Themes for the day: ecology, computers, biography
by Stephanie Roth Sisson
40 pages; ages 4-8
Roaring Brook Press, 2018
It was dawn when the chorus began.
cheerily! fee bee! jurit jeroo!
Rachel didn't want to miss a note.
Rachel Carson grew up surrounded by the sounds of nature. She paid attention to them season after season. So when spring sounded a little too quiet, she knew something was wrong. What was happening to the birds and insects who filled the air with song?
I like the way Sisson portrays Rachel Carson - as a scientist who studied sea creatures but, when she noticed something was wrong, she used all her science skills to figure out what the problem was. She observed closely. She listened carefully. And she learned as much as she could by reading reports and articles - and then pulled the facts together into a narrative that explained how chemicals used to control insect pests were getting into the food chain and killing birds and other animals. The chemicals were making egg shells so thin that eagle eggs broke in the nest. And then Rachel did a brave thing. She wrote about it. She went to Congress and talked about it. Most of all, she inspired people to take better care of the earth.
I also like that there's back matter. (but frequent readers already knew that!)
by Tanya Lee Stone; illus. by Marjorie Priceman
40 pages; ages 6-9
Henry Holt & Co (BYR), 2018
On the outskirts of a lovely village in County Kent, England, down a long driveway lined with lime trees, lived a young girl with a wild and wonderful imagination. As Ada was often left alone, she grew quite good at entertaining herself with interesting ideas.
Ada's mom, Lady Byron, worried about Ada's imagination, so she trained Ada to think like a mathematician. No poetry for her! And when Ada wanted to design a flying machine, Lady Byron gave her more hours of math studies instead of the bird -drawing books that Ada had asked for.
What I like about this book: We get a sneak peek into the life and times of the woman who created computer programming. Bored with high society and not terribly interested in the traditional role assigned to women in the early 1800s Ada preferred to hang out with thinkers - men like Charles Babbage who was inventing a calculating machine.
I love how author Tanya Stone brings in the math and computing power of the Jacquard loom, and how that served as an inspiration for ways to program a calculating machine. And, of course, there's ... Back Matter! Plus, consider this: if Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace had funding to build their machine, we would have had computers 100 years sooner! Think about how that might have changed history!
Beyond the Books:
Learn More about Rachel Carson. Here's one website that talks about Silent Spring. And drop by Stephanie Sisson's website to learn more about how she wrote the book.
What does your neighborhood sound like in the fall? Go outside and listen. Can you identify all the calls and sounds made by birds, insects, and other animals? Write the sounds down, and then go out again next month and see how the sound scape has changed.
Watch a Jacquard Loom in action. This video was filmed at the Paisley Museum, in Scotland. Check out the punchcards! As early as 1801 people were programming machines to do work.
Write a program (directions) telling someone how to draw a design you have drawn.
Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup - and we're also joining others 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 ARC's from publishers.