Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Explore Outdoors ~ Colors of a new season

There is an aging slab of concrete in my yard. Rumor has it that when the commune was here, that was the floor of the goat barn. The commune is long gone; the concrete remains - but over the years it has been colonized by mosses and lichens. This time of year the mosses come into their own, showing off their colors. There's an occasional flower, a rosette of hairy leaves, grass... but mostly it's moss with a variety of textures and shades ranging from green to russet.

This week, look more closely at the mosses growing in your neighborhood. 
  • Where do you find them? 
  • What textures do they have? 
  • What colors do they come in?

Friday, March 24, 2023

Women Find the Cure!

March is Women’s History Month and today I’m reviewing books that highlight the contributions of women in STEM. I paired these books because they both deal with medical discoveries that were vital to understanding the COVID-19 pandemic.

theme: women’s history, medicine, nonfiction

Never Give Up: Dr. Kati Karik√≥ and the Race for the Future of Vaccines 
by Debbie Dadey; illus. by Juliana Oakley 
40 pages; ages 5-10
‎Millbrook Press, 2023  

By the time the morning sun shone on the reed roof of Kati’s one-room home in Hungary, she had already fed the chickens, collected eggs, and been chased by a rooster.

Kati learned about animals at home – but at school she learned about science. And when the teacher showed the class how to use a microscope to see cells, Katie was hooked. She wanted to be a scientist! She attends science camps, competes in the Science Olympics, conducts research in mRNA, and begins asking whether (and how) mRNA might be used to help fight disease. Her experiments fail, and people question whether her idea is going anywhere. But Dr. Kati doesn’t give up and eventually has a breakthrough that leads to…
  • The founding of Moderna
  • A job at BioNTech
  • And the work that went into creating the COVID vaccine

What I like about this book: it is timely! It shows the additional hurdles women in STEM fields face in their research. And, we learn that Dr. Kati isn’t finished. Now she wants to find out if mRNA can cure or prevent other diseases! Back matter includes timeline of Kati’s life, steps to making a vaccine, glossary, source notes, and suggestions for further study.

June Almeida, Virus Detective!: The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus 
by Suzanne Slade; illus. by Elisa Paganelli 
40 pages; ages 6-9
Sleeping Bear Press, 2021

June’s favorite days were school days.

She couldn’t wait to get to class – especially science, which she loved. But with no savings, she had to get a job instead of attend college. So she applied to work at a hospital, where she used a microscope to examine cells from sick people.

Using an electron microscope, she created pictures of viruses and their antibodies. One of those viruses looked like a blob with tiny dots circling it like a crown – she had discovered coronavirus.

Back matter includes more biographical information about June, and some photos of her working with an electron microscope, as well as a timeline of her life. Turns out that discovery of human coronavirus was published in 1967! Seems like ancient history, and yet so important to recent medical science.

Beyond the Books:

Do you know any women who are doctors or are doing research in medicine

If you could find a cure for a disease, what would you cure? 

Learn more about Dr. Kati Karik√≥. Here’s one article

Find out more about June Almeida. Here’s an article.

Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website

Because these books appeal to older readers as well, we’ll be over at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, too. That happens at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copies provided by the publishers.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Explore Outdoors ~ Spring is Here

 Monday was the first official day of spring, according to the calendar. But spring, it seems, comes in fits and starts - at least this year. We had warm days that enticed daffodils to push up from the soil, followed by icy days. I could hang laundry outside to dry one day, and build snowpeople the next.

This is the time of year when we say: what a difference a week makes! Check out these photos - from the woods road near my house. They are taken a week apart. The one on the left from March 13, the one on the right taken March 20th.

Once spring gets started, it's on a roll. Snow and ice melt, water trickles down into gullies, tinkling musically as it gathers and falls from rock to rock. Chickadees are changing their tune; robins are everywhere.

Observe how spring comes to your neighborhood
What do you see? Hear? Smell?