The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press, September 2014) is another fascinating scientific mystery. As with The Case of the Vanishing Tree Frogs, which I read and reviewed a few years ago, Little Brown Bats is about a species of animal that is mysteriously disappearing in the world. In this case, it is the little brown bats of Eastern North America, bats about 5 cm in length, that are awakening from hibernation and dying at an unprecedented pace. (more…)
Whatever Happened to the Metric System?: How America Kept Its Feet by John Bemelmans Marciano (Bloomsbury, August 5, 2014) is a glimpse into the complicated history behind the rise of the metric system, especially the impact of the metric system on America. Why is America the only country in the world who has not converted to a base-ten system of measurement? Why are Americans resistant to the fact?
Marciano’s text only tries to answer those questions in the final chapter. The rest of the book provides an historical overview of the metric situation, from it’s birth in revolutionary France to the current status quo as the dominant measurement system of the world. (more…)
I am an active Christian. I believe God created the world. I also believe we do not know how God created the earth, and I do not believe in a literal, seven-day creation. All I have learned about the big bang theory and the evolutionary history of the earth has only solidified that testimony that I have that God is behind it all.
That said, I’m always careful about which books I share with my kids that deal with the big bang, the expanding universe, and evolutionary biology. Some of these texts for kids disparage those that believe in God as creator, or otherwise dismiss the possibility of both creationism (i.e., God created the earth) and the evolutionary sciences as evidenced by science as possibly co-existing.
How to Make a Planet by Scott Forbes (Kids Can Press, March 2014) teaches about the big bang and early evolutionary history just right. It focuses on the science, based on the evidence we can see around us. Even the title seems to underscore that someone could make a planet. While the book does not have discussion of God or a “creator” in a religious sense, it also does not eliminate the fact that it could have been created by a higher power purposefully. The “instructions,” although written to the two children that appear on each of the pages, could just as easily have been directed toward God creating the world in His way. (more…)
Sometimes a clever and intriguing story line makes a novel great. Sometimes, it is the interaction of a number of interesting characters. And other times, a novel is great because because of the carefully developed setting that gives life to the situations and characters. In One Came Home (January 2013, Knopf Books for Young Readers), Amy Timberlake manages to win in all three ways. (more…)
50 Body Questions by Tanya Lloyd Kyi and illustrated by Ross Kinniard (Annick Press, February 2014) is a visually appealing book about the human body. As the title indicates, 50 questions take readers on a journey through the body, covering concepts about the digestive system, blood, muscles and bones, germs, the brain, and the nervous system. The tone is lighthearted, and the amusing illustrations give it yet another boost of entertainment. This is a nonfiction book kids like to read! (more…)