Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World

Women’s history month might be over, but this book can be enjoyed anytime!

super women in science

Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World (2017, Holiday House, Non-Fiction Middle-Grade)

What a fantastic new selection from Holiday House. I am so excited to share this new non-fiction book for younger readers with you all. I’d say the intended age range is 9 to 12 years old, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned so many new things. I think anyone, whether you have a young reader in your house or not, can appreciate this book.

From the publisher:

Super Women celebrates the scientific as well as the social significance of six incredible women who broke new ground with their research, busted through glass ceilings with their careers, and advanced humanity’s understanding of our world in the process. These amazing women defied prejudice to succeed in the sciences using genius, ambition, and perseverance.

ALA Notable Book author Laurie Lawlor deftly paints portraits of each of these pioneers who refused to take no for an answer, pursuing their passions through fieldwork, observations, laboratories, and research vessels in the face of sexism. This diverse group of women, all with awe-inspiring accomplishments, were active mentors and determined people who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Review:

Super Women, written by Laurie Lawlor, tells the incredible stories of six different female scientists. The book is divided into six sections with each section being a mini-biography of a woman. The biographies include key discoveries, scientific merits, as well as interesting personal stories for each scientist. The text is accompanied by black and white photographs of the women as well as appropriate photographs or diagrams pertaining to their work.

Scientists featured include Katherine Coleman Johnson, a mathematician who calculated trajectories for NASA flights; Eugenie Clark, an ichthyologist who swam with sharks; Marie Tharp, a cartographer who mapped the ocean floor; Florence Hawley Ellis, an anthropologist who made significant progress in tree-ring dating; Gertrude Elion, a pharmacologist who developed treatments for deadly illnesses; Margaret Burbidge, an astrophysicist who helped create the Hubble telescope.

These women have been carefully selected for their scientific and historical importance, as well as the fact that their names might not be as well-known as other women scientists such as Marie Curie or Sally Ride. Children and adults will find the biographies engaging, interesting and eye-opening. The work these women pioneered was incredible and they were all independent, adventurous souls who make for fascinating reads.

While this book is similar in format to a non-fiction picture book, the complexity and layout of the content makes it more appropriate for children ages 9 and up. Younger children might be bored with the long biographies but there’s no reason a parent couldn’t summarize the passages for younger children while they look at the photographs.

Overall, an excellent addition to any home or school library, and a fantastic non-fiction read for anyone, whether they have a passion for science or not.

5 stars for science!


Thank you to Holiday House for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Super Women will be released April 26, 2017 and is available for pre-order now at Amazon 

Who Run the World?

Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s been far too long since I last posted. While I have been keeping up each week with my newspaper column and sharing lots of reviews there, I have not been keeping up with my blog. Sad day.

To make up for my absence, I am sharing THREE book reviews with you today!

Get excited.

And as a bonus, and in honor of International Women’s Day, these books all feature strong female protagonists!

Happy Reading and Happy International Women’s Day! 🙂


carolines comets

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story (2017, Holiday House, Picture Book Non-Fiction)

Caroline Herschel made history in 1786 when she became the first woman to discover a comet. But her journey began long before that, and it was not an easy road to becoming a highly respected scientist and astronomer. Caroline’s journey is inspiring and incredible, as she worked hard to achieve her goals at a time when women were afforded few opportunities.

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story, written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, is a fascinating account of Caroline Hershel, who not only discovered comets, but became the first female professional scientist, earning a salary from the King of England. Filled with interesting facts, detailed illustrations, and even excerpts from Caroline’s own journals, this is a beautiful book to share with young readers. Caroline’s journey is inspiring as she overcame many obstacles in her life before she even dreamed of becoming an astronomer. Young readers will look up to Caroline and all she accomplished as a woman and a scientist.

Highly recommended for ages 6 and up.

5 stars shooting across the sky!


runs with courage

Runs With Courage (2016, Sleeping Bear Press, Middle Grade Historical Fiction)

When ten-year-old Four Winds is taken from her Lakota tribe and sent to a white boarding school, she doesn’t understand the new world that surrounds her. She imagines she might be a bridge for her people and learn the ways of the white people, but as she learns more, she realizes the white ways are meant to replace all the things she’s ever known. Four Winds wants to run. She wants to run away from the white school and home to her people, but there are bigger things at stake than just what she wants.

Runs With Courage, written by Joan M. Wolf, is a touching, and heart-wrenching portrayal of life for Native Americans in the late 1800’s. This book is written with care and thoughtful consideration of all that was done during this period. Though the story is fiction, readers will gain knowledge of the how the Lakota tribes lived, as well as the actions of the U.S. Government during this time.

The story is written in first person, and delivered in a straightforward manner as fits the main character’s personality. Four Winds is strong and brave, and young readers will look up to her and root for her. The fictional life of Four Winds represents so many young girls who did face her harsh reality. While the girls might starve with their tribes, boarding schools offered food if only they would give up all they had ever known.

Thought-provoking and extraordinary, the story of Four Winds will stay with the reader long after her book has ended. Highly recommended for children ages 10 and up.

5 stars to guide Four Winds


future threat

Future Threat (2017, Albert Whitman & Company, Young Adult Science Fiction)

From the publisher:

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Future Shock trilogy!

Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information–but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena’s dealing with her survivor’s guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she’s done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether’s not done with her–or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether’s latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that’s amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation’s reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost–or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything–including their relationship–to save their friends.

Review:

Future Threat, written by Elizabeth Briggs, is the second book in the Future Shock trilogy. Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Future Shock and so I was eager to review this book at well. As with the first book, the pace is quick and the plot moves right along as Elena and the others zip back and forth through time once more. As with the first book, the fast pace makes both character and relationship development difficult, but at the same time, the characters don’t feel exceptionally flat. Elena is still an interesting, engaging and daring main character, while other characters fill their roles and provide support to the plot.

This science fiction adventure is lots of fun to read, and once again, the time travel aspect is very well written. This is a sequel that definitely builds off the first book, and keeps the twists and energy going. I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more, than the first, and I look forward to the third installment in this trilogy.

This book is a fast read, and written in a straightforward style that will appeal to many readers. Readers who enjoyed Future Shock are likely to enjoy Future Threat, as well as fans of science fiction, action, and teenage angst. This would be a good one to add to the summer reading list!

Best for ages 13 and up due to some scenes of violence and adult situations.

4 stars for Elena traveling through time.


Thank you to Holiday House, Sleeping Bear Press, and Albert Whitman & Co. for copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

You can find each of these books at your local book retailer or online.

At Amazon:

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story

Runs With Courage

Future Threat

September Line-Up and New Reviews

I can’t believe September is here already. I am so excited for this month on the blog because I have great things lined up to share with you all!

September 15: MAX AT NIGHT Blog Tour

max at night

September 20: YOU’RE MY BOO Book Review and Author Interview

youre my boo

September 22: THE STORYBOOK KNIGHT Blog Tour and author/illustrator interview

storybook knight

With the blog tours, I will have lots of great links and bonus content to share for each book. I just love blog tours 🙂

Then in October, I have spooky books lined up for the whole month, plus I’ll be hosting a special event at my store for kids. There will be more interviews and blog tours as well.

I feel so lucky to have so many opportunities to share great books and new authors with you all.

Today I have three great new books to share and I hope you will all get a chance to check them out at some point.

Happy Reading!


mind boggling number

Mind-Boggling Numbers (2016, Lerner Publishing Group, Non-Fiction Picture Book)

Can a piggy bank hold 1 million pennies? How many glasses of lemonade would it take to fill a swimming pool? Is it possible to send a birthday card to everyone on the planet? This book has all the answers, and the numbers are mind-boggling!

Mind-Boggling Numbers, written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Julia Patton, is an incredibly fun read! Written in question and answer format, the questions are both fun and puzzling, resulting in some fascinating answers. Children and adults will find the math engaging, and everyone is certain to learn something new. The questions present unrealistic situations, but then use real math processes to reach the answer. These word problems are way more fun than figuring out traditional problems. The illustrations accompanying each Q & A are charming and funny, and will keep children entertained as they contemplate each dilemma. And to top it off, at the end of the book, each problem is worked through in depth, showing the math steps necessary to reach each answer. Any book that can introduce math in a fun and entertaining way is a definite winner!


herbies big adventure

Herbie’s Big Adventure (2016, Capstone, Picture Book)

Herbie is just a little hedgehog but he’s growing fast and his Mother says it’s time for him to go on a big adventure. Herbie doesn’t feel ready for a big adventure all by himself, but he leaves home anyway. What awaits little Herbie in the big, adventurous world?

Herbie’s Big Adventure, written and illustrated by Jennie Poh, is a great reminder for both parents and children that sometimes children are ready to experience things on their own without parental guidance or supervision. The theme of independence, self-reliance, and resourcefulness is well-told but other aspects of the story distract from the poignant message. Herbie encounters obstacles along the way, and when he seeks shelter, the words and accompanying illustrations might be confusing to children. Otherwise the illustrations are precious and delightful, inspiring children to go on their own big adventure.


the changelings

The Changelings (2016, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Middle-Grade Fantasy)

After inheriting her Grandmother’s house, Izzy and her family move to the most boring town ever. Izzy is certain nothing exciting will ever happen to her here, until she starts hearing stories about the witch who lives next door. Soon Izzy and her little sister, Hen, discover strange piles of rocks around their house and shadows slipping through the woods behind the house. It’s all exciting and fun until Izzy hears mysterious music and Hen disappears into the forest behind their house. Now, with only the neighborhood “witch” to help, Izzy sets out on a wild adventure to save her sister.

The Changelings, written by Christina Soontornvat, is something of a modern day fairy tale. With tales of faeries and changelings, this book will likely spark interest in older, traditional fairy tales such as those by Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm. Most middle-grade fantasy seems to focus on witches and wizards, so a book with a different focus in the realm of fantasy is refreshing. The book is entertaining and children will love the characters, mystery and magical aspects, but the beginning feels rushed. There is little set up for the story, and much of the information about the neighbor being a witch is established by a conversation with the cashier at the local grocery store. This introduction does not feel authentic, as the setting and neighborhood has not yet been described in detail and certainly not in a creepy context. Once the story progresses, and Izzy enters the faerie realm, the plot picks up and becomes more engaging. A fun read for children ages 8 and up.


Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for reading copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

Back to School Books!

I can’t believe school is starting already! It doesn’t affect me directly, but it’s fun seeing all the kids getting ready for their first day of school.

I did do a back to school theme this week for my newspaper column and I have some great book reviews to share with you all. Trying to keep with the theme, I do have a back to school specific book, but overall, all books are great reads for the back to school crowd 🙂

Do you have any young readers headed off to their first day of school?

What books did they read in their classroom on their first day of school?


time for earth school dewey dew

Time for (Earth) School Dewey Dew (2016, Boyds Mills Press, Picture Book)

Dewey Dew doesn’t want to go to school. Not on his planet, not on any planet, and certainly not on planet Earth! Earth kids aren’t like Dewey Dew and Earth words are hard to say. Dewey Dew thinks school is hard and scary, but maybe he will learn school can be fun too.

Time for (Earth) School Dewey Dew, written by Leslie Staub and illustrated by Jeff Mack, is a fantastic read for young ones starting school for the first time or just nervous about going back to school. Dewey Dew is an adorable alien facing all the normal first-day-of-school jitters in a new way. He is comically different from Earth kids and worries about fitting in, which young ones will easily relate too. With charming illustrations and fun, simple text, this is a great read for parents to share at home or teachers to share with their students.

5 stars


counting barefoot critters

Counting with Barefoot Critters (2016, Penguin Random House Canada, Picture Book)

Kids can count to twelve as they follow an increasing number of critters on an outdoor adventure. Each activity brings a new member to the group, and so the group moves on to bigger and better things each time. You can count on these critters to make counting fun!

Counting with Barefoot Critters, written and illustrated by Teagan White, teaches the numbers one through twelve to children in a fun and engaging way. Presented with fun critters portrayed in beautiful illustrations, children won’t even realize they are supposed to be learning their numbers. Love the layout of the book, and presentation of each number. More than just a book about counting, this is a lovely story book to be enjoyed by parents and children.

5 stars


girl who drank the moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon (2016, Algonquin Young Readers, Middle-Grade Fantasy)

When the people of the Protectorate abandon a child each year, they think they are paying tribute to an evil witch in the woods. If they pay the witch with a child, she’ll leave their village alone, but Xan is a good witch. She is kind and gentle, and has no idea why the villagers leave a child in the woods each year, but she rescues each one. She delivers the babies to loving families in another village, feeding the children starlight on the long journey. But when she accidentally feeds a baby girl moonlight, a chain of events is set into motion that Xan could never have foreseen. Loving the child as her own, Xan raises the girl and learns more about the Protectorate and the real witch in the woods than she ever imagined.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon, written by Kelly Barnhill, is a lovely new fantasy for the middle-grade crowd. The story is beautifully told through alternating perspectives as each character’s story weaves into the greater story arc. While the characters lacked some depth, they are all enjoyable and the plot is mysterious and magical. This is an original tale told with a nod to traditional fairy tales as it draws on typical fairy tale features such as witches, dragons, and magic. A fun read for fans of fantasies and fairy tales.

4.5 stars


And since school days might feel like the slowest days ever to some kids, I present to you, the slowest book ever….

slowest book ever cover

The Slowest Book Ever (2016, Boyds Mills Press, Non-Fiction Middle-Grade)

From sloths to snails, this book is SLOW! If you were hoping to read about the cheetahs or falcons, this is not the book for you, but slow things are cool too. From front to back, this book is packed full of fun facts, clever narration and entertaining illustrations. Whether you read it very slowly or very fast, this book is sure to make you slow down and think about new things.

The Slowest Book Ever written by April Pulley Sayre is a refreshing book for middle-grade readers. Filled with interesting and unique facts, and presented in a clever style, readers will not feel like they are learning as they enjoy this book. The author’s writing style is lively and engaging with facts presented in clever and humorous ways. The only complaint about this book is in regards to formatting. The text runs into the binding and is sometimes difficult to read. Overall, a fantastic read for ages 9 and up.

4.5 stars

 


What was your favorite first day of school book? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Happy First day of school to all!

 

Thank you to Boyds Mills Press, Penguin Random House Canada, Algonquin Young Readers and Net Galley for copies of these books in exchange for my honest reviews.

Red, White, and Books too!

These reviews would have been perfect with the holiday yesterday, but I’m sure kids are still setting off fireworks somewhere, and these books are great any time of the year. They did make it into my column in time for the holiday so I’m not completely failing at this gig. 😉

These are also relevant now, since kids are likely hearing more about our government as the Presidential race takes over the news. Both of these books present our government in a way that kids will understand and find interesting. I learned a thing or two too.

Do you have any favorite children’s books about our nation?

penny and potus

When Penny Met POTUS (2016, Capstone Young Readers, Picture Book)

When Penny goes to work with her mom she wants to meet POTUS more than anything. Penny imagines she’ll get along great with POTUS. They might even be best friends! Her mom is busy, so Penny sets out to find POTUS on her own.

When Penny Met POTUS written by Rachel Ruiz and illustrated by Melissa Manwell provides a cute way to introduce young readers to our government. Though not heavy on facts, the tale will teach children what the POTUS is and create interest in the White House. Funny and sweet, children will relate to Penny’s imaginings of the mysterious POTUS. A clever ending rounds out this wholesome book.

4 stars

awesome america

Awesome America (2016, Time Inc. Books, Non-Fiction Middle-Grade)

From sea to shining sea, and everything in between, this is a fun and comprehensive guide to the United States of America. Beginning with the forming of our nation and highlighting major historical events, readers will learn about the Presidents, branches of Government, and take a tour of all fifty states. Just in time for Independence Day, this book will have the reader celebrating many awesome aspects of the United States.

Awesome America, by Katy Steinmetz, covers the history and government of the United States in fourteen comprehensive chapters. Filled with interesting facts and lots of photographs, this book can be enjoyed by younger children with the help of an adult, but middle-grade readers and older will enjoy flipping through this book on their own. A great non-fiction choice for readers interested in American History.

5 stars (and some stripes)!

Thank you to Net Galley for reading copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

Interview With Author Belinda Jensen

Welcome to the first author interview here at Three Show Saturday!

A portion of this interview appeared in this week’s newspaper column. The full interview is printed below.
5681

Belinda Jensen, author and creator of the Bel the Weather Girl series, is also chief meteorologist for the NBC station in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Ms. Jensen has been a broadcast meteorologist for twenty-six years, but is just beginning her career as an author. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing, and life as a meteorologist.

How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?

 

These are my first books, I started writing them August of 2014 and wrapped up the following spring.

Where do you find your writing inspiration?

 

My inspiration for writing came from numerous 2nd graders that I spoke to over the years.  I have been a meteorologist for 25 years and I have spoken to countless 7 and 8 year olds and their curiosity and anxiety toward the weather fueled these books.

What inspired you to write A PARTY FOR CLOUDS?

 

All of the books the entire set of six stemmed from stories that I told the students that seemed to resonate and ignite them into understanding the science behind the weather.  A Party for Clouds was created for all of those boys and girls and parents that have sleepless nights because of loud, scary thunderstorms.  This book explains how simply counting will explain the science behind thunder and lightning but also ends up to be a great distraction that could get you through the night.

What is your favorite kind of weather?

 

My favorite kind of weather is sunny, mild day with low humidity.  Nothing better!

What was your most memorable moment while broadcasting?

 

My most memorable moment during my broadcast career so far is probably not a moment, it is a season!  Two winters ago the winter of 2013-2014.  It was the coldest winter in 35 years and that is saying quite a bit in Minnesota.  It was remarkably cold and snowy and I will never forget it!  P.S. I do the weather outside every night at my station….every night!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

When I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian, florist of social studies teacher.  Meteorology did not break through as a possibility until around 10th grade.

What was your favorite book as a child?

 

I have to be honest I was a terrible reader and still don’t read a lot!  I was more of analytical mind for numbers…..but I do remember distinctly “Where the Red Fern Grows” and “Charlotte’s Web”

Who has most inspired you in your career?

 

Many people have inspired me over the years but I had a great teacher back in high school that really set me off with some great expectations.   Mr. Dan Gavin, and a great meteorologist here at KARE 11 who I interned for in college Paul Douglas were my mentors.

What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of being a meteorologist?

 

Weather is big deal around this neck of the woods.  I have been at this station for 23 years so how this community owns you and feels like you are part of their family is really rewarding.

What advice would you give to young writers?

 

To young writers I would tell them to follow their passions and if those are science that is FABULOUS, because the job opportunities in science are great.  Learning and writing about anything that they are curious about will fuel these ideas and options.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

 

I love skiing, diving, tennis, paddleboarding, and now I am trying wake surfing with my kids.  We try to enjoy the warm months and soak them in as much as we can as a family.

What is the most interesting place you have visited?

 

Probably Utah, it is an amazing state with so much to explore.  I lived there for 4 years and my parents spend the winter there and I love visiting them.  I have so much more to explore and I look forward to doing that with my kids.

Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing

I love being a nerd.  I love facts, I love maps, and charts.  I could look at them forever.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

My website…www.beltheweathergirl.com

I am excited to set out on this new adventure of writing books and I hope that kids like them and they help them understand and be less anxious about the weather.    Once you understand it, it is not nearly as scary.

party for clouds

Book Review: 101 Ways to Have Fun

I’ll have some new posts for you all this week. I’ve been working on a lot of projects lately and busy keeping up with my newspaper column and haven’t had a chance to get things posted here.

Here’s a new book review for girls ages 9 and up.

101 ways to have fun

101 Ways To Have Fun

From the Editors of Faithgirlz and Girls’ Life magazine

Need fun ideas for your next slumber party or birthday party? Want to have a girls’ day with makeovers and manicures? This book is packed with ideas for crafts, activities, parties, and more. Girls of all ages will find something to do on a rainy day or when hanging out with friends.

“101 Ways To Have Fun” from the Editors of Faithgirlz and Girls’ Life magazine, brings together a collection of fun and wholesome activities for girls of all ages. Some activities are better for teens but many activities can be enjoyed by preteens too. This would also be a good resource for parents when planning a party.

The book is well illustrated with pictures of all the activities and detailed instructions. Some of the titles run into the binding which is a bit annoying but not impossible to read. Also some of the activities suggested for making money slightly overestimate the amount of money a teen or preteen could make. It’s great that the book suggests business ideas but perhaps a little more realistic wage estimate would have been appropriate.

Also the book lacks any biblical or faith related activities. While the activities are great, since this book is published by a Christian publisher and from the Editors of faith-based magazines, parents and readers might expect suggestions of church group activities or biblical meditations.

Overall, a fun read, and highly recommended for parents, teens and preteens.

 

Thank you BookLook Bloggers and Zonderkidz for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.