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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Celebrate Earth Day With Books From National Geographic

Today I have three wonderful books from National Geographic that you and your little readers can enjoy while you celebrate Earth Day!

Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures (February 2017, ages 4-8, $15.99) by Newbery Medal-winning author Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess and Deanna Nikaido, featuring photos by National Geographic Fellow and photographer Joel Sartore.   
Animal Ark pairs Alexander’s mix of playful and powerful poetry with more than 100 of Sartore’s most compelling images of the world’s species to create a photographic ark for children that highlights the importance of conservation and celebrates the beauty, diversity and fragility of the animal world.  Animal Ark is inspired by the National Geographic Photo Ark, a multiyear effort with Sartore and the National Geographic Society to document every species in captivity—inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations.

125 Pet Rescues, From Pound to Palace: Homeless Pets Made Happy (ages 8-12, $12.99) is a collection of laugh-out-loud and heartwarming stories of animals in need who went on to become pampered pets. Just like the pit bulls featured on pages 16 & 17, though, don’t judge this book by its cover. The 125 vignettes of pets that have been rescued provides eye-opening insight into the power of compassion and kindness and  the amazingly positive impact that rescuing a dog, cat, pig, horse or even a goat can have on the humans that open their hearts and their homes to them.  125 Pet Rescues has been created in cooperation with the Best Friends Animal Society whose mission is to bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets.  Featuring a forward by Best Friends CEO Gregory Castle and tips and advice from animal rescue experts, kids can learn how they can make a difference and become a rescue ambassador.  

Cat Tales:  True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties (all ages, $12.99) features cats from around the world, each one with an amazing story to tell about their compassion, ingenuity and bravery. “Ask an Expert” sections throughout the book offer insight into understanding the curious world of cat behavior, ways to keep your favorite feline happy both mentally and physically and even the trick to taking great cat photos (because the internet does not have nearly enough!:)). And are you curious as to why we love those cute cat videos?  Page 57 explains the science behind the obsession.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Good Thing About America Blog Tour (guest post & giveaways)

Welcome to Day #8 of the One Good Thing About America 
Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman (3/14/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Ruth and 10 chances to win a copy of One Good Thing About America, as well as a chance to win a Skype visit with Ruth in the Grand Prize Giveaway!

Crazy English
by Ruth Freeman

The other day I was apologizing to my students, once again, about Crazy English. Every now and then we will come across words that just don’t make sense. We were looking at multiplication arrays. First I was explaining the concept of “rows” when one student interrupted. “I thought that was a flower?” So, the conversation shifted to roses. Then we got back on track until, a few seconds later, when we got to “columns.” The students were labeling their arrays. I had written the word “column” for them on a whiteboard. They couldn’t believe there was an “n” at the end! “I know,” I said, “we don’t hear it, but it’s there.” I say that a lot. I love this diagram below of how English came to be. There are so many languages feeding into our modern English! I try to explain a bit of this to my students: how “ph” words come from Greek, so we can thank them for these two letters that really sound like “f.” And the crazy spelling of the number “eight.” Okay, I just looked it up. “Eight” comes from Old English and before that there is a Germanic origin. It’s related to Dutch and German words and they all come from an Indo-European root which is shared by the Latin and Greek words. Whew!  As I said, Crazy English!

In my story, Anaïs is dealing with many kinds of language problems. Like “tricky vowels,” she says, that are always “changing like snakes.” Or her neighbor, Mr. Potter, who greets her with a “Whadzup?” and laughs when she looks up to see what he’s talking about. Then there’s another student talking about the Poison Girls Club. Anaïs thinks he is crazy until she finds out it is the Boys and Girls Club. “I wish Americans are speaking English better!” she says. When I see spelling or pronunciations that are strange, I am grateful I don’t have to learn English! I can’t imagine being new and trying to spell “sugar” as Anaïs tries to do, or “juice.” How about three words with similar spellings but completely different pronunciations: “cough,” “bough,” and “rough.” Or, look at the “n-o-w” letters in: “what do I know now?” Not to mention the crazy silent “k.” And we haven’t even gotten to idioms yet! Anaïs runs into “cutting” in line, but wait till she has to figure out “get a kick out of,” “I’m all ears,” “going bananas,” “a gray area” or “you’re nuts!” There are so many more idioms, but I’m going to “call it a day” and say, “time’s up!”

    Stop by Middle Grade Mafioso tomorrow for the next stop on the tour!

    Blog Tour Schedule:
    April 10th – Geo Librarian April 11thLate Bloomer's Book Blog April 12th Mrs. Mommy BookNerd April 13thKristi's Book Nook April 14thLife Naturally April 17th – Books My Kids Read April 18th – Chat with Vera April 19th Word Spelunking April 20th – Middle Grade Mafioso April 21st – The Hiding Spot

    Follow Ruth: Website | Facebook Publisher: Holiday House
    ONE GOOD THING ABOUT AMERICA is a sweet, often funny middle-grade novel that explores differences and common ground across cultures. It's hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you're in a new country. Back home, Anaïs was the best English student in her class. Here in Crazy America she feels like she doesn't know English at all. Nothing makes sense (chicken FINGERS?), and the kids at school have some very strange ideas about Africa. Anaïs misses her family . . . so she writes lots of letters to Oma, her grandmother. She tells her she misses her and hopes the war is over soon. She tells her about Halloween, snow, mac 'n' cheese dinners, and princess sleepovers. She tells her about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and how she just might be turning into a Crazy American herself.
    About the Author: Ruth Freeman grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now lives in Maine where she teaches students who are English language learners, including many newly arrived immigrants. She is the author of several acclaimed nonfiction picture books. One Good Thing About America is her first novel..

    Win a copy of 
    One Good Thing About America!
    I have one (1) copy for one winner. To enter, simply leave a comment below and include an email address or twitter handle 
    (so I can contact you).
    -US only
    -ends 4/23 at 11:59 pm ET
    -winner will be contacted via email or twitter and must claim prize within 48 hours
    -Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes

    • One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of One Good Thing About America for their personal collection, as well as a 30 minute Skype visit with Ruth Freeman to the school of their choice and a signed copy for the school's library.
    • Enter via the rafflecopter below
    • US Only
    • Ends 4/23 at midnight ET
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Great New Books from Nat Geo & Fun New Picture Books

    Hey cupcakes, today, I have three wonderful new books from National Geographic and three super fun picture books to share with y'all! These are all great new books to add to your and your little one's TBR piles...

    Does your young readers excitedly talk about all the things they want to be when they grow up?! These three fun, informative, and captivating new titles from National Geographic will help young readers explore the many fascinating careers and jobs they can one day embark on!

    100 Things to Be When You Grow Up (ages 8-12, $9.99) by Lisa M. Gerry -- From beekeeper to ice-cream taster, forensic psychologist to Hollywood animal trainer, conservation biologist to Chief Happiness Officer, this book features 100 of the coolest, wackiest and most amazing jobs out there (greeting card maker?? Yes, you can!).  Hands-on projects, advice from National Geographic explorers, interviews with experts, weird-but-true facts and tips for aligning your interests and personality to your job and more, this new book in the popular "100 Things" series is a great way to get kids thinking creatively about career paths.

    You Can be A Paleontologist!: Discovering Dinosaurs with Dr. Scott (ages 4-8, $16.99) by Dr. Scott D. Sampson — Dr. Scott Sampson, the expert host of Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids, author of How to Raise a Wild Child and real-life hill-hiking, dirt-digging fossil hunter takes young readers into the field to look for dinosaurs.  Along the way, kids will learn all about how to find and dig up fossils, how they are removed from the field and prepped in the lab and then how paleontologists put the fossils back together into the dinosaurs they know and love.  Lastly, Dr. Scott encourages kids to follow their dino passion and become a paleontologist themselves with tips, hints and advice from the heart.

    Ultimate Explorer Guide (ages 8-12, $14.99) by Nancy Honovich, foreword by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger — Through its storied history, National Geographic has inspired generations of explorers. Take a trip to their headquarters in Washington, DC and you will see photo after photo of amazing people exploring every corner of the world.  The Ultimate Explorer Guide features National Geographic Explorers of all kinds including paleontologists, biologists, photographers, artists, writers, activists and conservationists that is sure to get kids to explore, discover and create their own adventures.  In addition to fascinating first person stories and advice, the book also features “Help wanted” vignettes outlining career paths, hands-on activities and experiments; scientific explanations and fun facts and ideas for simple actions kids can do now.  Broken down by land, sea and air sections, readers will marvel at the feats of the world’s most famous explorers as they unearth ancient mummies and lost treasures, encounter wild animals and learn how to protect their habitats, and shoot for the stars with the latest technologies in space travel.

    Picture Books

    by Sam Usher
    Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press
    March 28th, 2017
    ISBN: 9780763692964
    Picture book, 40 pages
    Ages 3-7
    Sam and Granddad brave the rain and floods and have the best adventure ever!
    Sam wants to go out, but it's pouring rain, so Granddad says they need to stay inside until the rain stops. Sam drinks hot chocolate and reads his books and dreams of adventures while Granddad does some paperwork. When Granddad needs to mail his letter, it’s time to go out—despite the rain and floods—and Sam and Granddad have a magical adventure. The follow-up to the acclaimed Snow, this is the second title in a four-book series based on the weather from creator Sam Usher.

    A sweet and imagination filled tale, with engaging illustrations!

    By Anne Marie Pace
    Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
    April 4, 2017
    When the summer moon is full, a beach trip is an epic way to spend the night. With her signature poise, Vampirina and her clan gear up for a festive time at the beach. Keeping her ballet lessons in mind, Vampirina demi-pliés on a surfboard, leaps for a volleyball, and finishes each competition with style, even if she doesn't always come out on top. Readers will shout "Brava!" for this third gracefully ghoulish picture book by duo Anne Marie Pace and LeUyen Pham.

    The charming ballerina vampire, Vampirina, is back and on a beach adventure! Vampirina at the Beach, with its irresistibly cute story, bright and exciting illustrations, and unforgettable characters, is the perfect mix of spooky-fun adorableness! My three old niece absolutely LOVES this book.

    By Jordan P Novak
    Bloomsbury USA Childrens
    April 11, 2017
    Mosquitoes can bite all kinds of people--ballerinas, chefs, babies, even you and me. But they can't bite . . . NINJAS! Mosquitoes might be quick, but ninjas are quicker. Mosquitoes might be sneaky, but ninjas are sneakier. And mosquitoes might be hungry, but ninjas are . . . hungrier!

    With tons of not-very-stealthy appeal, Jordan P. Novak's debut delivers buzzy, wacky, and hilarious story.

    This laugh-out-loud picture book will delight and entertain little readers with its quirky humor, cartoonish illustrations, endearing charm!