The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories (Fox + Chick #2)
Author and Illustrator: Sergio Ruzzier
Published: March 5th, 2019
Summary: Opposite personalities attract for these two unlikely friends: In the second book of this lauded series, Fox and Chick are off on three new adventures involving a boat ride, a mysterious box, and an early morning trip to see the sunrise. Despite the antics ensuing from their different personalities, the contradictory duo always manages to have fun together.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions:
Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for Chronicle Books for The Quiet Boat Ride:
Maps for Penguins and Other Traveling Penguins Author: Tracey Turner
Illustrator: Hui Skipp
Published January 1st, 2022 by Kane Miller Press
Summary: Follow the treks, long or short, made by ten different animals all over the world.
Animals don’t actually use maps, so how do they find their way without them? This book focuses on different animals, including elephants, penguins, tigers, and more, and maps of their migrations, territories, and routes to food. Along with discovering fascinating information about the animals and their amazing ability to navigate without GPS, readers will also learn about distances, geography, climate, and habitats .
Migration paths plus lots of facts about ten animals and their varying habitats.
Introduction to maps and geography.
Glossary and index included.
Perfect STEM title.
About the Author: Tracey Turner is an author and editor has written more than 70 books that cover a wide range of topics. She lives in Bath, England, with her partner and son.
Review: This book is the perfect book for the scientist or animal lover kid in your life! It has so much information that readers will find interesting, even more than what is promised. In addition to maps and migration information, the author includes information about diet, mating, families, habits, and more! And the variety of the animals, from all over the world and habitats, are great also, so the reader takes a trip around the world. All accompanied by colorful and eye catching illustrations! All accompanied by colorful and eye catching illustrations!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers will find so much to use in classrooms! I would love to see this used in a jig saw where each member of a group is given one of the animals, learns all about them by studying the 2 spreads about the animal, then going back to their home group to share what they learned. It could also be used as a jumping off for an inquiry project about another animal using Maps for Penguins as a mentor text for creating their own maps and information spread. The book is also a great early introduction to geography and maps and the glossary and index in the back are helpful to the reader as well.
Which animal migrates or has habitats near where you live?
Which animal would you like to learn more about?
What other animals do you know about that migrate or travel in another way?
Why do animals travel? What are some similarities/differences between the different animals and why/how they travel?
Which continents were represented in the book? Which oceans?
Read This If You Love: Animals, Geography
**Thank you to Lynn at Kane Miller for providing a copy for review!**
Global Authors: Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin
Illustrator: Giovanni Rigano
Publishing April 11, 2023 by Sourcebooks Young Readers
Summary: Time is running out for Sami and Yuki. Sami and his grandfather live in a village along the Indian Ocean. They earn their living by fishing. But the ocean is rising and each day they bring back fewer and fewer fish. Yuki lives in the far north of Canada where warming temperature are melting the ice. Polar bears have less food to hunt and are wandering into town looking for something to eat. Yuki is determined to do something to help the bears.
Four pages, written in graphic novel format, that summarize the history of global warming and the climate change movement
An author letter
Plot Synopsis as put by the authors:
About the Creators:
Eoin Colfer is the author of Illegal as well as the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl series. Eoin lives in Ireland with his family. Learn more at eoincolfer.com
Andrew Donkin is the author of more than sixty books and graphic novels for children and adults. He lives in London. Learn more at andrewdonkin.co.uk.
Giovanni Rigano is an artist and illustrator who has illustrated many graphic novels, including the Artemis Fowl series, The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Illegal. He lives in Como, Italy.
Review:Just like in Illegal, Colfer, Donkin, and Rigano do a beautiful job putting a narrative to a crisis to make it more accessible to children who may not understand how something so big is affecting their life and their world.
In Global, the two stories that are told are half a world apart but are tied in the young people who are willing to fight to make the world a better place amidst what many would find truly unlivable and treacherous times.
These three creators obviously have a mission that they have taken on in spreading information to young minds about about “man-made disaster(s) that most impact vulnerable children who had no hand in causing it,” and they do it so well. I look forward to their next collaboration.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be a great text to read in conjunction with the teaching of climate change because it gives a face and story outside of science to the problems our world is facing. Students could also write their own story in the vein of Global (see below in discussion questions) to connect the science to their life.
How do the two stories told in Global relate to each other? Why would the authors choose to tell these two specific stories?
How do the authors tell the story of climate change without writing a informational nonfiction book?
What did you learn about the two settings that you didn’t know before?
How is climate change affecting your home? If there was a story like Global about you and your home, what would it be about?
Read This If You Love: Illegal by the same trio of creators, learning about plights faced in our world, graphic novels about serious topics
**Thank you to Sourcebooks for providing a copy of the book to review!**
To celebrate the release of Destiny Finds Her Way by Newbery Honor winner Margarita Engle, blogs across the web are hosting guest posts from Margarita as well as the book’s photographer, Sam Trull, who is also the co-founder and Executive Director of the Sloth Institute — a sloth rescue organization based in Costa Rica. Join us for a journey behind the scenes of how these two amazingly talented women teamed up to bring this inspiring, true story to readers everywhere and learn more about sloths and the work being done to protect them.
Let Nonfiction Sing!
by Margarita Engle
Destiny Finds Her Way is a book I feel honored to have written. When I saw Sam Trull’s beautiful photos of Destiny the sloth, I decided to visit the Sloth Institute in Costa Rica. There, I had the chance to witness Sam in action, rescuing baby sloths and teaching them how to live in the wild. The experience was inspiring.
I wanted to write Destiny’s story in a way that might inspire young readers to learn more about wildlife conservation. The tropical rain forest has its own rhythm, and poetry is musical language. However, nonfiction is usually presented in a more detailed prose style. I decided to combine poetic devices with facts. The first device I used is onomatopoeia, where words resemble their real-life sources. Examples are the eee, eee, eee of darting squirrel monkeys, and ah, ah of a frightened baby sloth. Instead of rhymes at the ends of lines, I included words with vowels that rhyme. In ‘macaws squawking,’ all the “a “sounds rhyme. I’m sure readers will be able to find many other parts of the story that sound musical.
Readers will also discover the other senses—sight, smell, touch, taste, as well as sound. In addition, movement is an important aspect of the story’s musical nature. I hope words like scratched, swayed, and climbed will help make Destiny’s journey come to life in a joyful, dancelike way. There is nothing more celebratory than knowing she is now healthy and free in the wild!
(ages 4-8, Hardcover Picture Book, National Geographic Kids Books)
Newbery Honor winner Margarita Engle and photographer and Sloth Institute Executive Director Sam Trull team up to bring the inspiring and true story to life of how Destiny, a motherless baby sloth, sightless in one eye and rescued by Sam in the Costa Rican rain forest, defies the odds, overcomes her obstacles of limited sight and learns the skills she will need to return to her wild, forest home.
Without her mother to protect her or teach her, Destiny is found and taken to a rescue center in Costa Rica. The little sloth soon befriends other orphaned sloths. Her poor eyesight, however, makes it hard for her to keep her balance. Eventually Destiny begins to use all of her senses to explore the world around her. But can she learn to climb? Can she master the other skills she needs to survive on her own? And will Destiny be brave enough to return to her wild, forest home?
In addition to learning about Destiny and her journey, readers are immersed in the world of sloths and sloth rescue in this uplifting story about overcoming obstacles and believing in yourself.
About the Author:
Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, memoirs, and picture books, including The Surrender Tree, Enchanted Air, Drum Dream Girl, and Dancing Hands. Awards include a Newbery Honor, Pura Belpré, Golden Kite, Walter, Jane Addams, PEN U.S.A., and NSK Neustadt, among others. Margarita served as the national 2017-2019 Young People’s Poet Laureate. She is a three-time U.S. nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Book Award. Her most recent books are Rima’s Rebellion, Singing With Elephants, and Destiny Finds Her Way. Her next young adult verse novel is Wings in the Wild, and her next picture book is Water Day.
Margarita was born in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives on the island. She studied agronomy and botany along with creative writing, and now lives in central California with her husband.
Sam Trull has been a photographer and a wildlife biologist for decades. After many expeditions to Madagascar, West Africa, and Central America, in January 2013, she settled in Costa Rica, where she co-founded and is the executive director of the Sloth Institute. Her first photo book, Slothlove, was published in April 2016.
The Sloth Institute (TSI) is a nonprofit organization located in Costa Rica with the mission to enhance and expand the welfare and conservation of sloths through rescue, rehabilitation, release, research, and education. In addition, TSI works on targeted conservation projects to improve the safety and quality of sloth habitats and teaches other rescue centers how to better care for and release their sloths. TSI believes that all sloths were born to be wild and deserve that second chance at freedom.
The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey Author & Illustrator: Jason Chin
Published October 18th, 2022
Summary: Caldecott Medalist Jason Chin’s companion book to the award-winning Your Place in the Universe explores the world of the very small, delving deep into the microscopic world just beneath our skin.
From Jason Chin, Caldecott Medalist for Watercress and Cook Prize winning author and illustrator of Your Place in the Universe comes The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey, a companion book about the very small, from the tiniest mammals to the intricate structures of microscopic organisms and subatomic particles that make up every human body. This deep dive into an unseen world explores the building blocks of all matter and life, demonstrating how much we have in common with everything around us.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare Title
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Jason Chin does it again: combining impeccable illustrations with science to take the reader into the microscopic world within our universe. Chin is such a master at bringing the reader into whatever world he has decided to explore and share with us. His writing is thorough and interesting, his illustrations are detailed and labeled, and the book together is definitely the journey he promises.
What is so special about the structure of the book? Why do you think the author set the structure up this way?
What is the smallest thing in the universe? How do these small particles impact us?
How does the author make this nonfiction book like a journey?
Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the Pond Between Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrator: Ashley Benham-Yazdani
Published November 15th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: From the award-winning author of Before She Was Harriet comes another work of lyrical beauty, the story of Henry David Thoreau and businessman Frederic Tudor–and a changing world.
Thoreau and Tudor could not have been more different from each other. Yet both shared the bounties of Walden Pond and would change the course of history through their writings and innovations.
This study in opposites contrasts the austere philosopher with the consummate capitalist (whose innovations would change commercial ice harvesting and home refrigerators) to show how two seemingly conflicting American legacies could be built side by side.
Oddball/ tax dodger/ nature lover/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Thoreau. Bankrupt/ disgrace/ good for nothing/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Tudor.
Celebrated author Lesa Cline-Ransome takes her magnificent talent for research and detail to plumb the depths of these two history-makers. The graceful text is paired with Ashley Benham-Yazdani’s period accurate watercolor and pencil artwork. In winter, readers see Tudor’s men sawing through the ice, the workhorses dragging the ice, and Thoreau observing it all; in spring, summer, and fall, the ice continues its journey across the globe with Thoreau and Tudor writing and reflecting in their respective diaries.
An Author’s Note, which explores how Thoreau’s writings influenced such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Frost, and Mohandas Gandhi, is included.
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Lesa Cline-Ransome introduces us to another aspect of Walden Pond that Thoreau fans may not know about: Tudor’s industrial side of the pond. Cline Ransome’s verse shows us the contrast between the two lives that are tied together by the pond that they both loved, for very different reasons. Beautifully written with rhythm that yells for it to be read aloud.
Benham-Yazdani’s “period accurate watercolor” reminds me of Grandma Moses which is perfect for this story!
What does the different fascinations with the pond show you about the two men?
Why do you think the author chose to write the book in verse separated by seasons?
What did you learn about the past of ice that surprised you?
Polar Bear Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Published November 22nd, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: This companion book to the authors’ Sibert award-winning Honeybee explores the life and habitat of a majestic endangered species through dramatic text and sumptuous illustration.
April in the Arctic . . . Cold winds send snow clouds scuttling across the sky. Temperatures barely nudge above freezing. But every now and again, The cloud cover parts, The sun shines down, And the frozen world stretches awake.
As spring approaches in the Arctic, a mother polar bear and her two cubs tentatively emerge from hibernation to explore the changing landscape. When it is time, she takes her cubs on a forty-mile journey, back to their home on the ice. Along the way, she fends off wolves, hunts for food, and swims miles and miles.
This companion book to Honeybee and Giant Squid features the unique talents of Fleming and Rohmann on a perennially popular subject. Eric Rohmann’s magnificent oil paintings feature (as in Honeybee) a spectacular gatefold of the polar landscape.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Candace Fleming’s beautiful verse introduces us to the polar bear and all of the trials and tribulations she faces with her cubs in the Arctic. Within the narrative, we learn so much information about them and their habitat. The verse adds an extra poetic element to the book that just brings it to the next leve.
Add to that Rohmann’s illustrations, and this stunning picture book sucks in the reader through word and pictures. Backmatter adds even more information through shared research and fun facts.
Why do you think that author chose to write the book in verse?
What does the gatefold add to the experience of reading Polar Bear?
What are the biggest threats to polar bears?
Why does the back matter include the statement “I’s All About the Ice?”
We’re Not Weird: Structure and Function in the Animal Kingdom Author & Illustrator: Michael Garland
Published January 3rd, 2023 by Holiday House
Summary: Meet nature’s most extraordinary looking creatures. But they aren’t weird!
Birds with blue feet, fish that walk, unicorns in the sea, and more! Learn how these animals’ quirks help them survive. Perfect for budding naturalists who are always ready to share a cool (or gross) animal fact.
Very hard scales protect me, and my long tongue is perfect for eating ants. When I feel threatened, I roll myself into a ball. I am a Pangolin.
See these animals’ amazing body parts in vibrant and detailed woodcut illustrations, from the thorny dragon’s spiky skin to the star-nosed mole’s twenty-two feelers. Read how these creatures’ unique traits help them thrive and survive in their environments. Learn where they live, what they eat, how they protect themselves, and more.
With easy-to-read text vetted by an expert, this book aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards on adaptation, structure, and function for kindergarten through 3rd grade. With supplementary information on each animal’s habitat and diet.
Review:This book introduces the reader to so many different unique animals (20 of them!), featuring what makes them different than others. The text in the book is written in 1st person with interesting facts and an introduction to the animal. Additional info on each animal is on in the back matter giving even more information about the animal including their habitat and diet.
Which of the animals would you like to learn more about? Why?
Choose your own animal to research and write an introduction, in 1st person, highlighting the animal’s uniqueness and interesting facts.
What is similar about all of the animals’ unique features?
The Science of Light: Things that Shine, Flash, and Glow Author & Illustrator: Margaret Peot
Published December 6th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: With a striking glow-in-the-dark cover, this intriguing science book invites young readers to find light all around.
Sun shines. Stars twinkle. Aurora borealis glimmers.
Dramatic paintings of lightning, fire, fireworks and more introduces the sources of light–both natural and manmade–and encourage children to look around and observe.
Kids will gasp in surprise at the beautiful glow-in-the-dark cover, and the bold spreads within. Margaret Peot’s distinctive art style captures the elusive nature of light. Bioluminescent squid, fireflies and phytoplankton reveal light sources in living things. Fireworks and light bubbles sparkle on the page.
This foundational science book will kindle curiosity in physical science and the natural world. The simple text makes science accessible to all ages.
Toddlers will delight in the colorful art at storytime. As they grow, kids will return to this nonfiction favorite and discover new ideas each time. Science vocabulary and definitions are included in the back of the book.
An Orbis Pictus Honor Book
Review:This beautifully illustrated book with sparse text gives an introduction to light in science including natural sources of light, bioluminescence, and artificial light. All of the animals, nature, and items in the book are tied together by the light that they make.
The author’s backmatter adds even more depth to the text by sharing more information on the different types of light, a bibliography, and websites to learn more.
What are the differences between the three types of light shared in the book?
Which of the types fascinates you the most?
How does bioluminescence work?
**Thank you to Sara at Holiday House for providing copies for review!**
Everybody Counts! Author: Matt Forrest Esenwine
Illustrator: Emma Graham
Published January 1st, 2023 by Little Fig
Summary: “Everyone is helpful, in large and small amounts. Everybody matters. Everybody counts!”
So begins Everybody Counts!, a creative foreign-language counting picture book. Get a taste of diversity as you explore this far-reaching festival of food and count your way to a full plate of fun.
Everybody Counts! makes learning numbers fun as young ones discover new foods and languages from around the world. Explore favorite foods from twelve countries. Illustrations highlight the animals and numerical symbols that represent each country.
Review:Esenwine’s Everybody Counts shows the ties between us all as it counts through 12 different languages along with animals from that country sharing now only the language with us but also food and culture of each country. Each spread is so thoughtfully created with colorful illustrations of each animal and their favorite food fill the spread.
K is for Kindness Author: Rina Horiuchi Illustrator: Risa Horiuchi Published: April 26, 2022 by Viking Books
Goodreads Summary: Debut author/illustrator and sister duo have crafted a sweet ABC book that expresses how kindness can be found anywhere.
Ape picks an apple for Aardvark below. Bat puts a bandage on Brown Bear’s big toe.
From aardvark to zebra, this delightful cast of animal characters illustrates the many ways to show kindness to others, while teaching the youngest readers their ABCs.
Debut author/illustrator and sister duo Rina Horiuchi and Risa Horiuchi have crafted a warm and tender gift that affirms kindness can be found anywhere.
Ricki’s Review: This book is just so charming. It is a great way to learn the alphabet along with all of the ways that we can be kind. The book doesn’t feel didactic, and it was enjoyable for me, as an adult reader. There aren’t just simple animal names on each page, but instead, they read like this: ““Narwhal takes Newt, his new neighbor, to lunch.” The repetition is really helpful for young readers. I’ve been having my 6-year-old read it to my 3-year-old, and it makes my heart swell. I love the ending, in which readers are asked how they are kind—this allowed for some great discussions in our house.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book inspires me to want to choose an emotion or an abstract concept to make my own alphabet book! Kids would have a lot of fun making a shared book together!
Which page was your favorite, and why?
How do you demonstrate kindness?
How do the pictures and words work together to create a vivid representation of kindness?
**Thank you to Rina and Risa for this phenomenal book! It is a great addition to children’s literature!**