Elem. – One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey

Cole, Henry. One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey. Scholastic Press, 2020. 978-1-338-35997-8. 48 p. $18.99. Grades K-3. 

This wordless book takes readers on one paper bag’s journey from the forest, through a lifetime of different uses, and ultimately back to the forest. Opening spreads depict woods full of trees, and readers watch as one tree is chopped down, loaded onto a truck, and delivered to a sawmill. The tree is turned into a paper bag, and it’s journey continues when a small boy and his father use the bag to carry a flashlight home from the store. The bag is used over and over again through the years to carry lunches, sheet music, tools, snacks, an engagement ring, flower petals, toy blocks, and seashells. The bag passes through generations until it is ultimately used to plant a tiny evergreen tree. Even though this story doesn’t include any words, there is plenty to discuss and infer. Illustrations were created with an ink pen, and the only spot color is the brown paper bag and the red hearts that accumulate on the bag throughout the story. Thoughtful readers will pore over the illustrations, noting details such as woodland creatures, newspaper headlines, and family portraits. An Author’s Note at the end of the book shares this story’s inspiration and offers perspective about the importance of reusing and recycling.

Thoughts: This is sure to become an Earth Day classic, prompting discussions about what other seemingly disposable items people may creatively use more than once.

Picture Book          Anne Bozievich, Southern York County SD

MS NF – Peace & War; Ecosystems Research Journal

Ogden, Charlie. Peace & War. Crabtree, 2018. 978-0-778739074. $8.95.  32pp. Gr. 4-6.

This book is a good introduction to the subject of war and peace for the younger reader (about 10 to 12). It includes bolded vocabulary that is included in a glossary, a Table of Contents, an index, and discussion questions. At 32 pages the book does not go in-depth into the subject matter, but it does offer a decent overview to different types of war, consequences of war, and significant wars in history (significant to American readers). The photographs, type, and layout are visually appealing.THOUGHTS: This is a good introductory resource for children about a difficult subject: war. This book handles the atrocities of war well. The visuals and text are suitable to the young reader, but the images chosen (the pile of shoes from the Holocaust, the 911 memorial, napalm burning, etc.) are just horrible enough to make an impact but not so graphic as to cause nightmares. This would be a good, not overwhelming resource about the subject of war and peace for younger readers.

Juvenile Nonfiction                                                Bridget Fox, Central Bucks SD

 

Ecosystems Research Journal (series). Crabtree Publishing, 2017. $27.60 Hardcover, $8.95 Paperback. 32p. Gr. 4 – 7.

Hyde, Natalie. Amazon Rainforest Research Journal. 978-0778734925.

Hyde, Natalie. Great Barrier Reef Research Journal. 978-0778734956.

Hyde, Natalie. Rocky Mountains Research Journal. 978-0778734963.

Johnson, Robin. Everglades Research Journal. 978-0778734949.

Johnson, Robin. Sonoran Desert Journal. 978-0778734970.

Rodger, Ellen. Arctic Research Journal. 978-0778734932.

The hands-on reporting style and colorful photographs will catch students attention. The information about environment, animals, and the attention to detail will impress teachers and librarians. Every journal has a mission, unique to the area the research takes place in. The arctic is focused on climate and environmental changes whereas the everglades has a wildlife biologist studying loss of freshwater and if there are other concerns such as pollution or invasive species. All the journals have 11 entries chock full of status reports (how an animal or landmark is doing), sightings of animals, and descriptive facts.  THOUGHTS: I think the layout of the book will appeal to students. Many have words written as if the author is keeping a journal on a tablet, iPad, or phone. This series also has more titles to offer that will be coming out in the next year or so.

Series Nonfiction; Ecosystems       Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Series NF for Elementary & MS – Investigating Natural Disasters

Elkins, Elizabeth.  Investigating Natural Disasters. Capstone, 2017. $20.99ea. $83.96 set of 4. 32p. Gr. 3-7.

Investigating Earthquakes. 978-1-51574-038-4.

Investigating Floods. 978-1-51574-040-7.

Investigating Hurricanes. 978-1-51574-039-1.

Investigating Tornadoes. 978-1-51574-037-7.

The Investigating Natural Disasters series aims to inform readers about four of the most common natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. The forces that form each type of disaster and explained and scientific terminology is defined within callout boxes present throughout the chapters. The role and scientists, meteorologists and other forecasters in predicting events is also highlighted. Well-known examples of each type of disaster are included within the text. Disaster safety tips, for before, during, and after each each event are presented and discussed. THOUGHTS: This engaging series offers interested readers a good introduction to the science behind the natural disasters most likely to strike in the United States. A solid choice for student researchers and casual readers alike.

Geology; Meteorology      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg School District

Picture Books – Water Princess; Marta; Became a Bird

Verde, Susan. The Water Princess. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016. 978-0-399-17258-8. Unpaged. $17.99. Gr. K-3.

This gorgeous picture book is based on the childhood experience of fashion model and activist Georgie Badiel. A princess, named Gie Gie, has a magnificent kingdom and wonderful powers. But the one thing she wishes for, to make the water come closer, Gie Gie cannot do. Every day she and her mother walk miles to get water, “dusty, earth-colored liquid.” Gie Gie dances with her mother on the journey there and plays with her friends while her mother waits in line for their turn. When they arrive home, mother boils water for them to drink. Gie Gie cleans their clothes, and the dinner is fixed. The next morning the journey for water is to be repeated again. THOUGHTS: The pictures are beautifully done and make you feel hot and parched. This book is a gentle, positive way to introduce the struggle some societies have over water. It is also based on a true story and has pictures in the back of Georgie Badiel and how she raised money for a well in a school situated in an area with no water. A great introductory read for a service project and to help students be aware of what some children struggle with.

Picture Book      Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Arena, Jen. Marta! Big & Small. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2016. 978-1-62672-243-9. Unpaged. $16.99. Gr. PreK-1.

Marta is a clever girl who lives in a jungle and knows Spanish. She teaches the reader descriptive words as well as animal names throughout the book. Marta shows the reader how she’s slow compared to a horse, but fast when matched with a turtle. When a snake arrives on the scene, will Marta be as tasty as she looks? She is ingeniosa and escapes with a smile.  THOUGHTS: This fun little book incorporates Spanish & English, opposites, similarities, comparisons and animals. It’s easy to follow while still having a lot of content. Perfect for Preschool through 1st Grade when introducing any of the above topics.

Picture Book      Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Chabbert, Ingrid & Guridi. The Day I Became a Bird. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2016. 978-1771-3862-10. Unpaged. $12.99. Gr. 1+.

In this sweet and unusual book, a boy falls in love with a girl for the first time. She however, only has eyes for the birds. The boy decides instead of passively waiting, to do something that will definitely catch her attention.  Whether in class or on the soccer field, he wholeheartedly makes a transformation into a large bird. Will it be enough?  THOUGHTS: I loved the spare simplicity of the illustrations and the writing. The concept of the story paired with the mostly black and white images bring something rich to the reader. A wonderful read aloud for older elementary school/middle school classes.

Picture Book    Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

Plastic, Ahoy!

plasticahoy

Newman, Patricia. Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Minneapolis: Millbrook Press, 2014. 978-1-4677-1283-5. 48 p. $23.00. Gr. 5+.

This book is a fabulous way to introduce young students to the effect that plastic has on our ecosystems, particularly the ocean. It contains fascinating information made very accessible to young students. The book details how each researcher became interested in ocean research, and their mission to change the way we think about plastic. It includes many fascinating photographs by Annie Crawley. I didn’t even know that an Ocean Garbage Patch existed (called the Pyre), let alone make attempts to reduce my plastic consumption. The book details how the currents of the different oceans converge to keep the Garbage Patch in one place. The book includes a glossary, source notes, hints to help, and items for further reading.

This book was not in one day, and a science teacher grabbed it. She then passed it on to the other science teachers. It is a little simplistic for the grade 8 students, but not overly so. It has spurred a movement in our school to recycle more, use reusable containers, and cut down on plastic use in general. Great to inspire STEM minded students for further study. It has had a global effect on my middle school.

363.738       Kathy Gilbride, North Pocono Middle and High School

Eyes Wide Open…a look at our environment

eyeswideopen

Fleischman, Paul. Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2014. 978-0-7636-7102-0. 203 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.

When Paul Fleischman began finding dead bees in his driveway, he wondered not only what was going on with the bees but also what was up with the environment in general. Through seeking answers to his questions, he discerned the “patterns and principles that are driving the headlines” (4). Fleischman divides the book into five sections: Perception, Defense Mechanisms, Systems, Attitudes, and Eyes Abroad and Ahead. Each section provides a different lens with which to interpret how history is happening right now, all around us. Through topics such as Vested Interests, Denial, Capitalism, and Conflict, he discusses both what’s in the headlines and what’s hidden behind them. To say it’s food for thought is an understatement; this riveting book is truly “a door leading to many other doors” (8), with sidebars pointing the reader to books, articles, Web sites, documentaries, and TED talks. Eyes Wide Open would make a great campus-wide read selection, and would pair well with an eco-themed novel such as Skink: No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014).

363.73; Environment            Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School

Some readers will take issue with Fleischman’s portrayal of the Republican Party as climate change deniers, but he provides solid examples and statistics to back up his argument, as well as links to resources on the opposing point of view. This book will spark very interesting discussions, and will truly have an impact on how student interpret what they read, hear, and observe about the environment.