Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Beat the Summer Brain Slump with National Geographic Kid's books for Middle Grades (STEM approved + Kid fun!) [Review & Giveaway]

National Geographic has several new middle grade STEM titles that will help kids avoid the “summer brain slump” AND the Luna title is a terrific tie-in to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.  

Undaunted: The Wild Life of Birute Mary Galdikas and Her Fearless Quest to Save Orangutans by Anita Silvey (Ages 8-12, Hardcover, $18.99) 

My thoughts:  This is a beautifully done non-fiction book telling the story of the work and mission of a naturalist and primatologist intent on survival of Orangutans. While I don't personally agree on the some of the philosophies and theories in the book pertaining to evolution, I believe this is an exceptionally well-done biographic of Ms. Galdikas.

Her work with these animals for nearly 50 years is remarkable and admirable. Understanding primates is a worthy goal and yields rewards for humanity as well as the scientific community.

I found the photographs outstanding providing insight into Dr. Galdikas' work as well as these interesting animals, orangutans.

This book belongs in school libraries and in home libraries where animal conservation is high interest.

About the book: As a young scientist, Birute Mary Galdikas had a mission: to find and study the elusive orangutans of Borneo's rain forest to help protect this amazing and elusive species.  Award-winning author Anita Silvey explores the life and legacy of this incredible and little-known primatologist as she carries out an epic search in Borneo and struggles to survive while studying the world's most endangered great ape. Her studies which she began at the young age of 25 brought these critically endangered apes to the world stage, and they are still making an impact today. Now in her 70s, Dr. Galdikas has conducted the longest running study of any wild mammal by any single scientist.   Please check out a terrific video of Anita talking about the book here on KidLit TV. An educator guide is also available.

Early praise for Undaunted:
* Booklist:  “Beautiful photographs, inviting format, notes, and an index make this a great addition for any animal collection."
* Publisher’s Weekly: "Silvey presents a crisp portrait of a tenacious, groundbreaking scientist who has been underrepresented in books for youth.”
* School Library Journal - “This detailed book is great for students who are studying animal conservation or want to learn about similar primatologists and anthropologists like Jane Goodall.”

Luna: The Science and Stories of Our Moon by David Aguilar (Ages 10+, Hardcover, $17.99)

My thoughts:  I was young when America landed on the Moon and mankind made that enormous step onto the surface of the round orb that has lit our nights and been a mystery to man. It hasn't lost its fascination to people today, and recounting those major steps of space exploration and achievement never grow old. Nor does this old knowledge acquired  pale into insignificance with each new discovery.

We delight in knowledge. We delight in knowing our closest astro neighbor. We delight in discovery.

The book Luna takes knowledge and exploration in a new and different direction for young readers and is designed to fascinate.

The science that we know is incorporated with the ageless or timeless stories that pervade literary history. Beginning with the ancients and others who worshiped the moon, there are stories, fables, myths, folklore, beliefs focused on the moon. Luna: The Science and Stories of Our Moon doesn't mix them up or muddy the Luna-scape. It just presents information, history, science, and also the stories.

Keep in mind that as with most National Geographic publications an "old Earth" is assumed or the books are predicated on that assumption or belief. As one who doesn't hold to the "old Earth" idea, I can still enjoy, appreciate, and learn from this fine publication.

About the book: Publishing in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, astronomer, artist and former Director of Science Information for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics David Aguilar explores the moon from all angles, from its place in the night sky and our solar system to its role in shaping human history and culture. Myths of the moon's creation from around the world are interwoven with detailed explanations, illustrations and photographs of the science of how the moon actually formed. Readers will also learn about the moon's effects on Earth's tides and imagine what the world would be like without them, as well as examine the moon-men hoaxes from history and find out how scientists may actually colonize Earth's closest neighbor. A unique title that weaves together science and myth, history and technology. An educator guide is available.

Early praise for Luna: * School Library Journal -  “a fantastic and comprehensive look at Earth’s only natural satellite… An excellent, extensive, and focused look at the moon, perfect for leisure reading or research.”

This Book Is Cute!  The Soft and Squishy Science and Culture of “Aww” by Sarah Wassner Flynn (Ages 8-12, Paperback, $12.99) 

My thoughts:  The information presentation by National Geographic is spot-on for appeal to the targeted age group - ages 8 to 12. They respond well to bits of information graphically arranged on a page with attention grabbing illustrations. This Book Is Cute does just that.

The subject of cuteness spans an assortment of emphasis...
  • In business - mini and micro to technology (hi-tech), Icons from 1898 that endure because  of cuteness or appeal. Example: Coppertone girl from 1953 and the Pillsbury dough boy from 1965.
  • The bizarre - tiny kitchen cooking and cute desserts sure to please
  • In science - Biotechnology to create small tomatoes and broccoli, kiwi berries and mouse melons. These take food engineering to a new level.
  • Cultural cuteness - Kawaii in Japan,  gnomes in Australia, and Suess in North America
  • conventional vs unconventional - A look at what is cute about platypus and bugs and a bit of defense of ugly animals
  • Capture the cuteness - A how-to capture cuteness on paper or film
  • Use and value of cute horses as therapy animals
  • A bit of the "why" - science behind natural instinct to protect cute babies...survival of the cutest
My daughter is an educator and she and I both highly recommend this delightful book.

About the book: Ever wonder why some creatures just make you want to cuddle them? Those adorable big eyes. Those floppy ears! And that soft velvety fur. Welcome to the soft and squishy science of cute! This book delves into what actually makes something "cute," what happens inside our brains when we see something cute, and why we're biologically hardwired that way.  Flynn explains the psychology and physiology behind our responses and answers questions like:   What influence does our culture or environment have on our conceptions of cute? Also explored are why some brands, products, and characters have been such sensational hits through the ages and an up-close look at the crazes of today, from the indisputably cutest animals ever to Internet sensations. Let the squealing commence!

3 Books for 1 Winner
Open to USA addresses only.
Begins June 12
Ends July 11 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Books are reviewed in collaboration with my daughter, V. Andrews.  Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher or publicist.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these at Booknificent Thursday at! They look beautiful!


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