Crossing the Sahara on painted wings

IMG_2562

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.

IMG_1156.JPG

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!

butterflybooks

 

 

Advertisements

Spring is in the Air

BabyBearDo you have itchy eyes and a stuffy nose? With blooming flowers and trees, pollen is flying and bothering our allergies. Some people may have miserable runny noses while others may not be bothered at all.

This is a problem that Baby Bear encountered as he leaves his den after hibernation in Shennen Bersani’s Achoo! Pollen Counts. And, although Baby Bear is a little unhappy with all his sneezing, he learns that there are many forest friends that use pollen. Especially the bees that make honey.

To celebrate spring, author and illustrator Shennen Bersani has created a fun pollen globe using the printable coloring sheet below check it out on her blog http://www.achoowhypollencounts.com/achoos-blog/achoo-pollen-snow-globe-craft.
e2bd4958-21e5-4304-9937-9e4c69a14887.jpeg

And…check out this great video review of Achoo! 

Achoo! Why Pollen Counts is available in hardcover, paperback, and dual-language, interactive ebook learn more about the book on arbordalepublishing.com!

 

 

Questions and Answers: Summer Science Journal

kittyA scientist is always at work posing questions and finding out why? Most recently an archaeozoologist, Wim Van Neer set out to find the origins of domesticating cats.

From artifacts, they knew that Egyptians valued cats and even shared their homes with the animals, but were they the first to domesticate the feline? A much older cat was found in a tomb in Cyprus. Is this the ancestor of our modern housecat?

The genetic tests show our housecats can be traced back to the Near Eastern Wildcat. The Egyptian cat mummies have a different subtype and so the research continues for this team. Even with some questions answered, there is always more to discover.

BigCat_187Author Scotti Cohn shares her home with a kitty or two. Before writing her book, Big Cat, Little Kitty, Scotti’s questions lead her down a different path. She researched the behavioral similarities of domestic and wild cats.

“Animal behavior is fascinating to me, whether we’re talking about pet cats and dogs or wild animals around the globe,” says Scotti. “I think my interest in animal behavior comes across in all of my Arbordale picture books. Why do wolves howl? How does a domestic cat’s behavior mimic that of a lion or tiger? What prompts animals to migrate? Why do animals form “partnerships”? I like being able to respond to those questions in a way that makes children eager to learn more.”

We know sometimes science seems overwhelming to kids and parents, but really asking questions and finding answers is fun! Summer is a great time to hone research skills, and test theories without the pressure that sometimes comes with school assignments.

cheetahHere are some tips:

Write it down: Start a science journal filled with questions just waiting to be answered

Research: Head to the library or a museum and find tools that help to fine tune your questions

Experiment: Set up simple experiments or observations to help come to a conclusion

Begin Again: What did you find out? Are there new questions waiting to be answered?

Read Big Cat, Little Kitty, as part of the Arbordale Summer Reading Program. Learn more about domestic and wild cats in the For Creative Minds section too!

Want to read about the origins of your kitty, learn more about the domestic cat study here.

 

Why E-books are Good for Children

Information technology and new technological devices are revolutionizing the world of literature, and children’s literature is no different. The ever-increasing numbers of e-books and e-readers in recent years has sparked debate about whether or not e-books are bad for the book industry or reading in general. This argument has been especially critical in the arena of children’s literature. Though children’s e-books have both their improvements and downsides over print books, they achieve the same goal of reaching out to children and telling stories or conveying information in a way that children can understand and enjoy.

One improvement e-books have over print books is the superior picture quality of e-books. This is particularly important for a lot of children’s books. Lots of children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction, contain beautiful color illustrations or photographs. Backlighting on computers or iPads make these pictures brighter and more vivid, enhancing the child’s enjoyment and reading experience. Additionally, pictures which splay across two pages and are split down the middle by a page divide in a print book look better on a screen where there is no page divide.

There are other improvements. Audio books enable young children to hear stories without their parents having to read to them. This way if parents are doing something else the kids can have a book out and have a computer read it to them, and parents can interact from the kitchen or the driver’s seat (“What’s the picture of?” “What kind of sound does that animal make?” etc) without having to take their eyes off the stove or the road to read the book. Additionally the fact that iPads, e-readers, computers, and other electronic devices can hold hundreds of e-books in a tablet that takes up about as much space as one book makes them convenient for traveling and ensures that children always have something new to read.

Parents will like that the e-books are often cheaper and more durable than print books. Our favorite books all suffer from over-use – dog eared pages, worn covers, pages falling out. These happen even to adults’ favorite books, and most kids are far less careful with their things. E-books don’t have pages that can fall out or covers that can get bent in the bottom of a backpack. There are durable tablets available so that kids can drop the e-readers without breaking them.

The most important thing is to get children reading and to get them reading good books. Fiction has to have characters and an interesting plot. Children get this from the story itself, not the media. Harry Potter is still Harry Potter whether you’re reading about him in the familiar-smelling, dog-eared pages of the books you’ve had for years or whether you’re reading about him on a computer screen with the movie soundtrack emitting from the same computer. The same idea goes for nonfiction. Children’s nonfiction has to have information that keeps the child engaged and which the author explains on the child’s level. These qualities are things that both print books and e-books have in common. The goal is still the same – to get kids reading and interacting with language and information. Information is powerful no matter the media through which it is conveyed. 

For more information on children’s e-books from Sylvan Dell, go to Amazon. Our e-books are $0.99 through the 18th of May.

Summer Reading Rewards

The Sylvan Dell offices are buzzing with excitement today! June kicks off Summer Reading. We are offering two free movie tickets with the purchase of an eLibrary, and rewarding reading by giving away prizes each week.

Over the course of the next two months go on a road trip with Sylvan Dell from the depths of the ocean then blast into outer space. Every two weeks we will be featuring a new free eBook. For the first two weeks, we are offering Animals are Sleeping for the new reader, and in coordination with the American Library Association theme of the month. Then explore the ocean with Ocean Hide and Seek, seek out where animals live in Habitat Spy, climb into the clouds with A Day on the Mountain and finally blast into space with Solar System Forecast, a Sylvan Dell new release.

With this exciting news, we have also developed a new Sylvan Dell iPad app available for purchase in the iTunes store. Now you can read your favorite Sylvan Dell books on the go. Just like our website the iPad app has auto-flip features audio available in English and Spanish as well as access to our quizzes and For Creative Minds sections.

As you know at Sylvan Dell, we are committed to make learning adventurous, especially when nature is in full bloom. To prevent the “summer-slide” make reading fun with activities, and keep checking with Sylvan Dell for great rewards throughout the summer.  Click here and send us a short story about which Sylvan Dell books is your favorite and what makes this books so special. You will win three of Sylvan Dell’s latest books.

Sylvan Dell Publishing Will Offer 70 eBooks Free in Honor of Read Across America Day!

In honor of Read Across America Day 2012, Sylvan Dell Publishing will be offering our complete site license of 70 eBooks FREE! Participants can visit http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com on Friday, March 2nd to use this great feature, with great eBooks including auto-flip, auto-read, and selectable English and Spanish text and audio.  This is in addition to the free activities available every day including a “For Creative Minds” educational section, 40-70 pages of free teaching activities, three quizzes, and a related websites page for each title.

 

Sylvan Dell’s co-owner and editor Donna German states, “We are proud to offer children a simple way to participate in Read Across America Day.  By offering our full eBook Site License we also make it easy not only for children to read and explore our great books, but we make it easy for parents and teachers to use each book as stepping stone to learning with our “For Creative Minds” section and our free teaching activities.”

To participate in Sylvan Dell Publishing’s Read Across America event, simply visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com on March 2nd and click on the Read Across America icon in the upper right-hand corner of the website. For questions or concerns, call Sylvan Dell Publishing directly at (877) 243-3457 or email info@sylvandellpublishing.com.

 

A Conversation with Jean Heilprin Diehl, author of Three Little Beavers!

We are so excited to announce our final new release for the spring 2012 season Three Little Beavers! Written by Jean Heilprin Diehl and illustrated by Cathy Morrison, this book is a perfect fit for any classroom!

 Beatrix the beaver longs to be good at something. Her brother Bevan is an expert at repairing the lodge with mud and twigs. Her sister Beverly is a superb swimmer and underwater gymnast. What makes Beatrix stand out? One day, she runs away by swimming up the creek and finds some fresh garden plants to eat, and tasty trees to gnaw. When her siblings set off to find her, all Three Little Beavers wind up trapped! It takes some simple engineering on the part of the humans who set the traps, and Beatrix’s discovery of her special talents, for the people and beavers to finally find a way to live in harmony.
 

Q and A With Author Jean Heilprin Diehl

What kind of research do you do for your books?

I love research! I research online, in physical libraries and in the field. I also conduct  interviews. The research stage offers up so much  fascinating information, that it can be hard to pull away from.  Too much research can be a distraction from writing, so the trick is to do the right amount…whatever that is. For the novel I’m writing now, I studied fireflies and a rare pediatric neurological disorder. To characterize the protagonist’s best friend, I learned what virga is and who invented the paper clip and where the digit ‘one’ repeats three times in a row in the infinite number pi. For Three Little Beavers, I observed beavers swimming in a lake, kayaked up a stream where beavers live and visited a series of ponds dotted with old beaver lodges and dams. I interviewed a park service officer who had resolved an urban wildlife conflict involving beavers and also a professional trapper who had humanely trapped beavers with the square, box-like Hancock traps described in the story. I checked out books from libraries, read online articles and websites and watched video clips.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was growing up, I loved to read, and I especially loved adventure books with maps of imaginary lands printed inside the front and back covers. Some kids put up posters of athletes or musicians or actors on their bedroom walls; I had the map of Middle Earth. I guess it was natural to want to do what I admired so much. In sixth grade I wrote a series of poems that a teacher suggested I pull together into a book.  After that, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

How do your own experiences shape your writing?

Experience is to writing like air is to lungs. Experience inevitably and perhaps inadvertently shapes what I’m drawn to write about and the process by which I go about writing.  I think the human imagination is piqued by non sequiturs. A random image, headline, anecdote or event I  read or hear about but haven’t personally witnessed can also get me thinking. Experience includes all five senses.  It also includes reading.

What inspired you to write Three Little Beavers?

Raising kids can mean a lot of time spent driving them around! I’d been thinking about how often young children, when riding in cars or on school buses, see dead animals along the road, which can be pretty upsetting. Then my local children’s librarian happened to mention that her collection lacked a book about urban wildlife conflicts, and she didn’t know if there were any books for kids on the subject.  I decided to write one. I went looking for stories with happy endings and found one about beavers. I learned that there is a lot humans can do to co-exist with North America’s largest rodent. Beaver families typically consist of multiple kits, so that got me thinking about siblings and a line I’d read once that had stuck in stuck in my head: ‘the goal of middle childhood is to differentiate the self.’ That’s how I got the idea to write about Bevan, Beverly and Beatrix.

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

I enjoy the research, as I mentioned, and I enjoy finding a word or set of words to fit an image or an insight or a moment in nature or an emotion or an interaction. I like voicing what it is I have to say to other people through written words, and I like being finished with writing, because writing is hard.

What is the most challenging part of writing a book? 

For me, the most challenging part of writing a picture book is to tell a complete story, with fully developed characters, with an economy of language.  The old adage is true:  it’s much easier to write long than short. I’m still learning how to leave enough space – and the right space – for an illustrator to tell the story visually. Images create the story’s visual complexity, which is delightfully true of Cathy Morrison’s wonderful illustrations for Three Little Beavers.

 

Visit Jean’s website at www.jeanheilprindiehl.com, or the Three Little Beavers homepage at http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=ThreeBeavers.