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July New Releases

Whether it’s a spooky, silly, or serious book you’re looking for, July has some great reads for your summer pleasure. Take a look!

 

Coop Knows the Scoop

By Taryn Souders

The whole town is talking about what’s buried beneath the playground. Windy Bottom, Georgia is usually a peaceful place. Coop helps his mom at her café and bookstore, hangs out with his grandpa, and bikes around with his friends Justice and Liberty. The town is full of all kinds of interesting people, but no one has ever caused a problem. Until now.

And somehow, Gramps is taking all the blame! It seems like there are a lot of secrets that were buried in their small town after all. Will Coop and his friends get to the bottom of the mystery and clear Gramps’s name before it’s too late?

 

 

Act (A Click Graphic Novel)

By Kayla Miller

Olive is excited to start sixth grade: new teachers, new experiences, and a field trip to the big city with her best buds! But when Olive finds out that a school policy is keeping some kids from going on the trip, she decides to act. She’s prepared to do whatever it takes to be heard—even if it means running against Trent and Sawyer, two of her closest friends, in the student council election! With intense campaign competition and emotions running high, can Olive make a big change and keep her friends?

New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Kayla Miller crafts a genuine and inspiring story about evolving friendships, supportive family, and finding out that you—yes, you—have the power to make a difference.

 

 

Attack on Pearl Harbor (Ranger in Time)

By Kate Messner, illus. by Kelley McMorris

I Survived meets The Puppy Place in this thrilling adventure novel as Ranger—a time-traveling golden retriever—races to the rescue on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Ranger travels back to 1941 Hawaii, where World War II is on everyone’s minds. That includes Ben Hansen, a young sailor stationed at Pearl Harbor, and twins Paul and Grace Yamada who are making their weekly market trip when Japanese bombs begin to fall from the sky. As the surprise attack puts all of Ranger’s new friends in danger, his search-and-rescue training kicks into high gear. Can he help them survive against all odds?

 

 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

By Eiko Kadono

Half-witch Kiki never runs from a challenge. So when her thirteenth birthday arrives, she’s eager to follow a witch’s tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year. Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected.

With her faithful, wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places. Blending fantasy with the charm of everyday life, this enchanting new translation will inspire both new readers and dedicated fans.

 

 

Scare Me

By K.R. Alexander

A haunted house has come to life in this spine-tingling novel from the author of The Collector.

They’ve lost control of the haunted house.Every year, the town of Happy Hills holds its haunted house contest. In a spooky old manor, teams of kids come up with new ways to frighten people. The scariest team wins. But this year, all the teams are going to lose. Because this year the house itself has awakened . . . and it won’t be happy until it’s devoured all the people inside. What started out as a game has turned into something much more deadly. Is there any way out?

 

 

War Stories

By Gordon Korman

There are two things Trevor loves more than anything else: playing war-based video games and his great-grandfather Jacob, who is a true-blue, bona fide war hero. At the height of the war, Jacob helped liberate a small French village, and was given a hero’s welcome upon his return to America.

Now it’s decades later, and Jacob wants to retrace the steps he took during the war— from training to invasion to the village he is said to have saved. Trevor thinks this is the coolest idea ever. But as they get to the village, Trevor discovers there’s more to the story than what he’s heard his whole life, causing him to wonder about his great-grandfather’s heroism, the truth about the battle he fought, and the importance of genuine valor.

 

 

History Smashers: The Mayflower

By Kate Messner, illus. by Dylan Meconis

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and made friends with Wampanoag people who gave them corn. RIGHT? WRONG! It was months before the Pilgrims met any Wampanoag people, and nobody gave anybody corn that day.

Did you know that the Pilgrims didn’t go straight from England to Plymouth? No, they made a stop along the way—and almost stayed forever! Did you know there was a second ship, called the Speedwell, that was too leaky to make the trip? No joke. And just wait until you learn the truth about Plymouth Rock.

Through illustrations, graphic panels, photographs, sidebars, and more, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the legends of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving.

 

 

Dress Coded

By Carrie Firestone

Molly Frost is FED UP… Because Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top. Because Liza got dress coded and Molly didn’t, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit. Because when Jessica was pulled over by the principal and missed a math quiz, her teacher gave her an F. Because it’s impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips. Because girls’ bodies are not a distraction. Because middle school is hard enough.

And so Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and before long, her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what’s right, and they’re not backing down.

 

 

Who Is David Beckham?

By Ellen Labrecque, illus. by John Hinderliter

Whenever a young David Beckham was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d always answer with the same response: I want to be a footballer. This English native got his wish when he joined the Manchester United team in 1991. Since then, he has been crossing, bending, and free-kicking his way to stardom. In his twenty-year career as a professional soccer player, he has won nineteen major trophies, and appeared at three FIFA World Cup tournaments.

David Beckham has become an international cultural icon for his soccer skills, his charity work, and his fashionable wife and family.

 


If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

By Erin McGill

President Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” And a dog is what many presidents got.

From James Garfield to Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, presidents often found a friend in Fido (in fact, Abe Lincoln’s pup was actually named Fido). Others preferred cats, horses, small critters, or even big, ferocious animals like bears and alligators.

Whether it’s favorite dogs like Barbara Bush’s Millie or the Obamas’ Bo; Abraham Lincoln’s cat, Dixie; Calvin Coolidge’s hippo, Billy; or Andrew Jackson’s foul-mouthed parrot, Poll, Erin McGill brings to life a menagerie of presidential pets in this entertaining, whimsical, and carefully researched picture book that’s perfect for animal lovers and history buffs alike.

 

 

Rise of Zombert (The Zombert Chronicles)

By Kara LaReau, illus. by Ryan Andrews

While helping her best friend, Danny, film his latest horror flick, Mellie discovers a scraggly cat behind a dumpster outside the YummCo Foods factory. Mellie names the stray Bert and hides him in her room, knowing her parents won’t let her keep him. But soon Bert has decapitated all her stuffed animals, and before long he is leaving the headless corpses of birds and mice as gifts for her. Danny is convinced the cat is a zombie, living on the brains of his victims. But is that what is really going on? Award-winning author Kara LaReau lets loose a fresh and sharply funny new mystery series, with an irresistible touch of the macabre. Fans of creepy stories and animal lovers alike will devour this fast-moving first episode in one gulp.

Books to Inspire You to Explore the Outdoors (safely)

Hopefully this blog post finds you all well and safe. I’m imaging it also finds you perhaps a bit anxious to get outside. After all, it is summer, and while I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, here in Florida, it’s glorious! A perfect time to get out and about and explore.

But what if where you live it’s not the right time to get out much yet. What can you do to keep your kids — and yourselves — occupied for the next few weeks while things open up? What can you do?  Why not bring the outdoors inside or at the very least get creative with your own little outdoor spot. I’m talking about getting creative with SCIENCE outside. (come on, if you know me, you knew this was going to be a science post) 😁

Are you ready to get your outdoor science on? GREAT!  —>  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.

            

 

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

For that check out my new book BEASTLY BIONICS                             

 

And who says that animals are the only bits of science you can see outside or around your house? What about cars? or buildings?

       

 

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

      

 

For MORE great ideas of how to use STEM/STEAM books to create fun at home,

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

and also STEAMTEAM2020 website which highlights new books coming out in 2020!

 

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

Your challenge is to observe, design, draw, build and create something new.

  • 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 living room into a new type of ecosystem (be sure to ask your parent’s permission) 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. Leave a comment/picture below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of my new Beastly Bionics book!

Happy inventing!

 

 

 

STEM Tuesday– SHARKS!– In The Classroom


I was so excited when I saw the theme for this month. In elementary school, my daughter fell in love with sharks. Through her, I learned to love sharks, too.

This month’s list of books is packed with great choices. I read a few as I thought about activities that would be great to pair with them.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe Great Shark Rescue: Saving the Whale Sharks
by Sandra Markle

The whale shark is my personal favorite, so I had to read this one! It looks at dangers facing whale sharks. In doing so, it covers a lot of information about whale sharks and where and how they live.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

World’s Weirdest Sharks
by Paul Mason

This book introduces readers to many different sharks. While the title says they are weird, I would describe them as amazing.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgWe Need Sharks (The Animal Files)
by Lisa Bullard

This book looks at why sharks are important and why we should care about them. It looks at sharks in food chains and the important roles they play in ecosystems.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSharks Are Awesome
by Patricia Hutchison

This book is a celebration of sharks. Sharks are everywhere and have been around a really long time. They come in all sizes, have 7 senses, inspire new ideas, and help balance ecosystems. Like the title says, Sharks are Awesome!

 

Here are some ideas for exploring sharks further and for (hopefully) shifting the way people think about them.

Create a Shark Super-Hero

Sharks are often portrayed as sinister, scary things. It’s easy to cast them as villains. Challenge readers to create a shark super-hero based on the sharks they read about. They could pick a specific shark or draw on characteristics all sharks share for inspiration.

Here are some additional questions that might help spark ideas when creating a shark super-character.

  • What are the special abilities the shark has? How would that make it an awesome super-hero?
  • Who would be the shark’s arch-nemesis (villain)? Think about things that endanger sharks and other ocean creatures. How might a super-shark save the day?
  • What if the super-hero was more like the X-Men or Batman? What would make that super-hero special and shark-like?

Once readers have imagined a shark super-hero, challenge them to create a story where the shark-hero saves the day. For those who prefer creating graphic novels, there are some shark drawing and graphic novel resources below to help.

Showcase an Amazing Shark

With all the amazing sharks out there and in these books, at least one had to spark each reader’s interest. Challenge them to share what they found amazing with their friends, family, and/or fellow classmates. One way to do this is with a promotional poster.

I might title my poster “It’s a Whale of a Shark!” Pretty corny, I know. It’s tough coming up with a catchy slogan, but it’s fun to try.

Here are some other things that would be good to include:

  • A picture of the shark.
  • How big the shark gets, perhaps compared with something of similar size. For instance, in World’s Weirdest Sharks, whale sharks are described as being as long as a double-decker bus and as heavy as 5 rhinos.
  • Where the shark lives.
  • What, and how much, it eats.
  • Special abilities or features of the shark.

This could be converted into an aquarium-type classroom display, where different sharks are in “tanks” around the room. There are many ways to run with this idea.

Drawing Sharks

I promised some resources for drawing sharks or creating graphic novels. Here they are:

Author/illustrator Jarrett Lerner has tons of drawing and graphic novel resources on his website, including some that feature sharks. https://jarrettlerner.com/activities

Author and former art teacher Kathy Barbro has quite a few pages on drawing sharks on her website Art Projects for Kids:

https://artprojectsforkids.org/how-to-draw-a-cartoon-shark
https://artprojectsforkids.org/draw-a-megalodon-shark
https://artprojectsforkids.org/how-to-draw-a-shark

There are steps and a video for drawing a shark on Mocomi: https://mocomi.com/how-to-draw-a-shark

Author Lynn Plourde has a great graphic novel resource here: http://www.lynnplourde.com/uploads/31/Documents/2-CREATING-GRAPHIC-NOVEL-LINKS.pdf

Here is another blank template: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Free-Graphic-Novel-Comic-Book-Templates-598158

There are many more out there if you do a little searching.

Explore More Online

Several of the books talk about shark-tracking projects researchers use to gather information about different sharks. Some of these are available online for everyone to see. Check them out and see what kinds of sharks have been tracked closest to your home.

Ocearch – https://www.ocearch.org – Ocearch tracks many different species. Their main page shows animals they are tracking, with recent pings blinking. The different colored dots indicate different animals; sharks are blue. There are also yellow whales, green sea turtles, and more. Have fun exploring the different creatures and where they’ve been. Some of them travel truly astounding distances.

Conservation International has a whale shark tracker here: https://www.conservation.org/projects/whale-shark-tracker. There are lots of interesting videos and other things on their website, too, including a quiz to find out “What Kind of Shark Are You?” – https://www.conservation.org/quizzes/what-kind-of-shark-are-you.

Many aquariums also have lots of great information on their websites. Here are some of my favorites that feature sharks:

The Georgia Aquarium is (I believe) the only aquarium in the Western Hemisphere that has whale sharks. They’re amazing to see in person. They’ve got lots of info on their website, too. https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/animal/whale-shark

The National Aquarium in Baltimore has a web cam where you can try to see and identify sharks and other sea animals: https://aqua.org/Experience/live#btr. They have additional information about animals found there. Sharks in Shark Alley are listed here: https://aqua.org/Experience/Shark-Alley.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium also has a live shark cam: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/shark-cam. At the bottom of that page and around the site there are links to stories, animals, and more that are worth exploring.

The Shedd Aquarium also has lots of information about sharks on their website. The Wild Reef’s a good place to start, then see where your fancy takes you: https://www.sheddaquarium.org/exhibits/wild-reef.

 

I hope you have fun exploring sharks. Perhaps soon, you’ll even be writing a love poem to sharks!

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Janet Slingerland loves learning about science, history, nature, and (well) everything, which she then turns into a book. She regularly visits aquariums with her family and has even touched a shark or two – or in the case of this picture, a ray. She was able to write about whale sharks in her book 12 Epic Animal Adventures. To find out more about Janet and her books, check out her website: janetsbooks.com