Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Really brilliant science books for kids

Posted on | November 29, 2010 | 25 Comments

Today I’m happy to once again be hosting the Nonfiction Monday roundup. Every Monday bloggers across the kidlitosphere celebrate the best of nonfiction books for kids by writing about this sometimes overlooked category of books. If you’ve a recent post about a nonfiction book for children please leave a link to it in the comments and as the day progresses I’ll update this post to include all your reviews, comments and insights :-)

  • Sarah C Campbell is featuring Rosa’s Bus by Jo S. Kittinger. She have a short video of the author reading from her book and talking about her approach to the familiar story of Rosa Parks. Sarah writes of the book “Rosa’s Bus is a perfect example of how an author can pitch a well-worn topic in a new way.”

  • Jone aka MsMac highlights Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill. She includes the opening lines of the book and they’ve certainly whetted my appetite!

  • Mary Ann Scheuer is sharing Face to Face with Butterflies. Inspired by Mother Reader’s 105 Ways to give a book Mary Ann has paired Face to Face with Butterflies with a butterfly net for young naturalists, as part of her “Ways to Give a Book” series.

  • Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff has written about The Firehouse Light by Janet Nolan, illustrated by Marie Lafrance - an amazing sounding story of a lightbulb (no ordinary lightbulb!) that has lasted 109 years and is still burning bright.

  • Over at Shelf-employed there’s a review of I Feel Better with a Frog in my Throat. If you’ve got a tummy ache or a sore throat today this is the post you need to read!

  • Abby the Librarian has a review of Cybils nominee Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains by P.I. Maltbie, illustrated by Jos A. Smith – a book so good it made Abby want to track down some Monet pictures to look at herself.

  • Kim at Wild About Nature has reviewed Elephants: Life in the Wild by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Michael Maydek, and has an interview with the author. If that’s not enough reason to visit, there’s also a lovely giveaway going on…

  • Anastasia Suen, timely as ever, highlights O Christmas Tree: Its History and Holiday Traditions by Jacqueline Farmer, illustrated by Joanne Friar over at Picture Book of the Day.

  • Over at the Simply Science blog Shirley reviews the Wild Animal Atlas from the National Geographic, which looks like a wonderful Christmas present to me :-)

  • Roberta at Wrapped in Foil joins the chorus of praise for Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange. As a biologist by training Roberta was able to cast a particularly insightful eye over this book.

  • If you visit The Children’s War you’ll find Alex discussing Welcome to Molly’s World 1944: Growing Up in World War Two America by Catherine Gourley. I love the idea of having a nonfiction book with a historical doll (read Alex’s post to see what I mean!) alongside – great for bringing the stories alive.

  • Three Turtles and their Pet Librarian share two books – God Made Your Body and How God Makes Babies by Jim Burns, and share some very happy news of their own. Congratulations Miss Ami!

  • At Wendie’s Wanderings you’ll find a review of Animals and Me, We’re more alike than you might think! by Marie Greenwood. Wendie writes “This DK book is not only multi-cultural, it’s multi-species! Each double-page spread [...] concentrates on one aspect of life, comparing the way people (usually kids) do it to animals’.” – I can well imagine how this books could be a hit with kids.

  • Over at Apples with Many Seeds Tammy has posted about a Canadian folk painter, Maud Lewis, as featured in Capturing Joy: the story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart. I love the look of Maud Lewis’s house – covered in her own paintings of birds, butterflies and flowers.

  • Cyndie and Lynn at Bookends have written about The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone. As Lynn notes, “Barbie lovers OR haters are going to be talking about this one to all their friends.

  • Jennie at Biblio File has reviewed Hunt! Can You Survive the Stone Age? by Julia Bruce, illustrated by Peter Dennis, a cybils nominee from last year.

  • Visit Amanda at A Patchwork of Books to read a review of a series called Nightmare Plagues, including titles covering the Bubonic Plague and Smallpox! Although cholera isn’t included in this series Amanda makes the point that with the cholera outbreak in Haiti these books and their look at terrible diseases are timely as well as fascinating.

  • Charolotte’s Library has a review of Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science, by Susan Hughes, illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier. I love the sound of this CSI-style approach to some of the great mysteries from history – and I’d love to read the chapters on John Franklin and George Mallory.

  • Appropriately for the time of year, Celebrations! written by Anabel Kindersley and photographed by Barnabas Kindersley with a forward by Harry Belafonte is highlighted at All About the Books with Janet Squires


  • My own contribution to NF Monday is all about a series of fantastic science project books I’ve recently discovered.

    Heinemann Library’s Science Projects series consists of 10 books jam packed with stimulating, engaging science projects on topics ranging from Astronomy and Space to Ecosystems, Cells and Systems to Matter and Energy.

    Each book includes an introduction with clear, thoughtful information on how to carry out scientific research appropriately pitched at 10-12 year olds. Both my husband and I have taught research methods and were very impressed by the discussions in these books including the importance of background research, what an experiment is, how to formulate a hypothesis and how to keep records.

    If you were a homeschooler without a science background I think these books would be a fantastic starting point. That said, the experiments described are so engaging and fun (the sort of thing that might be repackaged with less thorough discussion in books like The Dangerous Book for Boys) that I think any family would enjoy these projects.

    Although aimed at kids older than M and J we’ve ordered the entire series through our library, so impressed have we been by the imaginative experiments. With a bit of adapting, we got lots of projects lined up to do as a family including investigating the absorbancy of nappies, discovering why the Statue of Liberty is green, working out what makes the difference in a good biscuit recipe, what effects the twinkling of stars, and how good mud is as a suncreen! If you’ve got a science fair coming up or simply a curious mind treat yourselves to these books – they really are the best science books I’ve yet come across for kids.

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    Comments

    25 Responses to “Really brilliant science books for kids”

    1. Sarah Campbell
      November 29th, 2010 @ 1:57 am

      For Nonfiction Monday, I am featuring Rosa’s Bus by Jo S. Kittinger. I have a short video of Jo reading from the book and talking about her approach to the familiar story of Rosa Parks.

    2. Sarah Campbell
      November 29th, 2010 @ 1:58 am
    3. jone
      November 29th, 2010 @ 3:23 am

      Thank you for hosting. Mine will go up at 00:15 11/29 (according to my time stamp)
      http://maclibrary.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/nonfiction-monday-dave-the-potter-artist-poet-slave/

    4. Mary Ann Scheuer
      November 29th, 2010 @ 4:21 am

      Thanks for hosting – what a great find for science projects!

      I’m sharing Face to Face with Butterflies, paired with a butterfly net for young naturalists, as part of my “Ways to Give a Book” series.
      http://greatkidbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/face-to-face-with-butterflies-gift-for.html

      Yes, I’m inspired by the amazing MotherReader and have started my own series of ways to give children’s books this holiday season.

    5. Jeff
      November 29th, 2010 @ 11:15 am

      Thank you for hosting this week! I have posted a review of The Firehouse Light:

      http://ncteacherstuff.blogspot.com/2010/11/firehouse-light.html

    6. Shelf-employed
      November 29th, 2010 @ 11:56 am

      Today I’m featuring a booktalk for I Feel Better with a Frog in my Throat, the great new book about crazy (and not so crazy!) cures. Feel free to use this or any of my archived booktalks for use in your library.http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-feel-better-with-frog-in-my-throat.html
      Thanks for hosting! :)

    7. Abby
      November 29th, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

      Thanks for hosting this week!
      At Abby the Librarian, I have a review of Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains by P.I. Matlbie

      http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/2010/11/claude-monet-painted-who-stopped-trains.html

    8. Kim
      November 29th, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

      The Wild About Nature blog has a review of Elephants: Life in the Wild by Monica Kulling. We’ve also included an interview with Monica Kulling and the first of our holiday book giveaways.

      http://wildaboutnaturewriters.blogspot.com/2010/11/nonfiction-monday-elephants-life-in.html

      Thanks for hosting this week!

      Kim

    9. Anastasia Suen
      November 29th, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

      Thanks for hosting this week! I’m in with O Christmas Tree: Its History and Holiday Traditions by Jacqueline Farmer (Author) and Joanne Friar (Illustrator)http://picturebookday.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/o-christmas-tree-its-history-and-holiday-traditions/

    10. Choxbox
      November 29th, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

      Bookmarking this post. Thanks Zoe. You’re the best!

    11. Shirley
      November 29th, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

      Thanks for hosting! Today I have National Geographic’s Wild Animal Atlas at SimplyScience.
      http://simplyscience.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/wild-animal-atlas/

    12. Roberta
      November 29th, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

      Thank you for the information about the science project books. I will definitely be looking for those.

      Today I added my kudos to the long list for Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors at http://blog.wrappedinfoil.com/2010/11/ubiquitous-applause/

      Cheers.

    13. Alex Baugh
      November 29th, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

      Thanks for hosting Non-Fiction Monday this week. I have a post on a book called Welcome to Molly’s World 1944 at
      http://thechildrenswar.blogspot.com/2010/11/welcome-to-mollys-world-1944-growing-up.html

      Thanks again!

    14. Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian
      November 29th, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

      Thanks for hosting! We have two books on a very tricky subject by Jim Burns http://3tnar.blogspot.com/2010/11/nonfiction-monday-god-made-your-body.html and a special announcement!

    15. WendieO
      November 29th, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

      Wendie Old discusses — Animals and Me, We’re more alike than you might think!
      at Wendie’s Wanderings.

      http://blog.wendieold.com/2010/11/nonfiction-monday-animals-and-me.html

    16. Tammy Flanders
      November 29th, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

      Morning.
      I’ve posted about a Canadian folk painter, Maud Lewis, as featured in Capturing Joy.
      http://applewithmanyseedsdoucette.blogspot.com/2010/11/paintings-could-tell-stories.html
      Thanks for taking care of today’s event.
      Tammy

    17. Lynn Rutan
      November 29th, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

      Sorry to be coming in late! Bookends http://bookends.booklistonline.com/ has our post about The Good, the Bad and the Barbie: A Doll’s History and Her Impact On Us by Tanya Lee Stone.

      Thanks for hosting!

    18. Jennie
      November 29th, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

      Thanks for hosting! I’m with a book about the Stone Age

      http://www.jenrothschild.com/2010/11/nonfiction-monday-hunt-can-you-survive.html

    19. Amanda
      November 29th, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

      Better late than never! I have a review up of “The Nightmare Plagues” series.

      http://apatchworkofbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/non-fiction-monday-nightmare-plagues.html

      Thanks!
      Amanda
      A Patchwork of Books

    20. Charlotte
      November 29th, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

      Thanks for the round-up –I have Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science.

      http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com/2010/11/case-closed-nine-mysteries-unlocked-by.html

    21. Janet Squires
      November 29th, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

      I’ve selected Celebrations! written by Anabel Kindersley and photographed by Barnabas Kindersley.

    22. Sarah Campbell
      November 29th, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

      Thank you for hosting. What a great group of books featured this week on Nonfiction Monday!

    23. Judi
      November 30th, 2010 @ 2:00 am

      The series you mentioned Zoe sounds like something we have been looking for! My kids are always wanting to do science experiments but I’d have to say science is not a strength of mine and tends to go low on the priority level! I will have to see if I can find these at my library. Thanks!

    24. Audrey Geddes
      November 30th, 2010 @ 5:22 am

      Thanks for the blog recommends and the great science book resources! It’s my goal this holiday season to encourage learning instead of putting our brains on holiday. Right now my daughter and I are learning Spanish through a wonderful story by Matthew Gollub called, Jazz Fly 2. The story includes a rain forest adventure featuring a host of unique fauna including a sloth, spider monkey, anteater and jaguar. There is an audio cd with Latin jazz that is performed by the author which accompanies jazz and Spanish phrases throughout the book. It’s both fun and educational.

    25. Tracy
      December 3rd, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

      This is a great list of science books for kids. Too many kids today are just not interested in this subject and we need to find ways to encourage their interest.

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