Three wonderful (and full of wonder) nature books

Before I get to book-talking, thanks to everyone – teachers and librarians and booksellers, especially – who have shared OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW with readers & friends. It’s received some lovely accolades lately — named an ALSC Notable Children’s Book for 2012 and an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 — and I’m so very thankful that this little book that started out with me wondering in the woods has found so many kindred spirits.  I know it’s been hard to find since the holidays, but the second printing should be available early this week. In the mean time… I thought I’d post about some new books that make me feel that out-in-the-woods sense of wonder.

“I always think of animal migrations as heading south,” my daughter wondered as we read this beautiful book together. And that, I think, is part of what makes NORTH: THE AMAZING STORY OF ARCTIC MIGRATION such a special book – all these animals, from the soaring snow geese to the regal caribou to the pointy-tusked, alien-looking narwhals, heading north, to a part of the world we so often think of as inhospitable. But in the summer sun, the Arctic is full of life and light – food and space to breed and raise young. This book tells the story of that migration, of the animals that swim, walk, and fly north when the days grow longer. Beautiful art work in soft blues and yellows captures that warmth and light, and some gorgeous, wordless spreads tell stories of their own. A lovely, lovely book – and one that would be great to pair with OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW for winter studies in the classroom.

This is a beautifully illustrated book that begins with a question on the title page. Through its conversational tone, CAN WE SAVE THE TIGER? introduces young readers to animals that have been lost to extinction over the years, animals that are in danger, and animals that are recovering, thanks in part to awareness. Without preaching, this gentle text inspires wonder and respect for the space and resources animals need and issues a quiet challenge not to stand by while more are lost. The art in this book is simply stunning – reminiscent of Audobon’s detailed work – and will make young readers want to know more about the animals that grace its pages.

This book would be a great anchor text for a research unit exploring animals in danger of extinction. It makes a perfect class read-aloud, and then students could branch off and read other titles (KAKAPO RESCUE and others in the Scientists in the Field series come to mind immediately) to extend their thinking.

Right now, I’m re-reading a book that I first read as a manuscript from one of my critique partners, Loree Griffin Burns.  It’s called CITIZEN SCIENTISTS: BE PART OF A SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD…

…and it’s even more remarkable than I remembered from the manuscript. I’ll do a proper write-up when I’ve finished basking in Ellen Harasimowicz’s eye-popping pictures and Loree’s engaging stories from the field, but for now, just know that it comes out February 14th.  Wrap it up with a butterfly net and a field guide or two for Valentine’s Day, and if you teach, know that this is one that belongs in every K-8 classroom & library. It’s a gorgeous, smart, and empowering book for kids.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for these wonderful recommendations. I am always on the look out for WONDERfilled nature books. I have recently bought Can We save the Tiger and think it is a tremendous addition to picture books about endangered animals. The other two are new to me! I have been north of the arctic circle and have a particular passion for these animals!

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