STEM/STEAM & World Science Day

This week is a busy one for scientists. Today is National STEM/STEAM Day, and Saturday is World Science Day. As you can imagine we are big fans of these two days, so here is a compilation of some of our best activities celebrating science in our “For Creative Minds” sections.

Click on the Cover to learn more about the book, or the “For Creative Minds” section to start the activities!

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Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant

Cao Chong was a very creative thinker. You can stretch your imagination testing buoyancy with a Sink or Float activity and learn how scales work.

 

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Living Things and Nonliving Things

A living thing moves, but so do airplanes, and they are not living. How do you decide what is living and what is not? The checklist from Kevin Kurtz’s book is a great way to perfect your classification skills although some may not be as cut and dry as you might think!

 

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Newton and Me

If you push a ball how far will it go? If you push harder, how much further does it travel? Experiment with push, pull, force and motion with Newton!

 

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Sea Slime: It’s Eeuwy, Gooey and Under the Sea

Animals of the sea use slime to move, protect themselves, and clean themselves. Learn about crazy animals many have never seen. Then, make your own slime.

 

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Pieces of Another World

Watching meteors is an amazing family activity and the Geminids peak in December. You can get ready and even bake comet cookies for the event with the recipe and tips in Pieces of Another World!

 

 

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Silver and Gold: Shiny new honors for Arbordale books!

halloween awardsTreats came in the morning emails just in time for Halloween!

Announced this weekend, Maggie: Alaska’s Last Elephant received a silver honor from the California Reading Association in this year’s Eureka! Awards. Then yesterday, Purdue University released their annual Engineering Gift Guide from the INSPIRE Research Institute and Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant is featured.

Both organizations bring STEM and nonfiction to young readers. Here is a bit more about each award…

Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award, created by the California Reading Association, celebrates quality nonfiction books for students of all ages. The gold and silver honor books are announced each year at the CRA conference.

Maggie just happens to live in California, so this honor is extra special! The book tells the story of that journey…

MaggieMany years ago, elephants lived in Alaska. Two different kinds of elephants lived at the Alaska Zoo. Maggie, a small African elephant, whose herd was culled, was brought in as a companion for Annabelle, an Asian elephant, who had been acquired by the zoo because her owner was unable to care for her. Not long after Maggie came to Alaska, Annabelle passed and once again, the Alaska Zoo was home to one lonely elephant. Despite the staff and keepers’ best efforts, Maggie became sad, befriending a tire, and later becoming weak. To keep Maggie happy, the zookeepers knew Maggie needed friends and warmth. Fortunately, the Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary (PAWS) in Galt, California, agreed to take her. PAWS, founded in 1984 by animal trainer to the stars, Pat Derby and her partner, Ed Stewart, is home to rescued exotic and performing animals, including two elephant groups.

When parents want more from gifts than just fun, the Engineering Gift Guide is a great place to turn to for STEM-related products. Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant is one of the 140 toys, books, and games chosen by the INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering.

CaoChongAs a former software engineer, Songju Ma Daemicke understands an interest in science at a young age and the need for more creative thinking.

Rich in Chinese history, the story begins when the ambassador of the Wu Kingdom presents Cao Cao with an elephant. Cao Cao challenged his advisors to find a way to weigh the giant animal. It was his six-year-old son, Cao Chong, who emerged with the best idea. The weight of the elephant was discovered.

Get your own copies of Maggie and Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant at arbordalepublishing.com!

A Speedy read from Brian Rock!

Which Animal is Fastest?

Finally, we wrap up our book launch week with Brian Rock and his new book Which Animal is Fastest? This is a fun read; you may think you know the answer, but this book just may surprise you! So, let’s hear what surprised the author with a short interview.

AP: What was your inspiration for writing this book?

BR: I just wanted to challenge my own assumptions. I had always heard that the cheetah was the fastest animal, but I wanted to check and see if that was really true. As I did my research, I realized that was only part of the story.

AP: How did you approach the research?

BR: We authors are so lucky in the internet age. Everything is right at your fingertips. But we must resist the urge to believe everything we find. So, as I searched online for fast animals, I would take whatever information I found and cross-check it against verified scientific journals and websites.

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AP: Was there a fact that you found fascinating?

BR: I was completely blown away by the peacock mantis shrimp. The fact that its claws release faster than the speed of sound just amaze me. I was able to watch videos of the animal in action and it was still difficult to believe!

AP: What do you hope kids gain from reading this book?

BR: I hope kids learn an appreciation and respect for all God’s creatures. Nature is so diverse and beautiful, and everything shines in its own way. Also, I wanted kids to learn to challenge assumptions and realize that there is more than one way to look at things, even things that everybody says is true.

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AP: When did you become interested in writing?

BR: I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a no.2 pencil. I used to write jokes, poems, and stories on long car trips and rainy days. I guess I’ve never grown out of that.

Learn more about the book and check out the great teaching resources too at arbordalepublishing.com. But don’t take our word that this is a great book, check out Book Worms for Kids review!!

Spending A Day in a Forested Wetland

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This weekend author Kevin Kurtz celebrated the launch of his fourth book in the “A Day in…” series with A Day in a Forested Wetland.

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Since the book had so many intriguing creatures we thought that we would check out the wetland too! Although we didn’t run into a beaver or a caddisfly. A more scaley creature showed up in our path but quickly slinked into the murky water. See if you can find the alligator in this picture?

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In the spirit of searching the wetland for animals, we created this fun word search. Can you name and find all the animals and one plant on the page? Have fun and if you need a reference, be sure to check out A Day in a Forested Wetland to learn all about the animals in the book. You can find it at arbordalepublishing.com.

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And in other exciting news for Kevin Kurtz, his last book, Living Things and Nonliving Things: A Compare and Contrast Book was just named a finalist in the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Excellence in Science Books Prize for Children’s Science Picture Books! We couldn’t be more excited, and you can check out Kevin’s books and the other finalists here.

Crafty Fun with Cheetah Dreams!

Today we celebrate Cheetah Dreams!!

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Linda Stanek is a cat lover (follow her on twitter @LindaStanek to see her adorable kittens). So, when she began working on an academic book about cheetahs, her next children’s book was forming in the back of her mind. That book just came out last week and is a poetic love story to the majestic cats, but also has valuable facts. Readers are sure to show empathy with the cats as their habitat and numbers continue to decline. With equal passion, illustrator Shennen Bersani traveled to zoos and learned from keepers and the animals themselves. Her realistic illustrations show the fast cats in motion and at rest with adorable furry cubs.

In the spirit of October, we have a fun craft to help you celebrate the release of Cheetah Dreams! You can illustrate this simple cheetah mask of your own. We used a paper plate, a combination of markers and paint, along with a folded pipe cleaner. You can be creative with the decoration and if you have a string or elastic to secure the mask that can simply be attached to the sides for a more secure fit.

 

Download the pattern and print it out.

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Cut around the lines and then trace it onto a paper plate.

Cut the mask out of the paper plate along with the two ears.

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Attach the ears either with staples or glue. And then color your cheetah face! Shennen’s beautiful illustrations are a great guide having been vetted for accuracy by some of the top Cheetah experts.

After painting your cheetah’s spots, attach the holding stick or elastic and be a cheetah for a day!

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**This crafter is not as skilled as Shennen, so this cheetah mask has not been vetted by experts

Get you copy of Cheetah Dreams in English or Spanish from Arbordale or just learn more about the book on the book page!

On Writing: Jennifer Keats Curtis Talks about her new release Baby Bear’s Adoption!

Hopefully, you are happily reading all the Arbordale new releases!! This week we will feature each book on the blog. Today we talk with Baby Bear’s Adoption creator Jennifer Keats Curtis, on how she took what she learned from wildlife biologist Mark Boersen and turned it into this fun little picture book!

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AP: How did this book come to be?

JKC: I don’t think I can express how much I love learning about different animals! I had heard about raptors and other birds taking care of non-biological babies in their nests; but, this was the first time I’d heard about a mammal. The first time I talked to Mark Boersen, the wildlife biologist who runs the program for Michigan, I knew there was a story here!

AP: What inspires you in this story?

JKC: So many aspects! For one, knowing that bear adoption is based on a real program for orphaned/abandoned baby bears, I am amazed that scientists could figure out how to unite a baby with a mother bear who is not his or hers biologically. While bears can be placed in human-run facilities, this is obviously the best outcome for a young bear. It tickles me that the mother bear will take that baby and raise him as her own. I also love the way that the illustrator Veronica Jones shows such amazement and wonder on the kids’ faces!

AP: What attracts you to write about scientists?

JKC: Well, for one thing, when I was a kid, I didn’t think I was “good” at science, so I avoided that (and math). I ended up with an undergraduate degree in English Literature because I love to read and analyze text and a graduate degree in Journalism because I’m so nosy! When you’re a reporter, you can ask people questions, and they willingly answer! I love to know about everything and scientists are such incredible sources of information. I get to learn details that may not be otherwise accessible, and I really have to work hard before we ever meet to discuss the topic because they often talk at such a high level of expertise that I must have a good basic understanding of the topic before I can begin asking good questions…and then comprehend their answers.

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AP: What do you hope kids get from reading this book?

JKC: For one, my intent was to allow the kids with whom I see during frequent school visits and author residencies to see themselves in my books. During those visits, when I look out, I see many races besides white. I read with and work with African-American, Asian, Indian, and Hispanic children. Rarely, if ever, do I see children of color represented in children’s nature books. (This is one of the reasons I was so delighted to work with Dr. Neeti Bathala on Moonlight Crab Count and see the illustrations represent an Indian girl and her mom.) I wanted my young readers to see themselves in my stories. The adoption angle was supposed to be subtle with the illustrations hinting at adoption in human families; so again, kids could perhaps see a similarity between the bear’s family and their own family. Incidentally, I wrote the story from the point of view of my nephew Braden (who was eight at the time) and decided to include his sister, my niece, Finley. The kids in the story don’t look like them, nor does the dad in the story look like my little brother, because, that is the beauty of realistic fiction. After reading this book, I hope kids will think as I do—science is awesome! I might be able to work with experts even though I’m a kid! Maybe I should be a scientist when I grow up! I could work outside and help animals at the same time.

AP: Do you think kids will think about adoption differently?

JKC: I am not sure if kids will think about adoption differently. Like many adults, I have friends who have happily, well ecstatically, adopted children. I would like to hope that there is a happy family for every child who needs one.

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Learn more, or get your own copy of Baby Bear’s Adoption on our website. You can also check out the many other books by Jennifer Keats Curtis there too!

To go along with your reading…

We are still celebrating our book launch and next week we will profile each book on the blog individually. For today, we give you a visual blog with printable bookmarks! Enjoy!

 

Download Baby Bear’s Adoption Bookmark

Download Cheetah Dreams Bookmark

Download A Day in a Forested Wetland Bookmark

Download Which Animal is Fastest? Bookmark

You can also order or learn more about each of our new books at arbordalepublishing.com!