MG – Shark Summer

Marcks, Ira. Shark Summer. Little, Brown, and Company, 2021. 978-0-316-46138-2. $24.99. 281 p. Grades 5-8.

Gayle, an ace pitcher for the local softball team and new to Martha’s Vineyard, hurts her wrist badly in a game. Her summer plans and hopes shattered, she teams up with a visiting son of a journalist, Elijah, and local girl Madison to make a film about a local legend.  With a big budget film crew on the island filming a blockbuster hit (similar to Jaws), the kids decide to focus their no budget film on the Atwood Terror legend, a story of a fishing-club owner who fed victims to a shark. Will there be some truth to this storied legend that the kids uncover?

THOUGHTS: Fans of Jaws and shark movies will enjoy this graphic novel.

Graphic Novel          Krista Fitzpatrick, Wissahickon Charter School

Elem. – The Shark Report (Benny McGee and the Shark Book 1)

Anderson, Derek. The Shark Report (Benny McGee and the Shark Book 1). Penguin Workshop, 2020. 978-0-593-09338-2. 64 p. $15.99. Grades 1-3.

Benny McGee is scared of swimming in the ocean because of sharks. He knows a lot about sharks because he is learning about them for a school report. When a shark appears at his house, Benny doesn’t know what to do. His father suggests Benny invite the shark in, so he does, thus beginning his friendship with the shark. When Benny’s shark report is due and he realizes he never wrote it, he decides to take Mr. Chompers with him to school as his report. But, Benny forgot today is also the day the deep-sea fisherman is scheduled to visit his class.  When the deep-sea fisherman sees Mr. Chompers, Benny must decide which is more important: his report or his new friend.

THOUGHTS: This early chapter book is a fun, fact-filled read.  Anderson includes lots of accurate information about sharks while keeping the narrative light-hearted. Emerging readers will enjoy Mr. Chomper’s shenanigans while also connecting with Benny’s fears and how he overcomes them. Book 2 of Benny McGee and the Shark, We are Famous, is also available now.

Early Chapter Book          Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

Elem. – Habitat Hunter (Series NF)

Potts, Nikki. Habitat Hunter. Ill. Maarten Lenoir, Picture Window Books, 2020. 31 p. $132.24 set of 6. $21.99 ea. Grades PreK-2.

Frog Moves out of the Rain Forest. 978-1-977-11423-5. 
Goat Moves out of the Barnyard.
978-1-977-11421-1.
Meerkat Moves out of the Desert
. 978-1-977-11419-8.
Owl Moves out of the Forest. 978-1-977-11424-2.
Penguin Moves out of the Antarctic. 978-1-977-11422-8.
Shark Moves out of the Ocean.
978-1-977-11420-4.

“Meerkats, meerkats everywhere!” (1), and Meerkat is not happy about it.  She wants a new home she does not have to share, so she sets out to find her new home. Meerkat tries the mountains, but they’re too quiet. She tries a cave, but it’s too cold and has too many bats.  Next she tries a playground; it seems like a great home with all of the tunnels, but the slide is too hot, and the monkey bars are too high. After trying a garden, Meerkat decides her own home is the best home and returns to it.

THOUGHTSMeerkat Moves out of the Desert is a fun way for young readers to learn about meerkats. Combining both pictures and illustrations, readers learn about various homes for Meerkat while also learning why the new habitat isn’t quite right. In the end, Meerkat’s realization that her habitat is the best not only solidifies basic understanding of a meerkat, but it also teaches readers to appreciate their home and family and that something different is not always best.  This title, as with the other titles in this series, also includes a page about the highlighted animal (meerkats) and an “Animal Passport.” This title is also useful for teaching comparing and contrasting because of the various homes Meerkat considers.

 

 

 

Animals        Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

Elem. Series NF – Celebrating Holidays; Sharks; Ocean Life Up Close; North American Animals

Celebrating Holidays (series). Bellwether Media, 2017. $17.95 ea. Set of 8 $143.60.  24p. Gr. K – 2.

Grack, Rachel. Chinese New Year. 9781626175914.

Grack, Rachel. Christmas. 9781626175921.

Grack, Rachel. Diwali. 9781618912725.

Grack, Rachel. Easter. 9781618912732.

Grack, Rachel. Hanukkah. 9781626175952.

Grack, Rachel. Kwanzaa. 9781626175969.

Grack, Rachel. Ramadan. 9781626175976.

Grack, Rachel. Thanksgiving. 9781618912770.

With vivid, bright pictures, this non-fiction series explains what each holiday is, who celebrates it, and the origins of the holiday. This collection includes global holidays that every child should be familiar with. Maps show where in the world the holiday is celebrated, and each has a handy pronunciation guide to help readers say the words correctly. This series explains when during the year the holiday is and shares traditions. THOUGHTS: This is a wonderfully put together series, appropriate for introducing global holidays to Kindergarten – 2nd Grade. I love the kid-friendly recipes they add!

Holidays; World Culture     Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Zoom In on Sharks (series). ABDO, 2018. $18.95 ea. Set of 6 $113.70.  24p. Gr. K-2.

Statts, Leo. Great White Sharks. 978-1532120084.

Statts, Leo. Hammerhead Sharks. 978-1532120091.

Statts, Leo. Mako Sharks. 978-1532120107.

Statts, Leo. Sand Sharks. 978-1532120114.

Statts, Leo. Tiger Sharks. 978-1532120121.

Statts, Leo. Whale Sharks. 978-1532120138.

This is a great introductory series on sharks for younger readers. For Kindergarten through first or second grades, these books provide facts about everything from body and food to maps of habitat and information on life cycle.  THOUGHTS: I enjoyed the quick stats comparing these sharks to everyday objects for the students (a tiger shark is shorter than a car, but heavier than a vending machine).

Nonfiction; Sharks      Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Ocean Life Up Close (series). Bellwether Media, 2017-2018. $17.95 ea. Set of 28 $502.60. 24p. Gr. 2-5.

Adamson, Heather. Emperor Penguins. 9781626176416.

Adamson, Heather. Lobsters. 9781626176423.

Adamson, Heather. Orcas. 9781626176430.

Adamson, Heather. Sea Dragons. 9781626176447.

Adamson, Heather. Sea Lions. 9781626176454.

Adamson, Heather. Sea Urchins. 9781626176461.

Leaf, Christina. Humpback Whales. 9781626174177.

Leaf, Christina. Jellyfish. 9781626174184.

Leaf, Christina. Octopuses. 9781626174191.

Leaf, Christina. Sea Horses. 9781626174207.

Pettiford, Rebecca. Crabs. 9781626174153.

Pettiford, Rebecca. Great White Sharks. 9781626174160.

Pettiford, Rebecca. Manatees. 9781626175709.

Pettiford, Rebecca. Puffer Fish. 9781626175723.

Pettiford, Rebecca. Sea Stars. 9781626174214.

Pettiford, Rebecca. Seals. 9781626175747.

Pettiford, Rebecca. Stingrays. 9781626174238.

Schuetz, Kari. Bottlenose Dolphins. 9781626174139.

Schuetz, Kari. Clownfish. 9781626174146.

Schuetz, Kari. Sea Turtles. 9781626174221.

Schuetz, Kari. Walruses. 9781626174245.

Schuh, Mari. Corals. 9781626175693.

Schuh, Mari. Parrotfish. 9781626175716.

Schuh, Mari. Sea Anemones. 9781626175730.

Sommer, Nathan. Angelfish. 9781626177642.

Sommer, Nathan. Eels. 9781626177659.

Sommer, Nathan. Sea Otters. 9781626177666.

Sommer, Nathan. Squids. 9781626177673.

Ocean Life Up Close is an extensive series that covers a diverse range of underwater animals. Up-close and colorful photographs for each animal increase the appeal for young readers. Recurring features include the “Species Spotlight,” which highlights one specific variety of the animal with basic information including life span, depth range in the ocean, the range of the habitat, and its conservation status. Other areas of focus include relative sizes and animal life-cycles, presented in an easy-to-understand and visually attractive format.  THOUGHTS: This series is wonderful for classes doing research, especially if each student needs a book. Each title presents a lot of quality information, informative for students and teachers alike, and is easy to understand, with bright pictures. The series is also ideal for a wide range of grades.

Nonfiction; Animals       Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

North American Animals. Bellwether, 2018. $17.95 ea. 24p. Gr. K-3.
Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Canada Lynx. 978-1-62617-635-5.

Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Caribou. 978-1-62617-636-2.
Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Mountain Goats. 978–62617-638-6.
Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Northern Cardinals. 978-1-62617-640-9.
Leighton, Christina. Bobcats. 978-1-62617-565-5.
Leighton, Christina. Cottontail Rabbits. 978-1-62617-566-2.
Leighton, Christina. Golden Eagles. 978-62617-567-9.
Leighton, Christina. Roadrunners. 978-1-62617-568-6.
Rathburn, Betsy. Diamondback Rattlesnakes. 978-1-62617-637-9.
Rathburn, Betsy. Mountain Lions. 978-1-62617-639-3.
Animal books are perennial favorites with students, which no doubt influenced Bellwether’s expansion of its North American Animal series for younger readers. Each one of these engaging titles features basic information about the animal under discussion, including physical characteristics, habitat, predators, reproduction, and diet. Diagrams and photos are present throughout the text to reinforce the presented information. For example, each volume contains a map illustrating the range and current conservation status of each animal, while a diagram compares the size of the animal to humans. Close up photos illustrate distinguishing characteristics of each species. (For example, the Bobcats volume featured close up photos of a bobbed tail, dark spots, and ruff, all identifying characteristics of the bobcat.) The text is enhanced by numerous high-quality photographs of each animal. A glossary and link for online resources are also included. THOUGHTS: These titles are ideal for the lower elementary researcher or casual reader. The photo selection in each volume is excellent – the images are so crisp and clear it feels like the animal is going to jump off the page at you! A note regarding the link for online resources found in the back of each volume. At the time of this review, this link was not working correctly and the recommended resources were unable to accessed. However, these titles are still a worthwhile purchase for the elementary school collection.
500s Animals        Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

Elementary NF – Shark Lady; Best Athlete series; DIY Day Spa series; Survival Zone series

Keating, Jess. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist.  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2017.  9781492642046. Unpaged. $17.99. Gr. K-3.

This is the fascinating story of the scientist Eugenie Clark, who is better known as the “Shark Lady.” Keating begins with a look at Eugenie as a child, who even then showed an interest in this marine animal. We see her visiting an aquarium, diving into the ocean at Atlantic City, gazing at her own small aquarium, and sitting in a library reading books about different species of sharks.  While in college, the reader learns that some professors discouraged Eugenie from pursuing a career in marine biology, but she achieved her dream in spite of this. Clark’s career began in a laboratory, but she was eager to “make her own discoveries” and began diving in the ocean to continue her research. The reader sees the illustrations of three fish species that Eugenie discovered.  Clark wanted to prove that sharks were intelligent creatures and became the first scientist to train one to receive food by pushing a bell.  The illustrations by Marta Álvarez Miguéns are engaging and give the reader an insight into what the scientist is thinking. On a two page spread where Eugenie is pretending that she is walking underwater at the aquarium, the illustrator draws fish swimming within its rooms and darting out from behind columns.  Fish also appear in the library scene when she is reading books. One small problem is the description of the underwater scene at Atlantic City because it is doubtful that the water was as clear as pictured and described.  Still, readers will enjoy poring over the drawings, especially the one of the giant jaws. The back matter includes a timeline of Clark’s life and interesting facts about sharks are found on a page called “Shark Bites.” The author’s note gives some further details about Clark’s life and the Mote Marine Research Laboratory where she worked.  Thoughts: This picture book biography should be added to every elementary collection and not just because shark books are always in high demand by young students. Keating’s book contains an important message in that it shows children that they should not be discouraged from following their dreams.  However, the author also makes it clear that following a dream takes hard work and study.  This book is an inspiration to future marine biologists and is a great choice for any child who is curious about sharks.

Picture Book Biography             Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

 

Make Me the Best Athlete. Abdo, 2017. $22.95ea. $183.60 set of 8. 48p. Gr. 4-6.

Ackerman, Jon. Make Me the Best Volleyball Player. 978-1-680-78492-3.

Graves, Will. Make Me the Best Basketball Player. 978-1-6807-8487-9.

Kortemeier, Todd. Make Me the Best Baseball Player. 978-1-6807-8486-2.

Kortemeier, Todd. Make Me the Best Hockey Player. 978-1-6807-8489-3.

Kortemeier, Todd. Make Me the Best Soccer Player. 978-1-6807-8491-6.

Myers, Jess. Make Me the Best Lacrosse Player. 978-1-6807-8490-9.

Myers, Dan. Make Me the Best Football Player. 978-1-6807-8488-6.

Stone, Ken. Make Me the Best at Track and Field. 978-1-6807-8485-5.

The Make Me the Best Athlete series introduces readers to various drills/tips they can use to improve their skills in specific sports. Each title features chapters that focus on a single skill and a representative player that exemplifies that skill. For example, the Make Me the Best Football Player volume features chapters titled “Pass Like Aaron Rodgers” and “Catch Like Julio Jones.” Each chapter provides a brief biographical sketch of the featured athlete as well as discussion about the importance of developing skills in order to play the player’s position. Specific tips and drills are presented that readers can use to help them improve their personal play. THOUGHTS: These volumes are clearly organized, make good use of photos, and feature popular and contemporary athletes (older athletes are also spotlighted in boxes throughout the text). The drills are clearly explained and require only basic equipment any player of the sport under discussion would own. Recommend to athletes looking to improve their play.

796 Sports      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

 

Andrus, Aubre. DIY Day Spa. Capstone, 2017. $23.49ea. $93.96 set of 4. 48p. Gr. 4-8.

Bathe, Buff, and Beautify: DIY Crafts and Recipes for Natural Body Care. 978-1-5157-3446-8.

Gloss, Floss, and Wash: DIY Crafts and Recipes for a Fresh Face and Teeth.
978-1-5157-3447-5.

Lotions, Potions, and Polish: DIY Crafts and Recipes for Hands, Nails, and Feet.
978-1-5157-3445-1.

Spray, Smooth, and Shampoo: DIY Crafts and Recipes for Healthy Hair.
978-1-5157-3444-4.

Designed with the tween beauty market in mind, the DIY Day Spa set offers readers a variety of recipes for homemade spa products and instructions for related crafts. All recipes use natural ingredients such as essential oils, honey, spices, oats, lemon, etc. Most recipes contain 3-7 ingredients, most of which can be found in grocery or health food stores and online. Recipes are clearly explained and safety tips are included to make sure products are stored and used properly.  Examples of recipes in the Bathe, Buff, and Beautify volume include Mocha Salt Scrub, Cinnamon Vanilla Whipped Body Butter and Sweet Dreams Cream. Each volume also contains related craft projects to accompany the spa products. Examples of craft projects include a shower pouf, a spa towel wrap, and homemade gift wrap. THOUGHTS: Students who are fans of beauty products will be fans of this series. Recipies are relatively simple and contain commonly acquirable ingredients. Perfect for creating gifts for family or friends, or a great activity for sleepovers or scouting groups.
615; 646 Beauty      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

 

Perish, Patrick. Survival Zone. Bellwether, 2017. $19.95ea. $239.40 set of 12. 24p. Gr. 3-7.
Survive a Blizzard. 978-1626174412
Survive a Fire. 978-1626175815.
Survive a Flood. 978-1626174429.
Survive a Hurricane. 978-1626174436
Survive a Plane Crash. 978-1626175822.
Survive a Tornado. 978-1626174443.
Survive a Tsunami. 978-1626174450.
Survive an Avalanche. 978-1626175839.
Survive an Earthquake. 978-1626175846.
Survive in the Mountains. 978-1626174467.
Survive in the Woods. 978-1626174474.
Survive on a Desert Island. 978-1626174481.

Each volume of this exciting series opens with a real-life situation in which a person (often a tween or teen) faces a specific potentially life-threatening disaster and survives. Readers will learn about how each disaster develops. The importance of preparation in advance of natural disasters are stressed and specific survival strategies and tips are also described. The text is enhanced by numerous photos, diagrams, and text boxes. THOUGHTS: This series is an engaging page-turner that will interest many readers. Concepts are clearly explained and the survival tips/strategies presented are practical and could be employed by students of all ages. Would be a great non-fiction option for fans of Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived series.

600s Technology      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

 

 

 

Early Elementary – Perfect Pinatas; If Sharks Disappeared; Dragons Love Tacos 2; Beauty & the Beast

McDonald, Kirsten. The Perfect Piñatas. Magic Wagon, a division of ABDO, 2017. 978-1-62402-183-1. Unpaged. $19.99. Gr. 1-3.

This is part of the early reader series Carlos & Carmen in which there are over 10 books. Carlos and Carmen are twins getting ready for their birthday. Shopping with their Abuelita for piñatas is fun, but they have to find the perfect ones. After several stores of amusing, but ultimately unsatisfactory paper mache objects, the children find their ideal piñatas. Yet this presents another problem as they soon discover, they want to keep and play with their new toys! They cannot imagine smashing them to get at the candy and toys inside. Luckily, their Abuelita has a wonderful solution. THOUGHTS: A great read-aloud multicultural book to add to the collection, but the sprinkling of Spanish words is difficult for early readers.

Fiction Early Reader   Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

This book is discouraging. At first I was so excited for find a series with Latinos for early readers, until I read the book. They have Spanish words throughout the text with absolutely no indication that they are another language. This is difficult for non-bilingual children who are just learning to read. There IS a Glossary, but it is in the back, and no way to tell what words will be in it while reading. I am going to put it in my collection, but am tempted to write a disclaimer in the beginning about the Spanish words and highlight them in the text so it will be easier for the students to decypher.

 

Williams, Lily. If Sharks Disappeared.  Roaring Brook Press, 2017.  9781626724136.  Unpaged. $17.99. Gr. K-3.

In this text, the author presents the reader with an interesting look at food chain dynamics in the ocean, while keeping it accessible for younger students.  The opening two pages will grab their attention, as Williams begins with an explanation of the ocean environment with its many sea creatures.  This includes a scary shark, which appears to be coming right out of the page toward the reader with open mouth and sharp teeth! The author explains terms like “apex predator” and shows a timeline of the evolution of the shark.   An interesting illustration shows the role of various marine animals in the food chain and who eats whom.  Williams’s illustrations have a touch of whimsy and the images will not frighten children.  The author discusses the effect of the loss of ocean predators and how it would change the composition of the ocean and eventually affect humans and land animals.    There is a glossary, bibliography and list of websites.  The author also includes information about how sharks can be protected.  THOUGHTS: There is a lot of information in this text and it is presented in a simple, but clear way. Readers will gain a good understanding of the importance of food chains and the effects on other living creatures if a link in the chain is broken. This book will work well in science units, but many children will enjoy reading it on their own. This one is a first purchase for elementary collections.

Science Nonfiction      Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

 

Rubin, Adam and Daniel Salmieri. Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel. Dial Books, 2017. 978-0-525-42888-6. $18.99. Unpaged. Gr. K-3

They’re back! Those taco-loving dragons from the 2015 PAYRC award-winning book by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri have their very own sequel. This time around, the world is facing a taco crisis: No More Tacos! The intrepid young hero decides to solve the problem by going back in time, to the infamous taco party (before the dragons eat the spicy salsa, of course), and grabbing some tacos, with which he can plant taco trees. Lots of mayhem and silliness ensue before the successful completion of the mission. While you might not have thought the original book needed a sequel, those students who know the first book will rejoice at another romp with the dragons.  For younger students, it provides a wonderful reason to expose them to the delightful works of Rubin and Salmieri (read Secret Pizza Party as well). THOUGHTS: The final double-spread illustration is worth purchasing the book, even if you do not think the sequel stands up to the original. Your students will love it.

Picture Book     Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD

 

Rylant, Cynthia. Beauty and the Beast. Disney Hyperion, 2017.  978-142311981-4. 40pp. $16.99. Gr. K-3.

This rich retelling of the classic story focuses on the themes of loneliness and love. It begins by introducing a father and his three daughters. The family was once well-off, but after a failed business venture, they now live modestly. The two older daughters resent this misfortune, but the youngest, Beauty, accepts the new life without complaint. When their father receives news about his former business, he rides off to port, but he becomes lost in the forest during a blizzard. His horse leads him to a stony castle where he dines and takes shelter. The next day, when leaving the castle, he spies a single rose blooming in the garden, and he cuts it. Immediately, a terrible Beast is upon him. The Beast seizes the father as a servant, but he ultimately agrees to exchange him for one of his daughters. Beauty refuses to lose her father and insists on taking his place. She is prepared for the Beast’s terribleness, but he treats her kindly, giving her beautiful gowns, delicious food, and never making her do any serving work. Together, they walk the gardens and read sonnets, but when the Beast asks Beauty to marry him, she turns him down, explaining that she doesn’t love him. When Beauty’s father falls ill, the Beast allows her to go care for him, believing he’ll never see her again. In her absence, he begins dying of a broken heart, but Beauty returns to him just in time to say, “I love you.” Her love breaks the spell, and the Beast is transformed back into a handsome prince. The muted, pastel tones of this book’s full-bleed illustrations perfectly complement the tenderness and love Rylant uses to reimagine this timeless story.  THOUGHTS:  This book will be useful for sparking discussions about the differences between the book and the movies. It is a perfect addition to fairy tale collections, and it should prove popular with both teachers and students alike.

Picture Book     Anne Bozievich, Southern York County SD

MS Nonfiction – Shark Week; Kindertransport; WWI Spies

Brockenbrough, Martha. Shark Week: Everything You Need to Know. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2016. 978-1-250-09777-4. $19.99. 149 pp. Gr. 5-8.

Shark Week is one of the Discovery Channel’s highest rated programs each year, so it only makes sense that they would want to draw in younger viewers.  Shark Week: Everything You Need to Know will not only draw out the shark lovers, but may also create shark enthusiasts.  With life-like color photographs, Shark Week aims to please the middle school (and older/younger) reader.  Sectioned into chapters about life, predatory nature, types of sharks, “Shark Fight[s]”, and survivor stories, each topic is further explored in detail through general overviews and bold sections (a great text for textual analysis and reading for information).  Some fun shark facts include the fact that sharks don’t chew; in clear water sharks can see further than their prey; great whites enjoy death metal, and sharks can’t move if flipped over.  THOUGHTS:  This is a perfect addition to middle school nonfiction collections.  The text is easy to read and includes amazing photography and images throughout.  The information is accessible and not overwhelming for readers and will definitely spark further investigation.  

597.3; Sharks     Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS-HS

 

Berne, Emma Carlson. Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2017. 978-1-5157-4545-7. $22.49. 112pp. Gr. 3-6.

The Kindertransport is perhaps the most famous children’s refugee program.  From December 1938 until May 1940, Jewish children were brought from Germany, German occupied countries, and the Netherlands to Great Britain to be cared for until the fall of Hitler when they could return home to their families.  With the onset of World War II in 1940, many of the children ended the war with no home or family to return to and limited memories of what had been.  This narrative nonfiction text intertwines the experiences of seven Kindertransport survivors with the history leading up to and during World War II.  Each chapter includes primary source text and images exploring both the individual refugee experience and the universal World War II experience.  This text ends with a timeline, glossary, information section, and bibliography for further exploration.  THOUGHTS:  Although recommended for grades 3-6, this text could easily extend into middle school, especially for reluctant or struggling readers.  The text is large with lots of white space on the page.  Any schools reading The Diary of Anne Frank or Boy in the Striped Pajamas or a similar World War II or Holocaust book would benefit from this purchase.  Even if World War II research is not completed, students would gain great knowledge just by flipping through this text.

940.53; World War II; Holocaust      Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS-HS

Lassieur, Allison. Courageous Spies and International Intrigue of World War I. North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2017. 978-0-7565-5499-6. $25.49. 64pp. Gr. 4-8.

Courageous Spies and International Intrigue of World War I is the first title in a new series from Compass Point Books that focuses on spies during war times.  This text begins with the story of the Black Hand, a Serbian national group solely focused on bringing Bosnia back to Serbia.  The Black Hand’s goal was to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which, as history shows, was successful and ignited World War I.  Since most Black Hand members were teenagers, they were arrested, served prison sentences, and were later released.  Only those twenty and over were sentenced to death for their conspiracy and assassination crimes. This is just the first chapter of Courageous Spies and International Intrigue of World War I.  Later chapters explore the code breakers of Room 40, London (who cracked the Zimmerman telegram, the greatest code at the time, and then went back to normal lives at the end of WWI, but returned to Room 40 with the start of World War II); female spy, British nurse Edith Cavell; “Ace of Spies” Sidney Reilly, a Russian trying to overthrow Vladimir Lenin (Reilly was Ian Fleming’s inspiration for James Bond); Mata Hari, a famous dancer who is believed to have been a German spy, double agent, both, or nothing at all, and La Dame Blanche, a network of Belgium spies working for the Allied forces.  In addition to the intriguing stories, primary sources are scattered throughout the text, with a timeline, glossary, resources, and bibliography at the end. Additional titles in this series include Fearless Spies and Daring Deeds of World War II; Deep-Cover Spies and Double-Crossers of the Cold War, and Cyber Spies and Secret Agents of Modern Times, all set to release later this year.  THOUGHTS:  This is an excellent purchase for middle schools.  The excitement of spies has great appeal, and why not include some of the most famous spies from history.  If nothing else, this is a fun, quick read, especially for reluctant readers and conspiracy theorists :-), and it’ll help with Jeopardy answers!

World War I; Spies      Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS-HS

 

Elementary Series NF – New from ABDO

musicscience

Latchana, Karen Kenney. Science in Action.  Minneapolis: ABDO, 2016. 32pp. $18.95.  Gr. 2-4.

The Science of Music: Discovering Sound. 978-1-62403-962-1.

The Science of Glaciers: How Temperature Works. 978-1-62403-961-4.

Music is a language that speaks across all boundaries.  There is a type of music for everyone.  So using the topic of music to introduce the often complicated science of sound is a great way to get students interested in the subject.  This series, entitled Science in Action, takes every day topics and uses them to connect to the scientific principles that make them possible.  Insets with famous scientists, graphs and charts about various statistics, bright and colorful graphics all combine to make the topic come alive for students.  The text also includes bold faced vocabulary words that are then explained in a glossary, as well as interesting connections to historical figures and even to the animal world which give depth to the topics covered. Included in the back of the book is an idea for an extension experiment as well as a link to a website that is monitored and updated by the publisher about the topics presented in the series.  THOUGHTS:  This series is a solid addition to any nonfiction collection.  The use of topics such as music, race cars, roller coasters and others catch the attention of students and make real world connections to the complex world of science.  Portions of these books could be great as a supplement or a read-aloud for a science unit.

Science    Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

 

sportstrivia

Sports Trivia. Minneapolis: ABDO, 2016. 48 p. $22.95. Gr. 2-4.

Ervin, Phil. Basketball Trivia.  978-1-68078-0024.

Howell, Brian.  Baseball Trivia. 978-1-68078-001-7.

This series of books  written in a “Question/Answer” style will appeal to sports fans.  It uses simple text but contains lots of history, stats and action that sports fans are always looking for.  Providing a nonfiction sports book helps even some reluctant readers to master text features while engaging in a subject they love.  Each book is divided into four sections based on the level of sports knowledge; Rookie, Veteran, Champion, and Hall of Famer.  They provide both black and white and color illustrations of famous athletes, a glossary of sports terms, and even a trivia quiz that readers can use to test their new knowledge after reading! The publisher also provides a website with extension activities and more information that is updated and kept current. Sports in the series include basketball, baseball, football, hockey, soccer and an Olympic edition.  Thoughts:  This series will be popular with the sports crowd!  Providing simpler text for the early reader will help to encourage fluency while using a topic that will hold their interest. Oh, and putting Steph Curry on the cover of the basketball edition will definitely draw attention to this fun set!

Sports                 Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

 

maryceleste

Mysteries of History. Minneapolis: ABDO, 2016. 48 p. $22.95. Gr. 3-6.

Krasner, Barbara.  The Mystery of the Mary Celeste. 978-1-68078-024-6.

Rea, Amy C.  The Mystery of Atlantis. 978-1-68078-023-9.                            

This series is a riveting look at some of the most famous mysteries in history.  The text is simple but provides many opportunities to stop and think about the evidence presented in the story.  Students are presented with quotes from primary sources and asked to respond by showing how the details in the story or quote support the main idea.  Readers are also given clues and asked to choose which theory they feel is the answer to this mystery based on the evidence provided in the text.  Along with rich text, charts, graphs, diagrams and maps, students and teachers are given links to videos and extension materials  through a site, mycorelibrary.com.  The author provides multiple opportunities for students to engage and interact with the topic including writing from the perspective of someone there, researching the topic further and writing about their findings, and using the evidence to choose a theory and support it with details. Titles in this series include:  The Mystery of the Mary Celeste; The Mystery of Atlantis; The Mystery of Area 51; The Mystery of the Roanoke Colonists; The Mystery of the Sphinx; The Mystery of the Nazca Lines.  Thoughts:  The high-interest topics of these books will make them popular in any library.  The extra activities and support for Common Core Standards and critical thinking make them a valuable asset for teachers to use as a stand alone or in conjunction with a history unit.

History          Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

 

coralreefs

Bioindicator Species. Minneapolis: ABDO, 2016.  48pp. $22.95. Gr. 3-6.

Gagne, Tammy. Dragonflies Matter. 978-1-68078-010-9.

Murphy, Julie.  Coral Reefs Matter.  978-1-68078-009-3.     

This series focuses on the interrelationships of organisms in our environment and discusses threats to the ecosystems around the world.  Each book describes the organism, its purpose in the ecosystem, and the indications that they are giving to show that the ecosystem is in danger.  Full color illustrations provide a window into the world of nature being described, while graphs, charts and maps provide readers with statistics needed to synthesize the data. Throughout the text there are quotes from magazines and experts that readers can analyze and respond to.  At the conclusion of the books, there are several suggested projects and writing activities to challenge readers to think critically about the subject.  The publisher also provides extension activities and supplements for teachers through the website, mycorelibrary.com, that is updated to provide current information.  Titles in this set include:  Dragonflies Matter;  Coral Reefs Matter;  Bees Matter;  Frogs Matter;  Monarch Butterflies Matter;  Polar Bears Matter.  Thoughts:  This set of books challenges readers to examine the ecosystem and the impact that we as humans are making to our environment.  Along with critical thinking skills, these books encourage students to use multiple sources to collect data and information and fully support common core standards.  These topics could be used as a stand- alone unit, or in conjunction with a unit on climate change or biomes.   An excellent resource for both students and teachers.

Science; Ecosystems        Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

 

bluesharks

Hansen, Grace.  Sharks. Minneapolis: ABDO, 2016. 24pp. $19.95. Gr. K-2.  

Blue Sharks. 978-1-68080151-4.

Bull Sharks.  978-1-68080152-1.

Sharks have a fascination all their own.   These beautiful photographs of sharks in their ocean habitats will pull readers in.  The simple text and large font will keep beginning reader’s attention and provide support for fluency success.  The text features including a glossary, boldfaced words and a Table of Contents thatl reinforce how to find information in a nonfiction text  .   These simple, yet attractive books are a great introduction to the world of nonfiction for the new reader.  THOUGHTS:  A nonfiction collection today must include examples like these that are simple enough for even the earliest reader to manage with success.  The cool pictures and spooky sharks will keep them coming back for more!

Sharks      Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy