Tag Archives: librarians

STEM Tuesday Exploration– Books List

Welcome to January’s STEM Tuesday book list! This month our topic is EXPLORATION! It sounds exciting, doesn’t it? You’ll see that we stretched the concept of exploration to include some unique ideas. We hope that these books launch you off on new adventures.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSmash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider by Sara Latta
Discover what happens when two cousins visit the Large Hadron Collider that speeds up tiny particles and then smashes them together in this fun graphic novel.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe Search for Olinguito: Discovering a New Species by Sandra Markle
Sandra Markle brings Kristofer Helgen’s discovery of a new, furry, four-legged Ecuadorian  species in this middle grade title. Readers will experience a real-life adventure into a cloud forest.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgDiving To a Deep-Sea Volcano by Kenneth Mallory
Not all volcanos explode lava above ground. Readers of this Scientists in the Field title will discover that most volcanic activity is under the ocean. Explore the ocean depths and discover new worlds with Kenneth Mallory.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgAstronaut/Aquanaut by Jennifer Swanson
Space and sea exploration in one title! This National Geographic title discusses the ways deep-sea and space explorers have to be concerned about the same things — pressure, temperature, climate, and remote places.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgAmazon Adventure: How Tiny Fish Are Saving the World’s Largest Rainforest by Sy Montgomery
Can a tiny fish save millions of acres of Amazon rainforest? Enjoy this adventure story with Sy Montgomery as she travels the Amazon river and rainforest to discover this important ecosystem.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgNational Geographic Kids Ultimate Space Atlas by Carolyn DeCristofano
Kids are the explorers in this collection of amazing maps, including the solar system, deep space, the Milky Way, and the night sky. Written by a STEM educator, this title is perfect for budding astronauts.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgWelcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne Dyson
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin invites readers to explore the universe and imagine living on the red planet.  If you want more on Mars exploration, check out Mission: Mars by Pascal Lee  Readers will discover how they can train to be part of the 2035 mission to Mars.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgWhat a Waste! Where Does Garbage Go by Claire Eamer
If you have ever wondered where your trash goes once it leaves your home then this book is for you. Readers will explore the history of garbage, where it goes today, and why it has become such a problem.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSeven Wonders of the Solar System by David A. Aguilar
Travel the universe with astronomer David Aguilar in this gorgeous book. Explore the far reaches of our solar system to see the surface of distant planets.  Break through colorful gaseous hazes. This title is published by the Smithsonian Institution and will not disappoint.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgScience Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean  by Maris Wicks
In this latest Green Earth Book Award winning title, Maris Wicks invites readers to explore the world’s coral reefs and their ecological importance. Through fun illustrations and comic cuteness this book delivers some hard-core science. Other titles in this  fun series focus on dinosaurs, volcanoes, and human anatomy.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgNot for Parents – How to Be A World Explorer: Your all terrain training manual by Lonely Planet
How could we not finish up our list with this appropriate how-to book from Lonely Planet? Readers will discover how to cope with extreme cold, navigate through the stars, and how to escape quicksand along with many other explorer necessities. This title touches on many STEM topics in a fun and useful way.

STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by:

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including her 2016 title, THE STORY OF SEEDS: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less To Eat Around The World, which earned the 2017 Green Earth Book Award and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia. She enjoys sharing her adventures, research, and writing tips with readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. www.nancycastaldo.com

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that inspires kids to seek connections between science, literacy, and the environment. The recipient of the Green Earth Book Award and a finalist for the AAAS/Subaru Science Books and Films Award, her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how her writing skills give a voice to our beleaguered environment. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.

Check back every Tuesday of every month:

  • Week 1:  STEM Tuesday Themed Book Lists
  • Week 2:  STEM Tuesday in the Classroom
  • Week 3:  STEM Tuesday Crafts and Resources
  • Week 4:  STEM Tuesday Author Interviews and Giveaways

 

Adam Shaughnessy and THE UNBELIEVABLE FIB: BK II Over The Underworld

I couldn’t be more excited to share this  middle grade book with you because, as most of you already know, I love mythology! And today we get to chat with an author who knows quite a lot about that subject. But . . . let me share his book with you first.

The Norse gods have returned to Middleton—and they’ve brought bad news. Loki’s misdeeds have grown from mischief to murder. He has killed Baldur, favorite of the gods. By doing so, he has set in motion events that will lead to Ragnarok, a war between the gods and giants that will destroy their world and ours. Now Odin wants ABE and Pru to help find Loki and imprison him before the giants can rally to his side. But the gods aren’t the only ones back in town. An old friend has also returned and he’s brought new questions about Baldur’s death.

To answer those questions, ABE and Pru will travel to Niflheim, the Norse underworld and confront the Queen of the Dead herself. Unfortunately, they quickly find that getting into the world of the dead is easy. It’s getting out again—alive—that proves difficult. And, in the end, can anyone really escape Death?

Hi Adam! It’s great having you here. Let’s start with when you realized you wanted to be a writer.

The impulse has struck me at various points in my life. I wrote my first manuscript, The Knight’s Quest, in third grade.

Third grade? Very cool…

I remember thinking at that point that I’d like to be a writer. I also thought I’d like to be an illustrator, too. And, to be fair, the glowing sword I drew for the cover was pretty sweet. But I went away from the idea of being a writer for a while—a long while, in fact. I think being an English major in college helped to push me away. Writing began to seem like something that other (far more clever) people did. But even as my desire to be a writer ebbed and flowed, my love for stories remained true, as did my desire to share stories with people—and young people, in particular. I did some storytelling in and after college, and over my two decades in education I developed a brand of enrichment programming that shared stories with children through interactive tales that blended storytelling and cooperative games. It wasn’t really until my mother passed away that I began to revisit what I really cared about and what I really wanted to accomplish in life. That’s when I circled back to the idea of being a writer, around 2009, and started on the path that led to my first book.

I love how you mentioned that, at one point, you felt that writing was what other, more clever people did, not you. I’m sure many of our writing readers can relate.

This series uses lots of mythological elements, so obviously you enjoy mythology. What is it about mythology that intrigues you the most?

I think I’d have to say it’s the familiarity of mythology that draws me to it. That might sound strange to some people. But anyone who loves to read and who loves to read fantasy, in particular, will understand the sentiment. I grew up reading myths. So the landscapes and characters, fictional and fantastic though they are, are also familiar and welcoming. I feel like I’ve been a tag-along on many a hero’s journey. When it came time to write my own book it was impossible to resist the draw to revisit the mythological realms I loved as a child.

How did you approach writing this second book in the series? Did you find you used craft and technique differently from developing the first book?

The biggest different between my approach to the first book and the second book was in the degree to which I listened to my inner editor. I wrote about eleven drafts of the first book. Many of those drafts were complete rewrites, start to finish. That’s because in the early drafts, in particular, I shut off my inner editor completely. I went down any and every narrative path that struck my fancy. Naturally, I made a lot of wrong turns and ran up against plenty of dead ends. But I learned something from each digression and I had a ton of fun along the way. I think there’s a tremendous value to just letting your imagination go and not worrying about how the content you’re producing will be received.

That definitely takes the pressure off a little.

Writing is all about revision and trusting that you can make the bad stuff good, in time. When it came time to write the second book, though, I had to approach things a little differently. I had a contract and deadlines. Fortunately, I also had the experience I’d gained from writing my first book. I’d learned to trust my instincts a little. I’d learned to recognize which narrative paths were most likely to get me where I needed to go. I didn’t have to wander so much (which was great, because time was much more of a factor!)

Ooh… ‘Writing is all about revision and trusting that you can make the bad stuff good…’ Very wise. 

What is a question you’ve never been asked during an interview that you’ve always wanted to answer?

I’ve always wondered that nobody has asked me about ABE’s name and why it’s capitalized. To be fair, I do explain in the book that the nickname ABE comes from the character’s initials. But nobody’s asked why I chose to use initials and capitals in the first place. For the record it’s because I read once that our eyes and brains have to work a little harder on capital letters. We have a greater visual fluency with lower case letters. When we come across a capital letter we slow down a bit. We have to look more closely. That’s ABE’s thing. He looks closely. He sees things that other people miss. So I liked the idea of his name reflecting that. It’s a small detail, and ultimately an unimportant one, but it’s one of those details that floats just beneath the surface that writers like to fit into their works.

In today’s ever-changing publishing landscape, what have you found is the hardest part of being a published author?

I have to preface this answer by saying I’ve been very fortunate. Very. Every single person I’ve encountered through the process of bringing my two books to life has been a pleasure to work with. My agent, my editors, my copyeditors, my publicists—I’ve learned from and been treated well and kindly by all of them. Now, having said that, I have to confess that the hardest part of being a published author is having had to face the reality that this is a business. As I said, I’ve had excellent individuals around me who have served as a buffer against what lurks beyond—the publishing industry. And it is that, an industry. There are times I miss my days as a educator. I had the good luck to enter education at a time and in a place where the work was driven wholly by a passion to improve the circumstances of the children and families with whom we worked. There was no other metric. We weren’t selling anything. And I worked at a community school where with ramparts still held against the onslaught of standardization and testing. As an author, things are a little different. I still have the great pleasure of working with people who care about creating good works for young people. But as an author I have to sell myself. I have to sell my books. That element of self promotion was absent in my first career.

I really love this answer. Thank you for sharing it with us and for dropping by! It’s been a pleasure having you here, again. One last question: Please tell our readers what’s up next for you.

There are many projects I’m eager to advance. I’d love to write a third Unbelievable FIB book someday.

Yes, please!

I’m also currently working on a new middle grade science fiction book involving cryptids and secret organizations with monstrous origins. And I have an idea for a graphic novel that really excites the adolescent comic book lover that’s still kicking around inside me. I have to confess, though, that the past year has been dominated by the birth and growth of my daughter. Now that I’m settling into fatherhood I’m hoping to have more time to get back to writing!

Adam Shaugnessy likes to tell people that he is a superhero, a space explorer, and a pirate. None of those things are true, but Adam likes to say them anyway.
In fact, Adam is the author of The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB and is currently at work on the second book in the Unbelievable FIB series. He began his career in education first as an elementary-school teacher and then as a director of school-aged programs, but gradually realized that his passion was for sharing stories. Adam also owns and runs Red Dragon Adventures, which brings story-based education enrichment programs to young people throughout New England.
Adam is currently working on his master’s degree in children’s literature at Hollins University. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Jane, their cat, Sydney, and an unnamed mouse that Sydney has yet to catch, but Adam is sure she will.

For more on Adam: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Publisher

Do you enjoy mythology? What about it intrigues you?

Book Fairs: Forging Connections Between Authors and Readers

As an author and as a parent, one of the school activities I love most is the book fair. This chance to watch our readers as they browse books and talk about what they’re connecting to is invaluable; it provides a unique peek into what they love about books and characters that I don’t get anywhere else. Obviously, there are other tools and even metrics to measure what’s resonating with our middle grade readers, but book fairs are just special.

Recently, in an effort to enhance the book fair at my children’s school, I piloted a new program called “Meet the Author.” I stole the idea from another book fair I had worked with in Oro Valley, AZ, where their week-long event included two full days of classroom visits from authors whose books were being sold at the fair.

It was a wonderful way to immerse the students in the whole process of publishing—from the crafting and editing of a book to the actual purchase. The visits also offered readers who were able to purchase the authors’ books a tangible reminder of the visit—personally autographed books! The difference between these and the typical author school visit was that it all happened in the classrooms, which provided a more intimate visit than is usually manageable when you pack an entire grade level into a large room.

The event took a lot of heavy-lifting: months of organization and two long days of managing a roster of authors and parent volunteers who could escort our visitors around the school. But oh, the results. Kids were excited and energized; brand new authors were born in every classroom. It was truly wonderful to watch.

When I imported the idea to our school here in northern Virginia, I started small: no budget and only one author for one grade level presentation. I had to depend on the kindness of an author who would be willing to speak for free and still be willing to sign books afterward. That author was Leah Henderson, author of ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL.

Leah was fabulous. Her presentation was interesting, engaging, and interactive. The children loved her slide show, which included photos of Senegal, where her novel is set. They really plugged into her questions, competing with each other to identify which of her geographically diverse photo slides were in Africa.

Even better? Our 6th graders gained a valuable and exciting connection between the book they saw on the shelves at the book fair and the in-person visit from the actual author—the face of the artistry behind the pages.

“Whenever someone can build a connection with a book they’re more apt to pick it up the next time they see it—often curious what other connections they may make. Having a ‘Meet the author’ event before or during a book fair is a wonderful way for students to hear the behind the scenes in an author’s book journey.”

                                                     –Leah Henderson, ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL

It’s important to note here that the experience itself—an author visit—wasn’t new for us, nor would it be for most schools that want to try this. Our school in particular is very fortunate in that we have an active librarian who schedules author visits as often as her budget allows: we’ve met some pretty amazing, well-known writers. But this was unique in that the author’s work was on sale at the book fair, so everything happened in real time: students saw the book on the shelves at the fair and heard about it in person. They got to interact with the author. Many bought the book and got it signed, much like bookstore signings, which not all children get to attend.

One student said afterward, “It was very interesting to hear how she was inspired to write the book and I liked that she focused on that instead of giving spoilers about what the book was about. That was really good.”

Another said, “I was interested to find out what it takes to get a book published. It takes a lot longer than I thought, and I didn’t know that before we listened to Ms. Henderson. She was a great speaker.”

What motivated me to share this with all of you is twofold: 1) I wanted to encourage all of you who get to work with school book fairs to consider this idea (if you haven’t already); 2) I wanted to thank all the authors who are willing to cut or eliminate their speaking fees entirely when they are being courted by a local school or a speaker program with no budget. I understand that for many of us, speaking fees are a vital part of our income and we can’t make ends meet without them, certainly not when it involves travel outside our region. But the fees can also be prohibitive. I was so grateful to Leah for her generosity because I had no budget at all; any speaker fee would have come from my own pocket, which I couldn’t do. But the value of Leah’s visit was priceless for our kids, and, I can confirm, gained her some new fans. And if we’re lucky? A few new authors were born that day.

Happy Holidays to all of you, and here’s to a 2018 full of great books and good cheer.