As spring starts to head our way, we notice the important changes. The temperatures begin to warm, plants that had gone dormant during the winter months are beginning to sprout new growth, and in many places a yellow pollen covers the ground for a few weeks. While most people appreciate the colorful flowers and greenery of spring, we take for granted that all of this happens. One player that is especially important in the annual cycle is the bee.
It is a proven fact that we need bees. Without bees, we wouldn’t have the variety of fruits and vegetables that we are used to. Bees are important in the chain of life of flowers and vegetables, let alone in the production of honey. But over industrialized lifestyles are killing off bees. Since knowledge is power, there are fortunately a number of books trying to show the next generation, and their parents, just how important bees are and what we can do to help them. Continue reading →
We live in a society where so many kids have no idea where their food comes from. Where the thought that fruits and vegetables have seasons that we are supposed to eat them in is foreign. That there are industries at play that manipulate our taste buds and all of our senses to get us to crave certain foods. I was lucky to grow up in California and see the farming community all around me, though it has changed dramatically since I was a child (and not in good ways). Now I live in North Carolina in a semi-rural community where people that we know own farms and we look forward to late April to start picking our own strawberries. But I still want my kids to understand where our food really comes from, so I’m thrilled to see a wealth of books coming out that really work to show that to kids.
One of my kids’ favorite books at the moment is Eat Up! An Infographic Exploration of Food, by Antonia Banyard and Paula Ayer. This innovative book aims to show kids where food comes from, what kinds are healthier for you than others, and how food impacts our world – the people and the environment. It also gives a great history lesson on how our food habits have changed and why. The colorful pictures and fascinating facts really grab young readers’ attention. My kids like to quiz me on various things and tell me different facts while they are reading it. Books where we can get kids thinking about the larger world and our behaviors are definitely a win!
Another relatively new book is 100 Things to Know About Food by Usborne Book. I love this one! Filled with eye-catching graphics and written in a style to grab a reader’s attention and draw them in, this book is full of interesting and sometimes crazy facts. From the very first page where it explains that only babies can survive on milk alone, you get more than just info on milk. The writers behind this book break down the information into additional facts, like the different types of nutrients babies get from milk and that we all need. They also utilize interesting graphics, like words going through a person’s intestines, to visually get a point across. A great option to bring in facts. Continue reading →
Earth day is this Saturday and it is such an important time to make sure that you are educating your children about the world that we live in and how to keep that world around for the future generations. This is our time to take care of our environment and to remind our kids that it is our job to heal the world.
One great way to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills is to compost. Compost is a great way to feed our earth and take pressure off of our landfills. Not everyone has the ability to have a compost pile, but for those that do, Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals, is a great way to encourage kids to get involved. Siddals does a great job of simplifying the process in a fun A-Z manner. In her author’s note at the beginning and “chef’s note” at the end, she also gives kids some great facts and ways to get started. Continue reading →
Most Americans know the story of Rosie the Riveter, the cultural icon representing the American women who went to work in the factories and shipyards during WWII when the men were away. But what about the women who stepped up to the plate during WWI? It wasn’t so much a problem of having all of the men go to war, but rather, the American farm workers were lured away from their farming jobs to earn higher wages working in manufacturing. There weren’t enough men to handle the crops needed to feed Americans and her allies. Well, it turns out that the Rosie of that time were women who trained to work on farms and got food to the public.
In her book, Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman’s Land Army of America, Erin Hagar shows how young women joined the Women’s Agricultural Camp, which would later become the Women’s Land Army of America. The farmerettes, as they were called, were trained in all aspects of farming, but many farmers still didn’t believe that women were strong enough or skilled enough to do the job right.
The story that Hagar focuses on is Helen Stevens, who was a real farmerette. Stevens was a college student when she signed up, but many women were dressmakers, factory workers, teachers, and housewives.
The early Women’s Land Army of America girls had to prove that they could do the job and that they deserved the same wages as men. They were early fighters for equal rights and their story of perseverance and determination deserves to be told.
As with most non-fiction picture books, the Author’s note was incredibly interesting and full of great facts. The inside front and back covers were filled with actual advertisements that were placed encouraging women to join in the land army.
Every Wednesday I try to post a non-fiction picture book as part of the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. There are truly so many amazing nonfiction picture books being published these days, it can be hard to contain myself sometimes. Make sure to check out Kid Lit Frenzy and the linked blogs to find some more fabulous books!