Last Gate of the Emperor
Authors: Kwame Mbalia & Prince Joel Makonnen
Published: May 4th, 2021 by Scholastic Press
Summary: An Afrofuturist adventure about a mythical Ethiopian empire. Sci-fi and fantasy combine in this journey to the stars.
Yared Heywat lives an isolated life in Addis Prime — a hardscrabble city with rundown tech, lots of rules, and not much to do. His worrywart Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa are his only family… and his only friends.
Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and smart mouth, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb’s Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears.
Suddenly, all the stories Yared’s uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the center of them.
Together with Besa and the Ibis — a game rival turned reluctant ally — Yared must search for his uncle… and answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions:
Please view and enjoy the educators’ guide I created for Last Gate of the Emperor:
Atlas Obscura: Explorer’s Guide for The World’s Most Adventurous Kid Author: Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco Illustrator: Joy Ang Published: July 19, 2022 by Workman Publishing Company
Goodreads Summary: Journey to the World’s Most Mysterious Places
Created by the same team behind Atlas Obscura, the #1 New York Times bestseller that has over 600,000 copies in print in its first year, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid is a thrillingly imaginative expedition to 100 weird-but-true places on earth. And just as compelling is the way the book is structured—hopscotching from country to country not by location but by type of attraction. For example, visit the site of the Tunguska event in Siberia, where a meteor slammed into the earth in 1908—and then skip over to the Yucatan, ground zero for the ancient meteor crash that caused the mass extinction of dinosaurs. Then, while in Mexico, tour the fantastical Naica caves, home to crystals ten times larger than the average person—then, turn the page to Vietnam to a cave so vast you could fly a 747 through it. Illustrated in gorgeous and appropriately evocative full-color art, this book is a passport to a world of hidden possibilities.
Ricki’s Review: The images in this book are absolutely captivating. My children read a few pages each day (and seem to think their parents have an unlimited wallet for travel). This is the kind of book that really appeals to me as an adult who reads to my kids. I am absolutely fascinated by the places in this book, so it makes for a wonderful shared reading. I highly recommend this one.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask students to create an Atlas Obscura of their community. Each student can take a local place that is “obscura” and write a description. The book can be compiled and bound. Another idea is to have students select one of the places as the setting for a story. This book inspires story!
Which places do you want to visit most?
What did each of these places remind you of?
How did the illustrations enhance your reading?
**Thank you go Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**
Our World: A First Book of Geography Author: Sue Lowell Gallion; Illustrator: Lisk Feng
Published: July 15, 2020 by Phaidon Press
Summary: A read-aloud introduction to geography for young children that, when opened and folded back, creates a freestanding globe
Children are invited to identify and experience the Earth’s amazing geography through rhyming verse and lush illustrations: from rivers, lakes, and oceans deep, to valleys, hills, and mountains steep. Secondary text offers more detailed, curriculum-focused facts and encourages readers to consider their own living environments, making the reading experience personal yet set within a global backdrop. This informative homage to Earth is sure to inspire readers to learn more about their planet – and to engage with the world around them.
Review: Oh, how I love this book! It is very cleverly designed. My sons have decided that they will alternate having it in their rooms each week, so it was a hit in my household. The book opens to form a globe! The information within the book is educational for both kids and adults. For instance, I learned about the different temperatures of deserts. Very cool! The book is marketed to ages 2-5, but my almost 7-year-old found it fascinating and learned new information (as did I!). I think other elementary schoolers would also really enjoy this book.
Each page features a theme of information and artworking, like a living environment or the rivers, lakes, and oceans. It’s packed with interesting facts on the thick, sturdy board book pages. This book would make a great gift to a teacher or child. I recommend it highly!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers could pair this book with a unit on geography. Students might each take a different page and research further the topic of the page. Alternatively, kids might design their own three-dimensional books using this one as their mentor text. For instance, they might design a book based on a planet or some other theme. I am hoping for more books in this style!
Discussion Questions: Which was your favorite page? Why? What did you learn on the page? What other information could you research about the topic?; How do the pages work together to teach us about our world?
Read This If You Love: Any nonfiction books about the geography and our world; interactive books
**Thank you to Wendy Kitts and Frannie Gordon for introducing me to this book and providing a copy for review!**
An award-winning educational toy, Orboot is a no-borders globe that connects with the fun & interactive Orboot app.
A STEM toy that sparks the imagination and creativity, Orboot encourages the little ones to explore and discover on their own. It builds knowledge as well as develops linguistic and cognitive abilities in the process.
Explore the world with 400+ highlights and 1000+ cool facts across 6 categories – cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals and maps (national and state boundaries of countries).
What makes Orboot stand out versus other globes and other geography apps is that it combines the two: hands on and technology. The globe can be used like a standard globe but it also can be taken to the next level by using the AR-powered app to dig in!
There are some awesome pluses to the app: all aspects of it is free, it is available in many different languages, and once you download the app WiFi isn’t needed. Also, there is a portion of the app that can be used if the physical globe is not available!
There are so many different ways to play with your globe with its app. First, you can learn information about six different categories: maps, monuments, animals, food, inventions, and culture. There is also a scavenger hunt type game, quizzes, and the ability to build their own national park. And that is the digital puzzles and activities.
In addition to the digital activities, the user also gets a passport, stickers, guide, and stamps to keep track of the countries you “visit” while using Orboot.
Trent adores his globe! He will sit with it for hours, listening to facts, interacting with the information, telling me about the places he traveled to, and making connections between what he is learning and what he knows. Trent says, “I like that I can learn about different places!”
I was surprised that the coins, stars, gems, and badges he could earn wasn’t what kept him going back to the globe, it was the knowledge and the mysteries. He loved figuring out all of the clues in the scavenger hunt type mysteries, and he likes throwing out the “Did you know?” questions at us. He likes looking up places he sees in books or entertainment to learn about them. Who can argue with a learning toy that engages kids this way?
He also really likes the Oko Park aspect because it allows him to take his knowledge about the world and apply it to make a virtual national park. In the park the user looks at the balance of the national park, problems in the national park, and ways to keep their national park healthy. Trent says, “I love that I can learn to help nature.”
As a teacher, I could see Orboot as a center all by itself. It has such possibilities that it, by itself, could fill a center need and would allow students to dive into geography, social studies, and science!
Orboot takes kids on an adventure that they’ll love!
**Thank you to Shifu for providing a globe for review!!**