Science, Space

Nova the Star Eater by Lindsay Leslie

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Back of Book:
Nova has a big appetite for stars, so when she decides to gobble up Earth’s Sun, panic erupts around the globe. Earth needs its Sun to survive! How will it get it back from Nova? One bright little girl just might have a solution.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Page Street Kids in exchange for an honest review.
I have enjoyed the variety of kidlit books that have come out this year to celebrate the moon landing and all things space related. Nova the Star Eater is unique to this list in that it looks at what would happen to the Earth if the sun disappeared.
Nova the star-eater is busy zooming around space gobbling everything tasty in its path. Suddenly, she swallows the sun and chaos erupts. It takes a children’s perspective to save the world and return the sun to its place in the sky. I love that this story combines fun and humorous concept with true information about all things space related. I also love the message that children often have the best ideas. The illustrations by John Taesoo Kim are bright and lifelike. The back of the book has more information about the sun as well as a glossary of the scientific words used throughout the text. This book is an excellent addition to any space unit!
Ages 5 and up
32 pages

History

Our Flag Was Still There: The True Story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner By Jessie Hartland

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Back of Book:

The story of this giant flag begins in 1812 and stars a major on the eve of battle, a seamstress and her mighty helpers, and a poet named Francis Scott Key. This isn’t just the story of one flag. It’s the story of “The Star Spangled-Banner,” a poem that became our national anthem, too.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.
This is a moving nonfiction biography about the woman who sewed the flag that would become the inspiration for the Star- Spangled Banner. The story begins by introducing readers to Major George Armistead the man behind the idea of creating the flag. His goal was to send a big message to the British. He asked Mary Pickersgill if she could create a flag that would make that statement. Mary ran and owned her own business and was happy to take on the project. In six weeks she created a sign of freedom that would stand the test of time. After the war, Francis Scott Key was inspired by the flag to write a poem in honor of the victory. I loved that this book tells readers what happened to the flag and where they can go to visit it in all its glory. I have been to see Mary’s flag and I have to say it is a thing of beauty! The text is well written and incorporates speech bubbles which are a fun aspect of the story. The illustrations are bright and vibrant. I love that they showcase the process of what becomes of the flag. The back of the book has more information about the War of 1812 and Mary Pickersgill. This is a perfect book for any unit about the War of 1812 or the American flag. Also a perfect read aloud for Flag Day.
Ages 5 and up
48 Pages

Biography, Siblings

Serena: The Littlest Sister by Karlin Gray

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Back of Book:
Serena Williams is one of the biggest names in sports, but she grew up the littlest of five girls in her family. While sharing a room and playing tennis with her older sisters, Serena had to figure out how to be her own person―on and off the court. This empowering biography showcases the rise of the youngest Williams sister and how her family played a part in her path to becoming the strong woman and star athlete she is today.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Page Street Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Serena The Littlest Sister is a fantastic picture book that shows readers the dedication and determination that Serena had to become the greatest tennis player in the United States. The story follows Serena from a young child playing tennis with her sisters to a great champion who won the US Opening. I love that the story focuses on the relationship between the sisters. Venus and Serena never allowed their competitions to come between their bond.
The illustrations by Monica Ahanonu are bold and bright. They capture the intensity and strength of the way Venus and Serena played the game they loved. The back of the book has more information about Serena and her family. This is a great nonfiction picture book and one that should be shared in elementary libraries and classrooms.
Ages 8 and up
40 Pages

Summer

Sea Glass Summer by Michelle Houts

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Back of Book:
One summer, a boy named Thomas visits his grandmother at her seaside cottage. She gives him a magnifying glass that once belonged to his grandfather, and with it Thomas explores the beach, turning grains of sand into rocks and dark clamshells into swirling mazes of black, gray, and white. When his grandmother shows him a piece of sea glass, Thomas is transfixed. That night he dreams of an old shipyard and the breaking of a bottle. Could the very piece of sea glass on his nightstand have come from that bottle? For the rest of the summer, he searches for more sea glass and hopes to have dreams that will reveal more of the sea’s secrets.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.
Summer is right around the corner and with it comes the promise of adventure. Sea Glass Summer follows a young boy named Thomas as he explores the amazing aspects of the beach at his grandmother’s house. He realizes that each piece of sea glass has a story attached to it. This story is almost magical. The whimsical text whisks readers into a world that combines past and present. Every aspect of the story is delicately tied to how the sea glass connected people of various time periods. The watercolor illustrations are vibrant and gorgeous! I loved that the dream sequences were drawn in grayscale. It adds a different aspect to the historical aspect of the story. This is the kind of story that is perfect to use with an object lesson on how the ocean recycles items to create something new. Overall a stunning ode to a tradition that hasn’t been forgotten and treasures that continue to connect us to the sea.
Ages 6 and up
32 Pages

Biography, Dinosaurs, National Womens Month

When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex By Toni Buzzeo

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Back of Book:
From a very young age, Sue Hendrickson was meant to find things: lost coins, perfume bottles, even hidden treasure. Her endless curiosity eventually led to her career in diving and paleontology, where she would continue to find things big and small. In 1990, at a dig in South Dakota, Sue made her biggest discovery to date: Sue the T. rex, the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Named in Sue’s honor, Sue the T. rex would be placed on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Abrams book publishers in exchange for an honest review.
This is a terrific nonfiction picture book biography about the life and research of Sue Hendrickson. The text follows Sue from her childhood as a curious finder to her job as an archeologist. She went to search the hills of South Dakota for dinosaur fossils where she felt lead to a particular cliff. In that cliff, she discovered the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found. I love that the text has quotes from Sue about finding the T-Rex. It adds a layer of depth to the story and shows readers Sues perspective about finding such a miraculous set of bones. The illustrations by Diana Sudyka are filled with soft and airy colors. She captured the mountains of South Dakota beautifully. The back of the book has more informing about Sue Hendrickson as well as a photo of the T-Rex that she discovered. I love this story because I feel like it is very relevant to today’s audiences. It is a great reminder to readers to never give up on being curious human beings. Also a perfect addition to any dinosaur unit.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Biography, Science, Space

The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney By Alice B. McGinty

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Back of Book:
When Venetia Burney’s grandfather reads aloud from the newspaper about a new discovery–a “ninth major planet” that has yet to be named–her eleven-year-old mind starts whirring. She is studying the planets in school and loves Roman mythology. “It might be called Pluto,” she says, thinking of the dark underworld. Grandfather loves the idea and contacts his friend at London’s Royal Astronomical Society, who writes to scientists at the Lowell Observatory in Massachusetts, where Pluto was discovered. After a vote, the scientists agree unanimously: Pluto is the perfect name for the dark, cold planet.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Schwartz & Wade Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
I have always been intrigued by the planet, Pluto and was so excited that a book had been written about the young girl who named the far away planet. The story begins with Venetia going on a star walk with her class. Even as a young girl, Venetia was fascinated by the concepts of space and planets. When she heard from her grandfather that a newly discovered planet needed a name she looked into history for inspiration. Venetia would go on to become a math teacher and inspire young girls to dream big. Near the end of her life, Venetia would be able to view the planet through a telescope that she had named. The illustrations by Elizabeth Haidle are skillfully created. The expressions on Venetia’s face as she is waiting to hear if they like her name choice are my favorite!
The back of the book has more information about Venetia and the planet Pluto. This is a brilliant nonfiction biography that focuses on the importance of women in the world of math and science. A great book for any STEM unit.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Birds

Hummingbird by Nicola Davies

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Back of Book:
A buzz of wings, a flash of color . . . There’s a very special visitor in Granny’s garden. It’s a hummingbird! And it’s just about to begin its long migration, heading north to its nesting ground. Watch as it spreads joy to all who encounter it along its two-thousand-mile trek. In an engaging text sprinkled with facts, zoologist Nicola Davies introduces readers to this valiant bird, lighter than a nickel
My review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.
Hummingbird is a stunning blend of fiction and nonfiction. Readers will be caught up in the impact that hummingbirds can have around the world. The text begins and ends with a young girls journey to a new land. She shares a love of hummingbirds with her grandma and that common thread ties them together. As the story progresses, readers see how the hummingbird touch lives and evoke a sense of awe wherever they go. The text is also filled with facts about the life and journey of a hummingbird. I didn’t know that hummingbirds migrate each year I was as intrigued as my students. The illustrations are breathtaking and show the intricate detail of the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. The back of the book has more information about hummingbirds as well as an index so readers can find information quickly. I love this book and highly recommend for the classroom or home use.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Science, Space

If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon by Joyce Lapin

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Back of Book:
Have your birthday party on the moon and everyone will come! After all, who wouldn’t want to ride in a rocket and celebrate for a day that lasts as long as a month on Earth? Then, young partygoers could romp in a low-gravity playground; watch candles and balloons behave weirdly in the Moon’s atmosphere; and see why the “moon angels” they make in the thick carpet of lunar dust will last for thousands of years. With each discovery, kids learn the science behind the surprise, explained in terms they’ll understand.

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from Sterling Book Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
I am so excited that the kidlit world is publishing so many well-written books about the moon. “If you Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon” is a perfect blend of nonfiction information and fun imagination.
Readers get a glimpse into what it would be like to spend time in space. Joyce Lapin weaved in all of the birthday activities that children love to do. Including bouncing, playing games, and exploring. Readers will relate to the experiences that the children in the story are having. I loved that there are text boxes scattered throughout the story that have neat scientific facts and tidbits about the moon. It gives readers a deeper understanding of the unique aspects that make the moon so fascinating.
The illustrations by Simona Ceccarelli are filled with bright images that allow readers to feel like they are in space with the children in the story. The back of the book has a terrific glossary as well as suggestions for further reading. I loved sharing this book in my classroom. It was a perfect read aloud for my science unit. I also used the topic for a writing workshop afterward. I highly recommend this story for the classroom and school libraries.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Science, Space

If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon By Joyce Lapin

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Back of Book:
Have your birthday party on the moon and everyone will come! After all, who wouldn’t want to ride in a rocket and celebrate for a day that lasts as long as a month on Earth? Then, young partygoers could romp in a low-gravity playground; watch candles and balloons behave weirdly in the Moon’s atmosphere; and see why the “moon angels” they make in the thick carpet of lunar dust will last for thousands of years. With each discovery, kids learn the science behind the surprise, explained in terms they’ll understand.

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from Sterling Book Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
I am so excited that the kidlit world is publishing so many well-written books about the moon. “If you Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon” is a perfect blend of nonfiction information and fun imagination.
Readers get a glimpse into what it would be like to spend time in space. Joyce Lapin weaved in all of the birthday activities that children love to do. Including bouncing, playing games, and exploring. Readers will relate to the experiences that the children in the story are having. I loved that there are text boxes scattered throughout the story that have neat scientific facts and tidbits about the moon. It gives readers a deeper understanding of the unique aspects that make the moon so fascinating.
The illustrations by Simona Ceccarelli are filled with bright images that allow readers to feel like they are in space with the children in the story. The back of the book has a terrific glossary as well as suggestions for further reading. I loved sharing this book in my classroom. It was a perfect read aloud for my science unit. I also used the topic for a writing workshop afterward. I highly recommend this story for the classroom and school libraries.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Growth Mindset, Read Your World

There’s Only One You By Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook

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Back of Book:
This feel-good book reassures kids that, whoever and whatever they are, it’s awesome being YOU! Expertly written to include all kinds of children and families, it embraces the beauty in a range of physical types, personalities, and abilities. Kids will love discovering and recognizing themselves in these pages—and they’ll feel proud to see their special qualities acknowledged.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Sterling Book Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
This is a delightful story that focuses on the importance of teaching children how important it is to be themselves! As a teacher, it is imperative for me to find books that show children that it is special for them to be different. Kathryn and Deborah have weaved together a beautiful tale that provides a mirror in which children can see themselves. The rhyming scheme is engaging and allows readers to realize all the aspects that make them unique. The illustrations by Rosie are nothing short of breathtaking! I loved the wide variety of diverse people groups and cultures that are showcased within the pages. This is a perfect read aloud to use as a part of any mindfulness
Ages 5 and up
32 Page