Elem./MG – The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Fleming, Candace. The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Scholastic Focus, 2021. 978-1-338-59662-5. 304 p. $18.99. Grades 4-8. 

The discovery of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922 made headlines all over the world. Soon, rumors of a curse on the tomb began to circulate. Author Candace Fleming takes readers on a journey back in time as archeologist Howard Carter and his partner and patron Lord Carnarvon embark on their hunt to find the tomb of Tutankhamun. The discovery of the tomb was the result of years of planning and earlier expeditions. Readers will follow along as Carter, Carnarvon, and their workers embark on their hunt and the thrill and excitement they felt when they made their amazing discovery. The work that went into removing treasures from the tomb, preserving them, and cataloging them is also discussed. Scattered throughout the text are short sections of several pages each that present some of the numerous curse stories surrounding Tutankhamun, his tomb, and it’s discovery. These sections help to add an element of mystery to the story and are sure to catch the attention of readers. At the end of the book, a chapter is devoted to examining the curse stories and separating fact from fiction. The text is enhanced by the inclusion of numerous period photographs of the amazing discoveries made within the tomb. 

THOUGHTS: This narrative non-fiction title is certain to keep readers engaged. Since the title reads somewhat like an adventure or thriller, it sure to be a hit with fans of these genres as well as those interested in history or Ancient Egypt. Highly recommended. 

932.014 Ancient Egypt        Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

MG – Amber & Clay

Schlitz, Laura Amy. Amber & Clay. Candlewick Press, 2021. 978-1-536-20122-2. 532 p. $22.99. Grades 5-9.

Told in the alternating voices of Rhaskos and Melisto, this book transports readers to the richness of life in Ancient Greece. Rhaskos is a Thracian slave, serving his masters and making his way through the world with his wits, his passion for art, and his camaraderie with donkeys. Melisto is the daughter of wealthy Greek parents who, try as they might, cannot stifle her wild spirit within the confines of a weaving room. They lead incredibly different lives, but their paths cross when Rhasko’s mother appears in Melisto’s house as a slave. Brightly drawn and multi-dimensional, these two Greek youths are easy to like, even if they are not always easy to understand, and readers will cheer for them when they finally meet and work together to fulfill their destinies.

THOUGHTS: This is the latest offering from Newbery-prize-winning author Laura Amy Schlitz, and it does not disappoint with its lyrical prose and abundant historical details. Full of ancient Greek culture, references to gods, goddesses, and the philosopher Socrates himself, fans of Greek mythology will be happy to immerse themselves in the time and place of this story.

Fantasy Fiction          Erin Faulkner, Cumberland Valley SD

Elem. – Genius of the Ancients (Series Nonfiction)

Genius of the Ancients. Crabtree, 2020. $20.75 ea. $166.00 set of 8. 32 p. Grades 3-6.

Howell, Izzi. The Genius of the Ancient Greeks.  978-0-778-76572-1.
—. The Genius of the Anglo-Saxons. 978-0-778-76573-8
—. The Genius of the Maya. 978-0-778-76575-2.
—. The Genius of the Romans. 978-0-778-76576-9.
—. The Genius of the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. 978-0-778-76577-6.
Newland, Sonya. The Genius of the Ancient Egyptians. 978-0-778-76571-4.
—. The Genius of the Benin Kingdom. 978-0-778-76574-5.
—. The Genius of the Vikings. 978-0-778-76590-5.

In the July 10, 2020, issue of School Library Journal article entitled, “Teaching Nonfiction? What You Need To Know About the Differences Between Expository and Narrative Styles,” author Melissa Stewart notes that a high percentage of children prefer books that deliver facts. Crabtree Publishers has mastered presenting expository writing in an appealing and accessible way, and this series is no exception. With the focus on the talents of ancient civilizations, the authors deliver interesting, fast facts on various aspects of those societies, particularly their discoveries or inventions. Some topics explored are architecture, government, inventions, weapons, transportation, and more. Highlighting each subject in well-designed, double-page spreads, the picture books lay out chunks of information in short, readable paragraphs punctuated with colorful graphics. Good use of text features enliven the pages. Quick pieces of information range from fun trivia (Vikings kept decorated, deer antler combs hanging from their belts for swift grooming) to sophisticated information (The Antikythera mechanism found in a Greek shipwreck is sometimes considered the first computer). Each of these slim volumes includes an extensive glossary, a timeline, a table of contents, and an index.

THOUGHTS: This format of fact and pictures enhanced by text features enables struggling readers as well as fluent ones to gain information independently. Valuable additions for beginning research projects or just for students curious about the contributions of different civilizations. (Titles Reviewed: The Genius of the Ancient Greeks and The Genius of the Vikings)

900s Ancient Civilizations          Bernadette Cooke, School District of Philadelphia

Upper Elem. & MS Series NF – Recycled Science; History Hunters; Warrior Science

recycledscience

Recycled Science (series). North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2017. 32 p. $84. Gr. 3-8.

Enz, Tammy. Awesome Craft Stick Science. 978-1-5157-0861-2.

Enz, Tammy. Cool Plastic Bottle and Milk Jug Science. 978-1-5157-0862-9.

Enz, Tammy. Incredible Snack Package Science. 978-1-5157-0863-6.

Wheeler-Toppen, Jodi. Amazing Cardboard Tube Science. 978-1-5157-0860-5.

Each book in this series focuses on an everyday object like a cardboard tube or a popsicle stick.  There are several step-by-step experiments and projects that can be completed using the objects.  Not only do these projects serve to recycle the materials, but they also teach scientific principles that will stick with the reader after the project is finished.  For example, readers will turn cardboard tubes into marshmallow shooters and learn about potential energy and kinetic energy in the process.  They will create harmonicas out of popsicle sticks in order to understand the concepts of sound waves, frequency, and pitch.  Complete with a glossary, index, color photographs, additional print and web resources, and critical thinking questions using the Common Core, this hands-on series is sure to entertain students as they learn about scientific principles.  THOUGHTS:  This is an excellent resource for elementary and middle school science teachers to incorporate into the classroom or Earth Day.  Full of great ideas for recycling everyday objects and hands-on projects designed to make learning fun, these books are a wonderful addition to any elementary or middle school library.

745.5; Crafts & Hobbies; Recycling              Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area High School

 

historyhunters

History Hunters. North Mankato: Capstone, 2017. $20.99 ea. $125.94 set of 6. 32p. Gr. 3-8.

Dickmann, Nancy. Ancient Egypt. 978-1-5157-2531-2.

Dickmann, Nancy. Ancient Greece. 978-1-5157-2535-0.

Dickmann, Nancy. Ancient Rome. 978-1-5157-2550-3.
Spilsbury, Louise. Ancient China. 978-1-5157-2525-1.

Spilsbury, Louise. The Mayans. 978-1-5157-2551-0.

Spilsbury, Louise. The Vikings. 978-1-5157-2552-7.

The History Hunters series uses archaeological discoveries to help illuminate and explain the history of several well known ancient civilizations. Numerous photos of archeological finds are used to supplement the text. Each volume covers topics such as religion, family life, work, housing, food, wars/conflict, and other basic information about the culture being presented. Sidebars entitled “Deadly Secrets” offer a photos, descriptions, and clues about specific finds in order to get the reader to correctly guess their purpose. A glossary is included in each volume.  THOUGHTS: Though each book in this set is a slim 32 pages, a great deal of knowledge is incorporated into the text. Readers will walk away with a basic understanding of the each civilization. Numerous photos of archaeological discoveries as well as historical images will add to the reader’s overall understanding. A great choice for history fans.

900s; Ancient Civilizations     Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS

 

warriorscience

Warrior Science. North Mankato: Capstone, 2017. $20.99 ea. $83.96 set of 4. 32p. Gr. 3-8.

Lassieur, Allison. Gladiator Science: Armor, Weapons, and Arena Combat. 978-1-4914-8129-5.

Lassieur, Allison. Medieval Knight Science: Armor, Weapons, and Siege Warfare. 978-1-4914-8130-1.

Lusted, Marcia Amidon. Ninja Science: Camouflage, Weapons, and Stealthy Attacks. 978-1-4914-8115-8.

Lusted, Marcia Amidon. Samurai Science: Armor, Weapons, and Battlefield Strategy. 978-1-4914-8124-0.

Each volume of the Warriors Science series examines one of the most prominent and popular groups of fighters from world history. Types of weapons, protective gear and tactical strategies are discussed within the context of science. In order to emerge victorious, these historic warriors had to rely on scientific principles and knowledge to maximize the effectiveness of their weaponry and strategy. For example, medieval knights protected themselves with armor designed to disperse and absorb energy from the blows of enemy weapons. Knights also built weapons such as trebuchets, which relied on counterweights and the science of gravity. Each volume features numerous diagrams, photos and historical images designed to illustrate the science behind the history. In addition, phrases/words are defined throughout the text in order to increase clarity for the reader. THOUGHTS: These engaging reads are sure to be popular with upper elementary and middle school fans of military/weapons books. The science content is seamlessly and logically woven into the presentation of historical events and the soldiers/fighters under discussion.

Military Science, History    Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS

Series Nonfiction…Essential Lives, Digging up the Past, Sports History, Economics

popefrancis

Essential Lives Set 8 (series). Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing Company, 2014. 112 p. $23.95 Gr. 7+.

Asselin, Kristine Carlson. Martin Luther King Jr.: Civil Rights Leader. 978-1-61783-891-0.      

Boshier, Rosa. Ronald Reagan: 40th US President. 978-1-61783-895-8.                                          

Grayson, Robert. Estée Lauder: Businesswoman and Cosmetics Pioneer. 978-1-61783-892-7.        

Krieg, Katherine. Sam Walton: Founder of the Walmart Empire. 978-1-61783-898-9.                   

Lanser, Amanda. Pope Francis: Spiritual Leader and Voice of the Poor. 978-1-61783-704-3.        

Llanas, Sheila. Jonas Salk: Medical Innovator and Polio Vaccine Developer. 978-1-61783-896-5.

Robinson, Tom. Malcolm X: Rights Activist and Nation of Islam Leader. 978-1-61783-893-4.          

Rowell, Rebecca. Malala Yousafzai: Education Activist. 978-1-61783-897-2.

The title I have is Sam Walton: Founder of the Walmart Empire. This volume was very well written and informative. There is plenty of background information as well as facts about his family and his hopes for the future. His battle with cancer is even addressed. Mr. Walton has changed the way mass retail works in the United States. His contribution to society is acknowledged in this volume, with side notes with quotes from Mr. Walton, family members and other well known people. This will make a good addition to a healthy biography collection. Volume includes timeline, glossary, essential facts, glossary, additional resources, source notes and an index.

Our school has a pretty large collection of biographies. This section is used quite heavily by students doing projects on an individual. If a student was interested in the history of Wal-Mart, I would also steer them to this book.

921, Biography    Kathy Gilbride, North Pocono Middle and High Schools

 

 

digginguppast

Digging Up the Past (Series). Minneapolis: ABDO, 2015. 112 p. $23.95. Gr. 6-9.    

Amstutz, Lisa J. Titanic. 978-1-62403-238-7.                                                                                       

Bailey, Diane. Emperor Qin’s Terra-Cotta Army.978-1-62403-232-5.                                                  

Capek, Michael. Stonehenge. 978-1-62403-237-0.                                                                                

Eboch, Chris. Chaco Canyon. 978-1-62403-231-8.                                                                              

Gimpel, Daine Marczely. Pompeii. 978-1-62403-236-3.                                                                      

Lanser, Amanda. Ötzi the Iceman. 978-1-62403-235-6.                                                                  

Meinking, Mary. Machu Picchu. 978-1-62403-234-9.                                                                               

Moore, Shannon Baker. King Tut’s Tomb. 978-1-62403-233-2.

Emperor Qin’s Terra-Cotta Army and Machu Picchu are the books I viewed from this series. Both volumes have clearly labeled Tables of Contents to make finding what you are looking for easier. The books take you through the known history, the discovery of the subject of the book, and then gives some insight as to what sort of legacy is left behind. There are many full color photographs and it is written on a very accessible reading level. I believe students as young as grade three could use them, but they are perfect for middle school. The books contain a timeline, digging up the facts, glossary, additional resources, source notes, and an index.

These books get a lot of use in my school because our sixth graders take a course on ancient civilizations. They were out when students had projects due for the course. Some students will just naturally be drawn to these books for further detail about the subject matter.

931, 985, Ancient Civilizations      Kathy Gilbride, North Pocono Middle and High Schools

 

miracleonice

Greatest Events in Sports History (Series). Minneapolis: ABDO, 2015. 48 p. $22.95. Gr. 3-6.

Daniel, P. K. Magic vs. Bird in the NCAA Final. 978-1-62403-596-8.                                           

Donnelly, Patrick. Joe Namath’s Super Bowl Guarantee. 978-1-62403-595-1.                                 

Smolka, Bo. Jackie Robinson Breaks the Color Barrier. 978-1-62403-594-4.                                     

Trusdell, Brian. The Miracle on Ice. 978-1-62403-597-5.                                                                

Trusdell, Brian. US Women Win the World Cup.978-1-62403-599-9.                                                             

Williams, Doug. Tiger Woods Makes Masters History. 978-1-62403-598-2.

Readers can experience some of the greatest moments in sports history with this series. US Women Win the World Cup and The Miracle on Ice were the copies that were reviewed. Each book takes you through the background of the team or person, and then presents the events in the manner in which they unfolded. This is a little simplistic for middle school, but many of my lower readers love sports books and having a good selection for them is key. The reviewed copies both included a timeline, glossary, sources for more information and an index.

This series is great to broaden a very focused sports collection. It has topics apart from the mainstream, but high in interest and appeal. Some teachers allow students one sports book for a non-fiction book report, so the series could also be used that way.

796, Sports    Kathy Gilbride, North Pocono Middle and High Schools

 

economics

The Economics of Entertainment (series). New York: Crabtree, 2014. 48 p. $22.95. Gr. 5-8.

Flatt, Lizann. Economics of the Super Bowl. 978-0-7787-7972-8.                                                     

Hulick, Kathryn. The Economics of a Video Game. 978-0-7787-7970-4.                                      

Johnson, Robin. The Economics of Making a Movie.978-0-7787-7971-1.                                                 

Perl, Sheri. The Economics of a Rock Concert. 978-0-7787-7969-8.

There is a great deal of subject matter contained in these short volumes. It introduces the topics of marketing and capitalism in all four volumes. The books explain the breakdown of the ticket prices, and who makes money on each type of event. Presented in a very appealing format, this series offers side notes, full color photos, and questions that make the reader think about the bigger picture. Each volume contains a glossary, index and a “find out more” section which gives books and websites for further reading. Some of the economics will be beyond the middle graders, but financial literacy should start at a much younger age than it currently does. The most important thing the series does is help students recognize what the difference is between needs and wants. That is a good place to start with financial literacy.

I put this series out on display and the kids just flocked to it. Then when the copies came back, other students were asking for it. Obviously, it is addressing a need in my collection and the entertainment factor helps. We currently don’t have anything in place in our curriculum for which the title could be used, so this series is purely entertainment reading.

791.6608 Entertainment       Kathy Gilbride, North Pocono Middle and High Schools