Currently viewing the category: "Informational Nonfiction"

“Journey” by Michael Cottman

My journey to write Shackles From The Deep started when I was a boy growing up in Detroit and watching a popular television show called Sea Hunt, a 1960s adventure program about an underwater detective.

From the time I was a kid, I wanted to scuba dive and explore the ocean’s depths. And because National Geographic embraces adventure tales like no other company, this was a perfect publishing partnership.

I wrote Shackles From The Deep in a conversational way for young readers to share the story of the Henrietta Marie, a sunken 17th century slave ship. This is more than just the story of one ship – it’s the untold story about millions of African people taken as captives to the New World.

I traveled to three continents to piece together a trans-Atlantic puzzle. I reviewed shipping records and slave-ship captain’s logs in London. I retraced the route of the Henrietta Marie slave ship and scuba-dived the ship’s ports of call in Jamaica, Barbados, and West Africa.

During my research, I learned amazing things:  Today, the Henrietta Marie is believed to be the world’s largest source of tangible objects from the early years of the slave trade.

The Henrietta Marie is the only slave ship in America that has been scientifically documented and where more than 20,000 artifacts were recovered, including the largest collection of slave-ship shackles ever found on one site.

I also learned the shackles were discovered in 1973 by Moe Molinar, a black underwater treasure hunter who was searching for the Atocha, a Spanish galleon that had sunk nearly 400 years ago filled with gold, silver and $400 million worth of jewels.

Treasure hunters didn’t know what to make of these relics. Then in 1983, maritime archaeologists, intrigued by the mystery, revisited the site and came upon a ship’s bell. As they chipped away at the limestone encrustation a name and a date emerged: Henrietta Marie, 1699.

Beneath the sea, on the wreck of the Henrietta Marie, I ran my hands through the sand and held the tiny glass trade beads that were used by the Henrietta Marie’s crew to trade for African people.

The story of Shackles From The Deep also introduces young readers to the unprecedented partnership between members of The National Association of Black Scuba Divers (I’m a lifetime member) and white maritime archaeologists who explored the Henrietta Marie together for a common purpose and forged lifelong friendships along the way.

After all, the global institution of slavery is our collective history.

But because of slavery, it is nearly impossible for African Americans to pinpoint the origins of our ancestors.

We cannot always identify a country in Africa where they were born, let alone a city or village. We can only know they came from somewhere on the west coast of the enormous continent.

Are my people Ibo from Nigeria, or Fulani from Mali, or Wolof from Senegal, or Ashanti from Ghana? I may never know.

What’s important, however, is my appreciation for the African culture — my culture, too — and my need to draw strength from the African people who came before me and survived.

And we continue to honor them.

In 1993, I joined members of The National Association of Black Scuba Divers to place a one-ton concrete memorial on the site of the Henrietta Marie shipwreck.

The bronze inscription on the memorial is a powerful testament to the human spirit: “In memory and recognition of the courage, pain and suffering of enslaved African people. Speak her name and gently touch the souls of our ancestors.”

Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy
Author: Michael Cottman
Published January 3rd, 2017 by The National Geographic Society

Summary: A pile of lime-encrusted shackles discovered on the seafloor in the remains of a ship called the Henrietta Marie, lands Michael Cottman, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and avid scuba diver, in the middle of an amazing journey that stretches across three continents, from foundries and tombs in England, to slave ports on the shores of West Africa, to present-day Caribbean plantations. This is more than just the story of one ship it’s the untold story of millions of people taken as captives to the New World. Told from the author’s perspective, this book introduces young readers to the wonders of diving, detective work, and discovery, while shedding light on the history of slavery.

Critical Praise: 

“The idea of identity is at the center of this fascinating narrative nonfiction book…This truly multidisciplinary volume….engagingly explores a wide scope of topics, including the history of slavery, marine archaeology, and contemporary racial discrimination, culminating in a dive down to the wreck itself. Every bit of this concise, detailed book feels personal, and Cottman’s exploration and investigation of the wreck is rich with intrigue and poignant, thought-provoking questions.” -Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

“Cottman weaves his personal story of discovery with history of the slave trade, helping readers understand why a sunken slave ship from the 1700s still matters. His emotional attachment to the artifacts, including child-sized shackles, deepens the storytelling in this highly readable narrative.” –Kirkus

“Accessible and very personal account….(a) chilling exploration of the slave trade.” -Publishers Weekly

“Cottman’s personal journey, fraught with reminders of the trials and injustice his own enslaved ancestors must have endured, is compelling” -BCCB

About the Author: Michael H. Cottman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, is a former political reporter for the Washington Post. Cottman has appeared on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin and also the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 to discuss his (adult) book The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie. Cottman also serves as a special consultant to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a national multimedia project, “Voyage to Discovery,” an education initiative that focuses on the African-American contribution to the maritime industry spanning 300 years and efforts to teach students of color about careers in marine biology and oceanography. Visit his website at

Thank you to Michael for his post and to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for providing the resources!


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Who Wins? 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner!
Created by Clay Swartz
Illustrated by Tom Booth
Published July 12th, 2016 by Workman Publishing Company

Summary: Who would rock the mic at karaoke night? Abraham “The Great Emancipator” Lincoln or Jane “Lady Persuasion” Austen? How about a hot dog eating contest between Harry “Mr. Magic” Houdini and Mary “Mother of Frankenstein” Shelley? What about a pie contest? A staring contest? And who has a better chance of sneaking into Area 51, Isaac “Gravity Guy” Newton or Sacagawea aka “The Pathfinder”?

In Who Wins?: History, you decide the winner in over 50 head-to-head challenges between 100 of history’s most illustrious characters. But choosing the victor isn’t arbitrary. Readers must justify their answers using each of the historical figures’ six 0-10 category rankings in bravery, leadership, artistry, wealth, wisdom, and fitness; as well as facts from short biographies.

As funny as it is informative, the book is uniquely formatted so readers can match up each and every character in any of the head-to-head battles. History has never been so much fun!

Review (from 10/26/16): Who Wins? is informative, funny, and so cleverly formatted that it is going to be a star in homes and classrooms. I love how the book gives each historical figure a nickname (either one they already were given, like Satchmo, or made up, like Gravity Guru for Isaac Newton) to add a bit of humor to the book; however, still makes sure to include a plethora of information about each figure including a bio then 3 little-known facts. Each head-to-head situation also helps guide your decision by giving some example questions to think about. Let’s look at a head-to-head, so you can really see how clever it is!

In My Classroom: Whenever I begin a debate unit, I always start with a mini-debate, and I wanted this year’s to include Who Wins? because I thought it was such an awesome class resource (and my students were slightly obsessed with the book). To start, I randomly picked a male and a female historical figure from each side of the Who Wins? book for each class. I didn’t choose the middle activity yet because I wanted my students to get to know their historical figures before I gave them the rest of the topic for the debate. For two days, the students researched their figures and tried to learn as much about them as possible. We talked about making sure to not just list dates but to get to know them as a person: their strengths, their weaknesses, their personality, their education, etc. Finally, on day three, I randomly revealed the rest of the debate topic and randomly put each class into two groups. We ended up with:

Who wins WRESTLEMANIA? Queen Elizabeth I or Genghis Khan?
Who wins LIVING IN 10,000 BC? Harriet Tubman or Ramses II?
Who wins CELEBRITY JEOPARDY? Nelson Mandela or Marie Curie?

Each group then made a Google Doc that they could collaborate on, and they focuses on preparing their argument, possible counterarguments, and rebuttals to the counter argument. They could research more now that they knew the topic, and I shared Who Wins? information with them as well (see photo above).

Then, after a couple of days of collaboration, we had our mini-debate. The most successful was the Queen Elizabeth I vs. Genghis Khan because they not only researched their historical figure, but they also researched Wrestlemania which allowed the debate go to a whole different level than my other two periods. The Nelson Mandela vs. Marie Curie debate had the opposite problem: they didn’t research Jeopardy at all which made for the debate never really having a clear winner because they were just debating who was smarter. The Ramses II vs. Harriet Tubman went well though the Harriet Tubman side never pulled out their best argument: she primarily lived on the run in the wilderness! In the end, Wrestlemania was a tie; Ramses II would survive better in 10,000 BC; and Marie Curie would win Jeopardy.

Some Students’ Collaborative Notes: Here are some examples of the collaborative notes some groups put together when preparing for the mini-debate. These are not examples of the initial research notes they took on their historical figures.

Genghis Khan

Harriet Tubman: 

Marie Curie:

Second Debate Using Who Wins?For our second debate, I did things a little bit differently. Instead of giving them the historical person first, for each class, I randomly chose the center tile (the topic) and we ended up with: Rap Battle, Ironman World Championship, and Summiting Everest. I then let the students, within their groups, go through their side of the book to find the person they wanted for their side of the debate.

They used their prior knowledge, the bios, and the stats for each person to try to pick the best for the debate. Our people ended up being:

Who Wins a Rap Battle: Muhammad Ali vs. Sojourner Truth?
Who Wins the Ironman World Championship: Jim Thorpe vs. Mildred Ella Didrikson?
Who Wins at Summiting Everest: Ernest Shackleton vs. Alexander the Great?

This time around, students were much more invested in their historical figure and with the topic already chosen, they could narrow down their research. Also, they realized how important it was to research the topic. Students also were given 2 extra days to research this time though given the same amount of time (2 days) to collaborate.

Once we got to the debates, I made a decision I was so happy about: Students were not allowed to have their iPads with them. They could have 1 Post-it note (front only) with any specifics that were tough to remember (years, prices, times, etc.), but that was it. And the debates went so much better! Students knew their stuff, and the debates were so intense, detailed, and close!

In the end, we’re still not sure who would be most successful at summiting Everest, Shackelton or Alexander the Great; Jim Thorpe is more likely to win the Ironman World Championship; and Muhammad Ali would win a rap battle vs. Sojourner Truth.

Final Assessment: As a final cumulative assessment, I asked my students to write me an argumentative paragraph stating why they felt their historical figure would be more successful than the other. Students were asked to have multiple reasons why with evidence to support their claim.

Reflection: Using Who Wins?, I was able to create a standards-based unit that allowed students to not only debate, research, and read informational texts, but work collaboratively, think outside the box, and cite evidence to support their claims. I know the students learned from it as well, and they asked to do another, so I know they enjoyed it. They also now realize that learning just dates or facts about a person isn’t thorough research, it is important to know both sides of an argument so you can have a rebuttal, and that you need to research all aspects of a debate to ensure you are arguing for the right reasons. Overall, I call this a win!

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

If I Were a Whale
Author: Shelley Gill
Illustrator: Erik Brooks
Published February 21st, 2017 by Little Bigfoot

Summary: From best-selling children’s author Shelley Gill comes this colorful, rhyming board book playfully featuring whales found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans. Toddlers will love to learn about whales swimming in the deep blue sea in this beautifully illustrated board book that shares simple whale facts in an imaginative way.

If I could be anything, do you know what I’d be? I’d be a whale in the deep blue sea.
Scooping up fishes and flipping my tail, I’d be a minke or beluga whale.

About the Author: Shelley Gill was the fifth woman to complete the Iditarod race. When she’s not writing, Shelley travels to schools around the country where she covers a variety of topics–from whale watching to how she thinks up her writing ideas.

About the Illustrator: Erik Brooks spent much of his childhood in Anchorage, AK, where he explored the outdoors and had Alaskan experiences such as seeing the occasional moose wandering through the yard and getting run over by a dog sled. He still loves getting out into nature with his family and his handsome mutt of a dog, Max.

Review: If I Were a Whale is the perfect mix of rhyming poetry and scientific facts. Gill guides us through different oceans visiting different types of whales glimpsing at how each lives their life. This book maybe just a tiny introduction to whales, but the illustrations and text will make the reader want to read it again and then go learn more. Trent, as soon as we were done reading it, asked for it again, but the second time through included a lot more questions about the different whales. I see this book being read often in our future because Trent is a big fan of animals and science as well as good rhythmic picture books. I also want to commend the artist as each page is a beautiful scene with the highlighted whale and its habitat.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In early education, it is so important to introduce young children to as much as possible to help their knowledge grow of our tremendously complicated and full world. If I Were a Whale is a perfect read aloud book that kids will love but will also introduce them to different whales, other animals, and geography.

Discussion Questions: Which whale would you want to be? Why?; Why do whales live in different oceans?; What other animals did you see in the book? Why were they in the illustrations or text?; How are the whales alike? Different?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Loved: Baby Beluga by Raffi, If I Were a Penguin by Anne Wilkinson, Giant Squid by Candace Fleming, O is for Orca by Andrea Helman, Books about whales or other ocean animals

Recommended For:


**Thank you to Nicole at Little Bigfoot for providing a copy for review!**

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Famous Fails!: Mighty Mistakes, Mega Mishaps, & How a Mess Can Lead to Success!
Author: Crispin Boyer
Published October 25th, 2016 by National Geographic Children’s Books

Summary: This fun book of quirky failures and famous flops will keep kids laughing while they learn the importance of messing up in order to get it right. Science, architecture, technology, entertainment — there are epic fails and hilarious goof-ups from every important field. Silly side features help to analyze the failures: “Lesson Learned,” “It Could be Worse!,” “Losing Combinations,” and a “Fail Scale” to help readers navigate the different kinds and scope of the mistakes made. The stories will include what went wrong, what went right, and what kids can learn from each failed attempt.

Review: I think one of the greatest lessons for children to learn is that failure doesn’t always equal failure. So many inventions and success began as what many would consider a failure when in actuality it was the beginning of a great thing. Giving up after a failure means you didn’t learn anything from it when failure is one of the best learning experiences. This text goes through hundreds of examples of famous people who failed or failures that became successes–wonderful stories for young people to read.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: As I read more and more of National Geographic’s new books like this one, Awesome 8, Book of Heroes/HeroinesReal or Fake?, and others, I’m coming to realize that these texts are made for project-based learning. These books make me question and inquire so many things within them. As I read, I find myself Googling and thinking and wanting to learn more–and I know they’ll do the same for kids.

Discussion Questions: Which famous inventions did you learn that was from a “failure?”; What famous person did you learn about that surprised you with their “failure?”; When is a time that you “failed” and stopped but now you wish you could go back and keep trying?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Loved: The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford, Earmuffs for Everyone!: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs by Meghan McCarthy, and other books about inventions; The Book of Heroes by Crispin Boyer & The Book of Heroines by Stephanie Warren Drimmer; and other nonfiction texts about inventors, heroes, failures then successes, and history

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review!**

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“Overwhelm and Fear”

One of the hardest things about writing is getting started, and two of the most common obstacles are overwhelm and fear. The subject of my new biography, Fannie Sellins, showed me how to work through both.

Beginning writers, students of all levels and even best-selling authors sometimes face overwhelm and fear, feelings that can cause you to procrastinate, or tighten you up, make you hold back and keep you from doing your best writing.

It’s tempting when beset by overwhelm or fear to tell yourself to man up, or put on your big girl panties and charge ahead as these emotions are irrelevant. If this works for you, go ahead and stop reading here, because I believe these feelings are part of the creative process, and working through them gives you the courage to do powerful work.

Fannie Never Flinched: The Story of One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights tells of a garment worker at the height of the Industrial Revolution, who left her sewing machine to inspire and organize workers to stand up and demand just wages and humane treatment.

Fannie was so good, she frightened the powerful men who ran coal and steel companies. They threatened her life, told her to leave town. And when she stayed and kept encouraging men to strike, they shot her dead.

If Fannie could find that kind of courage, I told myself, surely, I can find the courage to put words on a blank page.

In the early 1900s, poor workers fought a losing battle, especially in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Strikes for shorter hours and better pay, sometimes won small concessions short term, but overall, companies aided by local deputies and federal soldiers slammed unions into submission. Now, that’s overwhelm.

Still, Fannie got up every day, went out and talked to workers, convinced them they deserved better, inspired them to take a chance, join the union. Often, it was the wives she encouraged, who in turn emboldened their husbands. A father had a hard time walking off the job, if his children were hungry. Fannie started a strike with social work, soliciting money, seeing to the basic needs of families.

In my research I never found anything Fannie said about how she coped with overwhelm. But looking at her actions, it seems to me that she maintained a double-focused vision. She kept one eye like a laser on the close-up, seeing what was right in front of her and dealing with it. At the same time, she never lost sight of the larger picture, her belief in the dignity of workers and the justice they deserved.

This strategy cuts through overwhelm when I see a sprawl of research, a mess of unconnected ideas, or when a project feels impossible to finish. Grounded in my larger goal, I can pick one small place to start, write one sentence, or choose one task. Keeping a double focus, I can let go of most of the work and tackle one thing at a time.

But even with a solid plan and the best of intentions, fear can rush in, cloud your focus and stop you from doing even one small thing. What I learned from Fannie Sellins, is to look at fear straight on. Fannie admitted that the first time she first stood at a podium to speak to a large crowd, she was scared.

But during her first strike, Fannie traveled around the country speaking for two years, telling people about the garment workers plight, raising funds and urging a boycott of suits and pants sewed in sweatshop conditions. She became a charismatic speaker, gaining enough support for the strikers to hold out for two years until their demands were met.

Fannie explained that she overcame her fear before speaking by remembering the faces of the women she had worked with in the factory. Fannie used compassion to motivate herself to move out of her comfort zone. She used love to deflate fear.

I knew last week that I needed to get going on a revision of my current manuscript. But every time I thought about it, I felt this clutch in my stomach. And when I sat at the computer I got a slighter version of that feeling in my chest when somebody runs a red light and barely misses crashing into me at full speed.

Now that I’ve been writing for a couple decades, I know those emotions are normal. If I didn’t care about my writing, if I wasn’t risking anything, if I didn’t believe my words would be important, there’d be nothing to fear. So, I follow Fannie’s example and choose to have compassion, for the girls in the factory and for myself at the keyboard.

I put my hand on my heart, and I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with being afraid.

I look at my fear straight on, honor that the feeling is real, and ask myself what am I afraid of? Here are some of the bugaboos I discover. I’m afraid I’m not a good enough writer. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint myself. I’m afraid it will be too hard. I see that basically I’m afraid I’ll fail. With compassion I remind myself, it’s okay to be afraid because it’s true. I might fail.

And now, the decision I need to make is clear. Would failing be so bad that I dare not risk it?

Would failing to make progress on this one revision of this one manuscript, on this one particular day mean I’m a total failure? If so, I should probably deal with some other s#%t first, figure out how to have some compassion for myself.

But if I can find enough compassion for myself to live with this kind if failure, why not take a stab at it? And that’s what I usually do, and it’s usually not as hard as I think it will be once I get started.

Finding compassion and facing fear straight on allows the rational brain to evaluate the risks of failure more accurately. Having a double focus, an eye on both the long term vision and one next step allows everything in-between to drop away and reduces the overwhelming magnitude of the work to be done. For further inspiration in writing and life, read more about Fannie Sellins in Fannie Never Flinched.

About the Book: Fannie Sellins (1872–1919) lived during the Gilded Age of American Industrialization, when the Carnegies and Morgans wore jewels while their laborers wore rags. Fannie dreamed that America could achieve its ideals of equality and justice for all, and she sacrificed her life to help that dream come true. Fannie became a union activist, helping to create St. Louis, Missouri, Local 67 of the United Garment Workers of America. She traveled the nation and eventually gave her life, calling for fair wages and decent working and living conditions for workers in both the garment and mining industries. Her accomplishments live on today. This book includes an index, glossary, a timeline of unions in the United States, and endnotes.

About the Author: Mary Cronk Farrell is an award-winning author of five books for young people and former television journalist with a passion for stories about women facing great adversity with courage. She researches little known stories form history and relates them with engaging and powerful language in her books, multi-media presentations and workshops. Farrell has appeared on TB and radio across the nation. She speaks to women’s groups, civic groups, and at museums, schools and libraries.

Thank you for inspiring us, Mary!!

Kellee Signature andRickiSig

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem
Author: Patricia Newman
Published by January 1st, 2017 by Millbrook Press

Summary: Marine biologist Brent Hughes didn’t think sea otters and sea grass had much in common. But his research at Elkhorn Slough, an estuary on Monterey Bay in northern California, revealed a new and surprising connection between the two. The scientist expected this estuary to be overrun with algae due to the fertilizer runoff from surrounding fields. But it wasn’t. Why?

Review: As someone who struggled with biology when in school, I love narrative nonfiction about nature because it helps me fill in education gaps. Sea Otter Heroes looks at trophic cascade (cause and effect relationships within a food chain) and how it affects an ecosystem–so interesting! This information along with the beautiful photographs make this book a scientific journey.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Patricia Newman’s books (Plastics, Ahoy! and Ebola included) are made for classrooms. This text includes not only the cause-effect relationship between otters and sea grass, but also has experiments, information about careers, a glossary, and an afterword about rethinking our relationship with nature giving the reader real ways they can make a difference. This book would be perfect to use in a life science unit or class.

Discussion Questions: What is the “critical link between” sea otters and flowering sea grass?; Finding the link was an accident, what was Brent Hughes studying when he found the connection? What was the proof that the connection existed?; How does the Elkhorn Slough exist?; What are Hughes’s 7 steps to think like a scientist? Observe nature and go through the 7 steps yourself.; What part did sea hares play in Brett Hughes’s experiment?; What is a trophic cascade?; How are what was discovered about the otters similar to the situations with wolves and sperm whales Newman shared?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Scientists in the Field books, National Geographic and Animal Planet books about animals 

Recommended For:

  readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

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**Thank you to Lerner and Patricia for providing a copy for review!**

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Paper Animals

Paper Animals
Published: December 5, 2016 by Kane Miller Books

Goodreads Summary: In this book there are 14 different animals, with step-by-step instructions and different levels of difficulty, which will help you become an origami expert. Once you have all the animals ready, fold the giant boat at the end of the book and take all the passengers on board! Included are thirty pages of patterned paper, with printed fold lines. Develops hand eye co-ordination. Learn a form of communication without language. Focuses patience and increases self-esteem. Well-suited to a classroom of 30 or more students. Creates and manipulates basic geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, and triangles. Reflects the ingenuity and aesthetics of Japanese culture; children gain appreciation of a different culture, opening a doorway to exploration and increased tolerance. Learn the ancient art of origami! In this book there are 14 different animals, with step-by-step instructions and different levels of difficulty.

My Review: I have always enjoyed origami, so this book made me feel a bit nostalgic. The first half of the book features pictures of the finished products and directions. The second half of the book includes origami paper that is tailored to each of the animals in the front of the book. So, for example, there is a lion instruction page in the first half of the book, and there is a page of lion origami paper at the end of the book that includes dotted lines for folds and a lion face! My three-year-old is absolutely obsessed with this book. We do one paper animal per day, and we put the animal inside of the giant book (included in the back of the book). He is too young to do the folding himself, but he cheers me on as I fold the paper. I would recommend this book to upper elementary schoolers through adults. Even as an adult, I found some of the paper animals to be very tricky.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In high school, we were required to give a speech that included very specific instructions for participants. I made an origami crane and my peers followed my instructions at their seats. It would be fun to use this as a model for the speech activity. As an alternative, students might create their own origami animal with instructions! This would be hard to do, but it would be great fun!

Discussion Questions: What aspects are important when we give instructions? How did the authors of this book make the instructions easier to follow?; Which animals proved more difficult to make, and why?

Flagged Spread: 


origami3 origami4

Read This If You Loved: Activity Books; Origami

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