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

#SummersCool: Art and Architecture, Music, and Science

The latest edition of #SummersCool is here! Get ready for a full day of fun!

 

Build a Castle, by Paul Farrell, (April 2020, Pavilion Children’s Books), $19.99, IBN: 9781843654469

Ages 7+

Way too much fun, this box of 64 slotted cards let kids build castles with all the details: heraldry, arches, arrow-slit windows, flags, and more. Brightly colored in reds, blues, and yellows, with bold black outlines, kids can read up on different architectural features and get an idea of the basics from the included foldout sheet, and let their creative energy take them wherever they want to go. I worked on these with the Kiddo, and he ended up incorporating his Lego bricks and minifigs to come up with a fantastic spread that covered our dining room table. The box is just the beginning – print out some paper knights, draw some dragons, and have a great time!

Turn it Up! A Pitch-Perfect History of Music That Rocked the World, by Joel Levy, (Dec. 2019, National Geographic Kids), $19.99, ISBN: 978-1426335419

Ages 8-12

From the earliest music to K-Pop, Turn It Up! is a comprehensive guide to the history of music and its influence on the world. Six sections organize music into time periods, beginning with the earliest instruments, including wind instruments played on crops, and string instruments handed down from the gods. Isn’t It Romantic? introduces readers to orchestras, operas, and Classical and Romantic music’s origins in the 18th ad 19th centuries. Thoroughly Modern Music explores the 20th century, and the changes to music brought by the emerging film and radio industries; All-American Sound is all about the American sound of Jazz and Blues, influenced by African culture. Play it Loud covers protest music, the British invasion that brought the Beatles to American shores, and the distinctive style of 1970s rock. Pop Goes the Music is about pop, punk, rap, and hip-hop. Spotlights on instruments, musical terms, superstars of the music world, and notes about essential pieces of music give readers a well-rounded backgrounder in music history. There’s a timeline, glossary, further resources list, and index to complete this volume. Let your kids create a Spotify playlist with music they like; create one for them.

 

Extreme Ocean: Amazing Animals, High-Tech Gear, Record-Breaking Depths, and Much More!, by Sylvia A. Earle and Glen Phelan, (March 2020, National Geographic Kids), $12.99, ISBN: 9781426336850

Ages 8-12

I love NatGeo’s animal compendiums, and Kiddo does too – he usually runs off with mine as soon as they arrive! After retrieving Extreme Ocean from his bookcase, I was able to sit down and see what deep sea explorer Sylvia A. Earle had to say about some of her ocean explorations. Filled with colorful, vibrant photos, Extreme Ocean is all about the oceans that cover over 71% of our world: and the dangers they face. The information is organized into five chapters: Blue Heart of the Planet is about the ocean itself; Life Beneath the Waves is about ocean life; Going Deeper, Staying Longer covers exploration, and An Ocean in Trouble and How to Save an Ocean is a call to action for readers to educate themselves about dangers like pollution and overfishing, and what scientists and conservationists are doing – and what readers can do – to turn the tide in our favor. Extreme sections in each section look at major happenings, from tsunamis to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a polluted area of the Pacific Ocean that may measure as large as the state of Alaska. There are experiments for kids to try at home, and Who’s Who callout boxes bring readers’ attention to different ocean dwellers to discover. There’s a glossary, list of resources, and an index. A great companion to NatGeo’s Ultimate Oceanpedia and Captain Aquatica’s Awesome Ocean, and a book kids will love.

 

Acadia Files: Book Four, Spring Science, by Katie Coppens/Illustrated by Holly Hatam, (March 2020, Tilbury House Publishers), $13.95, ISBN: 978-0-88448-604-6

Ages 7-11

The fourth book in Acadia’s Science Notebook series is all about Spring! This season, Acadia investigates dinosaurs, meteors, and mass extinctions. She also looks at parasites, ticks, and the diseases they can spread, including Lyme disease and malaria. She also looks through her previous seasons’ notebooks and puts together her inquiries from all four of them, to give herself – and readers – a rounded, holistic understanding of the natural world. This is such a great intermediate STEM/STEAM series for kids; it’s part science, part chapter book, with a handwritten, journal feel throughout that should inspire some of your kiddos to start their own journaling. I fall back on this one quite often because it’s so easy. Kiddo and I used this as a guideline to make our own journal and had a great time wandering our neighborhood to fill it up. Enjoy a chapter read and activity in the video below.

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade

Get some Autumn Science in with The Acadia Files

The Acadia Files, Book Two: Autumn Science, by Katie Coppens/Illustrated by Holly Hatan, (Sept. 2018, Tilbury House Publishers), $13.95, ISBN: 9780884486046

Ages 7-10

Part science journal, part chapter book, The Acadia Files is a planned 4-book series that introduces readers to 10-year-old Acadia Greene, who loves science and investigating. She often goes on adventures with her best friend, Isabel, her dog, Baxter, and her science teacher Mom. Autumn Science, the second book in the series, is a 5-chapter book where Acadia works on conservation and environmentalism, learns about frogs, and why leaves change color. She also learns about the water cycle in a chapter called, “Drinking Dinosaur Pee” – yes, my friends, think on that for a little bit! – and discovers the International Date Line and figures out time zones in “What Time Is It?” Finally, the bane of the cooler weather – cold season – gets its due in “The Germ War”, which explains the importance of washing one’s hands and other ways to stay healthy.

Each chapter can be read as a standalone adventure. Full color illustrations throughout give a journal-type feel to the book, including “entries” made by Acadia; there are washi-taped photos and data jotted down in the pages, experiments, new science vocabulary words, and each section ends with further questions to discuss in a “Things I Still Wonder” list. A section on “further exploration”includes links to all topics covered in the book. Endpapers look like a molecule party gone wild, and the cover looks like a decorated cardboard cover. Readers with even a passing interest in science should gobble this one up, and I’d love to see science programs (program in a book!) in libraries use this book to create some STEM fun – there will be four books in the series, after all; one for each season! Which reminds me… I think a “Dinosaur Pee” program would do GANGBUSTERS here at my library. Excuse me while I go make some plans…

Give this to your readers who liked Lucy’s Lab. Display with… what else? Science Comics!

Author Katie Coppens is a science educator. You can visit her author website to learn about author visits and see more of her books.