We have a winner!

It’s that time of year when best book lists are coming at you each day! Well…we are very excited to announce that Maggie: Alaska’s Last Elephant was selected for the 2019 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 by the National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council!

As a publisher of science picture books, you can imagine that this is our favorite award to receive and we think Maggie and the Spanish counterpart Maggie, El Último Elefante En Alaska are a wonderful choice!

Get to know Maggie and the book creators!

MaggieESElephants are social animals. Maggie and Annabelle used to live together at the Alaska Zoo. But after Annabelle died, Maggie was all alone. For years, zookeepers tried to keep her happy (and warm). But ultimately, they sent Maggie to live at a sanctuary (PAWS). Now she is happy and at home with her new herd of other elephants. This is a heartwarming story of how zoos ensure the best for the animals in their care—even if the best is not at their zoo.

 

Award-winning author Jennifer Keats Curtis has JenniferCurtispenned numerous stories about animals, including Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue (Children’s Choice Book Award Winner); After A While Crocodile: Alexa’s Diary (NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children) with co-author Dr. Brady Barr of Nat Geo Wild’s Dangerous Encounter; Baby Bear’s Adoption with wildlife biologists at Michigan’s DNR; and Moonlight Crab Count with co-author Dr. Neeti Bathala. The long-time writer’s other recent books include The Lizard Lady, with co-author Dr. Nicole Angeli, Maggie: Alaska’s Last Elephant and the Animal Helpers Series. When not writing, Jennifer can be found among students and teachers, talking about literacy and conservation. Visit her website at www.jenniferkeatscurtis.com.

PhyllisSaroff

Since childhood, Phyllis Saroff has brought together her loves of science and art. In addition to Maggie: Alaska’s Last ElephantVivian and the Legend of the HoodoosTuktuk: Tundra Tale, and Sounds of the Savannafor Arbordale, Phyllis has illustrated nonfiction books about the natural world such as Teeth and Mary Anning: Fossil Hunter. She also illustrates for children’s magazines, wayside signs and other educational material. Phyllis works digitally and with oil paint. Phyllis lives in Maryland with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Visit her website at saroffillustration.com.

Learn more about Maggie and get a copy of your own on the book’s homepage!

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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!

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!

BabyBear

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!

Taking Flight

BabiesNestFor a baby bird, the leap from the nest is a scary first flight. In a new study, biomechanists researched the timing of that first flight and the survival rates of baby birds. Some momma birds may want to clear the nest early, keeping predators away. The survival rate for these early flyers can be as low as 30 percent.

Late bloomers have a much higher chance for survival, but a noisy nest can also attract lookingdownpredators that take out the entire family. So, bird parents have a very tricky choice when it comes to pushing their young to set off on their own.

As human parents think about the upcoming back-to-school season and sending kids out into the world for their first days of school. Here are a few books about learning the ropes as a young bird. And, if you want to read more about the Missoula, Montana bird study, here is a link!

Henry the Impatient Heron 

Henry Impatient Heron_COVER 2Henry the Heron couldn’t stand still! He was always moving, and it drove everyone crazy! His brother and sister yelled at him for stepping on their heads, and Mom and Dad could barely get food into his little baby mouth. But herons have to stand still to catch their food, so how would Henry ever be able to eat on his own? In Henry the Impatient Heron, Donna Love takes readers along with Henry as he learns a valuable lesson from the King of Camouflage! Hilarious and lighthearted illustrations by Christina Wald complement the important lesson in the text. It is a meaningful lesson for both herons and kids alike, which teaches the importance of just being still!

Otis the Owl

otisowl_187In 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.

Whistling Wings

wings_187Can a swan survive without winter migration? Marcel, a young tundra swan, is tired from the first half of a winter migration. One thousand miles is a long way to fly—too long for Marcel, so he hides in the rushes to stay behind while his parents and the flock continue south. But with the lake nearly frozen over, he soon realizes that he is not cut out for life on ice. Other animals offer advice about how to survive the winter, but their ways of living aren’t right for the swan. Hungry and scared, he falls asleep – only to be awakened by a big surprise! The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes “Tundra Swan Fun Facts” and a “Tundra Swan Life Cycle Sequencing Activity.”

The Best Nest

Nest_187Long ago, when the world was young, the magpies’ nests were the envy of all other birds. To help the other birds, Maggie Magpie patiently explained how to build a nest. But some birds were impatient and flew off without listening to all the directions, which is why, to this day, birds’ nests come in all different shapes and sizes. This clever retelling of an old English folktale teaches the importance of careful listening.

Baby Owl’s Rescue

Baby Owl's RescueWhat if you found a baby owl in your backyard? Would you know what to do? Where would you go to find help? Join young Maddie and Max as they learn a valuable lesson from a little lost owl in Baby Owl’s Rescue by Jennifer Keats Curtis. The brother and sister pair just wanted to play baseball one day. They never expected to come face-to-face with a wild animal! Lush illustrations by Laura Jacques accompany this story and demonstrate the proper treatment of wildlife. This story reminds all of us that we live in a world surrounded by wild animals, and those wild animals deserve our caution and our respect!

Learn more about these titles and download the free educational extras at arbordalepublishing.com!

 

 

 

Crossing the Sahara on painted wings

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Here is one fact you won’t find in Ten For Me… painted lady butterflies travel 12,000 kilometers a year and cross the Sahara!

New research found that these butterflies travel about 2,000 kilometers further than the monarch’s yearly journey. The scientists found chemical markers from Africa on European butterfly wings. This told them what the caterpillars ate and where they had been when analyzing the returning butterflies in the spring.

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The painted lady also migrates throughout the United States. And, it is found on every continent except South America. If you want to attract this butterfly to your garden, daisies, asters, and black-eyed Susans are perfect picks.

IMG_1774This summer, you can learn lots of butterfly facts in Ten For Me, one of our free Summer Reading picks. The dual-language, interactive ebooks are tons of fun for little readers. Then kids can print and start their own bug study with the “Buggy Science Journal.”

Tweet or Instagram a photo of your favorite butterfly to @ArbordaleKids to win a copy of Ten For Me! And, if you can’t get enough butterfly facts A Butterfly Called Hope is a perfect companion!

Visit the homepage of Ten For Me or A Butterfly Called Hope to learn more, download the printable activities or quiz yourself on what you learned!

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Because of science, we know we can, but should we…

birdsRecently, I was listening to a conversation about dinosaurs and the new Jurassic World movie. This made me think, what if we really could bring back a dinosaur? Is it really a good idea?

Biologists, paleontologists, and other types of scientists have made major advancements in studying fossils and extracting DNA information. For example, just a couple decades ago all dinosaurs were thought to be scaly green creatures. Now, we know that many of the dinosaurs had feathers and were very brightly colored.

Feathers

Other advancements have been made in animal science. In 1996 Dolly the Sheep made news as the first sheep cloned from an adult cell. Other scientists have talked about the ability to reintroduce the woolly mammoth.

It would be amazing to think of a T-Rex stomping through the backyard. I don’t know if I want to see a beast the size of a bus coming toward me with those teeth especially after seeing the movies.

If your little ones want to learn more about dinosaurs, here is a short Arbordale reading list.

Dino Treasures

DinoTreasures_187by Rhonda Lucas Donald & illustrated by Cathy Morrison

Just as some people dig and look for pirate treasure, some scientists dig and look for treasures, too. These treasures may not be gold or jewels but fossils. Following in the footsteps of Dino Tracks, this sequel takes young readers into the field with paleontologists as they uncover treasured clues left by dinosaurs. Readers will follow what and how scientists have learned about dinosaurs: what they ate; how they raised their young; how they slept, fought, or even if they ever got sick. True to fashion, the tale is told through a rhythmic, fun read-aloud that can even be sung to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Dino Tracks
DinoTracks_187by Rhonda Lucas Donald & illustrated by Cathy Morrison

Step back in time and follow dinosaur tracks around the world. Whether made by a few dinosaurs or large groups, these tracks provide clues to the movement and behavior of these lovable ancient creatures. What dinosaurs made the tracks and what do scientists think they were doing when they made them? The author tells the story in rhythmic rhyme that may be sung to the tune of Over the River and Through the Woods.

 

Wandering Woolly
WandrngWoolly_187written & illustrated by Andrea Gabriel

Little 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 Hot! But Nature is Cool!

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It’s no coincidence that we are sharing a book about summer on the Summer Solstice. That’s right, June 21 is the longest day of this year and therefore the day with the most sunlight. And what is the sun most known for? Keeping us warm, of course!foxes

It keeps animals warm, too, which is a good thing when it’s cold outside. But what
happens when it’s hot? Animals can’t turn on the air conditioner or drink a cold glass of lemonade. A Cool Summer Tail explores how several animals adapt to hot temperatures. For instance, just like dogs, red foxes pant to dissipate their body heat because their skin doesn’t sweat like ours.

squirrelsDid you know grey squirrels sometimes lick their forearms to cool off? This behavior has a similar cooling effect as sweating because when the saliva evaporates, their body heat is dissipated into the air.

Many birds stay cool by staying under the shade of tree leaves. This is one adaptation human animals can practice, too!chickadees

When the sun goes down at night, the temperature goes down, too. Some animals take advantage of the cooler air to find their food and move about. Imagine how our world would be different if humans slept during the day and were active only at night!

snakesOne way both humans and animals can stay cool is to take advantage of air blowing across our bodies. Whether it’s a lakeside breeze for a white tail deer or a circulating ceiling fan for humans, air helps dissipate body heat. While you are pondering this, make your own personal fan using the directions shared HERE by The Pinterested Parent.

Or make a paper plate mask of an animal featured in A Cool Summer Tail and encourage some pretend play. Directions HERE. While creating, discuss how animals adapt to summer heat and how these behaviors compare and contrast with how humans stay cool.

The next time you see an animal in its environment, take a minute to talk about how it adapts to the heat. Isn’t nature cool?

Pearson_Carrie[1]Carrie Pearson is the author of A Cool Summer Tail. The book is illustrated by Christina Wald. To investigate how animals stay warm when the temperature drops, check out another Arbordale book, A Warm Winter Tail, also written by Carrie and illustrated by Christina.