Back in June, I finally read Jason Chin’s beautiful work Grand Canyon. I was completely blown away by his illustrations and methods used to capture a child’s attention and teach them a wealth of information on the Grand Canyon. When I learned about the other titles he has written, I decided that I had to gather them up to see what there was to learn. Not surprisingly, his other books were just as beautiful and just as important for young researchers, adventurers, explorers, and inquisitive minds.
Island – A Story of the Galápagos is a fascinating look at the evolution of the Galápagos Islands and of the animals who lived there. Chin, in his remarkable way, takes the reader from birth to death of an individual island in a manner that is both entertaining and educational. Continue reading →
Our earth’s surface is about 71% water and 29% land, yet much of our seas have barely been explored. Life in the Ocean is the true story of Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer and activist. While the book is about how she fell in love with the sea at an early age, it is also a message that we need to take better care of our oceans.
The start of the book tells of Earle’s early life in New Jersey and her natural curiosity that developed while she was living on an old farm. Earle investigated the world around her and studied nature and animals. A move to Florida and a pair of swim goggles showed her the amazing life that lived in the ocean and would forever change her life.
The book then takes a quick turn by briefly describing Earle’s achievements. Between being the only woman doing the kind of research that she was involved in to developing equipment that would allow her to dive deeper in the water, she was obviously an important force in her field. I would have liked to have seen this developed more, but that is where the book becomes less of a biography and more of a book about the ocean and its future. Continue reading →
Every week I volunteer in one of our local elementary school’s libraries. It is fascinating to see what the kids check out and which books get taken over and over again. One section of the library that is in constant rotation are books about animals. Kids are absolutely fascinated by them and each child has their own particular favorites. My own daughters, who are not huge non-fiction fans, both love reading about animals. J has had a long fascination with dolphins and both girls enjoy animals that live in the water. So it isn’t surprising that National Geographic Kids has combined that pure love with a natural curiosity about oceans in their latest book – The Ultimate Oceanpedia.
This gorgeous book is broken down into seven sections – Oceans, Ocean Life, Ocean in Motion, Wild Weather, Underwater Exploration, Along the Coast, and When People and Oceans Meet. The information itself has large chunks about main topics and then fills in holes with lots of little details, so while it is an encyclopedia, it could be read like a book – which is what fascinated kids like to do.
What is great is that this is a book that can grow with your kids. Younger kids will love looking at the pictures and maybe checking out information on their favorite animal. Older kids can get a ton of information about oceans and ocean life without turning to google. There are amazing pages about the different ocean layers and who lives there as well as impressive explanations about waves and tides.
As kids start to get older and have more appreciation not only for nature but for their place in it, there is a ton of information about the impact of humans on the ocean and things we can do to help it.
I was fortunate enough to grow up on the west coast and able to explore the ocean and shore line on vacations as well as part of my education with field trips to various locations, but my kids are not quite as lucky. For the many children in this country and all over who can’t experience what a tide-pool is like, this book is a great resource.
There are many wonderful things that I can say about this book, but the best is the knowledge that it will be used time and time again over the years as a valuable source of trusted information.
**Note – I received a copy of this from the publisher but all comments and reviews are completely my own.
It’s Shark Week and non-fiction picture book Wednesday. My girls have never been overly excited by sharks. Dolphins? Absolutely. Sharks? Not so much. Actually, J has been completely fascinated with marine biology for years, but more as a general study. So I wanted to put together a list of ocean themed books that actually made more sense for us. There is a little bit of something for everyone here.*
Picture Books and Flap books for the Younger Readers
Shine-a-light Secrets of the Seashore – The Shine-A-Light books are amazing. Each page asks the child a question and you hold a the page up to a light (or shine a flashlight) and discover the secrets hidden withing. In this book, spot the tiny shrimps hiding in the sand, see a shy crab underneath a rock and watch a jewel-like anemone open its tentacles in this beautiful book of nature’s hidden habitats. Great for ages 4-8.
How Deep is the Sea? – Have you ever wondered how deep the sea is? Pipkin the Penguin wants to know just that. With the help of a friendly seal, a big blue whale and a salty sea dog in a yellow submarine, Pipkin learns that the sea is very deep indeed! A VERY long poster at the back of the book shows just how deep the sea is – and how far Pipkin would have to travel to get so deep.
Under the Sea – Have you ever wondered what’s under the sea? Dive beneath the waves and discover bustling fish, a singing whale and twinkling creatures of the deep.
Big Book of Sea Creatures – Open the huge fold-out pages to discover all kinds of magnificent sea creatures, from the leatherback sea turtle to the great white shark and the biggest animal on Earth – the mighty blue whale. Each page is full of stunning illustrations to pore over, showing the biggest, smallest, longest, fastest, oldest and most ferocious ocean creatures.
Lift-the-flap Sharks – Sharks aren’t just scary fish with pointy teeth. Lift the flaps in this richly illustrated book to meet gentle giants, fierce hunters, beady-eyed baby sharks and the weird, weedy woebegone.
Lift-the-flap Under the Sea – The sea is full of surprises, so come on in and take a look. You’ll find amazing wildlife, from a fish that change its shape, to deep-sea shockers that light up in the dark. You’ll discover even more behind the seaweed and the rocks — lift the flaps to see.
Fact Based Books for the elementary aged reader
What’s Under the Sea – Shipwrecks, fish, whales and sharks, tunnels, cables and coral reefs – these are just some of the topics in this bright, colorful book. With maps and pictures, it shows the seas of the world and their wildlife, and describes how the sea provides us with fish and minerals. Diagrams and cutaway pictures show an oil rig, diving gear, submarines and other equipment for exploring the seabed, and explain how they work.
Under the Sea (IR) – What lives at the bottom of the sea? What does a shark really eat? How does a sea horse swim? In this book you’ll find the answers and lots more about the fascinating things which live under the sea. A perfect intro for ages 5-7.
See Under the Sea – Explore the world beneath the sea, from coral reefs teeming with jewel-bright fish to the icy waters of the Arctic. Lift the flaps to peer inside shipwrecks and gaze into the dizzying depth of dark trenches at the very bottom of the ocean. Aimed at readers 7+.
Sharks (IR) – What do sharks like to eat? Which shark glows in the dark? And why do some sharks never stop swimming? You’ll find out the answers and lots more fun facts in this shark-infested book. This book is aimed at readers 6+ but is a wonderful addition to a preschool class when read by the teacher.
Sharks (Discovery) – The Discovery series takes the knowledge up a level with 64 pages of information vs 32. This vividly illustrated guide gets up-close and personal. Learn what drives sharks into “”feeding frenzies” and more. Great for readers 8+.
First Coloring Book: Under the Sea – A fun coloring book for young children full of exciting sea creatures to color. Lively underwater scenes include sharks, dolphins, turtles and lots of different fish. With colored backgrounds allowing children to concentrate on coloring the shapes. Contains two pages of stickers to add to the pictures.
1001 Things to Spot In the Sea – Brimming with things to find, count and talk about, this charming picture book provides hours of puzzle-solving fun. Readers will delight in discovering the secrets of the sea. Great for kids 5+
Shark Excavation Kit – Inside is a complete skeleton of a Megalodon that is encased in a clay rock, and you must carefully excavate or “dig” the bones out with the tools provided.
Fiction for older Shark Enthusiasts
Shark Bait -Action has a new hero – Sam Fox! With a talent for attracting danger, Sam Fox is an expert at getting himself into (and out of) the most extreme situations. When Sam and his friend are swept off the coast of the Great Barrier Reef, Sam must fight to keep them alive. As night falls over the ocean, the underwater predators start moving in?
This series has a strong appeal with a courageous young hero and exotic settings and has non-stop action and short chapters which will engage reluctant readers.
This is my weekly contribution to Kid Lit Frenzy’s awesome non-fiction picture book challenge. Check out the link-up for tons of other super titles.
*These books can be purchased in my Usborne Books & More page. If you are interested in learning about Usborne and Kane Miller books or if you would like to host an online Facebook event to discuss how to raise readers and promote literacy in your home while earning FREE books for your own home library, please send me a note at booksmykidsread at gmail dot com.