Tomorrowland by Steven Kotler

Tomorrowland by Steven Kotler (New Harvest, May 2015) is a collection of previously published essays about the new frontiers available in science. The subtitle suggests that the text provides examples of how science fiction has become “science fact.”

I am not a scientist, so as I read, I found myself impressed with where humankind has gone. Chapters include explorations of man-made limb replacements, artificial vision surgery, flying motorcycles, space diving, the potential of stem cells, and DNA explorations. I was dutifully impressed with the details and possibilities explored.Continue Reading

Picture Book Sunday: Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick

The nonfiction picture book Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick and illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya (Kid Can Press, 2015) provides the young dinosaur fan a guessing game. First, a two-page spread shows a zoomed in view of a part of a dinosaur’s body, with a question for the reader to determine which dinosaur had a body part like that. The next page gives the answer, with a picture of the full dinosaur in its supposed habitat. The text then details what scientists know about the particular dinosaur and what the unique body part did to help that dinosaur.Continue Reading

The Great Depression for Kids

The easily accessible text and the fun related activities make The Great Depression for Kids by Carol Mullenbach (Chicago Review Press, July 2015) a fantastic choice for the young student in upper elementary school or older that is interested in learning more about the era in our history. The text covers life before the Great Depression, the causes of the Great Depression, and then life during the Great Depression, both in cities and rural areas. It ends as it talks about how the nation recovered at the start of Word War II. Each chapter in The Great Depression for Kids covered a lot of information, but I felt it easily accessible to the younger reader.

This volume includes 21 activities related to the things happening in the text. For example, there is an explanation on how to “play the stock market” when the text talks about the stock market crash. Paper airplane making is the activity as kids learn about the new developments during the era. An erosion experiment is the activity during the chapter about the dust bowl. In all, the activities seem like simple but engaging ones for upper elementary students to enjoy doing!

As a personal note, I found myself wishing I’d asked my grandparents more about the era before they passed away. The book contained lots of details about life during the era, but I know my grandparent’s stories were unique. It’s interesting how this definitive historical era is now so distant from children’s lives today, even though it was only three generations ago.

Note: I read a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

 

Picture Book Sunday: Eat, Leo! Eat! by Caroline Adderson

Eat, Leo! Eat! by Caroline Adderson and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon (Kids Can Press, 2015) is an homage to Italian pastas and traditional lore. It is the story of a picky eater who loves his grandma’s stories about the Italian pastas she cooks each week at the family dinner. Each week, Nonna continues the story of a little boy (much like Leo) who is walking to see his grandmother, and as the story continues, Leo finds himself eager to hear more as he eats the traditional Italian pastas.
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