Book Launch: Compare and Contrast Books

It’s nonfiction Friday and we are featuring two new books that launched this week. Mammals by Katharine Hall and Sharks and Dolphins by Kevin Kurtz!

Written for young nature enthusiasts the Compare and Contrast Book series takes children into the wild with beautiful photographs and simple text to explain complicated concepts.

Katharine-Hall2014Author Katharine Hall began the series with Polar Bears and Penguins showing children that these animals live at opposite ends of the earth. Then she dove into plant life with Trees and flew to the sky with Clouds. Hall set her sights on slithering and slimy creatures comparing the similarities and differences in Amphibians and Reptiles even introducing the field of herpetology to young readers. This week Mammals joins the lineup comparing animals that live on land and in the sea along with two-legged and four-legged animals.

kurtz_kevinTeaming up with Hall, aquatic educator and expert Kevin Kurtz joined the Compare and Contrast Book series releasing Sharks and Dolphins this week. The no-nonsense facts will help young readers understand that although both of these animals live in the salty ocean each has a different way of life.

Extend the learning with great activities in our Teaching Activities Guide. This, along with author interviews and more information about the series is available on each book’s homepage. Visit Mammals or Sharks and Dolphins to learn more.

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Win your very own copy of each of these books on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mammals by Katharine Hall

Mammals

by Katharine Hall

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sharks and Dolphins by Kevin Kurtz

Sharks and Dolphins

by Kevin Kurtz

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Book Launch: The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea

HungriestMouthWho is the Hungriest Mouth in the Seas of the South? Where is the Seas of the South located? Find out in our For Creative Minds section linked below, but first meet the creator behind this fun and colorful book!

PeterWaltersPeter Walters lives in Cornwall England, but has traveled all over the world as an educator. He has helped children write their own picture books, but this is the first published picture book of his own. Find out what inspired Peter’s book and his art…

What was your incentive to write this particular book?

I can quite vividly picture where the journey of this book began. I was sitting on sandy dunes in Otago, NZ watching two brave yellow-eyed penguins scamper past a snoozing fur seal to a rocky alcove. I felt then that the richness of the environment and web of predators and prey was so detailed; that I believed it could so effectively engage with a child’s curiosity.

How has teaching children all over the world influenced your writing?

I am fortunate that my work with children has exposed me to a variety of cultures and it has always been fascinating to observe the role of the child and the attitude towards childhood wherever I have been. While I have seen many differences between cultures I have also witnessed traits that appear universal and I am certain the relationship children have with storytelling is one such trait. One other direct influence on my writing for children is their interaction and interest in the natural world. We of course, as a species, have an intimate relationship with nature and while the modern world increasingly obstructs the time children have to cultivate this relationship, the deep-routed curiosity that an image of a lion, eagle or dolphin generates still remains.

Learn more about Peter in his full author interview here, or dive into the For Creative Minds section to learn more about this wild habitat!

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Leave a comment and enter to win a copy of The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea! 

Book Launch: Amphibians and Reptiles

AmphbnReptileWith three books under her belt in the past two years, author Katharine Hall is ready to compare and contrast again with Amphibians and Reptiles. This is the fourth book in our popular series and like the other books in the Compare and Contrast Book series young children will learn a ton of facts and get an up-close look at these slimy or scaly creatures.

Katharine-Hall2014Some of the most common questions we get from readers are about coming up with book ideas. Get to know Katharine and her writing…

How have you decided what topics to write about in the series?

I started with Polar Bears and Penguins because so many kids – and even adults! – think that these animals inhabit the same area. So I really wanted to pull them apart and say, no, this is where polar bears are and this is where penguins are, and they are completely different regions. So comparing/ contrasting two groups that are frequently confused is a fun topic and probably my favorite approach. But there are also things that are around us all the time that we don’t necessarily think about or examine. Those make great topics because they involve exploring something familiar and learning new things.

As an avid reader, what were some of your favorite books as a child?

How long of a list do you want? I could go on forever, but I’ll try to limit myself here. When I was little-little, I loved the “Baby Blue Cat” books and anything/everything by Jan Brett. Then by elementary school, I basically read everything and anything I could get my hands on. In terms of non-fiction, I have always enjoyed biographies. My mom stocked our bookshelves with biographies of famous women in history, famous inventors, scientists, and mathematicians – books that introduced me to important people and moments in history and helped expand my understanding of the world. For fiction, the “Harry Potter” series by JK Rowling and the “Song of the Lioness” series by Tamora Pierce were – and still are – near and dear to my heart.

Find out what author Katharine Hall has coming up next in her full author interview!

Amphib-Rept Ready to compare and contrast Amphibians and Reptiles? Leave a comment and enter to win a copy of the new book, then get started with our Venn diagram!

Celebrate Geography Week

“The Future of Food” is the theme for this year’s Geography Awareness Week.

Did you know that National Geographic Society has been promoting the awareness of geography with a special week since 1987? Geography is not just finding locations on a map; geography is a great way to connect people and cultures.

One great way to learn about geography, food sources and the need to preserve our natural habitats is to learn about migration.  Many animals instinctually travel at certain times of the year to find food. Here is a list of fun geography and migration facts.

ElephantElephants love water! They need a lot of water and food to sustain a healthy size and weight, and they spray it over their backs with their trunks to keep cool. When the dry season hits the savannas elephants travel to some of the forests. As the populations of Africa increase the conditions for successful migrating and food sources have decreased.

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • What are the preferred foods of African Elephants?
  • When is the dry season?
  • What herds migrate and where in Africa does this occur?

Caribou live in some of the northern most points on a map across many continents. While not every subspecies migrates for the summer many do leaver their forests, lichen and mushrooms for the tundra filled with grasses. The migration is quite a sight to see a large groups travel hundreds of miles to reach their final destination.Caribou

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • What time of year is the peak of the caribou migration season?
  • Why do the female caribou travel first?
  • Do the caribou in Greenland or Europe follow the same pattern and eat similar foods as the North American population?

A bird that you won’t see gather by the thousands, but is a well known migratory bird is the orange bellied parrot. This bird breeds in Tasmania, but prefers the rich salt marsh of South West Australia for winter feeding. These rich lands are quickly being developed leaving the bird with little food or space and now this bird is one of Australia’s most endangered creatures with about 50 wild birds.

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • How do the Bushmen of Tasmania help “feed” the orange bellied parrot?
  • What are conservation organizations doing to save the population?

Finally, the gray whale takes one of the longest journeys in nature to find food. This migration is also very easily FCM-Breachdocumented as they very close to the coast during the winter and early spring months. These whales scoop food from the seafloor and filter it through their baleen. When their food rich waters start to ice over, they head south to the lagoons of Baja for warmth and breeding.

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • How are gray whales eating habits different from other whales? Do you eat any of the same foods?
  • How long is the journey from the Bering Sea to the Baja lagoons? How long does it take?
  • What are the gray whales predators on their journey?

Get more information about migrating animals in On the Move and coming in January Little Gray’s Great Migration!

Make your own shape creations!

Here is a fun rainy day activity for The Shape Family Babies fans. Create shape animals, shape objects, and even shape people out of paper with a few simple steps.

It’s easy to do if you have a pair of scissors, some felt, a pencil, a ruler, and a sheet of cardstock or paper.

Shape1

 

Take the ruler and measure a square on the paper, make sure that each of the sides is seven inches long. Next, draw a diagonal line from the bottom corner to the top, opposite corner. We’ll call this line, line one. This line turns the square into two large triangles.

Shape2

The second line you’ll need to draw should be parallel to line one, but two inches away from where line one meets the top corner of the square.

Shape3

Line three should start at the other bottom corner (the opposite of line one) and go through line one, like you’re going to make a big “X,” but stop at line two.

Shape4

Next, draw a short, diagonal line from the point where lines three and two meet, down to line one. This should create a small triangle as well as a parallelogram.

Shape5

The last line should start at the opposite side of line one, starting at line two and stopping at line three. This will create a square and one more triangle. Lastly, cut along the lines to separate the shapes.

Once you have cut out all of the different shapes, arrange them on the felt to make a person, or a house, or anything your imagination comes up with! Once you make one creation, you can easily rearrange and make new ones.

 Shape6

Can you fit the smaller shapes together to create one big shape?

How many different shapes are there? How many are the same shapes but different sizes?

 Shape7

Read more about shapes in our new book, The Shape Family Babies.

Kick Off Children’s Book Week With FREE eBooks!

Children’s Book Week 2012, sponsored by the Children’s Book Council, runs from May 7th through May 14th.  In honor of this special week, Sylvan Dell will be offering our full eBook site license FREE on our website the entire week.  Use this as a great opportunity to kick off a summer reading program for your students or children! Plus, the free teaching activities and quizzes included with every Sylvan Dell book make it an even better option for kick-starting a great summer!  To participate, simply visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com from May 7th through May 13th, and click on the “Children’s Book Week” icon in the upper-right hand corner.

Many Sylvan Dell authors and illustrators are also participating in Children’s Book Week including:

For a complete listing of times and locations for author events, visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com/events.

Make Your Own Bird Feeders!

Bird feeders are not just for winter! Many species of wild birds are very active in the summer, so if you put these feeders out now, you will likely lure a wider variety of birds to your yard than you could in the winter. Try out any of these types of feeders and then sit back to enjoy the visitors that appear in your yard!

1. Tree Garland: Using a heavy string, natural yarn, or twine and a blunt yarn-type needle, string these bird treats: dried fruit, crab apples, peanuts (in the shell), cranberries, raisins, or popcorn. When finished, drape the garland in a tree or on a bush for the birds to enjoy.

2. Peanut Butter Pinecones: Attach a heavy string, natural yarn or twine to the top of a pinecone. Cover the cone with peanut butter or suet (purchase at bird-feed stores), press sunflower seeds or a birdseed mix into the peanut butter or suet. Hang from a tree branch.

3. Bird Platter: Take an aluminum pie pan and punch several nail-sized holes in the bottom (for drainage). Place the tin on top of an old hanging plant container and hang from a tree limb or a pole or simply place the pan on top of a fence or deck post. Cardinals like eating about 5 to 6 feet off the ground. With enough drainage holes, the seeds should be okay through most rains. Change the seeds if they get too soggy and wet.

4. Bird Buffet: Hammer non-rusting galvanized nails into a piece of wood – leaving an inch or two poking out. Nail it to the side of a fence or a pole. Place pieces of orange, lemon, apple, pear, or peach on the nails.