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!

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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!!

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!

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.

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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.

Books that are Outta This World!

PlanetsWould you blast off to Saturn, if you could? Well, a group of researchers virtually visited the ringed planets to recreate the formation of Jupiter’s moons. They simulated Jupiter’s path as it cleared a track around the sun and found that Saturn may have been close enough to disrupt material at the edges of the path forming some of Jupiter’s moons.

Friday the 4this National Space Day, and a day to celebrate the remarkable advancements in space exploration. From, trips to the moon, to finding the DNA of stars, researchers are learning more about our solar system every day.

So, let’s celebrate with a reading list! Check out these fun space books from Arbordale.

Saturn for My Birthday

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Jeffrey wants Saturn for his birthday, and he wants the moons too—all 47 of them. After all, they’ll make great night-lights! But he’s not selfish; he’ll share the rings with some of his friends at school and with his teacher, Mrs. Cassini. Facts about Saturn are woven seamlessly throughout this funny story as Jeffrey explains just what he’ll do with his present and how he’ll take care of it. His dad better hurry with the order, though, because shipping might take a while. The “For Creative Minds” education section features “Solar System” and “Saturn Fun Facts.”

Solar System Forecast

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“Below-freezing temperatures, scorching heat, and storms bigger than planet Earth are just some of the wild weather you will encounter on your trip through the solar system! Get your fun facts along with your forecast for each major planet, as well as a moon (Titan) and a dwarf planet (Pluto). Get ready for some out of this world fun with Solar System Forecast!

Meet the Planets

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Soar into the Solar System to witness the first Favorite Planet Competition, emceed by none other than the former-ninth planet, now known as dwarf planet Pluto. The readers become the judges after the sun can’t pick a favorite and the meteors leave for a shower. Who will the lucky winning planet be? Could it be speedy-messenger Mercury, light-on-his-feet Saturn, or smoking-hot Venus? Readers learn all about each planet as Pluto announces them with short, tongue-in-cheek facts. Children will spend hours searching the art for all the references to famous scientists and people of history, space technology, constellations, art, and classic literature.

Pieces of Another World

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This touching story of a father and child’s nighttime excursion to watch a meteor shower is told through the eyes of a child in awe of the night world. Rockliff’s vivid descriptions make readers feel as though they too are watching the tiny bits of other, distant worlds blazing into our own.The “For Creative Minds” education section includes teaching trivia about meteors, meteor showers, comets, and asteroids as well as a “Meteor Math” game, a “Five Steps to a Fantastic Meteor Watching Party” checklist, and a recipe for comet cookies.

How the Moon Regained Her Shape

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This fascinating story influenced by Native American folktales explains why the moon changes shape and helps children deal with bullies. After the sun insults and bullies her, the moon feels so badly hurt that she shrinks and leaves the sky. The moon turns to a comet and her many friends on earth to comfort her. Her friends include rabbits and Native Americans. Then she regains her full shape, happiness, and self-esteem. The moon also returns to her orbit. An educational appendix called “For Creative Minds” gives advice about bullying, scientific information about the moon, and ideas for related crafts, recipes, and games for children.

Get these books from www.arbordalepublishing.com in hardcopy or dual-language ebook along with teaching activities, quizzes and other fun activities for Space Day!