Elem. – Creepy Crafts and More (Series NF)

Owen, Ruth. Creepy Crafts and More. Bearport, 2021. $18.95 ea. $113.70 set of 6. 24 p. Grades 2-5.

Aliens. 978-1-647-47190-3.
Ghosts. 978-1-647-47185-9.
Monsters. 978-1-647-47187-3.
Spiders. 978-1-647-47189-7.
Vampires. 978-1-647-47188-0.
Witches. 978-1-647-47186-6.

Creepy is always popular with elementary students, and this series of books will add to the giggles and shivers. An appealing combination of crafts, snacks, facts, and history, Vampires provides hours of entertainment. All pages are illustrated, with attractive graphic design and bold colors. Craft activities contain clear, step-by-step instructions, plentiful illustrations, and no shortage of delightfully bloody details. The recipe for Vampire Fang cookies is simple enough for small hands, with adult assistance, and would make a fantastic Halloween treat. Interspersed in the pages are nuggets of vampire lore, as well as a page devoted to the super-icky vampire bat. A table of contents, glossary and index are included, as well as a selection of “Read More” suggestions and “Learn More Online” web resources.

THOUGHTS: These enticing books should be a hit with browsers, as well as readers interested in the crafts. They are hard to put down.  

745.5  Crafts          Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD

Elem. – Cool Paper Art

Cool Paper Art. Abdo Publishing, 2020. $20.95 ea. $125.70 set of 6. Grades 3-6.

Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Accordion Folding: Simple Paper Folding. 978-1-532-11943-9.
—. Karakuri: Paper Made to Move. 978-1-532-11944-6.
—. Papermaking: Handmade paper and Paper Products – 978-1-532-11947-7.
Thomas, Rachael L. Kirigami: Paper Cutting and Folding. 978-1-532-11945-3.
—. Origami: Classic Paper Folding. 978-1-532-11946-0.
—. 3-D Origami: Paper Building Blocks. 978-1-532-11948-4.

Karakuri: Paper Made to Move is an introductory book for readers to the Japanese art of making movement with paper. Provided with specific directions and photographs to match, readers are able to take paper and create different types of movement, including slides, levers, cranks, and cams. These simple mechanisms can be used to introduce readers to different movements and higher level ideas of physics with paper.

THOUGHTS: I am excited to provide this book to our district’s STEM teacher, who can teach many of these concepts through paper and art! This series offers a great way to bridge science and fine arts across the curriculum!

736.98 BOR                                        Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elementary NF – Money Math; Project Passion; Dropping In On; Abandoned Places; Dragonflies

Adler, David A. and Edward Miller, Ill. Money Math: Addition and Subtraction. Holiday House, 2017. 978-0-8234-2698-9. 32 p. $17.95. Gr. 1-3

A great book to fill in that 513 Dewey section in your library that might be languishing. Cartoon kids want to buy things but need to understand how money works first. In jump the Presidents who are on the different coins and bills and talk about how to add, then subtract money. Decimal points and coins are discussed, and the math in the book gets progressively harder the further you go.  THOUGHTS: I thought it was interested that they had half dollar coins in the book, but they didn’t discuss the $1 Sacagawea coin.  Overall it’s a good addition (pun intended) to the library, but not a must read.

Math; Money       Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School


Bolte, Mari. Project Passion (series). Capstone, 2018. 32 p. $20.99 ea. Gr. 4-6.

Bit by Bit:  Projects for Your Odds and Ends.  978-1-5157-7375-7.

Bought in Bulk:  Projects for Surplus Supplies.  978-1-5157-7376-4.

Create and Keep:  Projects to Hang On To.  978-1-5157-7373-3.

Share the Love:  Projects You’ll Love to Give.  978-1-5157-7374-0.  

Bit by Bit:  Projects for Your Odds and Ends and Bought in Bulk: Projects for Surplus Supplies are similar titles that include simple craft projects that can be made using common household objects and leftover craft supplies.  The books include photographic illustrations for nearly every project, including variations on each project, and clear, easy-to-follow directions.  Most of the projects can be completed entirely by children, although a few do require adult supervision or assistance.  THOUGHTS:  These books are useful additions to a makerspace which often include many of the supplies needed. Recommended for upper elementary and middle schools needing to update their craft book collections.

Handicraft 745.5                Maggie Bokelman, Cumberland Valley SD


Dropping In On… Rourke Educational Media, 2017. 32 p. $23.00 each, $268.00 for set of 12. Gr. 3-6.

Barger, Jeff. Dropping In On…Atlanta. 978-1-68191-404-6.

Canasi, Brittany. Dropping In On…Boston. 978-1-68191-408-4.

Staton, Hilarie. Dropping In On…Chicago. 978-1-68191-406-0.

Greenspan, Judy. Dropping In On…Dallas. 978-1-68191-407-7.

Staton, Hilarie. Dropping In On…Denver. 978-1-68342-173-3.

Canasi, Brittany. Dropping In On…New Orleans. 978-1-68342-174-0.

Staton, Hilarie. Dropping In On…New York City. 978-1-68191-403-9.

Waxler, Melanie. Dropping In On…Orlando. 978-1-68191-402-2.

Nelson, Deb Tuttle. Dropping In On…Philadelphia. 78-1-68191-409-1.

Canasi, Brittany. Dropping In On…San Francisco. 978-1-68342-172-6.

Greenspan, Judy. Dropping In On…St. Louis. 978-1-68342-175-7.

Barger, Jeff. Dropping In On…Washington D.C. 978-1-68191-405-3.

Calling all travelers! The Dropping In On… series is ready to prepare students for their next big family vacation or city trip. Each title provides a basic historical overview of the title city, including facts on how that city was developed or discovered and information about major historical events impacting the city. For example, Dropping In On…St. Louis reviews the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark’s explorations, while Dropping In On…New Orleans details New Orleans history both before and after the Civil War and the changes in laws and life felt by African Americans like schoolgirl Ruby Bridges. Series titles also focus on each city’s landscape, parks, monuments, major sports teams, cultural history and attractions, and spots that every tourist must visit. Each book is packed full of beautifully colored photographs, often displayed in overlapping style like a traveler’s scrapbook of photographs. Illustrated children hop into some photographs to point out interesting tidbits, similar to tour guides. Each book features a table of contents, city facts section, glossary, index, and before and after reading activities for educators. THOUGHTS: Not an essential purchase but an interesting, fact-filled introduction to several major US cities.

900s     Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD


Abandoned Places (series). Bellwether Media, 2018. $19.95 ea. Set of 6 $119.70.  24p. Gr. 2 – 5.

Leaf, Christina. Machu Picchu: The Lost Civilization. 9781626176966.

Owings, Lisa. Craco: The Medieval Ghost Town. 9781626176959.

Owings, Lisa. Battleship Island: The Deserted Island. 9781626176935.

Owings, Lisa. Pripyat: The Chernobyl Ghost Town. 9781626176973.

Schuetz, Kari. Bodie: The Gold-Mining Ghost Town. 9781626176942.

Schuetz, Kari. Roanoke: The Lost Colony. 9781626176980.

This informative series checks all the boxes of a good non-fiction book: Table of Contents, Glossary, To Learn More, and Index. Some of the best features in this series are the maps showing where the site is located, and the timelines that are in each book. The full-color modern pictures with interspersed historical ones provide a good viewpoint for young learners. THOUGHTS: The reinforced library binding makes this series worth its cost. I liked all the features, and it’s a series that won’t be quickly outdated, so will have a long shelf life.

Nonfiction; Historical Places       Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School


Perish, Patrick. Dragonflies. Bellwether Media, 2018. 9781626176621. $19.50. 24 p. Gr. K-3.

In this attractive early reader, Perish presents basic information about the dragonfly. Despite its length, the book is set up like a traditional nonfiction book with a table of contents, pictorial glossary, index, and bibliography.  The author gives the insect’s physical description, habitat, diet and life cycle in a succinct manner, as is typical of books in the Blastoff Readers series.  The stunning photographs complement the text and the reader sees full-page images of the insect on each two-page spread. One can see why this particular series is called Insects Up Close after examining the pictures, like the one which shows the size of the dragonfly’s eyes.  There are also some inset images, which are used to further explain such terms like nymph and molting.  Other interesting photographs include a dragonfly swimming underwater and one eating a mosquito.  Children will enjoy poring over the photos. This series includes a web resource called Factsurfer.  Readers are told to enter the term into the search box and get a list of websites.  One link from the San Diego Zoo did not have the referenced article and one site contained ads.  There are other books in the “Insects Up Close” series, which follow the same format.  Also examined were Cicadas, Grasshoppers, and Ladybugs.  THOUGHTS: This series is a great addition to any library collection serving children, despite the problem with the web resources. These texts would be useful in science units on insects and children will enjoy reading them for personal interest.  They are a good choice for emerging readers.

595.7  Science; Bugs            Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

MS NF Series – Fashion Origami; Lazy Crafternoons; Accessorize Yourself


Song, Sok. Fashion Origami (series). North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2017. $31.99 ea. 48pp. Gr. 4-8.

Everyday Origami. 978-1-5157-1630-3.

Origami Accessories. 978-1-5157-1623-5.

Origami Outfits. 978-1-5157-1631-0.

Calling fashionistas everywhere!  Fashion Origami, a new series from Capstone Press, takes fashion design to a new level with origami created wearable pieces.  In Origami Accessories, step-by-step instructions for folding a tote bag, scarf, bow, brooch, ballet flats, bracelet, sunglasses, clutch, backpack, and flip-flops are presented.  Each set of instructions includes folding directions and illustrations, along with a pop-out “How to Use” section and brief intro to the item.  Each book also begins with basic origami instructions and folding guide and key.  THOUGHTS:  This is a really neat set of books for students interested in design and can easily be used by an art, crafts, or other subject area teacher working on a project.  This series helps students take 2-D designs to 3-D designs and even wearable designs.

Crafts              Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS



Fields, Stella. Lazy Crafternoon (series). North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2017. $27.99 ea. 32pp. Gr. 4-8.

Accessory Projects for a Lazy Crafternoon. 978-1-5157-1436-1.

Back-to-School Projects for a Lazy Crafternoon. 978-1-5157-1438-5.

Decorating Projects for a Lazy Crafternoon. 978-1-5157-1435-4.

Party Planning for a Lazy Crafternoon. 978-1-5157-1437-8.

Lazy Crafternoon is a new series from Capstone that provides ideas for middle grades students to perk up their surroundings and things.  Each title begins with a supplies list for the whole book instead of individual craft ideas and ends with further reading and exploration through a print list and code for Facthound.  Decorating Projects for a Lazy Crafternoon includes directions for no-sew pillows, lampshades, faux stained glass, various canvas ideas, birdhouses, and decorative jars.  Each project has an individualized “What You’ll Need” list along with step-by-step instructions.  THOUGHTS:  This is a fun series for crafty students looking for a new idea.  Each project is simple enough for upper elementary and middle school students and provide a fun way to liven-up the room.

Crafts      Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS



Accessorize Yourself! (series). North Mankato, MN: Capstone, 2017. $34.65 ea. 48pp. Gr. 4-8.

Kachidurian, Debbie. Bring on the Bling!: Bracelets, Anklets, and Rings for All Occasions. 978-1-4914-8231-5.

Laughlin, Kara L. Sparkle and Shine!: Trendy Earrings, Necklaces, and Hair Accessories for All Occasions. 978-1-4914-8228-5.

Phillips, Jennifer. Picture Perfect!: Glam Scarves, Belts, Hats, and Other Fashion Accessories for All Occasions. 978-1-4914-8229-2.

Venturea, Marne. The Perfect Pair!: Purses, Handbags, and Wallets for All Occasions. 978-1-4914-8230-8.

“You’re one of a kind, and your accessories should be too” and so begins each book in this new series from Capstone.  Accessorize Yourself gives readers step-by-step instructions to creating one-of-a-kind accessories that help celebrate individual personalities.  Each title focuses on a different type of accessory (or accessories) that can be made from items found around the house or in any craft store.  Some accessories begin with a base that can be purchased in a thrift store (or found in the give-away/throw-away pile at home), while others start from scratch with just basic wire or fabric for creation.  Each title also includes a section at the end for further reading and exploration, along with colorful photos throughout of each accessory.  THOUGHTS:  This is a fun series for upper elementary and middle school girls to explore their creative side and personality through basic accessories and crafting.

Crafts; Fashion     Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS

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


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



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



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

Elementary series NF – Cool Refashioned; Global Community; Explorers


Kuskowski, Alex.  Cool Refashioned.  Mankato, MN: ABDO, 2016. 32p. $19.95 ea. Gr. 3-6.    

Scarves & Ties Fun & Easy Projects. 978-1-62403-703-0.

Sweaters Fun & Easy Fashion Projects. 978-1-62403-704-7.

This series introduces upper elementary through middle school age readers to the world of making.  It includes step by step directions to refashion items with brightly colored photographs, a glossary, index, table of contents and list of recommended tools and materials to make making easy.  THOUGHTS:  With so many libraries adding Makerspaces, this is a welcome addition.  Students are always in need of a book to help them with crafting.  This series is highly recommended for elementary and middle school libraries.

646; Crafts     Anastasia Hanneken, School Lane Charter School



Learning About Our Global Community (series). New York: Crabtree, 2016. 24p. $17.95 ea. Gr K-3.

Barghoorn, Linda. Foods in Different Places. 978-0-7787-2009-6.

McNiven, Lauren & Crystal Sikkens. Birthdays in Different Places. 978-0-7787-2011-9.

McNiven, Lauren. Schools in Different Places. 978-0-7787-2013-3.

Morganelli, Adrianna. Clothing in Different Places. 978-0-7787-2010-2.

Morganelli, Adrianna. Transportation in Different Places. 978-0-7787-2014-0.

O’Brien, Cynthia. Homes in Different Places. 978-0-7787-2012-6.

This is a great basic introduction to communities around the world. Each book begins with a statement that we all share this earth but have similarities and differences in the connection to our daily life. From there, the topics are covered in a manner that is understandable to young readers with logical headings and progression. The text features for nonfiction are all present for instructional purposes. Perhaps the best part is the balance of general statements with specific examples mixed in, giving the needed range of lifestyles while still making it relatable.  THOUGHTS: This is a good series to use as a research tool for 2nd grade level readers. Also great discussions for communities with a large ELL population or those who may need the exposure to other worlds.

Cultures of the World; Series NF      Dustin Brackbill, State College Area School District




Travel with the Great Explorers (series). New York: Crabtree, 2016. 32p. $14.99 ea. Gr 3-6.

Dalrymple, Lisa. Explore with Francisco Pizarro. 978-0-7787-1700-3.

Dalrymple, Lisa. Explore with James Cook. 978-0-7787-1701-0.

O’Brien, Cynthia. Explore with James Franklin. 978-0-7787-1703-4.

O’Brien, Cynthia. Explore with John Cabot. 978-0-7787-1702-7.

As the tagline on the back of the books claim, “Pack your bags- we’re going on an incredible trip!” Readers get to see a quick, engaging synapsis of each explorer from the 14 choices available. The outline of each book is the same, with identical chapter headings and format. The text is short and full of graphics, photos, and activities, reminding readers of the DK books mixed with the You Wouldn’t Want to Be series. The downfall of this format is the storyline of the explorer gets jumbled, but a timeline, glossary, and extra resource list at the back get interested researchers to keep on traveling. THOUGHTS: These go well as a set and could be a quick lesson review on text features for older elementary classes. Also a good example for readers of how to make research interesting and engaging for the reader.

History; Exploration    Dustin Brackbill, State College Area School District