Crepescular Crickets..

Have you tried camping in your backyard in the summer? How often have you heard the annoying chirppppp? Sometimes, it sounds like a screech in an impossibly high pitch. Not sure what I mean?

Listen to a Cricket Chirping

If you have heard this before then, you already know cricket. May be not know them for there are 900 species of crickets.

For a quick introduction to crickets, pick up this book:










Crickets in the Dark

Words by: Doreen Gonzales

The Rosen Publishing Group, 2010

The crickets are special creatures. Consider these..

Cricket’s ears are on its front two legs..

Many crickets can jump 20 times their own length!

Singing is done only by the male crickets..

Chocolate covered crickets are a delicacy..

Crickets can be kept as pets..

Crickets play an important role in the nature. They keep the soil healthy. Many animals feed on cricket.

There is more to the cricket than the song. This is a great book to share with the class or at home.




Posted in Childrens books, Non-fiction books | Tagged | Leave a comment

Grains in your food

What is your favorite food?








All of these?

Your favorite foods are made of grains. And a grain is actually a seed. A cereal. And there is good news regarding your favorite food.

Eat them! Eat 5 to 6 ounces of grains daily.

Yes! You should!

To read more about your favorite foods…

Pick up this title:








Macaroni and Rice and Bread by the Slice: What is in the Grains Group?

Words by: Brian P. Cleary

Pictures by: Martin Goneau

Millbrook Press, 2011

Every kid wants to control the menu. Perhaps they didn’t have a great chance at doing that. Now, they too can participate in the decisions. Only they need to be armed with the right information.

The series Food is CATegorical deals with all the elements in the USDA food pyramid.







Read this and all the other titles in this wonderful series.  Now, challenge the kids to build a menu based on the pyramid.

That will be fun!!!



Posted in Childrens books, Non-fiction books, Pictures books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Papa Frog

The world is full of creatures. Yet frogs hold a special place in the ecosystem. They are known as the indicators species. If water, air, or land is polluted, you will see weird-looking frogs in the ecosystem.

Pick up this title:









Hip-Pocket Papa

Words by: Sandra Markle

Pictures by: Alan Marks

Charlesbridge Publishing, 2010

A creature that measures less than an inch lives in the forest floor in Australia. It lives among the litter and dry leaves. Many people might have walked past it and missed it completly.

Nothing in nature is without beauty or uniqueness. The little frog has a wonderful story to tell. And it is the story of survival linked to the seasonal rhythms of the land. It is a story that will capture the interest of many students for sure.

The male-hip frog cares for the young, as the title suggests. But the survival story is more than that. How does it escape the weather? And what about the enemies or other creatures that are looking for the male-hip frog. How long does he have to wait? Will his journey be successful? And what about the young? Will he live to see his tadpoles grow into froglets?

Read the saga of this tiny creature which reminds us that everything in nature is beautiful and with a purpose. Read it today!

Posted in Childrens books, Frog, Non-fiction books, Pictures books | Leave a comment

The shocking truth

Energy is a shocking thing. Really. We need energy for everything. And energy is everywhere.

Energy is also elusive- changes from one form to another. The energy from the sun can end up in our muscles. And the energy in our muscles can reach all over the planet. Sometimes beyond that.

Teaching energy is abstract. But it can be interesting if energy can be presented playfully and with diagrams. The more graphic novel-like look the book has, the more likely the students will choose to read it.

Pick up this title:








The Shocking Truth about Energy

Words & Pictures by: Loreen Leedy

Holiday House, 2010

Meet Erg. Pure Energy.

How can you catch that pure energy? May be by converting it from light –> Fuel –> Heat.

Energy can be found in sound, light, and heat.

On page 13, exploring the effects of global warming is presented in a simple and subtle manner. Written to hold attention:

A warmer Earth means:

disappearing glaciers

higher sea levels

melting ice at poles

flooded islands and coastlines

stronger storms and more heat waves

crop failures

habitat loss

a longer dry season with more wildfires

low water flow in rivers

more deserts

Many people want to stop warming up Earth. so they want to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

On page 19, the complex diagram of wind mill is elegantly simplified.

The good news and bad news for all the energy types are explored.

The book ends with a message about saving energy. Remember that you will need to unplug some devices to save energy.

Shockingly, we can save lot of energy by just turning off the lights when we enter and leave a room. Every one can save energy. You can too!

Posted in Childrens books, Non-fiction books, Pictures books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cycle of Rice

Almost everyone eats rice. In fact, nearly, half the world’s population eats rice as their staple food. What is there to know about rice? Plenty!

Pick up this title:

Cycle of Rice. Cycle of Life: A story of sustainable framing

Words & Pictures by: Jan Reynolds

Lee & Low Books, 2009

This amazing book is filled with wonderful pictures and a heart warming tale about how rice and life are interlinked in the island of Bali. In this sun-soaked corner of the world, rice farming is a way of life. It has been for centuries.

Rice was more than a staple food for the people and farmers. It was intertwined with their daily life and routine and also their social, spiritual, and seasonal calendars. Until the onset of green revolution, there were no problems.

Then came the green revolution when traditional cycle was disrupted. More fertilizers were used to increase the land yield, the traditional varieties of rice were replaced with new ones. These changes led to a collapsed system. Stephen Lansing, an American scientist, helped to understand the old system. His research has shown that the new system isn’t always good. People are now working together to bring back traditional patters of farming.

The best part of the book is the emphasis on water cycle and water sharing and distribution from the peak until it flows into the ocean. That is the best part of the story. How it all unfolds is something you will have to find out for yourself! Read a book! Today!

Posted in Childrens books, Non-fiction books, Pictures books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I is for Inuksuk

With classrooms around the world becoming increasing multicultural, it is necessary to read books from other cultures. A quick survey will tell us that all cultures are not proportionally represented in published books. It was a great pleasure to get one from the Arctic region. And this one specifically covers the Inuksuk!

Pick up this title:








I is for Inuksuk: An Arctic Celebration

Words & Pictures by: Mary Wallace

Maple Tree Press, 2009

Many children in the class will wonder how people find their way around in the harsh winter climate of the Arctic. Icy winds don’t allow for name boards. Inuit people have discovered an unique way to mark their special locations using Inuksuks. They all give a message– good hunting ground, pointing to the north star, good spot to dry a kyak, and even to express joy.

The text is filled with Inuit words, and the words are written in the Inuit script is reminiscent of many modern languages. The illustrations are terrific in details, colorful and artistic, with plenty of details. This is interspersed with sparse text. The book has many more details to offer.

It showcases a life style that is perfectly adapted to the seasons and weather of the arctic. From food to shelter to clothes, the pages shows us a unique culture that thrives in the arctic. Survival in the arctic is linked with the availability of animals and other creatures. This book demonstrates the spirit of human adaption! Our lives are enriched by this amazing tale of adaptation and survival.

Long live fellow humans in the Arctic!

Posted in Arctic, Childrens books, Inuksuk, Non-fiction books, Pictures books | Leave a comment

Mahakala and other insect eating Dinosaurs

Every kid loves dinosaurs. Students display knowledge in various fields while talking about dinosaurs. Listen to the students talk geography, history, geology, Latin names, and anatomy while explaining about the dinosaurs. Now, there is a perfect example to take this to younger grades…

Pick up this title:












Mahakala and other Insect-Eating Dinosaurs

Words by Dougal Dixon

Pictures by Steve Weston and James Field

Picture Window Books, 2010

With a short introduction about Dinosaurs, the authors take us right into the theme– insect-eating dinosaurs.  Simple descriptions of 8 insect-eating dinosaurs are found in the book.The modern animals that behave like these dinosaurs are included in the same page.

The bright illustrations are very real, colorful, and with extremely detailed. It shows dinosaurs in the habitats, from the arid regions to the conifer forests they lived in. When a higher grade reader picks up these books, they will have questions about where the fossils were discovered. A silhouette map showing their distribution areas would have been a great asset.

With great books like this in the classroom, the dinosaur enthusiasts will simply multiply!

Posted in Childrens books, Non-fiction books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment