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Grab a Book and Head Outside!

Design by Nature book

It’s that time of year. The sun is out longer, the end of school is in sight, and flowers are blooming everywhere. It’s time to GET OUTSIDE and get your Outdoor science on! Where do you start?

Head to your bookshelf!

That’s right, inspiration for how to imagine, invent and discover great outdoor science is right there among the books.

What are you interested in?  Bugs? Moths? Birds? Cool!

Check out a few of these books.

     

 

What about doing some FUN activities while you’re outside? Then check out the entire Outdoor School series!

Hiking and Camping Book

Animal Watching Book

Rocks Fossils and Shells book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or perhaps you have more of a technology bent and want to understand how animals and technology go together.

Design by Nature book

Book Beastly Bionics

 

 

Don’t forget to notice all of the cool engineering around you! In fact, do some of the activities in these awesome books to experience it!

Engineering Activities for Kids

     

 

 

Finally, what if you are just inspired to invent something? Try out these fun books

Magnificent Makers book

    

 

For MORE great ideas of how to use STEM/STEAM books to enhance fun outdoors,

check out our STEM Tuesday Blog, which has almost FIVE years worth of activities for kids/parents/teachers —   

and also STEAMTEAMbooks website which highlights new STEM/STEAM books from 2020 to 2022!

 

Listen to an Expert and Go On a Water Walk

Dr.  Kelsey Leonard, of the Shinnecock Nation gives a talk on the award-winning podcast, Solve It for Kids!

WAter walk Solve It podcast

 

 

CHALLENGE:
Go on a Water Walk! Pick a body of water near your house and go with your parents on a walk safely along the water. Take time to notice things about the water. Does it flow? Is it still? What color is the water? Does it look healthy? Are there a lot of plants around it, etc? Also, spend time just breathing and thinking about the water. Listen to it, too.

 

 

Now that your interest has been piqued, it’s time to DO something with your new knowledge.

Your challenge is to observe, draw, and get outside to explore! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Come up with a new type of animal– one that doesn’t exist but you think it should
  • Design a new type of bionic robot that mimics the way an animal moves or reacts that would be helpful to humans
  • Draw a picture of a car or building that would be awesome to drive or live in
  • Write a story about your creation and share it with your friends and family
  • Make a game or puzzle for others to try to guess what you drew
  • Turn your backyard or living room into a new type of ecosystem  and take everyone on a safari

 

Science really IS all around you. It starts with your imagination. Time to let that imagination and inspiration SOAR!

I’d love to see what you come up with.

Enjoy the outdoors  and Happy Science-ing!

STEM Tuesday — Women Who Changed Science — Book List

Many girls are familiar with only a few names of women in science. Here are a dozen books to inspire our future women in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Fossil Hunter: How Mary Anning Changed the Science of Prehistoric Life by Cheryl Blackford

Tracing her discoveries, this gripping, gorgeously spot illustrated biography is a wonderful tribute to this remarkable woman and an honest look at the scientific community that almost waited too long to acknowledge one of the world’s greatest paleontologists and her remarkable contributions. The timeline, author’s note, glossary, current list for locations of Mary’s fossils, source notes, and bibliography round out this great nonfiction middle grade book.

Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane by Kirsten W. Larson, illustrated by Tracy Subisak

Every now and then we come across a picture book perfect for the 8-10 crowd. This book shows how Lilian Todd grew up in a family of innovators, and created her own things. But invention wasn’t for women, so Lilian took a job at the U.S. Patent Office. In her free time she built models of flying machines, eventually designing and building her own airplane. Great backmatter for readers who want to explore further.

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery

This engaging biography of Temple Grandin shows how she brought her experience as a person with autism to the science of animal behavior. With a science teacher as an advocate and an ally, Temple began experimenting with a simple squeeze machine that would help her feel more comfortable, and revolutionized how people view animal emotions. Just as important as portraying a woman in science, this book shows that there is a place for neurodivergent people to explore their passions in STEM fields.

ANTHOLOGIES

No Boundaries: 25 Women Explorers and Scientists Share Adventures, Inspiration, and Advice by Gabby Salazar and Clare Fieseler

An engaging look at women around the globe on the frontlines of ecology, archeology, conservation, citizen science, astronomy, mountaineering, photography, vulcanology, bioengineering, and many more areas of science and exploration. Each biography contains “must-have” and “inspiration” sidebars, stunning photographs and diagrams, as well as a fun activity or additional scientific information.

Science Superstars: 30 Brilliant Women Who Changed the World by Jennifer Calvert, illustrated by Octavia Jackson

Exploring the spark of curiosity and the joy these women found in science, as they each persevered despite any barriers – even wars, this book presents factually & visually interesting entries of many well-known women scientists, as well as Ynés Méxia (Botanist), Janaki Ammal (Botanist/Cytology), Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (Chemistry), Jane Cooke Wright (Oncology), and Sau Lan Wu (Particle Physics). It’s an excellent book for encouraging students to think about the many possible science careers and pursue their own interests.

Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM by Tonya Bolden

From early trailblazers to the present, these stories highlight black women who have made contributions as surgeons, inventors, mechanics, forensic scientists, engineers, physicists, geneticists, architects and more. Each of three sections put the women’s contributions into the context of U.S. history. This is a book that could inspire a girl to think “maybe that’s something I can do!”

101 Awesome Women Who Transformed Science by Claire Philip, illustrated by Isabel Muñoz

A great resource for any STEM-girl, this compendium highlights women’s scientific and technical achievements from 2700 BCE to the present. Short biographies introduce women in math, botany, physics – even astrophysics. There are women in paleontology, engineering, computer science, and my favorite, entomology. Readers also meet women inventors and astronauts. Four spreads focus on women in astronomy, medicine, computing, and chemistry.

Black Women in Science by Kimberly Brown Pellum

Authored by a Black woman of science (Dr. Pellum is a veterinarian), this book invites girls to explore the possibilities of STEM careers. She presents 15 biographies, beginning with Rebecca Lee Crumpler, a medical doctor at the end of the Civil War, and showcases black women in aviation, nutrition, computers, rocket science, genetics, and forensic science. Hands-on activities at end of each chapter.

Hidden No More: African American Women in STEM Careers by Caroline Kennon

Attempting to counter the continued stereotyping of black women in STEM careers, this book traces the accomplishments of female African American scientists and inventors through the 19th and 20th centuries – from Bessie Coleman to Mae Jemison, Marie Daly to Joan Owens, Rebecca Crumpler to Alexa Canady, Ruth Howard to Jeanne Spurlock, and Bessie Griffin to Valerie Thomas. It includes source notes and additional resources.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Women have been studying and practicing medicine, science, and math since before recorded history. We cannot afford to ignore the brain power of half the population, says the author, and she highlights contributions from women in STEM fields. There are timelines and a great sidebar on statistics, using graphs and pie charts to show the percent of women in STEM fields. Also a fun spread showing a variety of lab tools.

Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Engineers – With Stem Projects for Kids by Diane C. Taylor

Engineering is a huge part of our everyday life. The buildings we live and work in, the computers and phones we use – even the dishes we eat from – were designed by engineers. This book contains biographies of five gutsy girl engineers: Ellen Swallow Richards, an environmental engineer; Emily Roebling, chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge; Catherine Gleason, mechanical engineer; Lillian Moller Gilbreth, and industrial engineer; and Mary Jackson, an aerospace engineer. There are plenty of text-boxes, short bios of other engineering women, and hands-on “field assignments” at the end of each chapter. Other books in the series include Paleontologists, Programmers, and Astronauts.

Technology : Cool Women Who Code by Andi Diehn, illustrated by Lena Chandhok

This is one of ten books in the “Girls in Science” series. It begins with an introduction to technology, and how it has evolved from wheels and steam engines to current tech. Each of three chapters focuses on a woman in technology: Grace Hopper (math, science, computers); Shaundra Bryant Daily (coding, technology & movement); and Jean Yang (computer science and programming languages). Text boxes highlight cool careers in technology, sidebars provide short biographies of six more women in technology, and there are plenty of “try-it’s” and questions sprinkled throughout. Also in the series: books about women in Astronomy, Engineering, Forensics, Marine Biology, Aviation, Archaeology, ZoologyMeteorology, and Architecture.


STEM Tuesday book list prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich, author

Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her neighborhood and around her home—inspire her writing. Visit her at  www.sueheavenrich.com

Maria Marshall is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at www.mariacmarshall.com

New Releases for May 2022!

May brings a bounty of new middle grade books, fiction and nonfiction, covering many different perspectives and cross-cultural voices. Here is just a sampling of what’s new this month.


José and the Pirate Captain Toledano

by Arnon Z. Shorr (Author) Joshua M. Edelglass (Illustrator)

Set in the shadows of the Spanish Inquisition, this is the coming-of-age story of José Alfaro, a young refugee who forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. It’s also a dynamic pirate adventure on the high seas, with hand-to-hand combat and ship-to-ship action, and the powerful story of a dark time in history when people took different paths to survive.

 

 

 


Rise of the School for Good and Evil

by Soman Chainani

The battle between Good and Evil begins. Two brothers. One Good. One Evil. Together they watch over the Endless Woods. Together they choose the students for the School for Good and Evil. Together they train them, teach them, prepare them for their fate. Then, something happens. Something unexpected. Something powerful. Something that will change everything and everyone. Who will survive? Who will rule the School? The journey starts here. Every step is filled with magic, surprises, and daring deeds that test courage, loyalty, and who you really are. But they only lead you to the very beginning of the adventures that are THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL.

 

 


The Lion of Mars

by Jennifer L. Holm

Life on Mars is pretty standard…. until a mysterious virus hits.  Don’t miss this timely and unputdownable novel from the bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish.
Bell has spent his whole life–all eleven years of it–on Mars. But he’s still just a regular kid–he loves cats and any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don’t they have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It’s up to Bell–a regular kid in a very different world–to uncover the truth and save his family…and possibly unite an entire planet.

Small Town Pride

by Phil Stamper

Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio.When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade.

Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake. But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?

 


Kings of B’more

by R. Eric Thomas

Two Black queer best friends face their last day together with an epic journey through Baltimore in this magnetic YA debut by bestselling author of Here for It R. Eric Thomas. With junior year starting in the fall, Harrison feels like he’s on the precipice of, well, everything. Standardized testing, college, and the terrifying unknowns and looming pressures of adulthood after that—it’s like the future wants to eat him alive. Which is why Harrison is grateful that he and his best friend, Linus, will face these things together. But at the end of a shift at their summer job, Linus invites Harrison to their special spot overlooking the city to deliver devastating news: He’s moving out of state at the end of the week.

To keep from completely losing it—and partially inspired by a cheesy movie-night pick by his Dad—Harrison plans a send-off à la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that’s worthy of his favorite person. If they won’t be having all the life-expanding experiences they thought they would, Harrison will squeeze them all into their last day together. They end up on a mini road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party, all while keeping their respective parents, who track them on a family location app, off their trail. Harrison and Linus make a pact to do all the things—big and small—they’ve been too scared to do. But nothing feels scarier than saying goodbye to someone you love.

 


Singing with Elephants

by Margarita Engle

A powerful novel in verse from Newbery and Pura Belpré Award-winning author Margarita Engle about the friendship between a young girl and the poet Gabriela Mistral that leads to healing and hope for both of them. Cuban-born eleven-year-old Oriol lives in Santa Barbara, California, where she struggles to belong. But most of the time that’s okay, because she enjoys helping her parents care for the many injured animals at their veterinary clinic. Then Gabriela Mistral, the first Latin American winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature, moves to town, and aspiring writer Oriol finds herself opening up. As she begins to create a world of words for herself, Oriol learns it will take courage to stay true to herself and do what she thinks is right–attempting to rescue a baby elephant in need–even if it means keeping secrets from those she loves. A beautifully written, lyrically told story about the power of friendship– between generations, between humans and animals–and the potential of poetry to inspire action and acceptance.

 


This Is My America

by Kim Johnson

The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system. Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time–her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

 


History Comics: The National Parks: Preserving America’s Wild Places

by Falynn Koch

In this volume, turn back the clock to 1872, when Congress established Yellowstone National Park as an area of unspoiled beauty for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. Meet the visionaries, artists, and lovers of the American wilderness who fought against corruption and self-interest to carve out and protect these spaces for future generations. See for yourself how the idea of National Parks began, how they’ve changed, and how they continue to define America.

 


Made in Korea

by Sarah Suk

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads–and maybe fall in love–while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity–one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover… What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school–all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for. But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

 


The Peach Rebellion

by Wendelin Van Draanen 

From the author of The Running Dream comes a heart-swelling historical tale of friendship, family, and the power of sisterhood to help heal the wounds of the past and step boldly into the future.

Ginny Rose and Peggy were best friends at seven, picking peaches on hot summer days. Peggy’s family owned the farm, and Ginny Rose’s were pickers, escaping the Oklahoma dust storms. That didn’t matter to them then, but now, ten years, hard miles, and a world war later, Ginny Rose’s family is back in town and their differences feel somehow starker. Especially since Peggy’s new best friend, Lisette, is a wealthy banker’s daughter. Still, there’s no denying what all three girls have in common: Families with great fissures that are about to break wide open. And a determination to not just accept things as they are anymore. This summer they will each make a stand. It’s a season of secrets revealed. Of daring plans to heal old wounds. Of hearts won and hearts broken. A summer when everything changes because you’re seventeen, and it’s time to be bold. And because it’s easier to be brave with a true friend by your side.

 


Land of the Cranes

by Aida Salazar

From the prolific author of The Moon Within comes the heart-wrenchingly beautiful story in verse of a young Latinx girl who learns to hold on to hope and love even in the darkest of places: a family detention center for migrants and refugees.

Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel wars in Mexico. The Aztecs came from a place called Aztlan, what is now the Southwest US, called the land of the cranes. They left Aztlan to establish their great city in the center of the universe-Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. It was prophesized that their people would one day return to live among the cranes in their promised land. Papi tells Betita that they are cranes that have come home.

Then one day, Betita’s beloved father is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp outside of Los Angeles. Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. The voices of her fellow asylum seekers fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be. Will Betita and her family ever be whole again?

 


 

Hope you enjoy these and the many other middle grade books releasing in May! Happy reading . . .