Posted in Early Reader, Non-Fiction, picture books, Preschool Reads

So Cool/So Cute… So perfect for kids

NatGeo Kids once again rocks my nonfiction section with a new series for younger readers. So Cool/So Cute is perfect for preschoolers through first graders who love animals, whether they’re cool, like dinosaurs, or cute, like puppies. Filled with facts, amusing side commentary, and color artwork and photos, they’re a great add to displays and small enough to fit inside a backpack or Mom’s bag.

So Cute! Puppies, by National Geographic Kids, (Feb. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $6.99, ISBN: 9781426339066

Ages 3-5

Readers who love puppies will love this adorable collection of puppy facts and photos. They’ll come away with fun facts: did you know that playtime is just as important for puppies as it is for kids? It is! Playtime “teaches young pooches important lessons in how to make friends – and keep them”. They’ll learn a little bit about some of the over 400 dog breeds out and about, and how some puppies look very different at birth, like the Dalmatian, born without spots. Clearly labeled photos introduce kids to different dog breeds, and fun word bubbles give the puppies a say in the dialogue-based text. A perfect Dad joke ends this volume and will give readers a giggle.

Want to pair the book with a fun puppy craft activity? Try Ms. Merry’s Build-a-Puppy craft, or some of these creative and fun crafts from The Spruce Crafts.

 

So Cool! Dinos, by National Geographic Kids, (Feb. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $6.99, ISBN: 9781426339042

Ages 3-5

Puppies are so cute, but dinosaurs? They are SO COOL. This little book is filled with dino facts and colorful artwork, with humorous commentary to keep kids laughing while they learn. An armored Ankylosaurus warns readers, “You wouldn’t want to mess with this”, while a peevish Pterosaur gripes that they wouldn’t “want to be a dinosaur anyway”. Readers will find out ways that scientists learn more about dinosaurs, and yes, there is a mention of dinosaur poop (coprolite), to keep them entertained. There’s information about dinosaur descendants that live in our world today, dino babies, and different-sized dinos. Clearly labeled pictures also offer phonetic pronunciation, making dino researchers out of every reader. The ever-present Dad joke closes this volume.

We Are Teachers has a great article with 20 different dinosaur activities for kids. Offer some as a companion activities or have a Dino Day.

There are more So Cool!/So Cute! books available, including Sharks (So Cool!), Koalas (So Cute!), Leopards (So Cool!), and Pandas (So Cute!).

 

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade

STEM Smart: Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad

Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Hero, by Valerie Tripp/Illustrated by Geneva Bowers, (Oct. 2021, National Geographic Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 9781426373039

Ages 8-12

Izzy Newton, Allie Einstein, and Charlie Darwin are best friends starting Atom Middle School together, when they discover that a friend of theirs who moved away is back! Marie Curie doesn’t seem as friendly as she was when the girls were besties, and she’s got a new friend, Gina Carver, who seems equally standoffish. When the air conditioner in their middle school shows no signs of letting up, the group have to put their science-loving brains to work to figure out how to keep themselves, and the rest of the school, out of deep freeze. Izzy and her friends are all named after scientific icons (you’ll learn more about them in the back matter), and each girl has an interest in an area of science similar to their namesakes. Middle-grade subjects like friendship and working out differences are familiar for readers, and the story examines how misunderstandings arise when people assume and don’t speak to one another. The air conditioning mystery is a science problem that needs to be solved; something the girls do through the scientific method, detailed throughout the story. The pace and dialogue are light and smart, and black and white illustrations run throughout. Back matter includes explanations of scientific terms and profiles of women scientists mentioned in the novel. Absolute Hero – a play on the scientific term “absolute zero” – is the first book in the Smart Squad series, with an additional novel, Newton’s Flaw, available now, and another, The Law of Cavities, coming in October. Visit the Smart Squad webpage for free, downloadable Readers and Educators Guides. Absolute Hero was originally published in hardcover in September 2020.

The S.M.A.R.T. Squad series is shaping up to be a fun STEM-related series for middle graders. Pair with Kate Biberdorf’s Kate the Chemist series.

 

Posted in History, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads, Women's History

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of “Fighting” Shirley Chisholm

Welcome to the Speak Up, Speak Out! by Tonya Bolden Blog Tour!

To celebrate Black History Month and the release of Speak Up, Speak Out!: The Extraordinary Life of Fighting Shirley Chisholm by Tonya Bolden (January 4th), 5 blogs across the web are featuring posts from the book and author, as well as 5 chances to win!


Two Truths and a Lie about Shirley Chisholm
by Tonya Bolden

When I started on my journey with the life of Shirley Chisholm, I had a pretty good grasp of the outline of her life and the highlights. When I delved into the research I was truly surprised by a lot of what I learned about her.

I knew, for example, that while in Congress Shirley was responsible for legislation that got domestic workers included in the minimum wage law. I knew she fought for the construction of more affordable housing and funds for better public schools, but I had no idea that she fought for funds for research on autism and pushed for the federal government to use recycled paper when printing the Congressional Record. (In 1969, for example, the Congressional Record was more than 40,000 pages long!)

I also did not know that when Shirley ran for president in 1972 she spoke up and out about the need to take good care of the environment. And while I knew that Shirley was a staunch advocate for civil rights and women’s rights I did not know that she supported the gay rights movement.

When I started on my journey with Fighting Shirley Chisholm I would have struck out when it came to spotting the following two truths and the one lie about her.

1. Shirley prided herself on her dance skills. The merengue, the tango, and the rhumba were among her favorite dances. She also did a lot of dancing with her fingers—on the piano, that is.

2. When Shirley was young she toyed with the idea of becoming an actress and she later often wore some rather dramatic outfits.

3. Shirley Chisholm was a founder of the National Organization for Women formed in 1966 with the purpose of taking “action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.”

So. . .
.

.

.

.

.

1. Shirley did love to dance. The merengue, the tango, and the rhumba were among her favorite dances at one point. “I come alive on a dance floor,” she told a reporter in the late 1960s. “I’m very creative. I use my hands and my body. Even now I amaze people when I dance.”And she loved playing the piano. When she was young, although here parents didn’t have a lot of money they scraped together enough for her to have piano lessons and to buy a piano on an installment plan.

2. Shirley, who had the gift of mimicry, did toy with the idea of becoming an actress. “My mother always thanked God that I had brains and got to college on scholarship,” she recalled. “Had I not been able to go to college I would have gone to the devil in the theater, [my mother] thought.” And, yes, Shirley was a stylish and at times flamboyant dresser.

3.  Though she later joined NOW, she was not a founder.


Buy | Add on Goodreads

“The strength of Bolden’s skill as a researcher is evident; chapter by chapter, she provides succinct but critical context around the motivations and movements of Chisholm’s political career. An insightful and focused profile of a political trailblazer.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“This lively, detailed look at Chisholm’s personal and political life shines in its portrayal of a strong woman who never backed down…”
– Booklist

“Tonya Bolden brings Shirley Chisholm’s vibrant spirit to life…an engaging and readable style.”
– School Library Connection

From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.

Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.

Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.

 

Website

Tonya Bolden has authored, edited and co-authored more than 40 books. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Honor, the James Madison Book Award, the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Honor, the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C.’s Nonfiction Award, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award and the Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award.  Lauded for her skilled storytelling, impeccable research and lively text, Tonya lives New York City.


GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • One (1) winner will receive a hardcover of Speak Up, Speak Out! by Tonya Bolden
  • US/Can only
  • Ends 3/6 at 11:59pm ET
  • Check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

Blog Tour Schedule:
February 21st – Pragmatic Mom
February 22nd – The Nonfiction Detectives
February 23rd – Ms. Yingling Reads
February 24th – Daddy Mojo
February 25th – Mom Read It

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

Welcome to MY World: Weird But True! New York City

Weird But True! New York City, by National Geographic Kids, (Sept. 2021, National Geographic Kids), $8.99, ISBN: 9781426372322

Ages 8-10

Finally! NatGeo Kids has put together a Weird But True! collection of facts and photos of my backyard. Welcome to New York City, all! You know the Weird But True/Weird Facts drill, so let’s get to it. I love all the New York history the editors at NatGeo Kids have put in there, including hilarious poop facts for all (when there were horse and buggies were the main mode of transportation, street cleaners cleaned about 500 tons of manure off the streets every day. Enjoy that). I LOVE all the love for my home borough, Queens! Our Queens Museum is home of the New York Panorama and we’ve got the Unisphere in Corona Flushing Meadow Park! There are a wealth of library facts in here, which makes me happy (but hey… there are more library systems than just NYPL, which, admittedly, does have the original Winnie the Pooh toys and a giant reading room). And you know what else New York has? DINOSAURS. Our American Museum of Natural History is where the first installment of the Night at the Museum movies takes place (which figures into one of the facts in Weird But True NY).

Full of fun facts and gorgeous photos, fully indexed, and just a fun read, Weird But True! New York City is the next book you want to have in your NatGeo Kids collection (and New York librarians: this BEGS for a New York Bingo kind of program, which you can totally do virtually).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pull some cool Queens Public Library facts together to send to the good folks at Nat Geo Kids for their updated edition…

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Ultimate Book of African Animals!

Welcome to the Ultimate Book of African Animals Blog Tour!

Looking to get away? Spend the week on a virtual safari with Emmy Award-Winning Filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert as your guides! Featuring exclusive excerpts from their latest title, Ultimate Book of African Animals (National Geographic Kids Books, ages 8-12), Beverly and Dereck share their intimate stories of life on safari and provide a unique, behind-the-lens perspective on their passion and mission — to save the wild places of Africa and protect the creatures that depend on them.

Journey with the Jouberts

 

Click to enlarge

 

And now, for your moment of “awww”…..

Credit: Beverly Joubert

 

*****

Amazon | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Ready for an adventure of a lifetime? With National Geographic photographer-filmmaker duo Beverly and Dereck Joubert as their guides, readers are transported to the plains of the Serengeti, the sands of the Sahara and the shaded nooks of the rainforest. Dereck and Beverly are eight-time Emmy award-winning filmmakers, National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and wildlife conservationists who have been filming, researching and exploring Africa for over 35 years.  By sharing their stories of life on safari and Beverly’s jaw-dropping photography, this dynamic duo gives the reader unique, behind-the-lens access to Africa’s wildlife, how they live, play and hunt and how they have adapted to their wild, one-of-a-kind environments.  A big, beautiful guide to animals that roar, race and “totally rule,” this gift-worthy book is overflowing with facts, stats and photos of animals of all behaviors, shapes and sizes — including the tiny bombardier beetle, the sneaky desert viper, mischievous monkeys, elusive Ethiopian wolves, as well as fan favorites like lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, gorillas, rhinos, and so many more.

Follow the Jouberts: Website | National Geographic | Beverly’s Instagram | Dereck’s Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

About the Authors: Dereck and Beverly Joubert are globally recognized, award-winning filmmakers, conservationists, and National Geographic explorers-in-residence based in Botswana. Their mission for more than 35 years has been the conservation of key wildlife species, with a focus on large predators.  The Jouberts have published 12 books, produced 36 films for National Geographic, and written half a dozen scientific papers as well as many articles for National Geographic magazine. Beverly is also an acclaimed photographer for National Geographic.  Their efforts have one aim: to save the wild places of Africa and to protect the creatures that depend on them.

 

 

GIVEAWAY

  • One winner will receive a hardcover of The Ultimate Book of African Animals
  • US/Canada Only
  • Follow the rest of the tour for more chances to win
  • Ends 9/26 at 11:59pm ET

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule:

September 13thMom Read It
September 14thYA Books Central
September 15thAlways in the Middle
September 16thChristy’s Cozy Corners
September 17thImagination Soup

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

Unforgotten: The Wild Life of Dian Fossey remembers a conservationist icon

Unforgotten : The Wild Life of Dian Fossey and Her Relentless Quest to Save Mountain Gorillas, by Anita Silvey, (June 2021, National Geographic Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781426371851
Ages 8-12
Primatologist, conservationist, and advocate for mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey, brought to the screen by Sigourney Weaver in the 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist, is introduced to new audiences with Unforgotten: The Wild Life of Dian Fossey and Her Relentless Quest to Save Mountain Gorillas. Companion to Anita Silvey’s books on Jane Goodall (Untamed) and Biruté Mary Galdikas (Undaunted), Unforgotten is a testament to Dian Fossey’s life advocating for mountain gorillas and fighting against the poachers who would slaughter them. The book touches on Dian’s special connection to the gorillas, with gorgeous photos featuring Dian with them, cuddling and carrying orphaned babies and interacting with guides and children, all in her quest to educate everyone around her about the amazing creatures we share the planet with. The book discusses her murder and the work that continues to this day, in her name. Colorful maps and profiles on apes that Dian befriended, like Uncle Bert and Poppy, run throughout the book, as do callouts and spreads on the lives of mountain gorillas. Back matter on Dian’s legacy and her gorilla fund, a gorilla scrapbook with photos and biographies of the gorillas she lived with, and a timeline of Dian Fossey’s life will give readers an understanding and, hopefully, a love for the world Dian Fossey fought to protect. An excellent biography and book on conservationism.
Unforgotten has a starred review from Shelf Awareness. Read more about Dian Fossey’s Gorilla Fund here, and at the Gorilla Fund.
Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Preschool Reads

Reading Takes you Everywhere: Nature!

I’m going to stick to my library’s Summer Reading theme, Reading Takes You Everywhere, for this post; in this case, reading takes you into the Great Outdoors!

Weird but True! Ocean: 300 Fin-Tastic Facts from the Deep Blue Sea, by National Geographic Kids, $8.99, ISBN: 9781426371813

Ages 7-12

I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: these chunky, digest-sized NatGeo books MOVE. I refresh my collection throughout the year, every year, because the kids in my library love them. They love the wild collection of facts across all sorts of subjects, they love that they’re small enough to shove in their schoolbags (or mom’s bag), and they’ll pull them out anywhere (ANYWHERE) to rattle off facts to anyone (ANYONE) who will listen. It’s just great. This volume has loads of facts about the ocean: did you know that otters keep rocks under their arms to help them crack open clams? Or that feeding cows seaweed helps them burp less? Maybe you didn’t know this, but a sea cucumber can expel its organs to distract predators, and grow them back later. There are tons of great and fun facts here, accompanied by incredible color photos. Just add it to your cart; the kids will take care of the rest.

 

Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas, by Elizabeth Shreeve, Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, (May 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536214109

Ages 6-9

I love this gorgeous book! It’s a “story from out of the blue” about how animals evolved from microbes in the ocean to land creatures through Earth’s timeline. Spread by spread, readers travel through the planet’s history, from the Archean Eon (4-2.5 billion years ago) through the Cenzoic Era (66 million year ago to the present), with colorful illustrations as life evolves from sea-dwelling single-celled organisms, to athropods and echinoderms, to mollusks, dinosaurs, and finally, humans. It’s a compulsively readable history that describes the different types of organisms and illustrates the evolution from single- to multi-celled creatures; the development of fins to limbs, and how we are always connected to the water.  Readers learn how animals (and people!) compare to those that came before, and the informative text is chunked into readable paragraphs that respect and never overwhelm readers. Perfect for STEM/STEAM collections.

Out of the Blue has starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal.
Wild is the Wind, by Grahame Baker-Smith, (May 2021, Templar), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536217926
Ages 4-8
A girl named Cassi watches over a small bird, a swift, that she’s cared for. It’s time to let the bird go; the swifts soar around them, hearing the call of the wind, and Cassi knows that “They are wild and belong to the wind”. This breathtaking book is alternately a story about a girl letting her bird rejoin the world that brought it to her, and a story about the wonder of the wind. Across the world, winds whip into the sky, as ancient as the dinosaurs; they power turbines and give us power; they “howl with power” as storms. Every spread is a gorgeous revelation, with the ever-present swifts traveling the currents. Deep colors and incredible visions in the sky make this a fantasy to sweep readers away and return them, where they’ll never think of an ordinary breeze in the same way again. Grahame Baker-Smith is a Kate Greenaway Award-winning illustrator, and his companion book, The Rhythm of the Rain, is an excellent companion to Wild is the Wind. Have these available for your nature readers and display this with Aaron Becker’s Journey Trilogy.
Wild is the Wind has a starred review from Kirkus.
Little Kids First Big Book of Rocks, Minerals & Shells, by  Moira Rose Donohue & National Geographic Kids, (July 2021, National Geographic Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781426372223
Ages 4-8
The “Little Kids First Big Book” is another great series from NatGeo Kids. They introduce younger learners to science concepts in a fun, accessible way. It’s NatGeo, so you know the photos are amazing, and the information is organized into easily readable sections of interest. Here, kids will learn how rocks are formed, the difference between rocks and minerals, and how they’re used in just about every facet of our lives. Chapters are organized into Rocks, Minerals, and Seashells, and activities and map-reading activities at the end of every chapter help kids put their thinking caps on and sharpen new and developing skills. Fact boxes and cool callout boxes throughout keep kids turning pages, almost feeling like they’ve got that fun, small digest (see up above, Weird But True) handy, where they can tell everyone cool bits of info (The Great Sphinx in Egypt was carved from limestone!).  A Parent Tips section offers fun and safe ways to join your kids in learning about rocks, minerals, and seashells (ahem… STEM program in a book!). There are additional resources, including a Bill Nye video on the rock cycle, and a glossary, and the book is indexed. What a great resource to have handy!
Posted in Early Reader, Intermediate, Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction

Go Wild! With Nat Geo Kids!

Hope everyone had a restful Fourth, and if you’re off today, enjoy. I’m working on getting caught up, on getting my library together for a July 12th opening, and basically just working on keeping my head together in the middle of a year and a half that is just bananas. Anyway, join me as I escape into a great new nonfiction series by National Geographic Kids.

Go Wild! Pandas, by Margie Markarian & National Geographic Kids, (June 2021, National Geographic Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781426371608

Ages 4-8

This is such a cute new nonfiction series for younger readers! The Go Wild! series introduces readers to different animals, in this case, the panda. The book has a conversational, informative tone, inviting readers to “visit the world of pandas”. Readers learn about their habitat, where in the world they are found, their size, anatomy, related animals (like the Sun Bear, Spectacled Bear, and Sloth Bear), food, socialization, and more. The author addresses the need for conservation and addresses a major threat to the panda – deforestation – and offers tips for ways kids can get involved to protect pandas. A fun Name That Animal activity and parent tips on building enthusiasm close out this fun book, which also includes a glossary. Loaded with fast, fun facts and beautiful color photos, this is such a great new series that I know my kiddos will snap up. They already devour my NatGeo Kids Easy Readers (like this Panda book), and this hardcover 8×8 series will fit nicely on my shelves and look great in my displays.

Go Wild! Sea Turtles, by Jill Esbaum & National Geographic, (May 2021, National Geographic Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781426371585
Ages 4-8
How adorable is this Go Wild! volume on sea turtles? SO ADORABLE. Color photos and informative, friendly text have lots to say about sea turtles. Did you know that the smallest sea turtle is only about two feet long, but can weigh about as much as four car tires (between 70 and 100 lbs)? Or that a leatherback turtle can hold its breath for nearly an hour and a half? There are great facts to be discovered here, along with photos of the “run for life” to the ocean by hatchlings. A section on threats focuses on the problem of our polluted waters, and offers ways kids can help be part of the solution. Fun activities and parent tips, plus a glossary, make this another win from NatGeo Kids. Their Parent Tips can easily transition into virtual or in-person library programming for anyone interested – my library system is having a sea turtle STEM session at the end of July, and I’d like to put together a little sea turtle bundle with some of these ideas. Stay tuned!
Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade, mythology, Uncategorized

Tails and Tales Bundle: Thundercluck and Zeus the Mighty

Since I’ve been talking about Summer Reading and book bundles, I thought I’d start making some fun suggestions. For anyone doing the Tails and Tales theme, Thundercluck: Chicken of Thor by Paul Tillery IV and Meg Wittwer and the Zeus the Mighty series from Crispin Boyer fit the bill and have the shared mythological theme, too!

Thundercluck! Chicken of Thor: Recipe for Revenge, by Paul Tillery IV/Illustrated by Meg Wittwer, (Sept. 2020, Square Fish), $7.99, ISBN: 9781250619785

Ages 8-11

The second Thundercluck adventure is just as much fun as the first. Thundercluck and Brunhilde, the Valkyrie, find themselves on the outs with Odin, and head to Midgard (that’s us, Earth!) to match wits against three foes. Gorman the angry skull is back with two new fiends: Medda, a shape-shifting enchantress, and War-Tog, a warthog warrior that is too easily led into poor decisions. Thundercluck is a story of friendship being tested, and family secrets learned, but at its heart, it’s a story of learning to admit one’s mistakes. Black and white illustrations and a quickly-moving story makes this an excellent Summer Reading choice; you don’t need to have read the first book to jump on board, but the kids will want to.

Summer Reading ideas: Book bundle with the first Thundercluck and printables from the Thundercluck website; book bundle with Zeus the Mighty for a Tails and Tales spin on mythology; display with other mythology chapter books, like Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams’s Thunder Girls seriesDon’t forget to have reference resources, like National Geographic’s Everything Mythology, available!

 

Zeus the Mighty: The Quest for the Golden Fleas (Book 1), by Crispin Boyer, (Oct. 2019, Under the Stars), $12.99, ISBN: 9781426335471

Ages 8-12

The first book in another fun series from National Geographic Kids and their fiction imprint, Under the Stars. Zeus the Mighty is a hamster who lives in Mount Olympus Pet Center with a variety of rescued animals, and heroines. Artie – short for Artemis, naturally – is the human the runs the Center and names her favorite rescues after Greek mythological heroes. The group all listen to a podcast, Greeking Out, that tells the stories of the Greek gods, but the animals take the stories to heart. Zeus believes he rules Mount Olympus, putting him at odds with Poseidon, the puffer fish who won’t give up control of his watery Atlantis and bristles at Zeus’s attempts to boss him around. Their first adventure is a quest for the Golden Fleas: a fun retelling of the tale of Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. The storytelling is light, there are cute black and white illustrations throughout, and a section on “The Truth Behind the Fiction” adds the perfect amount of nonfiction context to the story. Consider adding this to your shelves.

Summer Reading Ideas: Bundle with the second book in the series, The Maze of the Menacing Minotaur (the third book is out in August!) and add some printables from the Zeus the Mighty website. Display with other Greek mythology-flavored fiction, like Joan Holub and Suzanne William’s Goddess Girls and the Heroes in Training series, by Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams, and Tracey West. National Geographic has a great Weird But True book on Greek Mythology, too.

 

Posted in Adventure, Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Tales from the TBR: NatGeo’s Explorer Academy – Star Dunes

Explorer Academy: The Star Dunes (Book 4), by Trudi Trueit, (March 2020, National Geographic), $16.99, ISBN: 9781426336812
Ages 8-12
I am WAY behind on my Explorer Academy reading; Book 6 is coming out in October and I’ve only just finished Book 4, which came out in hardcover last year, and in softcover in January of this year. But do NOT be me: this middle grade adventure series has been one of the best I’ve read over the last few years; I’ve given it to my nephew, who’s devoured each book, and I talk it up to my library kids, who love all the cool James Bond-type intrigue and gadgets, along with the piece-by-piece solving of a mystery that takes Cruz Coronado, our main character, and his friends, all over the world. In this fourth installment, Cruz and Company take on poachers and heal mountain gorillas in Africa as they continue on their hunt for Cruz’s mother’s next clue. Meanwhile, not all is well at the Explorer Academy as Cruz gets some unsettling news and discovers that one of his classmates is increasingly hostile to him, calling him a “hero hog”. On the up side, a new student at Explorer Academy will satisfy longtime readers who were probably wondering when that particular development would finally happen (I know I did!). The cast we’ve all grown to know is here, and even first-time Explorer Academy readers will find themselves comfortable in this fourth volume – but really, to know the whole story, you should read the first three, too. Color illustrations and an introduction to the scientists that inspire the adventures in the book make this a great middle grade series. Hand this to all your action adventure readers – it’s science fiction that’s closer and closer to realistic fiction every day.