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!**
Hooray for DNA! How a Bear and a Bug Are a Lot Like Us Author: Pauline Thompson
Illustrator: Greg Pizzoli
Published April 25th, 2023 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Summary: Bill Nye meets Green Eggs and Ham in this playful and rhythmic nonfiction picture book that introduces readers to the concept of DNA, and celebrates the similarities we share with all life-forms–and each other!
DNA is the ABC of what makes you, you and what makes me, me.
Did you know we share DNA with every living thing? Humans, bugs, bears, even a virus–we all have shared DNA hidden inside us!
From a debut author and an award-winning illustrator, here is a bouncy and playful picture book–perfect for the classroom or for story time–about the genetic code that makes up all living things, and reminds us that we’re all more alike than we think.
About the Creators:
About the author
PAULINE THOMPSON is a Toronto based artist and writer. Her work spans 25 years of creating, exhibiting, and incubation. Her love of popular science is the fuel for her children’s stories. In her spare time, Pauline facilitates writing workshops for Writers Collective of Canada.
About the illustrator
GREG PIZZOLI is the award-winning author and illustrator of many books for kids including the award-winning picture books The Watermelon Seed, Good Night Owl, and The Book Hog. He lives in South Philadelphia with his wife, two daughters, dog, and cats.
Review:What a fun introduction to DNA for young children! The author’s rhyming and rhythmic text lends itself to a read aloud and Pizzoli’s illustrations are as eye catching as always. Along with a great message about humanity, the book delivers a solid introduction to the idea of DNA.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: After reading aloud this book, dive into the back matter! The author has some great resources including more about the science of DNA, an activity comparing and contrasting ourselves and other items, and resources, including videos, that can be used in the classroom. This would be a perfect addition to an early education lesson on DNA!
How is DNA defined in the book?
What is something that you were surprised that we share DNA with?
What would we be like if we had no tissues or organs?
How closely related, DNA-wise, are all humans?
What does the book share that each of our unique DNAs lead to?
Read This If You Love: Science books for children
**Thank you to Cate at Nicole Banholzer PR 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!**
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!**
Piece by Piece: How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required) Author: David Aguilar & Farran Aguilar
Translator: Lawrence Schimel
Published October 25, 2022 by Amazon Crossing Kids
Summary: The heartfelt and funny memoir of a boy who built himself a prosthetic arm out of the world-famous toy bricks.
David Aguilar was born missing part of one arm, a small detail that seemed to define his life and limit people’s ideas of who he was and who he could be. But in this funny and heartfelt memoir, David proves that he can throw out the rulebook and people’s expectations and maybe even make a difference in the world—and all with a sense of humor. At only nine years old, David built his first prosthesis from LEGO bricks, and since then he hasn’t stopped creating and thinking about how his inventions, born from a passion for building things, could fuel change and help others.
With a voice full of humor and heart, David tells his powerful story, of family and friendship, of heartbreak and loss, and ultimately of triumph and success, as he continues to dream big and build a life and a better world—piece by piece.
“Humorous and uplifting…While readers needn’t be LEGO fans to admire David’s ingenuity, fellow builders may be inspired to dream up their own inventions.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will cheer for Aguilar and relate to him as he shares conversational stories about growing up, playing sports, and struggling with school. Family is at the heart of his story, and the endless support and advocacy of his parents, in particular, make this a sweet and uplifting story. Young readers will identify with this creative young person and will question society’s definition of “normal.” —School Library Journal
About the Authors:
David Aguilar and his father, Ferran Aguilar, are from Andorra, in Europe. David was born missing part of one arm. At the age of nine, he designed his first prosthesis with LEGO bricks, and in high school he built the next generation, which he named the MK-1. David’s father encouraged him to make a video about his prosthesis and the huge role that LEGOs played in his life, and posted it on social media, where it went viral and changed both of their lives. In addition to telling his story in this book, David is also the protagonist of the Spanish documentary Mr. Hand Solo, which won the award for best documentary at the Boston Science Fiction Film festival. David is currently developing his own brand, Hand Solo, which will aim to benefit various organizations for the disabled and fight against the stigma of “diff-ability,” as he calls it. Follow David and Ferran on Twitter @Handsolooficial and @AguilarFerran.
Lawrence Schimel is a bilingual author who writes in both Spanish and English, with more than one hundred books to his credit. He is also a prolific literary translator, into English and into Spanish. His translated books include Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats; George Takei’s graphic novel They Called Us Enemy; and Some Days, written and illustrated by María Wernicke; among many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow him on Twitter @lawrenceschimel.
Review:This memoir about David’s early life growing up with one arm and overcoming everything that others, and sometimes himself, thought he couldn’t do is not only a great read, but it is hilarious too. It is an extra plus that this book was a memoir, written by David, as it gave true insight and his voice was a pleasure!
As you read, you will enter into David’s family and get to know all who love him and help him navigate our able bodied-centered world. He tells his story with grace and humor. The anecdotes of his life add a deeper connection from reader to David and by the end you truly feel like you know him.
On top of that, David is a fantastic engineer, inventor, and imagineer! Anyone reading will be so fascinated with what he builds and accomplishes,
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will be a great addition to any memoir text set or lit circle set. It also will find its place in public, school, and classroom libraries.
Who in David’s younger life do you think best helped him see that he was not at a disadvantage in life?
If David didn’t want a prosthetic arm, why did he build one out of LEGO?
What does David’s story teach you about assumptions of people?
How do you think David’s humor and positive outlook on life helped him navigate life and succeed as he has?
Why do you think David decided to co-write this book with his dad?
Of David’s accomplishments, which do you find the most impressive?
Why do you think David decided to tell his story?
One day, many years later, as I was leaving school, one of my classmates saw me fiddling with the car keys.
“You drive?” he asked me, surprised.
“Um . . .” I was caught unaware, because what was so strange about my driving? “Yeah, of course, tío. I repeated a year. I’m eighteen already. I got my license over the break.”
More than clarifying things, I seemed to confuse him even more. He wrinkled his brow so much I thought his forehead might cave in. Only then did I begin to realize
what was going through his head.
It wasn’t long before he verbalized it: “But . . . how do you drive?” His gaze indicated my missing arm.
I smiled. By then I already had an answer for everything. “With my hand, of course!” I said, raising my left arm.
“But how do you shift gears?”
I smiled even more. “With my mouth!”
He was flabbergasted, and I got into the car. I turned on the ignition and pulled out, leaving him there with his mouth open. Did he really not know that automatic cars
exist, without any need to shift gears? But no, I knew, as I had known my whole life, that what was really difficult to know—and especially to understand—is how someone
who is not like you can do the same things you can.
I know this very well, believe me, because this was exactly my parents’ challenge. And also mine. It was for a long time. I don’t blame people or myself. Speaking clearly, what happens is that there is no one to blame: there is just ignorance, and prejudices, and loneliness. Dark nights, entire afternoons filled with worry. How would David get
ahead? What would become of him?
Read This If You Love: Memoirs
**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**
Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!
I am back with another amazing book that will knock you off of your feet! Introducing…Charlie Thorne and The Lost City by Stuart Gibbs! This is the second book in a series called Charlie Thorne. I have already reviewed the first one, but do not worry if you haven’t read it because this book is still understandable without the knowledge of the first book. This is another book that I have read in the book club with my friends and our book loving secretary and they all rated it a 10/10. I think this would be a great gift for any tween or teen who loves action, adventure, mysteries and comedy! This book also taught me and my friends a lot of things and I thought that was really good. This book is recommended for ages 10+.
Charlie Thorne is on another adventure again! After her first adventure she is hiding in the Galapagos Islands. She has made friends with the people living there and is even helping out at the Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center. One day a woman named Esmeralda shows up at her tiny house with a code that was engraved into the shell of a dead turtle by the famous Charles Darwin. She says she came to her because her co-workers said that if anyone could solve the encrypted code then it was Charlie. While she and Esmeralda are talking, Charlie sees a strange man talking to her surfing friends and then her surfing friends pointing to her house. Charlie Thorne has always been living on the edge of caution so she decides to make a dramatic escape. They take off in a seaplane that belongs to the company that Esmeralda works for.
At first they head off in the direction of the Darwin Research Station where the dead turtle is. Then, Charlie remembers that the seaplane for the Darwin Research Station is easily trackable and suspects that the mysterious person who was following her would know what plane it was and head over to the Darwin Research Station to see what its course is! To avoid being tracked down they change course to an airport nearby.
They follow clues to Quito. The clue says something about finding the devil’s stone so they go to the place that the devil’s stone is supposed to be. What will happen? You have to read the book to find out!
I love this book so much! I expected adventure from this book and I got it! This is an amazing book for explorers because it talks so much about wilderness and exploring all of these hidden places in the Amazon! I found this book very interesting because it talked about Charles Darwin’s work! I also loved how I learned so many things. I thought that a book could not be exciting and educational together but this book proved me wrong! Have fun!
**Thanks so much, Sofia! We love that this series combines excitement and education!**