Friday, March 16, 2018

Celebrating Women in Science ~ Archaeology and Architecture

Archaeology: Cool Women who Dig
by Anita Yasuda; illus. by Lena Chandhok
112 pages; ages 9-12
Nomad Press, 2017

March is Women's History month, and I can't think of anything more appropriate than to share a couple of books from Nomad's "Girls in Science" series.

Archaeology begins by making an important distinction between collecting and archeology - you might have a stamp or coin collection, but archaeological collections demand careful notes and context that provides insight into he society that created the artifacts.

Chelsea Rose, for example, studies a Gold Rush town in Oregon. In addition to field work and interviews, she researches census records, mining claims, and newspapers. Justine Benanty is another archaeologist, but her passion is maritime archaeology and slave ships. So in addition to sifting through documents, she dives deep into cold water to uncover the facts.

Our world may be mapped, but the past remains largely unexplored. Which means there is a lot of room for you - if you love history and enjoy solving mysteries. It's not all about deserts and dirt - there are space archaeologists, and garden archaeologists!

Architecture: Cool Women who Design Structures
by Elizabeth Schmermund; illus. by Lena Chandhok
112 pages; ages 9-12
Nomad Press, 2017

Are you creative? Do you like solving problems? Architecture combines art and science - not only do you have to understand physics and engineering, but you get to design beautiful buildings. Or bridges.

Patricia Galvan designs post offices and modernized schools. She works at a small firm where she gets to see projects through, from start to finish. Farida Abu-Bakare remembers that she was inspired by the computer game "Sim City". And Maia Small is an urban designer. She remembers building structures in her back yard when she was a kid.

While the young women agree that the jobs they do are fun and challenging, they say that they are treated differently than men in the same position. They tend to be cut off when talking, or their proposals may not be taken seriously by their male colleagues. Still, they can't think of more fulfilling work. Their advice: study hard and try to get a mentor when you head into the working world.

Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup . Review copies from the publisher.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ a great day for Pi!

 Have some Pi!


Oh, you probably wanted some of this kind of pi!

However you slice it, today is Pi Day. March 14th. 3.14. Kinda cool, right? So many ways to celebrate:

Bake a pie. It can be berry or apple or pizza.
Compose a tune using pi. Here's how one pi-anist did it.
Write some pi-ku. They are like haiku, but focus on things with circumferences and diameters. Like pizza.
Tackle a Pi-mile challenge. That's right, get up and go outside for a 3.14 mile run. Or walk.
Create a paper Pi chain. Use slips of different colored paper for each digit, and glue links together in the order of pi.
Calculate pi of hula hoops, then hula with your hoops.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Recently hatched Bird Books!

Geese started flying north overhead a couple weeks ago! So I figured it's time to share some new books that feature birds.
themes: nonfiction, birds, poetry

For the youngest readers, a couple of board books that introduce colors paired with photographs of common birds.

 Look and Learn: Birds
24 pages (board); ages 2-5
National Geographic Kids, 2017

Splashy, splash, splash.

A red bird is taking a bath. Simple language introduces youngsters to colors, bird sounds, feathers and features such as a crest of feathers. Bright photos bring birds close to the reader. Fun and engaging, with some interactive components: touch the bird's feathers. I would have liked text to introduce the common names of birds.

My Colors (Early Birds series)
by Patricia Mitter
24 pages; ages 1-3
Cornell Lab Publishing Group, 2017

The Early Bird board books aim to introduce young children to nature and concepts. This one pairs colors to common birds children might see in their neighborhood.

What I like about this book: Each page features a bird, as well as a natural feature. For example, cardinal is paired with red berries. Text also describes the birds' calls. Tabs allow young children to grab hold for easy page-turning. At the back is a spread of all the birds introduced and QR codes linked to the sounds the birds make.

Bird Builds a Nest
by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Richard Jones
32 pages; ages 4-6
Candlewick, 2018

It's a beautiful day. Bird is up early - she's got a lot to do.

Breakfast, collecting nesting materials, and building a nest ... that's a long "to do" list. But Bird sets off, and soon she's found breakfast. A worm!
What I like about this book: it's about birds, sure. But also about physics and the forces Bird uses in her life. She pulls worms; they resist. She gathers twigs in her beak and, as she flies up, gravity pulls them down. When she builds her nest she has to push twigs and pull twigs to weave her home. Front and back matter include information about forces and some simple activities kids can do to explore them.

A Place to Start a Family, Poems about Creatures that Build
by David L. Harrison; illustrated by Giles Laroche
32 pages; ages 5-9
Charlesbridge, 2018

For thousands of years people have built shelters, writes David Harrison. Many animals are builders, too.

In this book he and illustrator, Giles Laroche, introduce readers to birds and other animal architects, and the cool shelters they construct.

The poem about Red Ovenbird is a list of questions: How do you hide your nest like that?  There is one about white storks and their nests high on chimneys. Poems also introduce wasps, spiders, moles, prairie dogs, and more.

What I like: that the poems raise questions for readers to consider. And I love the layered artwork. Laroch combines drawing, cutting, painting, gluing.... up to seven or eight layers in each illustration. Makes me want to get my fingers busy with art.

Beyond the Books:
Go on a bird walk! All you need is your legs, a place to walk, and a pair of binoculars. Take along a notebook so you can draw birds you see or write notes. Maybe you will hear an interesting song, or notice a nest. 

Make a list of the colors of birds you see. Learn a bird song.  

Make a nest! Gather some nesting materials and build a nest. Write down a poem about the shelter you built. Draw a picture of it.

Make your own layered art inspired by birds living in your area. Check out this post to learn more about how Giles Laroche does his artwork. Then have fun!

Today we're joining other reviewers over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies from the publishers.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ Buds are Bursting

Depending on where you live (in the northern hemisphere), spring may already be on its way. Buds are swelling, opening, flowering... providing the first pollen of the year for bees.

Some tree buds open earlier than others. A good way to get to know the signs of spring in your area is to "adopt" a tree in your back yard or the local park. Visit it every week and take photos or draw pictures of what the buds look like.

  • What sort of flowers does it have? 
  • When do they open?
  • What do the flowers look like close-up?
  • How long do they last?
  • When do the leaves burst out?
You can become a "citizen scientist" bud-watcher for Project BudBurst and share data with others - check out their website here. One thing scientists have noticed is that buds are opening earlier and earlier each year. People's observations are contributing to their understanding of how climate change is affecting the natural world.