Student Voices: Favorite Reads from Derrick T., Gavin Z., Kyan V., Leticia R., and Reed R.

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Favorite Reads

Ten Favorite Fantasy Series by Derrick T., 7th grade

The Fantasy Genre, defined by Britanica.com as “imaginative fiction dependent for effect on strangeness of setting (such as other worlds or times) and of characters (such as supernatural or unnatural beings)”, is my favorite genre of books. I enjoy when an author immerses you in a completely different world, sometimes literally, and these are some of my favorite series in this genre.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians]: A Series Review – greenish bookshelf

Percy finds out he is the son of the ancient Greek god Poseidon! He and his fellow half-bloods (half mortal, half god) go on many quests to save the world from evil mythological creatures.

Curse Workers by Holly Black

Book Review: The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black - The Night Bookmobile

In a world where workers can “curse” someone with a touch, Cassel is the only person in his family without the gift. But something strange is happening, and Cassel must unravel the conspiracy around his life, and the life of someone whose death is his fault.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1) (Artemis Fowl, 1): Colfer, Eoin:  9781368036986: Amazon.com: Books

Artemis Fowl is not just a genius, he makes other geniuses seem inept by comparison. And he just discovered a whole world underneath our feet: one full of magic.

Magisterium by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Magisterium Series 5-Book Set: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare: Books:  Amazon.com

Everyone wants to be a magician. Except for Call. His dad has warned him about the danger of magic his whole life, and how he MUST not get into the mages school, the Magisterium. But Call fails at failing, and now must face the dangers of his new school.

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice Series (Complete 12 Book Set) : John Flanagan:  0680474137794: Books - Amazon

Will is an orphan. At his choosing ceremony where he picks his profession, he is denied by all the craftmasters. Except one named Halt.  He is a mysterious ranger, a group of skilled archers who are rumored to dabble in sorcery, and will teach Will how to be a ranger. But being a ranger comes with many risks. Will Will survive?

The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

Home - Leigh Bardugo | Author

Alina has never been special. But one day when her friend is in mortal danger, she discovers a new ability that might patch the literal tear in her country. But not everything is as it seems, she soon finds herself in the middle of an evil scheme that’s been in place for over 500 years.

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini Collection The Inheritance Cycle Series 4 Books Set  Eldest | eBay

When Eragon finds a blue stone in the forest, he thinks it might mean a little money for his family. He certainly doesn’t think it will be a dragon egg! But after Saphira hatches he is dragged into a plot to save the kingdom from the evil king.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series 1 - 6 Books Collection  Set by Michael Scott (Alchemyst, Magician, Sorceress, Necromancer, Warlock  & Enchantress): Michael Scott, The Enchantress By Michael Scott  978-0552562577,

Sophie and Josh live normal lives until they discover that Nicholas Flamel is Josh’s boss. And now they are in danger, and Josh and Sophie are magicians! The three of them then go on to stop the Dark Elders from taking over the world.

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers Book Review – R.E. KLINZING

When Finn falls asleep, he becomes a hologram at Disney World! He and the other kingdom keepers must protect the parks from the evil overtakers.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Why Harry Potter Books are Great for School-Aged Readers - Speech Therapy  Centres of Canada

Harry Potter lives with his mean aunt, uncle, and cousin. On his eleventh birthday, a literal giant tells him he is a wizard. Throughout the series he, along with new friends, has to fight his parents murderer, the evil wizard Lord Voldemort.

Top Six Sports Books for Kids by Kyan V., 7th grade

These days, there are many sportsbooks to choose from. It can be hard to choose because of a great deal of different genres and sports. This blog post lists my top 6 favorite sportsbooks, fiction, and nonfiction, for kids. Remember the list is not in order! I have read these books and highly recommend them, especially if you love sports!

Pele, The King of Soccer by Eddy Simon and illustrated by Vincent Brascglia

Pelé: The King of Soccer: Simon, Eddy, Brascaglia, Vincent: 9781626727557:  Amazon.com: Books

This book is a perfectly illustrated graphic novel that captures Pele’s crazy life from a young boy to a world champion. It dives into Pele’s childhood and how he became what he is today. I love this book because it proves to everyone that you can come from nothing and still be one of the best soccer players to ever live. I highly recommend this graphic novel.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover (The Crossover Series): Alexander, Kwame, Anyabwile, Dawud:  9780544107717: Amazon.com: Books

This book is exceptionally unique because of how it is structured. It’s composed of lots of short stanzas. In a way, it’s almost like a 200-page poem. This book is amazing because it shows how one can change their life with their actions. This book is not only teaching you about basketball, but also life lessons for the future.

Year in Sports 2022 by James Buckley Jr.

Scholastic Year in Sports 2022: Buckley Jr., James: 9781338770254:  Amazon.com: Books

A new book in this series comes out every year. They are action packed, full with statistics and fun facts about every sport you can name. This is one of those books you can read for hours at a tie and read the whole thing 5 times and it would still be interesting.

The Football Fanbook by Gary Gramling

The Football Fanbook (A Sports Illustrated Kids Book): Everything You Need  to Become a Gridiron Know-It-All - Kindle edition by Gramling, Gary, The  Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids. Children Kindle eBooks @

This book is all about football. Everything you could think of about football. This book has fun facts, formations, playbooks, records, strategies, comparisons, and more. I love this book because you can discover so many new things about the amazing sport of football. By the way, there is also a Baseball Fanbook as well.

The United States of Sports by Bill Syken

The United States of Sports: An Atlas of Teams, Stats, Stars, and Facts for  Every State in America (A Sports Illustrated Kids Book): The Editors of  Sports Illustrated Kids, Syken, Bill: 9781547800001:

This book goes state by state and shows you where their sports teams are located, statistics, rivalries, fan favorites, mascots, and the state’s trophy shelf. It also includes college teams. This book goes through all 50 states. I love this book because you can learn about other states, and dive deep into your state’s sports programs.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost (1) (Track): Reynolds, Jason: 9781481450157: Amazon.com: Books

This book is good because everyone can relate to it in one way or another. Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw is trying to overcome some difficult challenges in his childhood. With the help of his mentor, Coach Brody he overcomes these difficulties through running track at an elite level.

Thank you for reading my top 6 sports books for kids. I highly recommend reading all of these books! Some of them are so underrated. See you next time — bye!

My Favorite Book Series by Gavin Z., 8th grade

Randoms by David Liss

Randoms (3 book series) Kindle Edition

Very interesting and unique. I haven’t read many books that include leveling systems and skill trees like a video game.

The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey

Chris d'Lacey on Twitter: "Nice cover refresh for The Last Dragon  Chronicles. Hrrr! https://t.co/98t75vtRY2" / Twitter

These books focus on dragons but what’s most interesting is the clay dragons that come to life in this series.

Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland

Wings of Fire: The Complete Collection Series Set (Book 1-15) NEW Paperback  2022 | eBay

Takes place in a different world with 3 moons. They tell the story from the dragons perspective, and interestingly treat humans as “pets.”

The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer

The Land of Stories Complete Hardcover Gift Set: Colfer, Chris:  9780316556828: Amazon.com: Books

In this series, a pair of twins travel across the fairy tale world and meet many childhood favorites like Jack and the Beanstalk or Cinderella. 

A Tale of Magic series by Chris Colfer

A Tale of Magic... Collection by Christopher Colfer | Little, Brown Books  for Young Readers

Taking place in the same world as the Land of Stories, this series happens before that series. Kind of like a prequel but still has really interesting new characters that didn’t appear in the land of stories. 

Favorite Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels by Leticia R., 6th grade

Dawn and the Impossible Three

Dawn and the Impossible Three: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #5):  Full-Color Edition (5) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix): Martin, Ann M.,  Galligan, Gale: 9781338067118: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her frst big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter.

My opinion: I really enjoyed reading this book. I could really relate to the book! I have felt what Dawn has felt where she was new and was just trying to find a friend. It was really fun reading this book! And I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys graphic novels, and drama books.

Boy-Crazy Stacey

Boy-Crazy Stacey: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #7) (7) (The  Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels): Martin, Ann M., Galligan, Gale:  9781338304510: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: Stacey and Mary Anne are baby-sitting for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous house right on the beach, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!

My opinion: I loved reading this book because I felt how Mary Anne felt, shes feels like she has so much things to do and so much responsibility and I have felt that way as well. Being stressed constantly could even ruin friendships and relationships.

Claudia and the New Girl

Claudia and the New Girl: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #9) (9)  (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix): Martin, Ann M., Epstein, Gabriela:  9781338304572: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: The Baby-sitters are sick of Ashley, and they think Claudia’s a traitor. Claudia’s got to decide: either the Baby-sitter’s Club or the new girl – one of them has got to go.

My opinion: I enjoyed this book because I could relate to it and learn from it. When I started reading this book, I liked it, but after I got to the middle, I realized that it was trying to show the reader a life lesson; it was that you can always have more than one friend.

Logan Likes Marry Anne

Logan Likes Mary Anne!: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #8) (8) (The  Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels): Martin, Ann M., Galligan, Gale:  9781338304541: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: It’s the first day of a new school year, and while Mary Anne doesn’t know what to expect from the eighth grade, she’s looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. One thing she definitely doesn’t expect is to meet Logan Bruno, who just moved to Stoneybrook.

My opinion: I thought that this book was so realistic because everyone goes through this when they go into a new school or any new place everyone feels scared and doesn’t know what to expect. And I think that is a very good book anyone could relate to.

Kristy’s Great Idea

Kristy's Great Idea: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #1) (Revised  edition): Full-Color Edition (1) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix):  Telgemeier, Raina, Martin, Ann M., Telgemeier, Raina: 0000545813875:  Amazon.com: Books

Summary: Kristy thinks the Baby-sitters Club is a great idea. She and her friends Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne all love taking care of kids. A club will give them the chance to have lots of fun—and make tons of money.

My opinion: I thought this book was super fun because it was explaining how things started and showed the reader the very beginning of things. I think that everybody should read this book first not because its the first book but because it’s descriptive of how things started.

Ten Favorite History Books I’ve Read by Reed R., 7th grade

Today I will be talking about my top ten favorite history books I’ve read. I’m a big fan of history books, and I have read many. I’m into wars and past conflicts. My favorite types of historic books are biographies and expeditions.

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas B. Allen

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and  Won the Revolutionary War: Thomas B. Allen: 9781426300417 -  Christianbook.com

I love this book because it emphasizes the tough times within the Revolutionary War. I also like how this book talks about the spy work the United States did on Britain. That was one of the ways the United States won the war. I also like how this book talks about how a good leader George Washington was, like how courageous and brave he was. He was also very confident.

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story: Wallace, Sandra Neil,  Wallace, Rich: 9781629794280: Amazon.com: Books

The reason I chose this book is because I wanted to learn more about the North Pole expeditions. One of the main reasons I like this book is because it gives detail about the crew members’ lives aboard the expedition and how they chose to take the expedition. I like this book because it puts into perspective how we didn’t know what was at the top of our planet and this expedition helps the world learn more about the north pole. It’s amazing how brave these men were because the food they ate was disgusting. It was so cold that all the sled dogs died. When you think about it today the only ships that really go up to the north pole are those big icebreakers that have thick metal hulls and these guys were doing it in a wooden boat. 

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Lincoln's Grave Robbers: Sheinkin, Steve: 9780545405720: Amazon.com: Books

No one talks about how Lincoln’s grave was robbed, and I feel that there should be more known about it. I like how it shows the backstory to the grave robbers and why they’re robbing the grave. I like how they introduce the Secret Service because this was around the time that the Secret Service was first getting started and this was one of their big investigations. I like how this book makes the investigation intense like it’s coming down to the wire. 

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson

Amazon.com: Chasing Lincoln's Killer: 9780439903547: Swanson, James L.:  Books

I love the way the book keeps the chasing aspect through the whole book. I also like the way it feels the climax is going on the whole time in the book, like it never ends until the end. I find it so interesting how John Wilkes Booth was a famous actor and a “good guy” and was so friendly and everything, and how trusting society was back then, like how the president didn’t have very much security and how they just had a little dinky wood fence that would be in someone’s backyard but now there’s a huge metal fence.

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

Another event that I’m fascinated about is the Chicago fire. It amazes me how Chicago was one of the most developing cities in the midwest and then all of a sudden it just turns into smoldering ashes. I like how the author uses first hand accounts to tell the story and the people that were in the event’s experience. Most of the books that I’ve read about tragic events usually don’t talk about how the city came back but in this book it talks about the people of Chicago and how they powered through. This book really shows how coming together can cause things to get better. 

Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography by Louise Borden

Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography: Borden, Louise: 9781629796741:  Amazon.com: Books

This is probably one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. I’m kinda biased because I love to ski, and I love the snow in general. I have always been into special ops military books and the idea that not many people know about what’s going on. This book is all of that. I like how the book emphasizes the secret operations in the alps and how they were behind enemy lines. Around this time the invention of camouflage was just starting to be used in the military. They used the camouflage in the alps and within their platoon. 

Black and White Airmen: Their True History by John Fleischman

Black And White Airmen: Their True History: Fleischman, John:  9780618562978: Amazon.com: Books

I like how in some of the most racist times in our country’s history the airmen came together to fight in the war. I like how we came together as a country and fought in Europe, for people’s freedom. Its pretty amazing how brave the airmen were because they were practically flying a tin can at 15,000 ft. I like how this book follows both of the characters’ paths in their life and when they meet. 

All Quiet on the Western Front (All Quiet on the Western Front/The Road Back #1) by Erich Maria Remarque

Amazon.com: All Quiet on the Western Front: A Novel: 9780449213940: Erich  Maria Remarque, A W. Wheen: Books

There aren’t very many books I’ve seen that are about the German school boys POV. I think this book is eye opening for me but the things described in this book are unbelievable. These boys go into WWI and see all of the terrible things that are happening. I think if you want to see more of the gorey side of WWI this is the book for you. One of the reasons I chose this book is because I think WWI needs to be more talked about. 

True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson by Kostya Kennedy

True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson: Kennedy, Kostya: 9781250274045:  Amazon.com: Books

I am a baseball fan, and this book is a biography about Jackie Robinson and how he overcame the challenge of African American people not being allowed to play baseball. I like how this book emphasizes his legacy even after his death in 1972. I also like how this book included the death threats and letters written to him about how if he played baseball bad things would happen.

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy

This is one of my favorite books of all time. This book includes all the little details about the people that got its illness and the super disgusting practices they used at the time. I like how the author uses first hand accounts to portray the yellow fever. I wish we would talk more about the yellow fever in school and just in general as it is one of the most important events in our history that is just forgotten.


Thank you so much to my student voices today and for sharing their favorite reads!

Odd Birds: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Flock by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Gareth Lucas

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Odd Birds: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Flock
Author: Laura Gehl
Illustrator: Gareth Lucas
Published June 14th, 2022 by Abrams Appleseed

Summary: Meet nature’s oddballs in this charming board book about some of the most unique birds in the world!

Backyard birds—move over! Odd Birds introduces babies and toddlers to unusual bird species, including the magnificent frigatebird with a bright red throat pouch and the California condor—the largest flying birds in North America! Gentle rhyming verses provide the comforting repetition that little ones crave, even as their minds are opened to new and fascinating creatures from around the world. At the end of the book, readers will find photographs of each bird, along with more detailed factual information. The eight birds featured are the magnificent frigatebird, blue-footed booby, shoebill stork, ostrich, hoatzin, oilbird, California condor, and burrowing owl.

About the Creators: 

Laura Gehl is a former science teacher who still loves getting kids excited about science and nature . . . now through her books. Ever since reading about a poop-shooting caterpillar many years ago, Gehl has spent time researching and writing about interesting creatures and their behaviors. She is the author of more than two dozen books for young readers, including the Baby Scientist board book series, Odd Beasts, Happy Llamakkah!, Apple and Magnolia, and Happy Owl-Oween!. Gehl lives with her husband and four kids in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where she enjoys observing and exploring in the woods near her home.  Visit Laura at lauragehl.com.

Twitter: @AuthorLauraGehl
Instagram: @authorlauragehl
Facebook: @AuthorLauraGehl

Gareth Lucas is an illustrator and designer living in Essex, England, with his wife and five children. After studying at the University of Brighton School of Art and Central Saint Martins, he has worked on a variety of projects but enjoys nothing more than illustrating animals, birds, and the natural world. When he is not working, he can be heard indulging his other love—the banjo!

Twitter: @GarethLucas
Instagram: @garethlucasart

Review: When I first read about Odd Birds, I had no idea it was a board book. Based on the illustrations I saw and the summary, I assumed it was going to be a longer nonfiction book, but instead it is everything you’d find in nonfiction picture book but put in a small package.

First, scroll down a little bit. LOOK AT THOSE ILLUSTRATIONS! They are beautiful! Lucas has stepped away form the cartoon-ish style of many board books and focused on the realistic beautify of each of these odd birds.

Second, THIS BOARD BOOK HAS BACKMATTER! This is going to add some super longevity to it because it will allow it to be a fun read aloud to the youngest of kids and a learning tool for older kids. And Gehl has not held back in the inclusion of information in the back matter; it is so informative and interesting.

Third, the text is so catchy with great rhythm and rhyme sequence that makes it a wonderful read aloud and will make it a quick into the read aloud rotation.

Check out Betsy Bird’s Fuse 8 post for an amazing in-depth review!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Use this book to lead you and your reader into learning about more odd animals!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which of the odd birds are your favorite?
  • What did you learn from this book?
  • What do you wish you’d learned about the birds?
  • Which illustration was your favorite?
  • How are some of the birds the same? Different?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Nonfiction books, Birds

Recommended For: 

Signature

**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**

Author Guest Post: “How to Create a Think Tank in Your Classroom” by Lowey Bundy Sichol, Author of Idea Makers: 15 Female Entrepreneurs

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“How to Create a Think Tank in Your Classroom”

It happens every Spring – ideas come to life in elementary and middle schools across the country. The end of the school year is in sight, curriculums are on track, and teachers are given the freedom to incorporate projects that interweave creativity, inventions, and out of the box thinking.

This is also the time of year when my inbox explodes with requests for author visits to help inspire these young minds to consider the world of entrepreneurship. I’ve spoken at “Invention Conventions,” listened to “Inventor Reports,” helped kids “Launch a Business,” and inspired students at “Career Days” – all wonderful ways to young minds thinking about the real world and how their ideas can change the world.

So how can you create a Think Tank in your classroom?

First, read how other people built their businesses.

Reading how others did it is one of the most important teaching strategies in business school so why shouldn’t it work for elementary and middle schools? Called Case Studies, they are the foundation for teaching MBA programs at Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, and Northwestern’s business schools. After graduating business school, I created a writing company that composed MBA case studies for some of the top business schools in the world. And it was those case studies that inspired my nonfiction children’s book series, From an Idea to… (LEGO, Nike, Google, Disney) as well as my new book entitled Idea Makers: 15 Fearless Female Entrepreneurs.

Lessons of perseverance, bravery, resilience, and creativity run deep throughout all my children’s books. They help inspire kids to think about their own ideas and teach them the steps it takes to turn an idea into reality.

Next, hold a Brainstorming Session

Most great ideas come from a person’s passion. Think Steve Jobs with computers, Walt Disney with animation, and Milton Hershey with candy. Each of these founders knew their industry inside and out and loved spending every waking minute working on it. Entrepreneurs need to have passion for their idea. So, it’s important that kids really understand who they are and where their passions lie. Here is one of my favorite brainstorming session exercises:

  • Have each student write their name in the middle of a piece of paper and circle it.
  • Next, have them write 4-10 things that is important to them and helps define them. I’ll call these Circles of Passion. This could be a sport, an instrument, a relative, a food they like to cook, a friend, a pet, a toy, a language… you get the point. Now circle each of those words.
  • From those 4-10 circles comes the real idea generation. Each student should think about those words. I mean really think about them. If it’s a sport, for example, what do you love about it, what do you hate about it, what problems are there with the equipment or the field, the uniform or the shoes or their hair when they play it, etc. If the child wrote down a sibling or cousin or grandma, what’s special about them, what do you admire about them, what do they struggle with or what do you help them with? There could be 20 branches coming from one passion and zero coming from another.
  • Looking down at the child’s paper, he or she should tons of words and phrases on their paper. Now have the student ask themselves: Is there a problem in here? Could they solve that problem?

Keep these business concepts in mind

A few ideas should start to pop out now. Hooray! Now it’s time for your students consider some business concepts to see if their idea has legs. We call these the 4 P’s in business school.

  • PRODUCT: What does your product do? What will it look like? What will the packaging look like? Take water, for example. You can find water bottles in plastic, aluminum, and glass. You can find small bottles, tall bottles, skinny bottles, fat bottles. Some water is from spring water, some from Fiji or Iceland, some are just purified tap water.
  • PRICE: How much it would cost to create the product? How much could it sell for? This is a great time to incorporate math into discussions about profit margins.
  • PLACE: Place is another way to say distribution. Where will the product be sold? Some examples include online, Amazon, Walmart, boutique stores, farmer’s market, door-to-door, etc. What are the steps to get the product into each of these options?
  • PROMOTION: How do people find out about the product or service? Examples include : social media, flyers, PR, etc.

Now it’s time to show off these ideas!

Consider holding a pitch day in your classroom or a Shark Tank competition with parent volunteer judges. Another idea is to hold a town fair where all the kids display their idea and parents are invited to visit each business and listen to their pitches.

Good luck and be sure to tag me if you post it online! @LoweySichol

Published March 1st, 2022 by Chicago Review Press

About the Book: Entrepreneurship can change your life—and even the world.

Idea Makers shares the incredible stories of 15 women who changed the world through their entrepreneurship. Author Lowey Bundy Sichol presents five industries that women are leading in recent years: food, fashion and clothing, health and beauty, science and technology, and education.

Jenn Hyman brought couture fashion to everyday women with her idea to Rent the Runway. Morgan DeBaun supports Black journalists through Blavity. And Sandra Oh Lin is inspiring kids everywhere with KiwiCo activity boxes.

Readers learn about how the women featured risked their early careers, gave up their salaries, and sometimes even went against the approval of their families to follow their passions and start their own businesses. Today, these women are modern leaders worth billions of dollars and employing tens of thousands of individuals.

Young women today are embracing innovation and idea making, and the women profiled in Idea Makers will show them how that can change the world.

Praise: 

Idea Makers: 15 Fearless Female Entrepreneurs leads with the notion that in growing the entrepreneurs of the future, representation matters.” —Suzanne Schaefer, Vice President, Bain & Company

“Lowey’s book is written with kids in mind—curious, creative, and ambitious kids.” —Rebecca Burstein, Founder and Principal, Burst Marketing Strategy

“It’s rare to find books that capture the attention of older and young readers alike, but Lowey Sichol has done it again.” —Karen Loggia, Director of Marketing and Communications, Tension Corporation

“A must read for every kid (and adult) who has a crazy idea and big dreams! In Idea Makers, Lowey Sichol tells the inspirational stories of 15 female entrepreneurs who had the vision, passion, and determination to build iconic companies.” —Alexis McLaughlin, CEO, 2020 On-Site

“This book is amazing! It is full of empowering stories that are sure to inspire a new generation of creative thinkers and future entrepreneurs. Readers are going to love it!” —Todd Burleson, School Library Journal 2016 Librarian of the Year

“Informative and inspiring, Idea Makers tells the transformational stories of 15 amazing women entrepreneurs. Lowey Sichol skillfully brings each of those stories to life with lessons of creativity, perseverance and passion.” —Kevin Lane Keller, E.B. Osborn Professor of Marketing, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

About the Author: Lowey Bundy Sichol (her last name rhymes with pickle) is an award-winning children’s author with an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She is a leading expert in teaching business and entrepreneurship to kids. Lowey’s nonfiction series, From an Idea to… is the world’s first business and entrepreneurship book series for kids, and has received a 2020 Best STEM Book, a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection, and a 2020 ILA-CBC Children’s Choices Book, among others. She is also the founder of Kids Idea Tank, the nation’s biggest entrepreneurship competition for kids age 13 and younger. She lives near Chicago, Illinois. Visit her online at www.loweybundysichol.com, https://twitter.com/LoweySichol, and https://www.instagram.com/loweysichol/.

Thank you so much for this amazing post about pushing our students to the next level!

National Geographic Kids’ Mythical Beasts: 100 Fun Facts About Real Animals and the Myths They Inspire by Stephanie Warren Drimmer & Bling!: 100 Fun Facts About Gems by Emma Carlson Berne

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Mythical Beasts: 100 Fun Facts About Real Animals and the Myths They Inspire
Author: Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Published January 4th, 2022 by National Geographic Kids

Summary: Calling all fans of unicorns, dragons, sea monsters, and other mythical creatures! Discover 100 marvelous facts that add to the magic in this new reader for fluent readers.

Key features include:

  • Expert-vetted text appropriate for ages 7 to 9
  • Brilliant and eye-catching National Geographic images
  • 100 fun facts spread throughout the book
  • A fact roundup at the end of each book for kids to review what they’ve learned

Packed with weird-but-true facts and tons of info, this Level 3 reader explores animals that are mistaken for mythical creatures, critters that are almost too weird for reality, and other creatures with incredible abilities. Learn all about these amazing, unbelievable, and downright fantastical beasts!

About the Author: STEPHANIE WARREN DRIMMER writes books and magazine features for kids about everything from the strangest places in space, to the chemistry of cookies, to the mysteries of the human brain. Drimmer has a degree in science journalism from New York University, but she thinks she likes writing for kids because she’s secretly still one herself.

Bling!: 100 Fun Facts About Gems
Author: Emma Carlson Berne
Published January 4th, 2022 by National Geographic Kids

Summary: Get ready to be dazzled by some of the shiniest, most colorful, useful—and even dangerous—rocks, minerals, and gems on the planet! In this Level 3 reader, discover fascinating facts about the incredible rocks and minerals under our feet and deep in Earth’s crust. Budding geologists will love reading about how rocks form, learning the names and features of the coolest rocks and minerals, and exploring rare and beautiful gemstones.

Key features include:

  • Expert-vetted text appropriate for ages 7 to 9
  • Brilliant and eye-catching National Geographic images
  • 100 fun facts sprinkled throughout the book*
  • A fact roundup at the end of each book for kids to review what they’ve learned

Packed with weird-but-true facts and tons of cool info, this Level 3 reader explores the incredible world of geology.

About the Author: EMMA CARLSON BERNE writes juvenile, middle grade, and YA fiction and nonfiction for both educational and trade publishers. She has worked on projects with Disney/Lucasfilm Press, American Girl Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Sterling Publishing, Capstone, Rosen, and Alloy Entertainment. Berne lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is the writer-in-residence for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.


About the Series: This high-interest, educationally-vetted readers series features magnificent National Geographic images accompanied by text written by experienced, skilled children’s book authors. Each reader includes a glossary and interactive features in which kids get to use what they’ve learned in the book. Level 1 readers reinforce the content of the book with a kinesthetic learning activity. Level 2 readers feature slightly higher-level text and additional vocabulary words. Level 3 readers have more layers of information to challenge more proficient readers. For emerging readers, the Pre-reader level introduces vocabulary and concepts, and the Co-reader level provides a collaborative reading experience.

Review: I am such a fan of National Geographic Kids’ books. They do such a great job with engaging material that is perfect for the audience they are aimed for. With these Fact Reader Level 3 books, I really loved the mix of chapters with expository text mixed with text features that add to the text as well as fact lists that will make sure the reader leaves with fun facts to share. Everything that is shared in the books are so interesting and will definitely grab the readers attention. For example, in Bling!  we learn about rocks and minerals in space, different types of rocks, the oldest rocks, difference between rocks and minerals, and geology & archaeology information. Mythical Beasts includes mistaken identities, strange animals that are hard to believe, and animals with mythical powers. Both books are great nonfiction texts that are going to find so many early elementary readers!

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does the table of contents and index help you when reading a nonfiction book?
  • What text features did you notice throughout the book? How did they add to the book?
  • What facts did you learn from the book? What was your favorite fact you learned?
  • What else would you like to learn about the topics?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Geology, Archaeology, Animals, Mythology, Nonfiction

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters for providing copies for review!**

Only One by Deborah Hopkinson and Chuck Groenink

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Only One
Authors and Illustrator: Deborah Hopkinson and Chuck Groenink
Published April 5, 2022

Summary: This lyrical, environmentally focused picture book showcases the unique beauty of our one and only universe–its galaxies, stars, and planets–as well as our one and only Earth and the precious life it contains.

Join one girl as she leads her friends to a tree-planting ceremony. Along the way, she explains in simple language the value of the universe and Planet Earth. Readers will see the Big Bang, the Milky Way, all the planets in the solar system, as well as Earth’s atmosphere, and the life within it: its oceans, trees, bugs, and seven billion human beings. Finally, the girl and her friends plant a tree–doing one small thing to help their one special planet.

Both informative and inspiring, here is a beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated science picture book about our universe that will encourage young readers and listeners to protect and preserve the environment.

ReviewThe cover drew me right in, and I was NOT disappointed! I loved how this book offered a wide scope of topics within space, science, and the environment, yet it felt very connected by a common theme. This is my book of choice for Earth Day (and every day!). It captured the attention of all three of my own children, who each have different interests. I’ve read it so many times in the last week (to whichever child is requesting it) that I am starting to memorize it! I love how it talks about space, the stars, the Big Bang—yet it also talks about caring and tending for Earth and working together.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I would love to see kids create a spread that could be added to Only One. Maybe, for instance, they might write a spread about protecting water or perhaps they might choose an aspect of space that is of interest. Whatever the choice, they could research the topic before they create their spread. The teacher could post them to a bulletin board or bind them together in a book.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What did you learn?
  • Which spreads were most inspiring to you, and why?
  • What is the “Only One” in this book, and why does it matter so much?
  • What is your role in protecting the Earth?

Flagged Spreads:

 

Read This If You Love: Science, Space, Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty; You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for sending a copy for review!**

Author Guest Post: “Spread Hope and Optimism with STEM Picture Books” by Linda Zajac, Author of Robo-Motion: Robots That Move Like Animals

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“Spread Hope and Optimism with STEM Picture Books”

Last year was a challenging year for children. The pandemic disrupted familiar routines associated with school, play, and family life. Kids were thrust into a world with masks, Zoom, and isolation that have taken a toll on their social, emotional, and academic well-being. While news outlets reported grim statistics, students struggled to focus. For some families, basic needs like food and shelter were challenges. Mental-health related visits to pediatric emergency departments increased 24 percent for children aged 5–11 from mid-March 2020 to October 2020.

When the situation seems insurmountable, it’s hope and optimism that help us deal with the stress. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece studied the qualities that make kids resilient to disasters like pandemics. They wrote that hope and optimism in families, schools, and communities contribute to resiliency.

In these extraordinary times, hope and optimism can brighten a world that seems dark. They can temper feelings of anger, worry, loneliness, anxiety, and despair. Hope and optimism in STEM books can educate, illuminate, and inspire while shining a light on science.

In STEM books, hope is a promising discovery, a new method, a novel solution, or an advancement in technology that benefits society. In addition to educating readers, STEM books with visions of a better tomorrow inspire them. In a time of rising seas, raging covid variants, and racist tensions, hopeful books can help a child cope and inspire them to action.

They are many benefits in giving kids hope. Hopeful children have better health and less anxiety. Studies show hope improves academic and athletic performance. It builds resilience and lessens stress in challenging times. Hope can motivate a child to take action towards a long-term goal.

In my book, Robo-Motion: Robots That Move Like Animals, (Millbrook, 9/7/2021) the design team at Millbrook Press took my words and made them richer by surrounding them with color, intrigue, and hope. On each spread, in strikingly similar poses, animals are paired with the robots that mimic their motion,. Robo-Motion, a book about biomimicry, has action verbs on every page. Like animals in the wild, robots in the lab skitter, scuttle, grip, and glide. If we could move like animals, we could jump without getting tired, squeeze into tight spaces, and climb up glass. By building robots that mimic animal motion, we can move like them. Robo-Motion is a hopeful book about how robots can benefit society. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

With the following exercises, you can use Robo-Motion to boost hope and optimism in your classroom:

EXERCISE 1 – Gratitude

Ask children to pick the robot they are most thankful for. Have them write down the robot name and why they picked it.

EXERCISE 2 – Boost optimism

Have children close their eyes and spend some time thinking about the robot they picked. Ask them to imagine a scene where the robot is doing its job. The robot could be saving a life, cutting costs, gathering information, or making work more efficient.  Have them imagine that everything works out for the best.

EXERCISE 3 – Writing skills

Ask children to write an optimistic story about the robot they picked and how it helped society.

EXERCISE 4  – Spread optimism

Ask children to share their optimistic stories with the class.

You can also bring hope and optimism into your classroom with these recent STEM nonfiction picture books:

  • Crossings by Katy Duffield (Beach Lane, 2020) is a unique STEM book about structures built to protect wildlife from traffic. Although the vehicles that make crossings dangerous for animals are never mentioned in the main text, they appear in nearly all the illustrations. The book takes a fascinating look at manmade structures created to help various animals avoid traffic in the United States and abroad. The common thread is the desire to help wildlife and the hope that they will survive and flourish.
  • The Brilliant Deep by Kate Messner (Chronicle, 2018) is another book with a hopeful message. First, readers meet Ken Nedimyer, a diver. Then, in a wordless full-page spread, readers see the effect of one hotter-than-normal summer—bleached coral. Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation are farming corals and transplanting them to restore reefs. They’ve planted thousands of coral stalks off the Florida Keys and they’re working with other countries to help their threatened reefs. The book gives readers hope something can be done to regenerate corals damaged by warming ocean waters from climate change.
  • Mario and the Hole in the Sky by Elizabeth Rusch (Charlesbridge, 2019) is a story about Mario Molina discovering and helping to solve a global problem. In the 1980s, scientists discovered a huge hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. When countries came together and agreed to stop making the CFC’s that were in everything from aerosols to air conditioners, the ozone layer began to recover. By comparing the ozone problem with climate change, readers see that by working together countries can solve global problems. We’ve done it before, we can do it again.
  • A leaking oil pipeline can wreak havoc on the environment. In We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom (Roaring Brook, 2020), the Ojibwe tribe fights to protect the ecosystem. A black snake symbolizes the oil pipeline that’s never mentioned in the text. The last page gives readers the opportunity to sign a pledge to protect the Earth. With gorgeous illustrations, this book is a rallying cry to action. It leaves the reader feeling hopeful that the tribe, along with others, will not give up their fight to protect water, land, plants, and animals.

STEM books with hope and optimism have power. They can broaden a child’s horizons, expand a child’s mind, and brighten a child’s world. In Emily Dickinson’s poetry collection, hope is the thing with feathers. In a post-pandemic classroom, hope is the thing with pages.

Resources:

Published September 7th, 2021 by Millbrook Press

About the Book: Like animals in the wild, robots in the lab skitter, scuttle, grip, and glide. In this STEAM title about biomimicry, crisp color photographs of animals are paired with the robots that mimic their motion. Action verbs and literary devices introduce each animal on the left, while details about each robot and its purpose grace the opposite page. This nonfiction picture book is a hopeful look at how robots can benefit society. Back matter includes a glossary and information about biomimicry. The book will appeal to young readers interested in animals, engineering, technology, and science. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

About the Author: Linda Zajac is an award-winning science writer. She’s a former computer programmer, systems analyst, and consultant who would have jumped at the chance to program a robot. Linda writes about cutting-edge science, technology, and biotechnology and how they’re used to save wildlife, advance medicine, and protect the environment. Linda is a Tassy Walden winner and a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award. Her published works include six Minecraft books for kids along with many magazine articles in Highlights, MUSE, ChemMatters, and more. Robo-Motion: Robots That Move like Animals was published September 7, 2021 by Millbrook Press.

Thank you, Linda, for this post focusing on the social and emotional learning our students need to do in addition to academic and a way to combine the two!

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

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Weird but True!: Ocean: 300 Fin-Tastic Facts from the Deep Blue Sea
Published June 8, 2021 by National Geographic Kids

Goodreads Summary: Dive into these fishy facts: Did you know that the prehistoric shark, megalodon, had jaws so big that it could swallow a car? Or that goats, pigs, dogs, cats, and even an alpaca have all learned how to surf? And if that’s not weird enough for ya, one man even rowed solo across the Pacific Ocean for 312 days!
In this book filled with 300 wacky facts and pictures, you’ll glimpse the ocean’s weirdest wildlife, uncover shocking shipwrecks, and meet sensational seafarers, from pirates and sailors to ground-breaking marine scientists. Perfect for ocean enthusiasts and trivia-loving landlubbers alike!

My Review: This book is the perfect size for little hands! All three of my boys (ages 7, 4, and 2) loved it and really enjoyed looking through the pages. My older two boys were able to read the facts aloud, which made for a very fun experience. My 4-year-old kept shouting, “WHOA!” as they learned new facts. The photographs are absolutely stunning, and the pages offer really, really interesting facts that even adults will enjoy! 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Check out this cool activity that Kellee did with her students as a classroom connection for these books!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which facts were the most interesting to you?
  • Which ocean creature do you think is the coolest?
  • How can you learn more about this creature?

Flagged Passage: 

Read This If You Loved: Animal Books, National Geographic’s 100 Things to Know Before You Grow UpMastermind by National Geographic, Weird but True series by National Geographic, Animal Atlas, Almanacs

Recommended For: 

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RickiSig

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