Posts Tagged Book Giveaway

STEM Tuesday: Snow and Ice– Book List







Kids of all ages wonder at the world of snow. Listed here are some great resources to learn more about it. From blizzards to ice ages, these books have something for everyone fascinated by snow and ice.

Curious About Snow (Smithsonian) - Kindle edition by Shaw, Gina. Children Kindle eBooks @


Curious About Snow

by Gina Shaw

The very basics of ice and snow. With great photographs, this book starts with the basics, right from what ice is, how it is formed, what snowflakes are, right up to blizzards and snowstorms and how people have fun in the snow!





Ice: Chilling Stories from a Disappearing World - DK: 9781465481702 - AbeBooks


Ice: Chilling Stories from a Disappearing World

by various authors (DK publishers)

This beautiful big book full of stunning photographs is a deep dive into the frigid regions of our earth. It gives readers a complete picture of our icy world, from prehistory, to the geography of these lands, to the flora and fauna, and how humans have adapted to living in cold regions.






Meltdown: Discover Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Learn What You Can Do to Save Them: Sanchez, Anita, Padula, Lily: 9781523509508: Books

Meltdown: Discover Earth’s Irreplaceable Glaciers and Learn What You Can Do to Save Them

by Anita Sanchez (Author), Lily Padula (Illustrator)

This kids’ guide to glaciers is packed with information to give readers an exciting overview of glaciers and how important they are. With graphs, charts, photographs and more, this book will dive into the secrets of glaciers, teach readers how to become climate activists, and share ways to save the glaciers.







Mission: Arctic: A Scientifc Adventure to a Changing North Pole: Weiss-Tuider, Katharina, Schneider, Christian: 9781771649568: BooksMission: Arctic: A Scientific Adventure to a Changing North Pole

by Katharina Weiss-Tuider and Christian Schneider


Until now, the world of the Arctic was a mystery. This guide follows the 2019 MOSAiC expedition whose mission was to let their vessel freeze in the sea ice and drift to the north pole. Why? To study how the Arctic is changing. Featuring photographs, facts, diagrams and more; the thrilling world of the Arctic will come alive as readers discover its secrets.






What Was the Ice Age? by Nico Medina and Who HQ


What Was the Ice Age?

by Nico Medina

A part of the “What Was” series, this book is a look at our world 20,000 years ago when glaciers and ice covered most of our planet.








Explore The Ice Age!: With 25 Great Projects: Blobaum, Cindy, Stone, Bryan: 9781619305816: Books

Explore The Ice Age!: With 25 Great Projects

by Cindy Blobaum (Author), Bryan Stone (Illustrator)

What exactly is an ice age? How do organisms and ecosystems deal with them? How do they affect the Earth? Explore the Ice Age illustrates with activities what happens during and after such an event. Filled with illustrations and fun facts, this book will be a welcome addition to your library.







Out of the Ice: How Climate Change Is Revealing the Past: Eamer, Claire, Shannon, Drew: 9781771387316: Books


Out of the Ice: How Climate Change Is Revealing the Past

by Claire Eamer and Drew Shannon

A fascinating look into how unexpected things have been emerging from ice melting due to global warming. The book  discusses glacial archaeology, a scientific field in which researchers study these finds and discover new things about our past.




X-Books: Weather: Snow

Snow (X-books: Weather)

by Bill McAuliffe

Take a look at the five most devastating snowstorms recorded and discover fascinating information about the wonders of snow.








Blasted by Blizzards Book by Jill Keppeler | Epic

Blasted by Blizzards (Natural Disasters: How People Survive)

by Jill Keppeler (Author)


Want to learn the basics of blizzards? Blasted by Blizzards focuses on why they occur, what happens afterwards and what to do to prepare for a blizzard-shaped disaster.







Ice! Poems About Polar Life Book Review and Ratings by Kids - Douglas Florian


Ice! Poems About Polar Life

by Douglas Florian

With poetry, wordplay and lots of humor, poet Douglas Florian introduces children to animals that live in the polar region, and also explores scientific concepts like global warming, animal adaptations, and much more.







Susan Summers is a wildlife enthusiast and an author. Contact her at:



Shruthi Rao is an author. Her home on the web is




STEM Tuesday — Spooky and Scary Science– Interview with Gail Jarrow

Welcome to STEM Tuesday: Author Interview, a repeating feature for the last Tuesday of every month. Go Science-Tech-Engineering-Math!

Happy Spooky Season! What better way to celebrate this deliciously horrific month than with a book that’s TERRIFYING?!

American Murderer: The Parasite That Haunted the South is a riveting tale of an unwelcome guest that wreaked havoc in the 19th and early 20th centuries by boring into unsuspecting bodies through the skin and leaving its human hosts with wrecked bodies and brains.

Horrifying! Let’s dig in with Gail Jarrow!


American Murderer

Included on NPR’s 2022 “Books We Love” List Finalist, 2023 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction ALSC Notable Children’s Book

Andi Diehn: My first question feels a tad obvious, but why did you devote a whole book to hookworms?!   

Gail Jarrow: Gross and disgusting appeals to many  in my audience of ages 10+. You can’t beat a vampire creature that clings to the inside of your intestine wall with its suction-cup mouth and sucks your blood until you get sick or  die. And what’s more disgusting than a discussion of leaky outhouses? But beyond that, my account of hookworm disease in the U.S. is a little-known story showing  the  changes in medicine and public health that occurred in the early 1900s. I also was drawn to the subject because it dramatically illustrates how  researchers used the scientific method to make medical discoveries.

AD: Arthur Looss and his accidental discovery of how hookworms entered the body – wow! What does this tell you about the courage of scientists (or at least that particular scientist!)? 

GJ: You have to admire them!  Looss made a dangerous lab error that he recognized as an opportunity. In  research for my books, I’ve encountered several scientists who have intentionally put themselves at risk. Sometimes they’re so sure of themselves that they don’t consider their experiment to be reckless. But in other less certain situations,  they decide that being a human guinea pig is the only way to test a hypothesis. In Bubonic Panic, I tell how Waldemar Haffkine injected himself with the first plague vaccine in 1897, keeping records of his physical reaction. In Red Madness, Joseph Goldberger swallowed a “pill” made of feces, urine, blood, and saliva from pellagra victims to prove that the disease wasn’t contagious. His 1916 experiment put the infectious theory to rest. (Pellagra is a vitamin deficiency disease.) In 1984, Barry Marshall successfully tested his hypothesis that a bacterium caused stomach ulcers by swallowing a beaker full of the microbe. He did get an ulcer, which he cured with antibiotics, but he also received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery.hookworm

AD: Stiles’s name for his newly discovered hookworm – the American Murderer – is chilling! Why do you think he gave it such a chilling moniker?

GJ: Stiles wasn’t a subtle man. He knew this human hookworm killed people, and he gave it a name to communicate that fact. The name certainly brought attention to the parasite, and it gave me a good book title.

AD: Your descriptions of how people with hookworm were treated – even by medical professionals – is heartbreaking. What’s the lesson here? How can we use that moment in American history to improve current medical practices?hookworm victims

GJ: Having written a few books about the history of medicine, I’ve learned that  “accepted” theories can be wrong. Patients suffer when the mantra is “everyone agrees that. . ..”  As part of my research for American Murderer, I read medical books from the late 19th/early 20th centuries. According to the experts, human hookworm disease didn’t exist in the U.S. except in recent migrants. But Charles Stiles proved that was incorrect and that millions of southerners were infected, probably for generations. He had studied in Europe, where the disease was recognized and easily treated. The American medical establishment, particularly in the South, was slow to go along because Stiles was a parasitologist, not a physician. They also didn’t want to admit that, because of their ignorance, they’d misdiagnosed and failed to treat their patients for years. The sick people were dismissed by  their communities as lazy and stupid. And because victims were usually infected by hookworms at home,  it appeared as if these undesirable character traits simply ran in the family.  The lesson for today is that the medical community must be open to new ideas, knowledge, and approaches and should not dismiss them for the wrong reasons.hookworm education

AD: The cotton mills and Stiles’s narrow focus on hookworms – how might history have been different if Stiles had entertained the idea that other issues affected the mill workers?

GJ: Perhaps that  would have sped up reforms, especially concerning child labor. Still, just a few years later, in 1916, Joseph Goldberger and the U.S. Public Health Service investigated the health of mill workers and identified poor nutrition as a pervasive problem. These studies, as well as Lewis Hine’s photographs of child laborers, helped to bring reforms.

AD: The story of the hookworm is the story of public health – what did we learn from that era that we’ve put to use in more recent times, like with covid?

GJ: The hookworm campaign that started in 1909 demonstrated that in order to reduce or eliminate a disease,  it’s important to educate people about prevention and treatment. The information must be explained clearly and accurately without being condescending. In the early 1900s, newspapers were key to disseminating that information.The articles were written by Stiles, the Public Health Service, and doctors. Today we see similar efforts to transmit facts about COVID, influenza, prenatal care, vaccines, and other health concerns. But times have changed. People no longer have just one reliable source to keep them informed, such as their local newspaper. While additional kinds of media are available to educate the public today,  more unvetted, confusing, and false information is readily available, too.

before and after hookworm victim

A before and after image of a boy cured of hookworms

The hookworm campaign also showed that people are more likely to accept and act on information when they hear it from someone they trust. That meant keeping the  campaign local, at the county or state level and even in the schools and churches. The strategy was to reach people where they were, no matter who they were in terms of socio-economic status or race. The clinics  were staffed by local doctors and community volunteers known by the visitors. Today we see a decline in trust of public health institutions like the CDC and FDA–for many reasons. That’s proving to be a problem.

AD: It’s wonderful to see the before and after photos of victims who were cured, but I also worry about longterm effects on their mental/emotional health – did officials do anything to support individuals once they’d been cured of hookworm? 

GJ: Judging from the personal testimonies I read, I’d say that people who had been cured felt so much better physically that they were  happier and more positive about their lives. With energy to work and learn, they could support and care for their families. Rather than focusing on emotional support (an approach which is more of our time than theirs),  the campaign’s follow-up plan was to stop reinfection by educating hookworm victims about how the parasites spread and helping to install effective waste disposal systems at homes. State education departments added hookworm to the curriculum so that students learned about the disease’s cause, prevention, and treatment. Laws  in southern states required well-maintained outhouses in schools. Eventually, sewers were built in most towns and cities, which stopped the spread of hookworm and other intestinal diseases. But even today, many rural homes like mine are not hooked up to a municipal sewer, and it’s up to the homeowner to have a safe system. newspaper clippings

AD: Why was it important to you to bring readers to the present time to see what the worm situation is like today?

GJ: I always aim to convey hope in my endings.  Hookworm infections were significantly reduced in the United States. Research brought better treatments. The recognized importance of proper waste management spurred  infrastructure improvements.  At the same time, I tried to get young readers to think about what happens when they flush  a toilet and how their health can be affected by tiny parasites. I even included some advice about wearing proper footwear on our southeastern beaches to avoid infection by dog hookworms. 

I also wanted young readers to be aware that at least 1.5 billion people worldwide are still afflicted with soil-transmitted worms, including hookworms. These infections negatively impact a country’s economy and political stability.  It’s essential to know what’s going on in the world beyond. Sooner or later, these things affect all of us.


Gail Jarror headshot

Gail Jarrow is the author of nonfiction books and novels for ages 8-18.

Her books for young readers have earned the Winner of the Excellence in Nonfiction Award from YALSA-ALA; the Robert F. Sibert Honor Book Award; Orbis Pictus Honor; Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award; the Jefferson Cup; Grateful American Book Prize Honor; Golden Kite Honor for NF for Older Readers; Eureka! Gold Award; ALA Notable Book; Notable Social Studies Trade Book; the National Science Teaching Association Outstanding Science Trade Book and Best STEM Book, Best Books awards from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Bank Street College of Education, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and NPR. She has received additional awards and recognition from the American Booksellers Association, American Library Association, Public Library Association, the Society of School Librarians International, and Junior Library Guild.


Andi DiehnAndi Diehn grew up near the ocean chatting with horseshoe crabs and now lives in the mountains surrounded by dogs, cats, lizards, chickens, ducks, moose, deer, and bobcats, some of which help themselves to whatever she manages to grow in the garden. You are most likely to find her reading a book, talking about books, writing a book, or discussing politics with her sons. She has 20 children’s books published or forthcoming.

Author Spotlight: Landra Jennings + a GIVEAWAY


In today’s Author Spotlight, Jo Hackl chats with author Landra Jennings about her new middle-grade novel, Wand (Clarion Books, October 31). She’ll share her inspiration behind writing it, the works of literature that influenced it, and the surprising muse for the bird characters! Plus, there’s a chance to win a finished/signed copy of Wand if you enter the giveaway. Scroll down for details.


Book Summary:

A dazzling story of grief and found family wrapped in a spellbinding fairy tale, perfect for fans of Anne Ursu and Jodi Lynn Anderson.

Eleven-year-old Mira wishes everything could go back to the way it was. Before she changed schools and had to quit gymnastics. Especially before Papa died. Now she spends her days cooking and cleaning for her stepsisters and Val—who she still won’t call mom and still won’t forgive for the terrible thing she did.

When a mysterious girl named Lyndame appears out of the woods wielding a powerful wand, she makes Mira an offer she can’t refuse: she will grant Mira three wishes.

What if magic isn’t just pretend after all? What if these wishes could fix everything? But in the quiet town of Between, Georgia, where secrets lurk and rumors swirl of strange creatures, nothing is as it seems, and everything comes at a price.

Rising talent Landra Jennings weaves together an enchanting, modern fairy tale with eloquence and compassion about finding hope after loss—and finding belonging in the places we least expect.


Interview with Landra Jennings

JH: Welcome to the Mixed-Up Files, Landra! Thanks for joining us today.

LJ: Thank you so much for having me.

JH:  First I have to tell you how much I loved Wand. The story felt gothic and suspenseful, like your first book, and I loved the adventure. I enjoyed  the fairy tale elements. Can you please tell us about your inspiration to write it?

LJ: Thanks so much! You’re right about the fairy tale elements. I’d say I had three areas of inspiration. Firstly, this is my take on Cinderella for middle grade. I wanted to figure out what a happy ending looked like for eleven-year-old Mira, whose story starts in in modern-day Georgia. Her father has passed away, leaving her with a stepmother and two step sisters, and she’s still grieving. Similar to other modern interpretations of Cinderella, I wanted Mira to figure out her happy ending for herself versus finding a literal ‘prince.’ Secondly, I’ve also realized in the process of writing that I start stories with some big emotion and build from there. My first book was focused on the difficulty in detaching from that one friend (or sibling) that you’ve become too dependent on and learning how to become an independent person. Wand is about grief; how once we’ve experienced the pain of losing someone, whether it be through death or some other way, we can build those walls around ourselves to protect from future pain, and how that can isolate us from the world. We might really want something magical to fix everything and take our pain away versus facing the pain head-on. I wanted to explore the process of breaking down those walls from the perspective of a child. Finally, while I was editing Wand, I read The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, an amazing YA portal fantasy and that book started me on a binge of reading and re-reading portal fantasies, mostly middle grade works. So those other fantasies were also influential as I developed the plot.

Portal Fantasy Influences

JH: Why a portal fantasy? Please tell us more about that.

LJ: Portal fantasy is a very broad category, really. A character travels from one world to another through a “portal,” a passageway of some sort, whether it be a tornado as in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, or a mysterious wooden door, as in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

Sometimes the characters stumble onto the portal as in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Sometimes they deliberately seek it out, as in the Hogwarts Express train in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Or sometimes (and this is really fun) they create the portal themselves as in Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife or in Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky.

I’ve mostly been reading about portals where characters travel from our ordinary world to the fantasy world. Sometimes they’re escaping a bad situation or boredom, and other times they’re searching for something specific. As readers, a book can be an escape to begin with and I love the function of a portal in taking the reader that much further away from their reality. It’s a very different world readers enter and they can work out their big emotions in a place far removed from their own problems. In Wand, the portal to the other world is a pond. My main character, Mira, is searching for her true family and a place she can belong. Mira has built up those emotional walls, protecting herself. Leaving the modern world and going to a new one by jumping into the pond is a way of avoiding confronting her powerful emotions.

The Role of the Wand and Magic

JH: Let’s talk about the wand. It’s in the title obviously, and I noticed its significance in the story. What is the role of the magic wand in the book?

LJ: The wand in my book represents the wish to “magic away” your problems. And the use of the wand in the narrative tracks along with Mira’s journey of processing her grief. In many versions of Cinderella, like Disney’s version, the heroine does not have the ability to use the magic wand herself. She is dependent on powerful others, such as a fairy godmother, who can wield it. The fairy godmother character in Wand is a teen named Lyndame who offers to grant Mira wishes, misrepresenting the power of the wand and her purpose in offering the wishes. Once Mira figures that out, she does get the wand for herself and she can wield it. Even though Mira’s intuition tells her that she shouldn’t use it, she does use it, to disastrous effect.

Favorite Character

JH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LJ: Lyndame, the antagonist. She’s so independent, yet so angry. She is processing her grief very differently than Mira, becoming a cautionary tale and demonstrating the emotional wreckage that can happen if an individual can’t work through grief and move on.

Favorite Scene

JH: What was your favorite scene to write?

LJ: I think one of my favorites is the girls together, upstairs in Mira’s bedroom. Mira’s been sent to her room without dinner and her stepsisters bring up a board game and some mushy microwave pizza. There’s not a whole lot of dialogue and it’s not a complicated scene, but there’s a lot of sub-text about demonstrating care for someone else.

Inspiration for the fascinating bird characters

JH: Can you tell us about the inspiration for the bird characters in the book? I noticed there are actually two in the main cast!

LJ: I love birds of all sorts. That love started as a child. I remember when I was 10 years old, using my last 50 cents to buy a used bird cage at a garage sale and begging my mother to let me have a parakeet. She didn’t! (I now recognize the wisdom of this decision). As an adult, I was finally able to get a parakeet: Momo. He became a tiny and beloved member of our family, moving with us from Chicago to Greenville, and living for 11 years.

Lately, I’m fascinated by wild birds, like hummingbirds and crows. I loved the idea of a crow to support Mira in her journey. As Bandit the crow is from the ordinary world, it was important to me that he be an ordinary crow. However, there’s no reason to enhance crows from the way they actually are. They are extraordinary to begin with, very intelligent, and there is so much research available from which to draw. I read about some crow species using found objects as tools and I knew I had to include that behavior in the book.  Source: I had a little more leeway with the character of Edwin, the golden bird who made it into the cover art. He’s from a magical land so I could make him a little more human-like. Overall, I enjoyed the parallel of having both the protagonist and the antagonist having bird companions.

To the Heart of Wand

JH: What would you most like for readers to take away from the book?

LJ: At its heart, the book is about family. However, you define family—whether it be the family you are born into or the one you find along the way. About recognizing that your family might not be perfect (can’t be perfect) but might be what you need to support you in your life, anyway.

Lightning Round!

No MUF interview is complete without a lightning round, so. . . .

Favorite cities (besides the one you live in):

Chicago. My kids were both born there.

 Scale of 1 to 10—How good of a driver are you?

Eh. Maybe an 8. I’m very cautious and slow (careful about distracted driving!) but my reflexes aren’t what they used to be.

Would you rather be able to speak every language in the world or talk to animals?

Talk to animals!

 Favorite ice cream?

Mint chocolate chip.

 Dawn or dusk?

Dusk. Such a gorgeous and mysterious time.

 Favorite childhood TV show?

Well, that really dates me. My favorite was Space Giants. When I look back on that now, it’s kind of an embarrassing choice because the scripts and special effects weren’t exactly top notch.

 What’s the best advice you ever received?

Be accountable. Follow through on what you’ve promised and if you make a mistake, apologize.


 JH: How can readers obtain a copy of the book? And for our educators and librarians, do you offer reading guides?

LJ: The book can be preordered at your local independent bookstores, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, or any place books are sold. Personalized copies can be preordered at Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC: And yes! I have an amazing curriculum supplement, with tons of fun and educational activities, to accompany my first book, and a curriculum supplement is soon to come for Wand. My multi-talented and multi-credentialed (EdS and M.Ed.) sister, Kinla Nelson, created both of these. And both will be available on my website.


And now. . . .


For a chance to win a signed copy of Wand, comment on the blog—and, if you’re on Twitter/X, on the Mixed-Up Files  Twitter/X account, for an extra chance to win!  (Giveaway ends September 18, 2023, MIDNIGHT EST.) U.S. only, please. Book will be mailed after publication. To enter, click here


About the Author 

Landra Jennings is a Greenville, South Carolina-based writer, author of middle-grade fantasy novels The Whispering Fog and the forthcoming Wand (October 31, 2023) published by HarperCollins Clarion Books. She holds an MBA from Northwestern University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in Minneapolis where she won the Anne Tews Schwab Scholarship for Excellence in Critical Writing and the Walden Pond Press Scholarship in Middle Grade Fiction and Non-Fiction. She is passionate about encouraging a love of reading and writing in children. You can learn more about Landra on her website. You can follow her on Instagram and Goodreads.