National Geographic
$18.99
ISBN: 978-1-4263-1108-6
Ages 9-12
On shelves April 8th.

I remember back in 2007 when the American Museum of Natural History in NYC premiered a show called “Mythic Creatures”. It made a fair amount of press and with good reason. It’s not every day you see full-scale models of mythical creatures presented in a serious museum setting. The show got some nice write-ups but though I listened to the explanations of why it was going on, I didn’t quite catch the whole point. To me it just sort of sounded like a cheap ploy to lure more patrons into the museum’s exhibits. A bit of the old P.T Barnum, albeit with a classier imprimatur. Years passed and I forgot about the show right up until the publication of The Griffin and the Dinosaur. As I read the book, memories of the show came back to me, as did my complete and utter misunderstanding of what it had been trying to accomplish. Fortunately, I am happy to report that once in a while in this life a gal gets a second chance. With Marc Aronson and Adrienne Mayor’s hard work, now I have a book before me that clarifies the true connection between the prehistoric and the mythical. Focused through a single woman’s obsessive search, this book comes off as both a riveting historical mystery as well as a wonderful example of how a person’s passions might take them places they never imagined they might travel. The future isn’t written in stone but it might just be written in bones.

It was kind of a goofy idea. The sort of thing a person might consider off-handedly then forget about five minutes later. But for Adrienne Mayor, the idea stuck. It was simple too. You see, after doing lots of research at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Ms. Mayor noticed a strange pattern. Reading texts by ancient Greeks she noticed that when they discussed creatures like griffins they always sounded like they knew about these animals firsthand. Is it possible that these creatures were conjured up after the Greeks found some ancient bones of one kind of another? Not a natural born scholar, Adrienne always considered herself more of an artist than anything else. Still, this question about the griffin’s origins intrigued her. What she could not have expected was how her search would take her from Greece to Samos to The Museum of the Rockies to distant China. Infinitely interesting, illustrated with multiple photographs, sketches, ancient images and contemporary illustrations, Mayor not only shows where our ancestors got their seemingly goofy ideas, but gives these people a form of credit and respect that is certainly their due.

Every Marc Aronson book is different. Generalizing is not something you can really do when you discuss him as an author. I have found in the past that some of his books ran a bit on the long and lengthy side, but beyond that there aren’t any real connecting threads between one project and another. Yet if I found Mr. Aronson to be a bit more loquacious at times than he needed to be, no such objection could possibly be leveled at The Griffin and the Dinosaur. Coming in at a svelte 48 pages, a number normally associated with slightly longer picture books, Aronson wastes no time getting to the meat of the matter. Turn to the first page and there’s Adrienne, age six. Four pages later she’s studying in Athens while her fiancé works on his ancient Greek fortress research. Aronson cuts to the chase, helped in large part by his interviews with Adrienne. The result is a well-rounded portrait of a single woman going against the odds to prove something both interesting and odd. It’s research presented to kids as adventure in a format they’re going to actually WANT to read. How rare is that?

GriffinDinosaur2 300x155 Review of the Day: The Griffin and the Dinosaur by Marc Aronson with Adrienne MayorI know that one reviewer of this book was dismayed by an interpretation of Marc Aronson’s message here that says that people who closely observe the world around them are just as good as professional scholars in the field. For the record, I do not happen to agree that that is what Aronson is saying. I think it far more likely that Aronson is displaying the need for balance. You can sit behind dusty tomes all day long with your professional degree hanging up upon a wall, but if you don’t go out and try new ideas and speak to new people and even do a bit of exploring (of one kind or another) then you cannot be surprised when a woman like Ms. Mayor goes about making a fabulous, hitherto unknown (or unproved) discovery. By the same token, the person who observes the world around them closely but never picks up a book or does even rudimentary research is going to completely miss the potential connections out there that could justify their work. Mayor exhibited both a willingness to learn and a sharp-eyed curiosity that was willing to question. In an era when so much research is beholden to outside interests, it does the heart good to read a book about a woman who set out to discover what many might have considered impossible to prove.

The extra details turn out to be just as enchanting. The entire history of the Scythians and how they might have been an inspiration for some of the Amazon women tales out there is captivating. Even more so their gold, as well as the discovery of Megalopolis. And then there’s that amazing look at mammoth skulls and how they might have inspired the stories of the Cyclops. It all got me to thinking about the role of myths in the world and their beginnings. Maybe a kid will read this book and begin to wonder what the roots of other great myths might be. Will they start poring over Hindi and Norse myths, looking for clues to the past? Or will they simply get a better sense of one of the big themes of the book: that ancient people had reasons for making up the stories that they did. For me, that was a moral well worth taking away from the story. We have a tendency to look down our nose at our ancient ancestors, but as this book shows, these people had their reasons for thinking the way that they did. We should never be so egotistical as to believe that we are the first people to find the bones of long extinct creatures and to make up reasons for their existence.

As for the art, for the most part it’s okay but artist Chris Muller gets off to a shaky start. His presence in the book makes a lot of sense. I could completely understand the need to ratchet up the kid-friendly elements of the story, of course. If you name your book The Griffin and the Dinosaur then you better bloody well have a couple griffins in there (to say nothing of the dinosaurs). In fact, when Muller is working on the mythical, he is at his best. The cover, for example, is striking, as are his images of an Amazon fighting a griffin or a sleeping griffin protecting its nest. Where it all breaks down is when he has to deal with reality. The publication page says that the paintings were made with “traditional media – pencil and watercolors – and digital painting.” Traditional media is fine with me, but the digital painting proves to be occasionally painful. For example, a preliminary image of young Adrienne dowsing above the skeleton of a dinosaur is baffling partly because I couldn’t find any mentions of dowsing in the text and partly because the CGI cloud cover contrasts horribly with the drawn Adrienne. It feels like a cheap image in an otherwise classy book. Happily, it is the only moment when I felt that way. Other images in the book border or plunge right into the fantastical, and that’s appropriate for the moments they tend to illustrate.

This is the Possession by A.S. Byatt of children’s literature. An honest-to-goodness historical mystery complete with an early hypothesis, a likable heroine, multiple dead ends, and at the end? GOLD! Literally. It succeeds at doing many things at once, but never runs too long or bores the reader with its findings. Mayor is a likable and ultimately unintimidating subject for kids to follow. For those children obsessed with myths and legends, this might be the ideal way to transition them gently from the world of the fantastical into one of research and exploration. For Percy Jackson lovers everywhere.

On shelves April 8th.

Source: Final copy sent from publicist for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Professional Reviews: Kirkus

Misc:

  • The American Museum of Natural History offers their own summary of the griffin/dinosaur connection.

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4.

Summer is ending and the garden is winding down. I’m harvesting fewer veggies and making plans to prepare amend my soil over the winter. Next

Fall Crop: Rutabaga

Fall Crop: Rutabaga

year, I simply want a wider variety of vegetables. I need to move to a plot that gets full sun in the early morning, but I’m not sure how well that will work out.

And, as the garden winds down the library is gearing up for the school year. This week I’ve got classes to teach and a graduate student open house to staff. I’m meeting at CANDLES Holocaust Museum to develop a docent program, finishing up a project with National Geographic to align some of their books to the Core Curriculum and I have this idea for an article that I want to develop. And, my BFYA pile is growing again! I admit it’s still out of control, but I’m planning strategic days at home over the next few months to do nothing but read. And, my weekends are completely and boringly void of everything except books.

I think most people want others to be aware of the work they do and the

Weekly Harvest of Books!

Weekly Harvest of Books!

Internet is the perfect venue for sharing our successes. Have you ever done a search for someone and found nothing on them?

Do you ever search your own name? This morning, I used Google, Bing and Yahoo to search for myself. Using my full name, I got a lot of hits for obituaries of dead white women. I used to find curriculum units I prepared or programs I participated in but now, I suppose those things are just too old.

When I shortened my first name to “Edi” and eliminated “Edie” from my search, I got a few things related to my blog, a video that I think is about a singer in Latin h America and advice on how to dress like Edi Campbell, most probably the other Edi Campbell.

Now, I’m not trying to use the ‘net to claim my 3 minutes of fame but I do know that there is a very good chance I’ll be looking for another job or two. Face it, employers search to see what they can find out about us. About.me is a nice, new tool that allows users to create their own home page and establish their professional image. It would be good for students entering the job market as well as for the seasoned professional who has little else online.

Fall crop: cabbage sprouts

Fall crop: cabbage sprouts

Get your name out there and make a difference in YA: apply to be a CYBILS judge.  Self nominations are due by 30 August.

The winners of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize were recently announced and make wonderful reading choices for young readers.

Don’t leave the young people out of the celebrations of the anniversary of the March on Washington. My favorite post to help bring them into the conversation is Don Tate’s listing of picture and nonfiction books. Throughout the year, educator’s can turn to ALA’s newly released Multi-ethnic books for the middle school curriculum.

We just can’t get around the fact that life is diverse, can we? So many different things to keep us busy!


Filed under: Sunday Reads Tagged: ask, BFYA, Common Core, Don Tate, gardening, me, National Geographic, online image

1 Comments on , last added: 8/27/2013
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5. Review of the Day: National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!
Edited by J. Patrick Lewis
National Geographic
$24.95
ISBN: 978-1-4263-1009-6
Ages 7-12
On shelves now

Animals make for good poetry. That’s just common sense. When humans get misty eyed and start thinking their great grand thoughts, they tend to be inspired by some form of nature. Naturally, some animals in particular are replete with awe-inspiring tendencies. Bald eagles, say. So where does that put your average hamster or flamingo? Not all animals are built to accompany great grand thoughts after all. Some of them are best suited to small, sly, clever verses instead. Taken as a whole, there are probably more animal poems in the world than a person could imagine. That’s why it’s rather clever of J. Patrick Lewis to pair with National Geographic’s talented photography department to bring us a gorgeously designed book of animal poems. You name the animal, the man has found (or perhaps solicited?) a poem to fit. Containing everything from limericks to haiku, this collection of two hundred poems and who knows how many photos is a visual feast for eye and ear alike.

“If you listen very carefully, you’ll hear the chicken hatching,” reads the first poem in this book. It’s “The Egg” by Jack Prelutsky and it starts off National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry’s “Welcome to the World” section. Split into eight different sections, the book categorizes its contents not by genus or species but by only the grandest of terms. There are “the big ones”, “the little ones”, “the winged ones”, “the water ones”, “the strange ones”, “the noisy ones”, and “the quiet ones”. Each poem is accompanied by a photograph, and sometimes the photograph is accompanied by more than one poem. There are verses poignant and funny, thought provoking and wild. Finally, at the end of the book, there is a section on “writing poems about animals” that aids kids by giving them a range of different forms to try. This is followed by a two-page spread of resources and four indexes at the end, one by title, one by poet, one by first line, and one by subject.

What is unclear to me is the ratio of poems Lewis knew about and found verses the poems he went out and asked for. I noticed quite a few contemporary children’s poets between these pages. Janet S. Wong, Jane Yolen, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, Michael J. Rosen, Bobbi Katz, Betsy Franco, etc. And I could not help but notice that those contemporary poets tended to write for some of the more difficult animals. The anemone, the blue jay, or the raccoon, for example. Here’s another question for you: Which came first, the photograph or the poem? Did Mr. Lewis plow through untold hundreds of National Geographic photos, old and new, cull the best and then find the poems, or did he find the poems first and then match the photos to fit? Certainly some of the National Geographic’s better known images are in this book (the picture of the flamingoes standing in the shape of a flamingo, for example). Sadly no note exists in this book telling us what Mr. Lewis’s process was.

There is a form to the chapters of this book but not so much form within the chapters. You might wonder at this at first, but since it’s easy enough to locate your favorite critter by using the subject index at the end of the book, it’s understandable why you might want to take the advice Mr. J. Patrick Lewis proffers at the beginning of the collection and know that “This book is not for reading straight through.” You dip in and find old favorites and new with ease. One librarian commented to me her surprise that the tiger poem in this book wasn’t William Blake’s “The Tyger”. True enough, but the anonymous poem with its classic limerick about the lady from Niger is rather well known within its own right. I was also amused in a very fifth grade boy kind of way by Michael J. Rosen’s blue-footed booby poem. You’ll have to see it for yourself to understand why.

There are a couple times when the poem paired to the photo is a bit misleading or confusing. For example, for the picture of a butterfly still within its chrysalis, the poem is instead about a cocoon. I suppose cocoons are significantly less impressive photography-wise than chrysalises, but I’ve little doubt that kids will find the terms interchangeable now. Similarly there’s a poem about a sea horse that is inexplicably paired with an impressive but very different image of a weedy sea dragon. Credit where credit is due, each photograph is accompanied by a very small written description of its subject matter, but nine times out of ten the child reader will be relying on the poem to explain what they’re seeing. Probably because nine times out of ten that would be the right move.

I can only imagine the sheer amounts of blood, sweat and tears that went into the collection and design of the book itself. It has its little quirks here and there, but if you’re seeking a poetry book for kids that children would willingly pick up and flip through, even if they have hitherto professed to not like poetry in the slightest, this is your best bet. A gorgeous little number that has the occasional slip-up, it is nonetheless a magnificent collection and book that is well worth the space it takes up. Add a little natural wonder to your poetry shelves. Because if we’re talking about the best possible compliment to your eyes and ears alike, few have as many perks and grand moments as this.

On shelves now.

Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Other Blog Reviews:

Professional Reviews:

Videos:

Be sure to watch J. Patrick Lewis reading the poem “Make the Earth Your Companion here:

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6. Nonfiction Monday: Unraveling Freedom

Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I. Ann Bausum. 2010. November 2010. National Geographic. 96 pages.

In the spring of 1917, as the United States prepared to declare war on Germany and enter the fight that would become known as World War I, perhaps as many as a quarter of all Americans had either been born in Germany or had descended from Germans. 

If you can enjoy a book about war, then I can definitely say that I enjoyed this one. The focus? On America's homefront during World War I. Bausum explores how individual freedoms--rights--were "unraveled" for the sake of creating a safer (better) America. With the war, differences--any differences--could make you a suspect--at least to your neighbors if not the government. Many things were now seen as being un-American. It went beyond suspecting those of German ancestry. It went beyond suspecting European immigrants.

Bausum could have easily kept the focus on one American war. Instead, she chooses to look at the pattern of how wars have a way of "unraveling" freedom and democracy. How fighting for those principles we love, often means compromising those freedoms--at least during wartime. She specifically makes a connection between the sinking of the Lusitania and World War I with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the Afghanistan/Iraq wars.

I found the book fascinating. The section on the Lusitania was heartbreaking, for example. If you're looking for a quick, compelling read, then I'd definitely recommend this one! I loved so many things about it--the layout, style, and format. It's just a beautifully detailed book. The use of color, space, photographs and other images and illustrations wowed me; everything just works well.

The back matter includes a guide to wartime presidents, a timeline, notes and acknowledgments, bibliography, resource guide, citations, index, and illustration credits. 
 

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Linked Up: Flooding, Caves, Basketball

I just wanted to extend a hello to our new readers, many of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at ALA in San Diego earlier this week. As always, if you have suggestions, questions, ideas about/for OUPblog, I more than welcome them. You can email me at blog[at]oup[dot]com. And now, I present the Friday links…

Incredible footage of the flooding in Australia [White Light Bringer] – Related: You can donate to Queensland flood relief here.

LOOK AT THESE CAVE PHOTOS! [National Geographic]

Baby learns to just say ‘no’ [via]

Orchestra fail [YouTube audio only]

This child dances better than we ever will [YouTube]

Falling books bookshelf [via]

Some amazing basketball skillz [Dunking Devils]

An interesting question about the death penalty [GOOD]

And from The Next Web, the answer to the question you’ve all been asking…

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8. National Geographic Kids: Weird But True 2

ngkweirdbuttrue 300x300 National Geographic Kids: Weird But True 2Weird But True 2: 300 Outrageous Facts by National Geographic

Reviewed by: Dad of Divas

About the book:

Did you know that a great white shark can weigh as much as 15 gorillas? That meteorites the size of basketballs land on Earth about once a month? Kids will devour more than 300 wacky facts in Weird but True! 2—the second installment in a lively new spin-off series from the award-winning National Geographic Kids magazine.

Straight from the pages of the magazine’s top-scoring feature, this little book is chock-full of tremendous fun. It’s packed with even more of the wild-n-wacky facts, whimsical designs, and all-out reading fun that made the first Weird but True volume an early success.

This book’s compact size makes it easy to handle and fun to browse. Eye-popping photos and bold, colorful graphics nab kids’ attention and entice them to read. Brain-bending facts cover a broad range of topics, from science to foods to pop culture and just about everything else under the sun. Kids will have so much fun that they won’t even realize they’re learning.

My take on the book:

This delightful book will not only help your child to learn some fun facts about their world, but I believe adults will enjoy it also. To me this a book the entire family will like to read. The book is set up with short snippets of information on each page. Some pages have one fact and other pages have several facts. It is easy to read ,and I found I wanted to read the entire 300 facts in one sitting. This book could easily become a springboard for you and your child to search out other amazing, little known facts that you could share with others.

I would like to give you a sampling of the book’s contents:

  • Animals that lay eggs do not have belly buttons.
  • The average dreams lasts 20 minutes.
  • Men get hiccups more often than women.
  • Snow leopards cannot roar.
  • If the longest blue whale could stand on its tail, it would be as tall as a ten story building.
  • Some butterflies have ears on their wings.
  • Chewing gum makes your heart beat faster.
  • The first e-mail was sent in 1971.
  • Mt. Everest grows 1/8 of an inch each year.
  • Russia is only two miles from Alaska.

This is just a small sample. Dads, just think about all the conversations you can begin with your kids, using this book.

3 Comments on National Geographic Kids: Weird But True 2, last added: 2/14/2011
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9. Bethanne Patrick Joins Shelf Awareness

Bethanne Patrick (pictured, via) has joined Shelf Awareness.  According to the publishing site, Patrick will serve as “editor of our upcoming consumer publication.”

We reached out to the site, but no more details were offered about the new publication. Patrick is known as The Book Maven on Twitter and has written two books for National Geographic. Her book reviews have appeared in a number of publications, including O the Oprah Magazine and The Washington Post.

Here’s more from Shelf Awareness: “From 2008 until early 2011, Bethanne hosted The Book Studio for WETA-PBS, an online author interview show. She was a contributing editor to Publishers Weekly, editor of AOL Books from 2004-2007 and from 2001-2004 was an editor for Pages magazine, where she wrote the ‘Global View’ column.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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10. Ypulse Essentials: Google+ Is Minus A Few Visitors, Gamification Breakdown, Library Visitors Read Down Fines

It’s still way too early to decide the winner in the social network race (but it appears Google+ might be lagging as it’s already losing visitors. In our opinion, the network still has yet to show how it’s better than Facebook)... Read the rest of this post

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11. A Hidden Silver Lining

Good new too all!  There may be a hidden silver lining to global warming…well, in the Arctic at least.  According to a new study, the persistent change in climate may very well improve the quality of air in the polar region.  This good news is rare seeing as global warming in the Arctic is increasing at a more rapid rate than in other areas of the planet.  Due to warming, air pollutants from industrial regions travel to the Arctic.  In turn, these pollutants only speed up the warming.  It is a vicious cycle! 

 Now, I’m sure you are asking, “Where is the good news?”  Well my friends, global rainfall is also predicted to be a widespread result of global warming.  Lucky for us, rain serves as a natural cleanser.  As said by the scientist leading this recent study, Timothy Garrett, “Precipitation is the atmosphere’s single most efficient way of removing particulate pollution.”  Raindrops take the pollutants with them. Simple as that!  Due to this redeeming natural occurrence, rainfall may already swipe pollution from the air before it even reaches the Arctic.

Read about another vicious cylce in our book, “In Arctic Waters,” by Laura Crawford.  I promise, this cycle is more forgiving and much more exciting!  Through this wonderfully illustrated book,  join in the rhythmic, building fun of Arctic animals as they play and chase each other around “the ice that floats in the Arctic water.”  What happens to interrupt and spoil their fun?  Go and see for yourself!

 

For even more fun with reading, dive into another one of our titles, “The Glaciers are Melting!” by Donna Love.  In this book, Peter Pika is sure the glaciers are melting and is off to talk to the Mountain Monarch about it.  Joined along the way by friends Tammy Ptarmigan, Sally Squirrel, Mandy Marmot, and Harry Hare, they all wonder what will happen to them if the glaciers melt.  Where will they live, how will they survive?  When Wiley Wolverine tries to trick them, can the Mountain Monarch save them?  More importantly, can the Mountain Monarch stop the glaceirs from melting?


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12. Ypulse Essentials: The Superbowl Sets A Twitter Record, Verizon & Redbox’s Streaming Service, Gen Y & Investments

We’re still buzzing about the Superbowl (including the actual game, halftime show, ads — view all of them here — and the social media record that was set during the last three minutes of the game, where a whopping 10,000 tweets were sent... Read the rest of this post

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13. Gallimaufry Friday

As weeks go, this one has been kind of blah. Not bad, but not great either. I did manage to get a ton of work done, which definitely goes in the good column. Here are some scraps of interest I found this week while trolling the Web.

National Geographic posted a list of Ten Top Literary Cities. Edinburgh, Scotland, tops the list, followed by Dublin, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Portland, Washington, D.C., Melbourne, and Santiago, Chile. Sad to say, I've been to only one, London (where I visited Dickens House). My hubby, thanks to all his business travel, has visited half the list, having just returned from Dublin, where he viewed The Book of Kells, a lifelong dream. Which places have you been to?

Last month Maurice Sendak appeared in a two-part "Colbert Report" and if you haven't yet seen it, please do. It was laugh aloud funny. In the show, Colbert shows Sendak a children's book he wrote, entitled: I Am a Pole (And So Can You). Sendak dismissed the book as "terribly ordinary" (and he was being generous), but admitted, "The sad thing is I liked it." Well, hold on to your hats, I Am a Pole will be published in May by Grand Central Publishing.

And get this, according to a survey of 2,000 UK parents, one in five have put the kibosh of reading fairy tales to their young ones. The reason? They're too scary--and not politically correct. Hansel and Gretel? Abandoned children. Snow White? Dwarves aren't a nice term for little people. Cinderella? Too much housework done by a female. Rapunzel? Kidnapping. Goldilocks? The kid's a thief. Have these people never read Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment? Apparently not. My daughter's favorite tale hands down was "The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids". Little goats left alone get tricked and swallowed up by a wolf, except for the youngest one. He tells his mother what has happened and she springs into action, using her smarts and sewing basket to free her kids and kill the wolf. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the story's appeal to a small child. No matter what happens, Mom's got your back. I feel sorry for the children of these parents who won't be able to resolve their fears because they never got the chance to hear these timeless stories.

This week saw my 1,000th tweet. I started Twitter a little over a year ago, not expecting to like it. Instead, I've found it an amazing resource, especially for people interested in children's literature. If you have a Twitter account (and if you don't, why not test the waters?), feel free to follow me @TheCathInTheHat. Happy tweeting!

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14. Wheels of Change

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). Sue Macy. 2011. National Geographic. 96 pages.

Sometime between May and November, 1876, Colonel Albert Augustus Pope took a trip that changed American life forever. 

Wheels of Change is a great little book! It is so well-written, so informative, so engaging! So what is the book about? Well, it's about how the introduction of the bicycle into American culture/society, changed the way women saw themselves, and how others saw them too. Bicycling was fun, yes, and it was physically challenging; but it was so much more than that. At a time when everyone assumed women were weak and mindless and needed to stay that way. Well, I exaggerate slightly, perhaps. But in terms of what women could do--inside or outside the home, in terms of what women could wear, in terms of where women could go, in terms of what kind of relationships and friendships women could have, etc. Forgetting the morality of it all, there were some that believed that women should not exert themselves physically at all. That any type of exercise at all could damage a woman's body or mind. But of course, morality does come into it. What kind of woman rides a bicycle? Who does she ride with? Does she ride on a bicycle built for two? What else is going on besides bike riding in these meetings? And a woman who wears bloomers?! Well, that has to say something about her moral character, right?!

As you can guess, this one is such a great little book. Each chapter is fascinating. And this one is designed so well! It is so reader-friendly. There are so many pictures, so many photographs, so many little asides...this one just says read me, read me, read me!
  • Chapter 1: Inventing the Bicycle
  • Feature: Celebrity Cyclists
  • Chapter 2: The Devil's Advance Agent
  • Feature: Cycling Slang
  • Chapter 3: Fashion Forward
  • Feature: Cycling Songs
  • Chapter 4: Fast and Fearless
  • Feature: The Cycling Press
  • Chapter 5: New Freedoms
  • Feature: Selling with Cycles
This one was well-researched. And I'd definitely recommend it!!!

Read Wheels of Change
  • If you love nonfiction
  • If you are interested in women's history
  • If you are interested in bicycling, the history of it
  • If you are interested in American history during the Victorian period



Women's Independence
Women's Liberation and the Bicycle
Courting with a Bicycle
New Bicycle Technology

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Book Review: National Geographic Readers: Titanic


The name alone, National Geographic sells a book or magazine. Their reputation for photographs and educational information exults even a non-reader.

Recently while at a local Barnes and Nobles I was pleased to find several choices in books for young readers about the Titanic. They are located on an end-cap aisle in the children's area. After looking through all the choices available I chose this one. Why? Because it's National Geographic and I know it will be everything I'd expect it to be.

This book has less reading than the previous book on the Titanic I'd just reviewed. The emphasis is on photographs. Many I'd not seen before. The lay-out of the pages are magazine style. It is professionally created with the intent of mesmerizing and educating children (without the child even knowing it.) The photographs are of both the ship before setting sail and after being found in 1985. What I found of most interest is of the artifacts both on the bottom of the ocean floor and those that have been recovered.

This is an outstanding children's book on the Titanic and I highly recommend it to young readers, or those of any age.

Published by National Geographic Children's Books March 27, 2012
For ages 6 and up
48 pages
Non-fiction/Titanic

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/titanic-melissa-stewart/1105544822?ean=9781426310591
Paperback $3.79

http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/product/national-geographic-readers-series/national-geographic-readers%3A-titanic
http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Readers-Melissa-Stewart/dp/1426310595/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b
Paperback $3.99





2 Comments on Book Review: National Geographic Readers: Titanic, last added: 4/18/2012
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16. Nonfiction Monday: If Stones Could Speak


If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking The Secrets of Stonehenge. Marc Aronson. 2010. March 2010. National Geographic. 64 pages.

Stonehenge, Near Salisbury, England.
It is a typical September day in western England--we had heavy rain yesterday, and the sky is still slate gray, but when the clouds break there are sudden moments of clear sunlight. I keep noticing the changing light because I am dashing to stay out of the way of a Japanese film crew. They are following the archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson as he leads them around Stonehenge--the mysterious circle of stones that was built on Salisbury Plain 4,500 years ago and is now a World Heritage site.
Somebody went to a great effort very long ago to shape these stones and then lift them into place. But unlike the Egyptians who were raising their great pyramids at the exact same time, the builders did not know how to write. All they left behind was this beautiful circle of stone. And so we walk around it, snapping photos, and wonder, What are you telling us, stones? What did you mean to those who put you here? We want the stones to speak. We sense that if we could only understand them, we would be able to reach back in time. We would be in the world of Ancient Britain.
This one just fascinated me! I loved learning more about Stonehenge. About the various theories people--mainly archaeologists--have come up with. About how this place has fascinated so many for so long. I loved reading about the new insights, the new discoveries made just recently.

This one had everything I look for in a nonfiction. The writing was engaging. It was full of information. And the photos and illustrations were great!


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 Comments on Nonfiction Monday: If Stones Could Speak, last added: 4/20/2010
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17. George Washington

Reviews that originally appeared in the April 2006 issue of the now-gone The Edge of the Forest.

George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides
By Rosalyn Schanzer
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (October 1, 2004)
ISBN: 0792273494

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
By Thomas B. Allen
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (January 1, 2004)
ISBN: 0792251261

Originally appeared at The Edge of the Forest.

The American Revolution is brought to life in two books that use a similar device. On the surface, both George v. George and George Washington, Spymaster are about George Washington; but both are about more than the man.

George v. George compares the two most visible people on each side of the war, both named George: the American George Washington and the English King George III. Schanzer initially focuses on these two individuals, but then expands to compare the American and British views on everything from politics to methods of war. The approach results in a balanced view of the American Revolution, explaining such things as the structure of Colonial government and taxation. Particularly impressive to this American is how Schanzer conveys how the British viewed the American guerilla warfare as dishonorable.

In any conflict, there are two sides to a story. Books that show historical events from one side, painting the other as "them" and "wrong," can lead a child to wonder at how stupid those "others" were to not agree with "us." Schanzer, by providing balance in the arguments, is not looking to persuade the reader to agree with either George; rather, by providing the point of view of the "other," she allows the reader to see the war from a different point of view. This is about understanding another's position.

The color illustrations are reminiscent of 18th century political cartoons; so while original to the text, they convey a time period appropriate feel. At the same time, there is a modern, kid-friendly feel.

As the title indicates, George Washington, Spymaster, uses George Washington to highlight the value of information in war. This isn't a book about the life of George

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18. Librarian Preview: National Geographic (Fall 2010/Spring 2011)

I don’t get enough non-fiction in my diet.  If left to my own devices I’d probably end up solely devouring fiction titles that involve melodrama, dark humor, mild magic, and sentient cheese.  That said, I am consistently grateful that National Geographic Kids has the wherewithal to pull me up out of my comfort zone, and to plop me into the potentially frightening world of facts and figures.  It isn’t frightening, of course.  Quite the opposite.  And so the other day I sat down with Jeff Reynolds of National Geographic to see what they have on the table, and what they’re excited about.

Summer/Fall 2010

A little bit of summer before we plunge into fall, eh?  And what more appropriate title than Summer’s Bloodiest Days: The Battle of Gettysburg as Told from All Sides by Jenifer Weber?  Here you have a book that does something that I’m a little shocked other folks haven’t picked up on yet.  Seems to me that if you have a bunch of old Civil War era photographs lying about, the natural thing to do with them would be to give the little buggers speech balloons ala Monty Python.  That’s what Weber has done here, along the usual artifact inserts, and interesting facts.  Apparently this is the first in a series of other Civil War battles, each told from a variety of sides.  Something to keep an eye out for, then.

If your children’s room is anything like mine then big tall books can be the bane of your existence.  One library I worked in had its own Oversized section, slowly gathering cobwebs and mothballs for all that people visited it.  One book that was always criminally huge was the National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers.  Bloody gigantic, that thing is!  Apparently someone noticed and made some adjustments.  Shrunk down to “backpack size” (a pretty good designation) the new National Geographic Kids World Atlas has updated information and will apparently fit on your shelves better.  Sweet.

The term “user-generated content” generally causes a range of personal opinions.  For some it’s a derogatory term.  For others, praiseworthy.  In the case of Weird but True! 2: 300 Outrageous Facts, it’s just a description for what you’ll find inside.  National Geographic’s kid magazine solicited its readers for facts and those tidbits then were then duly entered into this book.  Everything from “There’s a one in a trillion chance that a piece of space junk will land on your house today” to “Chickens see daylight 45 minutes before humans do.”  I’ve always liked the format of these books.  Plus, you need to have something on hand when the fortieth kid comes up to you asking for your Guinness Book of World Records titles and they’re all checked out.  To pays to be prepared.

6 Comments on Librarian Preview: National Geographic (Fall 2010/Spring 2011), last added: 7/29/2010

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19. Nonfiction Monday: Weird But True!

Weird But True: 300 Outrageous Facts (National Geographic Kids)I have two awesome books for you today!

Weird But True: 300 Outrageous Facts and Weird but True! 2: 300 Outrageous Facts, both by the National Geographic Kids

Both books have a brilliant design-- graphic heavy with great colors and lots of different fonts. Visually, this is the type of book that kids absolutely love to look at. Even better, it's just a collection of facts, so it's a great book for kids to pick up and leaf through and put back down. Although, once you start leafing through, you won't be able to put it back down until you've read it all.

BUT! BEST OF ALL!

The facts are just fun!

I liked the Monopoly facts because Dan gave me the Monopoly app and sooooooooooooooo addictive.

The longest game of Monopoly played in a bathtub lasted for 99 hours.
The longest game of Monopoly played in a tree house lasted 286 hours.

Weird but True! 2: 300 Outrageous FactsAlso, I learned a lot about hippos:

They sweat red, can be more dangerous than lions, can run as fast as humans, and their lips are about two feet wide.

Speaking of Lions, did you know that South Africa's giant bullfrogs sometimes attack lions?

Some of the facts are things that I already knew-- French Fries are Belgian, not French, a tiger's skin is striped like its fur, and there are more plastic flamingos in the US than real flamingos.

But, some I didn't and are just plain fun:

It's illegal to sell a haunted house in New York without telling the buyer.

Recycling 1 soda can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours.

There's a one in one trillion chance that your house will be hit by space junk. TODAY.

Super fun and a sure fire hit.

HELPFUL LIBRARY HINT: My best display of the summer was "fun books to look at while waiting for your turn on the computer." So, a lot of picture riddles, various illustrated editions of the Guinness World Records, 1 Comments on Nonfiction Monday: Weird But True!, last added: 8/9/2010

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20. Ypulse Essentials: UMG Pulls Plug On MTV.com, National Geographic Animal Jam, 'Fred' Star Lands Nick Series

Teen Choice Awards grow up (FOX calls on Katy Perry, a house DJ and "a set that resembles a dance club" to hook older teens for tonight's broadcast and combat the dip in last year's ratings. Will it work? Also the forces behind "Glee"are penning a... Read the rest of this post

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21. YAB Interview: Smart Bomb Interactive on National Geographic Animal Jam

Today's Ypulse Youth Advisory Board interview is with Art Roche, Joi Podgorny and Jennifer Puckett, the brains behind Smart Bomb Interactive — and the team behind the latest virtual world for kids to hit the market, National Geographic’s... Read the rest of this post

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22. Nonfiction Monday: Liberty or Death


Liberty or Death: The Surprising Story of Runaway Slaves Who Sided With the British During The American Revolution. By Margaret Whitman Blair. 2010. National Geographic. 64 pages.

Liberty and freedom are not the sole province of any set of people anywhere. The fact that three of the first four Presidents of our nation were slaveholders would seem to suggest that our nation was founded in slavery.

I'll be honest. I was mostly interested in Liberty Or Death because I've been fascinated by a few recent fictional titles on this subject: Octavian Nothing volume 1 and 2 by M.T. Anderson, and Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. (Forge, the sequel to Chains, releases this fall.)

I'm glad I read Liberty or Death. I found it interesting and informative. It mentions how African Americans fought on both sides of the War. How some chose to trust the British. How some chose to trust the Americans. It not only covers the years of the American Revolution, it tells the bigger story. What happened to these former slaves who fought for the British after the defeat. Where they settled. What kind of lives they led. Their continued struggles.

I found the book very engaging--very compelling.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 Comments on Nonfiction Monday: Liberty or Death, last added: 9/28/2010
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23. Ypulse Youth Media Movers & Shakers

Today we bring you another installment of Youth Media Movers and Shakers. We've culled through industry publications looking for the recent executive placements we think you should know about. If you have executive news that you want us to... Read the rest of this post

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24. Book Review – National Geographic: Face to Face With Wolves

wolves 300x300 Book Review   National Geographic: Face to Face With WolvesNational Geographic: Face to Face With Wolves by Jim & Judy Brandenburg

Reviewed by: Dad of Divas

About the Book

The Arctic wolf inches towards you. Like you, he is torn between fear and curiosity. His instinct leads him towards the scent of your leather boots. Your instinct is to reach out to this curious white canine, but he snarls, and you’re face to face with a wild animal!

Come face to face with wolves through this book’s photos by Jim Brandenburg. For years, he’s photographed wolves leaping onto ice floes, hunting and foraging for food and surrounding his house in Minnesota.

In the “Face to Face With Animals” series, National Geographic experts take you into the wild! Go behind the scenes with the people who research and photograph wild animals.

Each book includes “Tips from the experts”, a “facts at a glance” reference section, a scientific experiment, a glossary, and a “find out more” section all stimulate participation.

My Take on the Book
This photographic journal begins with Jim telling us that wolves are his favorite animal. He traveled to the high Arctic, far north in Canada where white wolves live so he could study them. After three summers of study, he returned to Minnesota where he and his wife continued their study of wolves.

The second section of this book gives us information about wolves. There are many details and excellent photographs and along the margins there are “fun” facts about wolves. Jim explains how wolves were hunted so much that there was decline in numbers to the point that they were place on the Endangered Species list. He shows the reader how that recovery for these animals is taking place now.

The last section of the book has pages of additional information about wolves, but also has information on how the reader can assist in reestablishing the wolf population in the United States. The photographs are amazing and the information keeps you engaged in this beautiful book. It is worth sharing . Enjoy!

5 Comments on Book Review – National Geographic: Face to Face With Wolves, last added: 11/15/2010
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25. Book Review: National Geographic Kids World Atlas

kidsatlas Book Review: National Geographic Kids World AtlasNational Geographic Kids World Atlas by National Geographic

Reviewed by: Dad of Divas

About the author:

National Geographic is a recognised authority in mapping excellence. For 119 years the Society’s maps have helped spread geographic knowledge to people around the world. A multi-million-dollar database allows National Geographic to combine the latest data gained by space-age technology with innovative digital mapping techniques to create state-of-the-art political, physical, and thematic maps. Meticulous research and attention to detail have established a standard of achievement that is second to none.

About the book:

In this new, reduced trim size edition, we’ve punched up the content with the very latest maps, data, and essays about the world and all that is in it. More than 200 color images transport kids to intriguing places, and 115 pages of full-size National Geographic maps help them locate countries, cities, regions, and more.

Created by the most trusted name in cartography, these colorful maps have been custom designed for middle-grade students. Boundaries, place-names, and data reflect the most current information available, and every map appears in the context of surrounding areas to ensure that a full picture of the world develops. Same-size physical and political maps make for easy comparisons and help youngsters understand how physical features influence patterns of human settlement and economic activity. Locator globes and color-coding make it easy for kids to keep track of where they are and quickly navigate from one region to another.

Stunning images from space draw visual links between real-world scenes and cartography. Plus, an interactive Web feature links kids to the Society’s vast archive of maps, articles, photos, videos, music, languages, crafts, quizzes, and more. With a dynamic reference like this, homework has never been so fascinating.

My take on the book:

I have seen so many children’s atlases and they have all had excellent qualities but I need to say that this atlas is not only for children but for the entire family.

I found many of the sections worthy of mentioning: there is a web site offered which will give you to access to more information than the book offers. The book offers excellent maps not only of the countries but of the vegetation, the physical aspects of each continent, land formations, natural disasters, the oceans of the world, world politics, world population, languages of the world, religions and economics of the world, food and water resources, mineral resources, and more.

The book illustrates each continent in so many detailed ways. Lots of photos enhance the text.

It is a book that can be used at all grade levels especially knowing you have the web site of information available to you. Help your children to know the world they live in. We are in a global

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