Posts Tagged librarians

STEAMing Up Your 2021 Bookshelf!


Looking for some great new STEM/STEAM (Science, Technoloy, Engineering, Art and Math) and titles to add to your classroom or library this year?

Look no further than STEAMTeamBooks!


What is STEAMTeamBooks? A group of 40+ children’s authors who are passionate about all things science and technology and have new books releasing in 2021– both nonfiction and fiction!

Why create STEAMTeamBooks? It’s sometimes tough to get the word out about new books and even more difficult for teachers and librarians to discover them. That is why a lot of authors are teaming up to create debut groups, like this one. There are groups that highlight picture books and middle grade, but until now there hasn’t been a new release group dedicated solely to STEM and STEAM books.

Why are STEAM books so important? STEAM-related books bring the spirit of inquiry, discovery, and creative problem-solving to your learners while engaging them in rich literacy experiences. ​

What are some of the STEAM/STEM books you can look forward to seeing this year? 

Here is a preview. These are the books from STEAMTeam2020 authors that are releasing in 2021:





To see more, visit the website 

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at #STEAMTeamBooks

Help us get the word out about STEAM/STEM books!

(And don’t forget to check out the Mixed Up Files very own STEMTuesday blog which will give you tips on how to use STEM/STEAM books in your classroom!) 

STEM Tuesday — Polar Ecology– Book List

You may need to pull on a pair of fuzzy wool socks and heat up a cuppa cocoa before reading these books. Get ready for some armchair adventures into the frozen polar regions.

Polar Environments

Polar Worlds, by Wade, Rosalyn.

The first half introduces the polar environment and highlights things explorers need to stay alive. The second half focuses on animals in the north and south polar regions, from puffins to penguins.




Ice: Chilling Stories From a Disappearing World,  by Laura Buller, Andrea Mills, and John Woodward

A browsable book that ranges from the prehistoric to present. Meet polar plants, frozen frogs, and other wonders of the icy world. Plenty of climate change alerts sprinkled throughout the pages.




Climate Change and the Polar Regions, by Michael Burgan.

An introduction shows how scientists study climate. Following chapters focus on the impacts of climate change to the Arctic and Antarctic, from melting ice to changing ocean currents to wildlife.



Antarctica: Enchantment of the World, by Wil Mara

Did you know there was moss and grass growing in Antarctica or frozen steam towers from active volcanoes? How about that someone was born there? In addition to amazing maps, showing all the research stations and land forms, and unbelievable photographs, this book explores the history, scientists, politics, tourism, exploitation, and folklore of Antarctica.


Polar Wildlife


The Arctic, by Wayne Lynch

It may look cold and barren, but the Arctic is filled with a diversity of wildlife. From seabirds to blubbery beasts, this photo-rich book provides a field trip to the land of the midnight sun.



Arctic Tundra : Life at the North Pole, by Salvatore Tocci

This book presents an overview of the tundra – a desert at the top of the world. Readers will see how ice and cold shape the landscape and the plants and animals that live there.




Poles Apart: Why Penguins and Polar Bears Will Never Be Neighbors by Elaine Scott

After exploring the fossil evidence of Pangea, this book offers a look at the unique physical and climactic differences of each pole, the people and animals that reside in each, and the lessons gained from explorers and scientists. It includes a good resource list of books and websites.



Frozen Realms, by Melissa Gish

Explore the deep sea beneath the North Pole! Numerous short “Ask a Scientist” features accompany photographs of amazing underwater creatures – including dragons.



Polar Scientists and Explorers


The Polar Bear Scientists (Scientists in the Field Series), by Peter Lourie

Beginning on page one, readers are in a helicopter, chasing polar bears. Once captured, the scientists collect measurements and take samples of blood, fat, and even hair. Then they fasten a radio collar around the bear’s neck and move away, so the polar bear can return to its own hunt. There’s a series of conversations with a scientist, and thoughtful comments about the impacts of a warming climate on polar bears.



Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed, by Sally M. Walker

This book focuses on modern explorers and scientists. You’ll learn how to survive extreme cold and meet the scientists studying the secrets of the ice, from how it forms to how it moves. And there’s a robot!



Ice Scientist: Career in the Frozen Antarctic by Sara L. Latta

Interspersed among the realities of bone chilling cold and blinding sunlight, are descriptions of scientists who have and do work in the Antarctic. These scientists found dinosaurs, meteorites, 20,000 species of nematodes, coral, and massive glaciers in Antarctica. The engaging text and sidebars combine with chapter notes, a glossary, further reading & links to create a great look at a chilly science.




Lost in the Antarctic: The Doomed Voyage of the Endurance, by Tod Olson

Olsen writes a compelling, account of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated 1914 expedition to Antarctica. When their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in a sea of ice, the crew rescued whatever food and supplies they could. There are maps, photos, packing lists, and enough ice and frigid weather to make you head to the kitchen for a mug of cocoa.



Race to the Bottom of the Earth: Surviving Antarctica, by Rebecca E. F. Barone

This book chronicles the parallel journeys undertaken by Antarctic explorers. In 1910 two explorers, each leading their own expedition, set their sights on reaching the South Pole: Captain Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen. Their goal: to be the first to reach the Pole and make history. In 2018 two more explorers set off for the South Pole. Captain Louis Rudd hoped to complete the first solo crossing of Antarctica. Colin O’Brady set out on the same trek, determined to make it across the finish line first. Adventure mixes with STEM in this nail-biting story of survival.


STEM Tuesday book list prepared by:


Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. A long line of ants marching across the kitchen counter inspired her first article for kids. When not writing, she’s committing acts of citizen science in the garden. She blogs about science for kids and families at



Maria Marshall is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s been a judge for the Cybils Awards from 2017 to present. Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, and 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at


STEM Tuesday’s New Year’s Celebration — Part Two

Partie Deux (Translation…Part Doo.)

Recap: We last saw Mike Hays, our STEM Tuesday New Year’s Post expert, in the barnyard with his trusty sidekick, Dr. Bull Loney,  attempting to clean his boot.

The Look (M. Hays 2020)

“STOP! Stop this recap! What’s with this ‘trusty sidekick’ bit, Hays?” screamed Dr. Bull Loney.

I turned to my bovine friend. “Doesn’t it sound awesome? Our hero and his assistant out in the world solving the great mysteries of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics?”

“No.” said the good doctor flatly. 

“We could be international men, well, man and bovine, of mystery and intrigue. I see a Netflix series coming on.”

“You’re an idiot. Everybody knows I’m the brains of this dynamic duo.”

I sat down on a hay bale and started scraping the cow poo off of my boot with an old piece of barn wood.

“Besides, you got it all wrong. It’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” The tail swished back and forth impatiently. “That’s what STEM stands for.”

“Same thing that I said.”

“What you said makes SETM, not STEM.”

“Same thing.”

“Not at all.” Dr. Loney paused. “Hey, this brings up another problem. Precision.”

“I thought you are supposed to be introducing ‘Cow Poo’ as your STEM Tuesday 2021 theme?”

“I’ll get to that but this is important. Precision is important for not only doing proper STEM work but in presenting the STEM message to others.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“You think so? What good are discovery and innovation if all that discovery and innovation stays in the head of the discoverer/innovator?”

“Not much, I guess.”

“Right. The real value of discovery and innovation, the real value of STEM, is spreading that information to others and putting it into practice.”

“Makes sense. But where’s the precision part fit in?”

The bull lit up like a firework on New Year’s Eve. He was in his element. He was on a roll. 

“Precision, my friend, is the trust part of science. We all know consistency in your data builds trust in the data. However, precision is also important in the messaging side of things too. Without precision in presenting and teaching your information, trust devolves into confusion.”

“So when our message lacks precision, we can create more confusion than trust.”

“Precisely. It’s SETM vs. STEM. You only work to confuse people with SETM rather than the accepted acronym, STEM. Nobody really likes confusion except, perhaps, pigs.”

“Now I get it. That’s kind of like what we do at STEM Tuesday and what the great community of nonfiction kidlit writers does. Spread information through precision in messaging. Getting the best information that we can to the readers.”

“Hays, I think you are coming around. There’s hope for you yet.”

I fought the urge to flick the stuff from the bottom of my boot at him. “Can we  get around to your 2021 STEM Tuesday announcement now?”

“Of course. And you don’t have to be so snappy about it. You done cleaning that shoe off yet? I feel this is an announcement best suited for the sunshine and wide-open space of the pasture.”

We moved through the gate and into the brown grass of the pasture. We stopped on a rise overlooking the corn stubble fields stretched below us. The sunshine felt good and the beauty all around me on this late December day made me forget all about my boot mishap.

“Dr. Bull Loney, this is the perfect spot to make your announcement. But first, tell me why you think “Cow Poo” not only represents 2020 but is also the perfect word for 2021?”

“It’s simple. It’s a circle of life thing.”

“Wait!” I said, looking around at the pastoral setting with images of animated musical animals popping into my head. “You’re not going to start belting out one of those Disney songs, are you?”

“Not a bad idea, but no. Circle of life. The grass grows and the grain grows. We eat the grass and the grain. We absorb the nutrients and then we get rid of the rest in the form of poo. The poo fertilizes the soil and provides nutrients to the grass and the grain. See? Circle of life stuff.”

“What about methane gas?”

“All part of the process. There are positives and negatives to everything under the sun. We can’t ignore the fact that hardly anything in our universe is 100%. That’s why we have statistics.”

“Okay, you’re saying “Cow Poo” needs to be our 2021 word just because it’s fertilizer?”

“After the Cow Poo year of 2020, don’t you think a little fertilizing is needed in our future?”

“You have a point.”


“Okay Dr., make the announcement.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, I propose ‘Cow Poo 2021’ as the STEM Tuesday theme for the New Year. Keep the STEM faith as we navigate these tough and difficult times. We wish you the best and can’t wait to see what you’ll create fueled by your own means of fertilizer. Happy New Year from the MUF family and the STEM Tuesday team!”

As the wisdom of Dr. Bull Loney sunk in, I looked around at the beauty of nature surrounding me. With the challenges we face in 2021, a little fertilizer in our future is not a bad thing at all. We need it for our creative life. We need it for our discoveries. We need it for our innovation. We need it to make our world just a little bit better today than it was yesterday.

I only suggest we pay attention to what’s under our feet so we don’t accidentally step in something we don’t have to scrape off our boots. Also, I recommend checking out some books on poop (including a few titles below from STEM Tuesday contributors). It’s fascinating stuff! 

Who Gives A Poop? Surprising Science From One End To The Other by Heather L. Montgomery (2020)

Building With Poop by Jennifer Swanson (2018)


Happy New Year! May your life be fertile and productive in 2021.


Anya Adora [CC BY 4.0 (]


Mike Hays has worked hard from a young age to be a well-rounded individual. A well-rounded, equal opportunity sports enthusiasts, that is. If they keep a score, he’ll either watch it, play it, or coach it. A molecular microbiologist by day, middle-grade author, sports coach, and general good citizen by night, he blogs about sports/training related topics at and writer stuff at www.mikehaysbooks.comTwo of his science essays, The Science of Jurassic Park and Zombie Microbiology 101,  are included in the Putting the Science in Fiction collection from Writer’s Digest Books. He can be found roaming around the Twitter-sphere under the guise of @coachhays64.