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.

honeygirl

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.

otisowl

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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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:

batcount_187

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

honeygirl_187

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

otisowl_187

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

vivianlegend_187

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 in Nonfiction: Animal Legs

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Bend your knees or jump up and down, how do you use your legs?

Compare how your legs work with the action of a frog’s legs or the webbing of an otter’s feet in Mary Holland’s new release Animal Legs. This is the third book in the Animal Anatomy & Adaptations series, and a perfect place for young readers to find amazing facts about the lives of animals found in their backyard.

We asked Mary Holland about her inspiration for Animal Legs and here is part of that interview.

A: Whose Animal Legs do you find most interesting?

MH: I’m afraid this is too hard a question to answer, as I find the many different ways that animals use their legs equally interesting.  One of my favorites is a mole’s front paws. They look just like paddles to me, and the perfect tools to dig with. I also find the flap of 12-hairy-tailed-moleskin that goes from a flying squirrel’s front legs to its back legs and allows it to glide through the air a remarkable adaptation. The fact that katydid ears are on their legs is pretty amazing, too!

A: Is there an animal/fact that you wish you could have included in the book or series but it just didn’t fit? 

MH: There are so many animals that have such interesting feet and legs that I can’t even begin to count them, but one group that may have the most is insects. I could only fit a few of them in the book.  Grasshoppers “sing” by rubbing their legs against their wings!  Have you ever looked closely at a cicada’s front legs?  They are pretty scary looking!  Butterflies taste with their feet!

A: What is the most unusual predicament you have faced photographing an animal? 

MH: I got very close to a young skunk in order to photograph it, and before I knew it, I was covered with skunk spray.

I once was trying to find a porcupine at night that was up in a tree, screaming its head off, and suddenly it fell to the ground about three feet from me.  I almost had a head full of quills!10-striped-skunk

I was tracking a bobcat in late spring that had crossed a beaver pond, and the ice, which had started to melt, gave way (I weighed a lot more than the bobcat) and I fell through the ice into the cold water with snowshoes on.  Fortunately, I could touch bottom with the tips of my snowshoes and managed to get out of the pond!

A: What would you like to share with young children about your love for nature? 

MH: I feel so very lucky, as each day I get to discover something new. I never know what I’m going to find.  I head outdoors, and go on what is to me very much like an Easter egg hunt – I look for animals and their signs and rarely do I come home without having found something new to observe and admire.

A: What do you have coming up next? 

MH: I am working on two books.  One is called Naturally Curious Day by Day.  It describes two or three different animals or plants that you might see each day of the year.  I am also writing a book called Otis the Owl, about a young barred owl.

Otis the Owl will fly onto bookshelves in the spring of 2017.

 Learn more about Mary’s new book Animal Legs on Arbordale Publishing’s website. For daily updates with amazing animal facts and photos, follow Mary’s blog Naturally Curious with Mary Holland.

Book Launch: Once Upon an Elephant

OnceElephant

On the African savanna Elephants are gentle giants that have an incredible impact on the ecosystem. Once Upon an Elephant by Linda Stanek debuts this week, and the amazing facts about elephants are sure to make any child want to know more about how they can help this important animal.

Learn how this book came to life from the author Linda Stanek:

lindastanekIt’s funny how researching one thing can lead to something else. While working on a book for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium about their baby elephant, Beco, elephant expert Harry Peachey mentioned the words “keystone animal” to me. Keystone animal? I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know what that was. When he explained that these are animals so critical to maintaining their ecosystems that without them, other species would die, I was shocked. This was important stuff! How did I not know about it? If didn’t know about this, then who else didn’t know as well? And what an important concept to share those who would inherit this fragile Earth—our children.

That was the beginning of Once Upon an Elephant. What if, I thought, elephants were only “Once Upon a Time?” It was a heartbreaking thought. And if they did, indeed, become extinct, what else might become once upon a time as well?

After writing this manuscript, I shared it with my friend, Harry and got his thumbs-up. Then, I sent it to a handful of publishers. Within two weeks (which is quicker than lightning, in publishing-time) Arbordale made me an offer. And even more quickly, I accepted.

Two days later, I got an offer for Once Upon an Elephant from another publisher. “Drat!” my sister said. “You could have an auction!”

But I was satisfied. I knew that Arbordale produces beautiful books. And, I onceelephant_pic3appreciate that they place their books not only in bookstores, but in museum, aquarium, and zoo gift shops as well—where interested readers are likely to be found. When they signed Shennen Bersani to illustrate it, I was even happier. She crafted the amazing images to make this book complete, allowing me to share with children the concept of the keystone animal, and my love of elephants.

Learn more! Teaching activities, quizzes and other printable activities are available on the book’s homepage, check it out!

Enter to win your own copy of Once Upon an Elephant on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Once Upon an Elephant by Linda Stanek

Once Upon an Elephant

by Linda Stanek

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Book Launch: Been There, Done That

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Have you ever walked through the woods and wanted so badly to see animals only to be disappointed that none were around? That is the premise of Jen Funk Weber’s new children’s book Been There, Done That: Reading Animal Signs.  

In the book, Cole is visiting his friend Helena and he really wants to see wild animals. They take a hike and Helena shows Cole signs that animals are around even they are not standing in front of him.

This book shows that there is more to spotting signs of wildlife than seeing paw prints across the hood of your car or the imprint of little bird feet in the sand. In fact, tracks are a very little part of spotting signs of wildlife.

Author Jen Funk Weber has a lot of practice tracking animals. Although the animals in Been There, Done That are residents of the Pacific northwest and up through Alaska, Jen has tracked animals around the world. Read this wonderful account of leopard tracking in Africa!

jenfunkweberTo celebrate the launch of Jen’s new book we asked her a few questions about writing and tracking animal signs.

What was your incentive to write this particular book?

Having worked as a natural history guide in Alaska, I know that people want to see exciting things when they take the time and make the e ort to get out in nature, but that’s not the way nature works. Flowers and wild animals don’t perform on command. In fact, most wild animals prefer to avoid humans.

But things are happening all the time in nature, and there are clues all around that can help us “see” what’s happening, even if we don’t actually witness it. It’s fun looking for these clues and trying to figure out what happened. It’s like snooping on neighbors, except the animals don’t seem to mind. If we spend enough time out there, we might get lucky and see some of those really exciting, once-in-a- lifetime events.

beenthere_pic2And, of course, hiking, searching for animal signs, and watching wildlife are some of my favorite things to do, but you guessed that, right?

When are you most creative?

Around 4 a.m. No, really. I love getting up in the wee hours to write. Picture this: It’s zero degrees outside, snowy, and dark. But it’s warm enough inside—at least it is at my desk, two feet from the heater. e sky is full of stars and maybe northern lights. It won’t get light for hours. I turn on colored lights that rim the ceiling and light fragrant candles on the windowsills. I make a pot of jasmine tea. I sit. It’s quiet and still. I imagine. I write.

Okay, it’s not always that way, but sometimes it is.

As for what sparks my creativity; that would be new ideas and experiences. It can be something as small as a headline or a fascinating fact, or it can be a trip to someplace new, or it can be thinking about something in a new way, i.e., a new perspective. Every new thought or experience gets processed into past thoughts and experiences, and this synthesis triggers the creative process.

For instance, while converting feet to meters, I wondered why the US has never really converted to the metric system. When I was a kid, we were told we needed to switch because the whole country would soon switch.

beenthere_pic1I began to wonder why time has never been converted to the metric system, even where the metric system is used. Instead of 24 hours in a day, we could have 10 or 100 some-other-unit-of- measure.

Now I’m motivated to do some research about metrics. An old idea—converting to the metric system—leads to creative thinking when applied in a new way—to time.

Read our full interview with Jen on the Been There, Done That homepage!

Also enter to win our Goodreads giveaway that opens on February 15th!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Been There, Done That by Jen Weber

Been There, Done That

by Jen Weber

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Book Launch Spring 2016!

It’s that time of year! Seven new books from Arbordale make their way into the hands of young readers across the country. This week we will be highlighting each book and their creators on our blog.

Before you learn about the inspiration for each of these books get to know the spring line up and pick your must have title for 2016!

BeenThereBeen There, Done That: Reading Animal Signs
by Jen Funk Weber
illustrated by Andrea Gabriel

Spotting wildlife is a thrill, but it’s not easy. When Cole comes to visit his friend Helena, he can’t wait to see all the wildlife the forest has to offer—and disappointed when all he sees are a few birds. Together the kids set out on a hike and encounter plenty of animal signs along the way. Through observation and her knowledge of animal behavior, Helena helps Cole learn what each of the signs means: something had been there; something had done that.

CashKatCash Kat
by Linda Joy Singleton
illustrated by Christina Wald

Gram Hatter and Kat set off on an adventure. Gram quickly folds up a pirate hat and places it on Kat’s head and they begin their mission to help clean up the city park. Volunteering turns into a treasure hunt as Kat finds pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and even a dollar. With each discovery Kat gets a new hat and Gram Hatter teaches Kat how to count her coins as they pick up litter at the park. When Kat adds up her money, there’s enough for ice cream. Or should she donate the money to support the park instead?

MammalsMammals
by Katharine Hall

All mammals share certain characteristics that set them apart from animal classes. But some mammals live on land and other mammals spend their lives in water—each is adapted to its environment. Land mammals breathe oxygen through nostrils but some marine mammals breathe through blowholes. Compare and contrast mammals that live on land to those that live in the water.

 

MidnightMadMidnight Madness at the Zoo
by Sherryn Craig
illustrated by Karen Jones

The bustle of the crowd is waning and the zoo is quieting for the night. The polar bear picks up the ball and dribbles onto the court; the nightly game begins. A frog jumps up to play one-on-one and then a penguin waddles in to join the team. Count along as the game grows with the addition of each new animal and the field of players builds to ten. Three zebras serve as referees and keep the clock, because this game must be over before the zookeeper makes her rounds.

OnceElephantOnce Upon an Elephant
by Linda Stanek
illustrated by Shennen Bersani

From stopping wildfires to planting seeds, one animal is the true superhero that keeps the African savanna in balance. Elephants dig to find salt for animals to lick, their deep footprints collect water for everyone to drink, and they eat young trees to keep the forest from overtaking the grasslands. In every season, the elephants are there to protect the savanna and its residents – but what would happen if the elephants were only “once upon a time”? Read along to discover the important role this keystone species plays in the savanna and explore what would happen if the elephants vanished.

SharksDolphinsSharks and Dolphins
by Kevin Kurtz

Sharks and dolphins both have torpedo-shaped bodies with fins on their backs. They slice through the water to grab their prey with sharp teeth. But despite their similarities, sharks and dolphins belong to different animal classes: one is a fish and gets oxygen from the water and the other is a mammal and gets oxygen from the air. Marine educator Kevin Kurtz guides early readers to compare and contrast these ocean predators through stunning photographs and simple, nonfiction text.

TornadoTamerTornado Tamer
by Terri Fields
illustrated by Laura Jacques

In this adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes, Mayor Peacock declares he will hire a tornado tamer to protect the town. After a long search, Travis arrives to fill the position and this weasel has a plan. He will build a very special, transparent cover to protect the town. Travis’ magical cover is so transparent that only those smart enough and special enough can even see it. Mouse is doubtful, but his questions are brushed off. Months later, the cover has been hung and Travis has been paid a hefty sum, but a tornado is in the distance and the town is in its path. Will the magic cover protect the town?

Find out more about our newest titles at Arbordalepublishing.com!

Book Launch: Tortoise and Hare’s Amazing Race

TortoiseHareMarianne Berkes and Cathy Morrison are not newcomers to children’s books, Tortoise and Hare’s Amazing Race is their third book together at Arbordale and individually each of these ladies has an impressive collection of stories and book awards. We are happy to release this adaptation of the classic fable and bring a bit of math into the race!

To learn more about the inspiration behind Marianne’s writing here is a sample of her interview:

CathyMorrisonWhat drew you to writing, children’s books ?

As a child our home was filled with books and music. I wrote plays that my friends and I performed in the summer, in our backyard. My dad even helped us build some of the scenery. Reading, writing, music and theater have been a constant in my life. In high school I did interviews for the school paper, and in college wrote my first picture book for a children’s lit class. But it was many years later, after I moved to Florida, that I said “I can do this!” Reading so many books to children at the library where I worked, I kept coming up with ideas of my own. Because I love kids and love “words” I started submitting my stories to publishers, and one day…

What do you hope children get out of your stories?

An appreciation of our earth and respect for nature. I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child and still do. Discovering nature is a life-long adventure that I hope kids today still appreciate. Nature has so many stories to tell and is available to anybody, any place, any time. I hope kids will be entertained by my books, but also that they will want to learn more about the topic. My first book, published in 2000, was about frogs making music in the night. Hopefully after reading this book, kids will go outside in the early evening, especially after a rain, and listen for the sounds I’ve written about. I’ve followed with stories about birds, shells, creatures living in an ocean reef, rainforest animals, Arctic animals, animals that migrate, Australian animals, forest animals (like Polly Possum) and river animals. In Arbordale’s The Tree that Bear Climbed kids also learn how a tree grows, and Daisylocks is about plant life. I’ve also written a book about the planets that I hope kids enjoy. How can we ask them to save the earth, if they don’t learn to appreciate it first? My books are lyrical in verse, making it easy and fun for kids to read with lots of fact blended in. I want kids to really get inside my books, to read them more than once, each time finding something new and exciting!

Do you want to know more read the full interview here!

Leave a comment and enter to win your own copy of Tortoise and Hare’s Amazing Race! Then click below for fun math activities in the For Creative Minds section.

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