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The Myth of the Mountain

A few months ago, I was walking my dog, Kel, the biggest labradoodle on the planet, up the hill in my neighborhood. And I made a VERY big mistake. I looked up. Not just a little. I gazed as far as I could to the tippy top of the hill. Now you need to know I live in Northern California in the foothills of the Vaca Mountain range. What does that mean? It means that it’s an extremely steep incline to the top of the hill and when I lifted my chin all I could see was the steepness and the struggle. I didn’t see anything else.

My hands grew clammy. My heart wobbled. My legs refused to budge another step. It appeared as if were at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and I was facing a sheer cliff of anxiety. My fears were exacerbated by the fact that I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before. Plus, evil fingers of mist blew in from the bay and my skin got all goose pimpled. I literally stopped in my tracks, frozen as much the deer that eats the sweet bunchgrass in my front yard.

Then I told myself. Hey, wait a minute, Hillary, don’t look up at the top instead keep your eyes right in front of you, just go one step at a time. So I lowered my gaze and I studied the pavement and pretended it was fascinating. I took one step and then another and, then suddenly, I wasn’t thinking about how I can’t do this crazy hill because it’s too steep and I’m just too tired. Instead, I was thinking, wow the air is not actually too cold or too warm and listen to that birds singing. Look, there’s a Blue Jay hopping along the base of the driveway. And look, how the shadow plays on the road, creating stripes on the pavement in front of me and how that rock glistens in the sunlight.

Then guess what? Before I knew it, I was at the top of the hill. And it’s all because I remembered to appreciate all the steps of the journey.

When we write, we need to do the same thing. If we look at an already created books, which have been through hundreds of drafts with the help of writing groups, agents and editors, and we can compare it to our own work, it’s daunting. In fact, at times, it might seem impossible. We feel as if we are not good enough, unworthy or perhaps that it’s just too much work. And not just books. This applies to almost everything. At the same time, I’m not saying don’t ever look at the tops of things. But just that if you focus only on the finish, the final goal, it’s daunting. So during these times, just remember to breath, and appreciate that bird who hopped down (maybe from the peak of the mountain) to come say hello.

Hillary Homzie is the author of the Ellie May chapter book series (Charlesbridge, 2018), Apple Pie Promises (Sky Pony/Swirl, 2018), Pumpkin Spice Secrets (Sky Pony/Swirl, 2017), Queen of Likes (Simon & Schuster MIX 2016), The Hot List (Simon & Schuster MIX 2011) and Things Are Gonna Be Ugly (Simon & Schuster, 2009) as well as the Alien Clones From Outer Space (Simon & Schuster Aladdin 2002) chapter book series. She’s also a contributor to the  Kate the Chemist middle grade series (Philomel Books/Penguin Random House). During the year, Hillary teaches at Sonoma State University and in the summer she teaches in the graduate program in childrens’ literature, writing and illustration at Hollins University. She also is an instructor for the Children’s Book Academy. She can be found at hillaryhomzie.com and on her Facebook page as well as on Twitter.

September New Releases!

September always means back-to-school time for my family, and that’s something very different this year across the country. Many kids are learning remotely–and books can be a great way to supplement their virtual schooldays. Books can even help students do the hands-on science experiments or art projects they’re missing from the in-school experience. So today, I’d like to highlight some educational middle grade books coming out this month. They’re filled with ideas to challenge and engage students  about different subjects they may be learning in school this year.

 

Everything You Need to Ace Chemistry in One Big Fat Notebook

Jennifer Swanson: Workman Publishing, Sept. 1, 2020

This Big Fat Notebook covers everything you need to know during a year of high school chemistry class, breaking down one big bad subject into accessible units. Learn to study better and get better grades using mnemonic devices, definitions, diagrams, educational doodles, and quizzes to recap it all.

Including: Atoms, elements, compounds and mixtures, the periodic table, quantum theory, bonding, the mole, chemical reactions and calculations, gas laws, solubility, pH scale, titrations, Le Chatelier’s principle …and much more!

 

Kiyo Sato: From a WWII Japanese Internment Camp to a Life of Service

Connie Goldsmith: Twenty-First Century Books, Sept. 1, 2020

“Our camp, they tell us, is now to be called a ‘relocation center’ and not a ‘concentration camp.’ We are internees, not prisoners. Here’s the truth: I am now a non-alien, stripped of my constitutional rights. I am a prisoner in a concentration camp in my own country. I sleep on a canvas cot under which is a suitcase with my life’s belongings: a change of clothes, underwear, a notebook and pencil. Why?”―Kiyo Sato

In 1941 Kiyo Sato and her eight younger siblings lived with their parents on a small farm near Sacramento, California, where they grew strawberries, nuts, and other crops. Kiyo had started college the year before when she was eighteen, and her eldest brother, Seiji, would soon join the US Army. The younger children attended school and worked on the farm after class and on Saturday. On Sunday, they went to church. The Satos were an ordinary American family. Until they weren’t.

On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day, US president Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan and the United States officially entered World War II. Soon after, in February and March 1942, Roosevelt signed two executive orders which paved the way for the military to round up all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast and incarcerate them in isolated internment camps for the duration of the war. Kiyo and her family were among the nearly 120,000 internees.

In this moving account, Sato and Goldsmith tell the story of the internment years, describing why the internment happened and how it impacted Kiyo and her family. They also discuss the ways in which Kiyo has used her experience to educate other Americans about their history, to promote inclusion, and to fight against similar injustices. Hers is a powerful, relevant, and inspiring story to tell on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

 

The Great Bear Rescue: Saving the Gobi Bears

Sandra Markle: Millbrook Press, Sept. 1, 2020

Acclaimed science author Sandra Markle offers a fascinating look at Gobi bears―the rarest bears on the planet. These adorable animals face threats ranging from illegal gold miners to climate change. Find out more about these bears, which are considered a national treasure in Mongolia, and learn what scientists are doing to help this critically endangered species.

 

 

I Survived The California Wildfires, 2018

Lauren Tarshish: Scholastic, Sept. 1, 2020

The people of Northern California were used to living with the threat of wildfires. But nothing could have prepared them for the devastating 2018 fire season, the deadliest in 100 years and the most destructive in history.

In the 20th I Survived book, readers join eleven-year-old Josh as he leaves his New Jersey home for the rural northern California town where his cousins live. Still reeling from the life-changing challenges that propelled him and his mother across the country, Josh struggles to adapt to a more rustic, down-to-earth lifestyle that couldn’t be more different from the one he is used to.

Josh and his cousin bond over tacos and reptiles and jokes, but on a trip into the nearby forest, they suddenly find themselves in the path of a fast-moving firestorm, a super-heated monster that will soon lay waste to millions of acres of wilderness and — possibly — their town. Josh needs to confront the family issues burning him up inside, but first he’ll have to survive the flames blazing all around him.

 

Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great Masters

MaryAnn F. Kole and Kim Solga: Chicago Review Press, Aug. 4, 2020

Fun and easy art-appreciation activities abound in this resource that features over 60 great artists across the ages. A concise biography for each artist tells why his or her work is important, and a kid-tested art activity tries out the artist’s approach. Young artists will sketch inventive designs in the style of da Vinci and draw in a nature notebook like Audubon. To understand Rodin, they will create a clay carving. Picasso will inspire a fractured friend, and Kahlo shows the magic in self-portraits. Projects stress the creative process and encourage kids to try unusual techniques such as block printing, pointillism, and mixed media artworks as they learn about architecture, drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture. Discovering Great Artists includes easy-to-follow icons to indicate the experience, preparation, and materials necessary for each project, as well as guides to the style, movement, or era of each artist. Introducing children to the greatest artists has never been more engaging!

 

25 Women Who Dared to Compete

Rebecca Stanborough: Compass Point Books, Aug. 1, 2020

Discover 25 women who challenged the stereotypes of what it means to play like a girl. These women worked to even the playing field and steppped up to score points for women all around the world.

 

 

An Ellis Island Time Capsule: Artifacts of the History of Immigration

Rachael Teresa Hanel: Capstone Press, Aug. 1, 2020

The artifacts of Ellis Island tell the story of millions of immigrants who passed through its halls on their journey to a new life in the United States. A 1900 photograph of the Statue of Liberty, an antique stethoscope, and a jigsaw puzzle are some of the primary sources that can help students better understand the experience of journeying through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. Explore these and more in this Time Capsule History book!

 

Happy 3rd Anniversary STEM Tuesday!! (Enter our Big Giveaway Celebration!)

 

HAPPY 3RD ANNIVERSARY, STEM TUESDAY!!

 

The entire STEM Tuesday team is SO excited to be celebrating our third anniversary!! We have enjoyed every minute of it and hope you have, too.

Our goal, when we started this blog was to provide  engaging, exciting, and inspiring STEM/STEAM activities and literacy connections to all of our readers. Over the past three years, we have taken a deep dive into so many unique and interesting topics.

From conservation, to Health, to Field Work, and even Exploration and Technology. We have featured graphic novels, Women’s History month, sharks, and activity books. And who can forget the posts on epic achievements and fantastic failures? Such important concepts in all of STEM/STEAM.

If you have used STEM Tuesday’s posts in your classroom or homeschool, let us know by commenting below. We’d like to hear what kind of  STEM/STEAM activities and literacy connections your student’s are enjoying. If there is topic that we haven’t covered yet and you’d like to see, please also let us know. You can email us at stemmuf@gmail.com

We, the entire STEM Tuesday team thank you for reading our posts and using our resources in your classroom or homeschool. After all, it’s all about inspiring kids (of all ages) to engage with STEM and STEAM!

As a way to share our excitement of this anniversary, we are going to give YOU the prizes.

Take a look at some of the amazing giveaways being offered:

 

From Author Jennifer Swanson

TWO free books– Beastly Bionics and Save the Crash-test Dummies

 

 

From Author Kirsten W. Larson  

Do one of my FlipGrids and invite me to join. I’ll record a FlipGrid for your students and comment on their videos.

 

Paper Airplane Creations: https://flipgrid.com/6f3beaf2

 

From Mike Hays

“Catch a Wave!” STEM Tuesday Prize Pack

For the budding young physicist, here’s an electromagnetic wave prize package inspired by the “Catch a Wave” STEM Tuesday Spin-Off post at MG Book Village. (link: https://mgbookvillage.org/2020/02/13/stem-tuesday-spin-off-catch-a-wave-edition/ )

3’ Horseshoe Magnet, Compass, Bar Magnet Set, Prism, Folding Pocket Magnifying Glass

AND two 30-min. classroom Skype visits

 

 

From Author Mary Kay Carson

TWO activity-filled books as giveaways–Wildlife Ranger Action Guide & Alexander Graham Bell for Kids

 

 

From Author Karen Latchana Kenney 

TWO books for  giveaway: TV Brings Battle into the Home with the Vietnam War and Exploring Auroras

 

From Author Carla Mooney 

TWO books  for giveaway – Inside the Human Body & The Human Genome: Mapping the Blueprint of Human Life

 

 

From Author Janet Slingerland

One book Atoms and Molecules AND a FREE 15-minute Skype Q & A

 

 

From Author Heather L. Montgomery,

Whose books include:  Who Gives a Poop? Surprising Science from One End to the Other and Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill.

One FREE 15-20 minute Skype Visit 

 

 

 

From Author Nancy Castaldo

Whose books include:  The Farm that Feeds Us and Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction

One FREE 20 minute Skype Visit 

ENTER the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget BELOW  

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We salute all of you teachers, librarians, and parents who are doing an AWESOME job teaching your kids/students this school year. If you are looking for virtual visits, please be sure to check our websites.

Many of us are offering activities and virtual events. You can find us all HERE

THANK YOU for reading along with STEM Tuesday. Cheers to another great year. GO STEM!!!

 

 

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Jennifer Swanson is the creator and administrator of STEM Tuesday. Hugely passionate about making STEM engaging and inspiring for kids of ALL ages, she is also the creator of STEAMTeamBooks, a website that highlights new STEM books releasing every year, and also the creator of the new Solve It! for Kids podcast where, along with her co-host, Jed Doherty, they give a peek into the lives of real-life scientists and engineers as they solve problems in their daily jobs.