New Book News: Science and Cultural Connections

Our final two books that are celebrating their book birthdays this month are A True Princess of Hawai‘i and Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos.

 At the center of each of these stories is a rich history that has been shaped by the landscape. Today we talk with Terry Catasús Jennings and Tammy Yee on how these stories were created and where they found inspiration.

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Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos
by Terry Catasús Jennings and illustrated by Phyllis Saroff

Terry, what inspired you to write Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos?

Ten years ago, my husband and I visited friends in Southwestern Utah. The beautiful red rock mountains and canyons stole our heart. We’ve wintered there ever since. Biking and hiking with friends we can’t help but follow in the footsteps of the native civilization that lived there about a thousand years ago—the Ancient Ones. Seeing the petroglyphs and pictographs they left is a humbling experience. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to find evidence of a village. In 2014, we visited a beautifully preserved site in a private ranch. As we walked through the piñon pine grove, pottery sherds crunching beneath every step, I felt a sense of connectedness. This was a place where ancient peoples had lived, but it had not been disturbed. I could imagine them by the fire, grinding pine nuts, stringing bows. I could imagine them looking out over the wide expanse below the mesa at sunset. Not long after, visiting Bryce Canyon, I learned about the Legend of the Hoodoos. The book almost wrote itself.

Greg Woodall, a local archeologist, educated me in the ways of the Ancient Ones in Southwestern Utah. Barbara Frank at Southern Utah University let us look in at the University’s collection of artifacts. Then I spent time with the elders at the Shivwits Paiute Indian Reservation making sure I portrayed the Paiute culture accurately and with respect. The story acquired new layers from the details they shared with me. The legend connected the story to the geology and they connected the legend to their daily lives. My own experience when I came to the United States as a twelve-year-old refugee from Cuba colored Vivian’s behavior. Like Vivian, I wanted to fit in. I had better things to do than worry about the traditions my family brought from Cuba. In addition to explaining the process of erosion, I hope the book is helpful to students of all cultures in explaining the value of knowing our history and customs.

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A True Princess of Hawai‘i
by Beth Greenway and illustrated by Tammy Yee

Tammy where did you find inspiration for A True Princess of Hawai‘i?

Years ago, I lived in a sleepy subdivision six miles above Hilo town on the island of Hawai’i. Many of the homes were built on the remnants of the 1881 Mauna Loa eruption featured in the book, A True Princess of Hawai’i. Evidence of the eruption was everywhere. Lava rock walls bordered tiny gardens and black pahoehoe lava peaked through the grass, ferns and ‘ōhiʻa trees. Nearby was Kaumana Cave, part of a miles-long lava tube that was formed during the eruption. It was the perfect place to raise two young sons!
Since then, I have been fascinated with the story of Princess Ruth’s intervention to save Hilo from Pele’s destruction. So it was a joy to pour through the Bishop Museum and Hawai’i State Archives for photos from the 1880s depicting the people, places, and events in this story. I was inspired, too, by the paintings of Joseph Nawahi, and also the Volcano School paintings of late 19th century artists Charles Furneaux, D. Howard Hitchcock, Titian Ramsay, and Jules Tavernier.
I hope this book will inspire you to learn more about Hawai’i and it’s rich cultural and natural history.
Learn more about these books and get educational extra for all of Arbordale’s new releases on our book homepages.

New Book News! Animals from sea and sky

Keeping with the theme of animals today we feature two new books that will take young readers to the head of the class with interesting animal facts.

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Honey Girl: The Hawaiian Monk Seal is the true story of how rescue workers and veterinarians stepped in to save a very important Hawaiian Monk Seal.

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Otis the Owl is a baby barred owl, not quite ready to fly and sometimes bothered by his sister, he relies on his parents to show him how to make his way in the world.

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Mark the pages in your book with fun and easy to make paperclip bookmarks!!

Head to our Pinterest page for details

 

New Book News! Bat Count & Moonlight Crab Count

Do you have a young scientist in the making? This season we have two citizen science books that just may inspire your family to find their own project. You can spot bats, frogs, butterflies, crabs or even stars to help scientists with important research.

First, we meet Jojo and her family as they await the yearly bat counts on the family farm.

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Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story 
by Anna Forrester, illustrated by Susan Detwiler

Bat Count is inspired by author Anna Forrester’s family farm, and the citizen science project that her family participates in every summer. Anna would like to show young readers that participation in citizen science is a great way to do real science, and that is very meaningful to the scientists finding solutions to ecological problems.

Visit Anna Forrester’s website for more batty fun! 

Next, we meet Leena, her mom, and dog Bobie as they travel to a small beach for a night of collecting data on horseshoe crabs.

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Moonlight Crab Count
by Neeti Bathala, Jennifer Keats Curtis & Veronica V. Jones

Horseshoe crabs are one of the oldest and strangest looking species around! Each spring they swim to shore and spawn along the Eastern US, but the Delaware Bay is the best spot to see a whole crowd of crabs, sea birds and people too. The living fossil has blue blood that is very important to medical reserch, and thier eggs are an important food source for a few different migrating birds. This is why citizen scientists are busy counting crabs as they are spawning.

Learn more about horseshoe crabs and the citizen science project.

Get involved in your local area: Check out these sites for ongoing projects around the world!

https://www.scientificamerican.com/citizen-science/

https://scistarter.com/citizenscience.html

https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Conservation/Citizen-Science.aspx

Book Launch Day!!!

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Congratulations to all of our spring authors and illustrators it is book launch day!

This season we have pairs of fun. For budding young scientists, we have Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story and Moonlight Crab Count. Animal lovers will enjoy reading about the rescue of Honey Girl: The Hawaiian Monk Seal and learning about the adorable ways of owlets in Otis the Owl. Finally, our topography forms in many different ways, giant rocks have a connection to culture in Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos. Then, lava flows shaped the Hawaiian Islands, but learn how a town was saved in the 1880’s in A True Princess of Hawai‘i.

Get to know the books and their creators:

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Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught white-nose syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm.

Read our interview with Anna Forrester & Susan Detwiler

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Hawaiian locals and visitors always enjoy spotting endangered Hawaiian monk seals, but Honey Girl is an extra special case. She has raised seven pups, and scientists call her “Super Mom.” After Honey Girl is injured by a fishhook, she gets very sick. Scientists and veterinarians work to save Honey Girl so she can be released back to the ocean. This true story will have readers captivated to learn more about this endangered species.

Read our interview with Jeanne Walker Harvey & Shennen Bersani

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Even kids can get involved in science! Ecologist Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis collaborate to bring us the story of these adventurous citizen scientists. Leena and her mom volunteer each summer to count the horseshoe crabs that visit their beach. With their dog Bobie at their sides, the duo spends a night on the shore surveying horseshoe crabs who have come to mate and lay eggs. Readers will learn valuable facts about these ancient animals and how they can get involved in the effort to conserve horseshoe crabs.

Read our interview with Jennifer Keats Curtis, & learn more about Dr. Neeti Bathala & Veronica V. Jones

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In beautifully detailed photographs, Mary Holland captures the first few months of a baby barred owl’s life. The huge eyes and fluffy feathers will steal the hearts of readers as they learn how barred owl parents ready their young owlets for the big world outside the nest. Follow along as Otis learns to eat, fights with his sister, and prepares for flight.

Read our interview with Mary Holland

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Nani has always dreamed of being a princess. When a real Hawaiian princess comes to her hometown of Hilo, Nani dresses in her best clothes. But as she watches Princess Luka, who has come to save the town from a volcanic lava flow, Nani learns that there is more to being a princess than fine clothes. This incredible story of kindness and generosity is based on the historical events of the 1880-1881 eruption of Mauna Loa on the Island of Hawai‘i and the real-life Princess Luka.

Read our interview with Beth Greenway & learn more about Tammy Yee

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Long ago, the Old Ones were bad. They drank all the water, ate all the pine nuts, and left nothing for the other creatures. Sinawav the coyote punished them by turning them into rocky hoodoos. Now when children misbehave, their Paiute elders remind them that they too could be turned into stone columns! Vivian has heard the stories, but this year as she and her grandmother climb the mesa to pick pine nuts, Vivian has something more important on her mind: basketball tryouts. When Vivian is disrespectful to the trees and the land, her grandmother must remind Vivian of the legend of the hoodoos and how nature has made it possible for her people to live.

Read our interview with Terry Catasús Jennings & learn more about  Phyllis Saroff

Check out arbordalepublishing.com for more information and teaching activity guides for each book!

 

 

 

New Year, New Awards and So Much More to Come

Coming back from holiday break is always hectic, but this year after sorting through a very full inbox we have some amazing news to share. Four Arbordale books received a spot on reading lists this New Year.

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In the last week of December, the National Science Teachers Association with the Children’s Book Council announced their annual Outstanding Science Trade Books for 2017 and After A While Crocodile: Alexa’s Diary made the list! NSTA has published this list since 1973 so that children are able to find quality books to build literacy skills while learning science.

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In addition to the NSTA award, the Kansas NEA Reading Circle has selected Tuktuk: Tundra Tale, A Case of Sense, and Animal Legs for their annual catalog. School library-media specialists across the state use this catalog to buy great books for their school libraries.

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Our final good news in the New Year, six new titles are on the way and they launch on February 10th. Get to know them here!

It’s that time of year

If you are like us, shopping is tops on your to-do list this season. Finding the perfect present can be tricky and so here are a few of our favorites that are perfect for the little reader in your family.

Snowy books for a cold winter’s day

Have you read The Mitten more times than you can count? Tuktuk: Tundra Tale by Robin Currie is a fun take on the familiar story.

tuktuk_187As the sun begins to set, arctic animals scurry to prepare for six months of darkness and cold. Tuktuk the collared lemming is almost ready for the long winter night – all he needs is warm fur to line his nest. When one furry kamik (boot) slips off an Inuit driver’s sled, Tuktuk is in luck! But as he drags it home, Putak the polar bear, Aput the arctic fox, and Masak the caribou eye this little lemming’s prize and want it for their own. Can Tuktuk outwit the other animals and convince them that one furry kamik is no good for anyone bigger than a lemming?

When ancient creatures are a favorite, try Wandering Woolly! Andrea Gabriel’s love of woolly mammoths blends a variety of extinct animals with  a tale of getting into trouble and trusting your instincts.

WandrngWoolly_187Little Woolly leaves her mother behind as she chases a toad down to the river. When the glacial ice breaks, she is swept away in the rumbling, rolling water. Now alone, the mammoth calf struggles to survive. She must sneak past cave lions, bears, saber-toothed cats and humans. Exhausted and afraid, she must even hide from stormy weather as she fights her way back to her herd. How can she find them? Will she ever get back?

It’s a Mystery!

Whether it is a contest for the most dangerous beast in all the land or a  race to find the thief, these two books will keep kids guessing until the end.

mostdangerous_187Dangerous animals from all over the world gather for the Most Dangerous Animal of All Contest. Snakes, spiders, sharks . . . who will the winner be? Deadly poison, huge teeth, razor -sharp horns, and fearsome feet are just a few of the ways that animals kill. Predators mean to kill. Prey simply defend themselves. And yet, the unexpected most deadly-animal doesn’t mean to harm at all!

 

DeductiveDetective_187Someone stole a cake from the cake contest—who could it be? Twelve animal bakers are potential suspects but Detective Duck uses his deductive reasoning skills to “quack” the case. After all, the thief left hairs behind so the thief wasn’t a bird. Follow along as he subtracts each suspect one at a time to reveal just who the culprit was. This clever story will have children of all ages giggling at the puns and the play on words. Key phrases for educators: subtraction, deductive reasoning, animal adaptations, puns/play on words.

When you can’t get enough rhythm and rhyme

Head to faraway places and meet unique animals as readers sing-song their way through these two books!

RainforestPAPERBACK with flapsImaginations will soar from the forest floor, up through the canopy and back down again, following the circle of life. The jungle comes alive as children learn about the wide variety of creatures lurking in the lush Amazon rainforest in this clever adaptation of the song “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Search each page to find unique rainforest bugs and butterflies hiding in the illustrations. Delve even deeper into the jungle using sidebars and the “For Creative Minds” educational section, both filled with fun facts about the plants and animals, how they live in the rainforest and the products we use that come from the rainforest.

AnimalPartners_187From the “crocodile’s dentist,” to the “mongoose spa,” Animal Partners takes a whimsical look at symbiotic relationships of animals large and small. Although many animals live in groups of the same kind, here you will learn how some animals form unique partnerships with different species. After all, don’t we all need a little help from our friends?

We hope this list makes your holiday shopping easier. Visit our online store for great deals on these titles with the code HOLIDAY30.

 

 

 

A Puzzle for the Senses

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When you visit your favorite restaurant can you smell the food even before walking inside? Can you feel the difference between the soft fur of a puppy and the cold wet nose? If a bright red bird swoops by, can you identify what kind of bird it is just by color? Should you pay to use your senses?

That is the premise for A Case of Sense; a new book by author Songju Ma Daemicke illustrated by Shennen Bersani. The book opens with a young boy playing outside, and greedy Fu Wang has cooked wonderful Chinese dishes with the smells wafting throughout town. He announces that the townspeople must pay for the smells and when they don’t he takes everyone to court! The judge has a clever way to deal with the case and readers might use a little logical reasoning to figure out the puzzle.

Saturday, Songju will be signing at the ISLMA conference in Tinley Park, IL from 2pm-4pm. In celebration, we have a fun little puzzle in logic and sight that might keep kids coloring for a little while!

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Get out the markers or the crayons and color in the missing spaces. Remember that all the colors will be rows, columns, and squares of 9 without repeating!

Download the printable PDF version! 

Download the answers here!