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.

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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!

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!

Plan your vacation around migration

Caribou.jpgSunshine and warm weather bring the end of school daze and summer vacation! Many families are eager to pack up and vacation somewhere new. Are you going on vacation? Animals are also On the Move this summer and here are a few places to visit if you want to catch the magic of migration.

If Alaska is on your travel list, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to stop in June or July to view thousands of caribou. They spend the summer months raising calves and soaking in the sun before heading south to avoid the freezing winter temperatures.

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Turtle tracks are an amazing find during early morning walks on the Beaches of the Southeast. In June, July and August, mother loggerhead turtles travel to the shore to lay their eggs before heading back out to sea. Then the little hatchlings make the long trip down the beach before diving into the ocean. While visitors are unlikely to get a glimpse of a turtle during the day, there are signs all around.

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Head to the shores of Manitoba, Canada to catch sight of the rare beluga whale. In July and August these smiling mammals make their way to the Hudson Bay to breed. Then catch the salmon run in the fall, but they begin streaming to British Columbia, Canada in late summer. Wade into the rivers in August and spot the red-sided fish swimming by in small streams.

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Although the elephant seals on the central coast of California perform their mating rituals in the winter, you can catch them molting on the beaches during the early summer months. The San Simeon viewing area is a great location to watch the large pinnipeds lounging.

For more amazing animals that migrate throughout the year check out Scotti Cohn and Susan Detwiler’s book On the Move: Mass Migrations

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.
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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!

 

 

You Otter Love “Oliver’s Otter Phase”

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Have you ever thought…what if I spent the day as an animal? Well, in Lisa Connor’s debut picture book, Oliver’s Otter Phase, one little boy spends the day as his favorite animal from the aquarium!

How did Lisa dream up this idea? It was after a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium, but don’t take it from us. Here is Lisa’s interview!

Were there any funny, special or unusual circumstances or incidents in the conception/writing of this book?

LisaConnorsI knew I wanted to write a story about sea otters after I attended a program on otters at the Vancouver Aquarium. I learned facts about sea otter behavior that I did not know, and I wanted to share this information with kids. I attempted to write a nonfiction book, but kept getting stuck, feeling it was too dry. Then I had a memory of sticking bologna on my tummy as a child and I realized I needed to write a fiction story instead.

When did you become interested in writing?

I first dreamed of writing in my early 20s after reading Winter by Rick Bass.  I thought how wonderful it could be to arrange words in a way that made the reader laugh, cry and ponder those words for days after.

When are you most creative?

A long solo walk or traveling always spark my creativity. Driving last summer in Montana, I had to pull over and have my husband drive, so I could get an idea down on paper.

What is most rewarding and/or challenging about writing children’s books? BookOfTheMonth_Cover

The most challenging aspect of writing children’s books is letting go of an original idea while revising – to rearrange it, chop it up and start over, letting the best story grow. The most rewarding aspect is when this revision process works.

Get to know more about Oliver’s Otter Phase and all the educational extras that we offer on the Arbordale website.