Thursday, October 21, 2021

LITTLE KIDS FIRST BIG BOOK OF ROCKS, MINERALS AND SHELLS - a great resource for young collectors


Wow! Such an interesting book I couldn't pull myself away! Kids will love studying all the different types of rocks and shells in the big colourful photos.

This book is a treasure trove of information but at the same time is laid out in a way that isn't overwhelming for young children. 

Summary from the publisher

Get ready to be dazzled! This lively reference book for the younger set introduces a fascinating variety of Earth’s rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and shells--from granite to gold, marble to malachite, and conchs to clams.

Discover how rocks are formed, the three kinds of rocks, and the difference between rocks and minerals. Learn how rocks and minerals are used in art, architecture, industry, and science. Then journey to the oceans to explore seashells and the amazing animals that once inhabited them. Packed with more than 200 stunning photos, including closeups of each specimen, this colorful book showcases breathtaking natural sites such as the Giant’s Causeway and human-built structures such as the Great Wall of China.

Filled with fun facts and designed for interactive learning, the Little Kids First Big Book of Rocks, Minerals, and Shells is sure to become a favorite with young rock and shell collectors and their parents!

Published by National Geographic Kids in 2021. 


My thoughts as an educator:

This is a great introduction to rocks and shells. Very comprehensive! I love the questions included to encourage connections and deeper thinking. Kids will enjoy poring over this book to study the enormous variety of rocks and all the different objects rocks can become. It was interesting that sea shells are also included too. I predict this book will be the start of many pocket collections! There are activities at the back that could be used by educators or parents -- as well as a page showing the equipment geologists use which gave me ideas for a classroom learning centre. 

Ages: 4 - 8 

Grades: preschool – grade 2

Themes:  science guide, rocks, minerals, shells


Family connections:  Choose a few pages to explore with your child every night. Talk about what you notice in the pictures and discuss your favourites!

Collect and Draw: Go outside and hunt for your own rocks! Create your own book of rocks by drawing pictures or photographing your collection. Think of interesting names for the items in your collection and label your pictures. 

Explore and Identify:  Make your own collection of rocks and shells. Can you find any of them in the book?

Rock Math: Rocks make perfect manipulative for outdoor math. Some activities I've done include sorting rocks outside by size or color, ordering them by size, measuring large rocks using snap cubes or rules, and even just a quick few minutes where we each count how many rocks we found. 


Additional Resources for Educators:

Fantastic, Fun and Learning website has a great collection of interesting activities to try with rocks.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

WEEKEND DAD by Naseem Hrab & Frank Viva - a book about families where everyone doesn't live in the same place

This book fills an important gap by giving kids from families where parents are separated a place to see themselves or find connections. It's great the way this book explores different feelings and memories a child might feel when their parents first split up. A great addition to any collections of books about families or feelings. 

Summary from the publisher

A little boy spends the weekend at his dad’s new apartment in this picture book about how things change when parents separate — and the important things that stay the same.

“This home is home because my dad is here, and it’s nothing like home because my mom isn’t here,” thinks the boy in this story when he enters his dad’s new apartment for the first time. His dad moved out on Monday and now it’s Friday night, the start of his weekend with his dad.

The boy and his dad follow their normal weekend routine — they eat eggs for breakfast, play cards and spend time at the park. And then they do the same things on Sunday. It is hard to say goodbye at the end of the weekend, but Dad gives his son a letter to remind him that, even if they can’t always be together, the boy is loved.

Weekend Dad by Naseem Hrab and Frank Viva was published by Groundwood Books in 2020. 


My thoughts as a creator:

 Muted tones in the illustrations go well with this more serious story theme. The structure of this story is somewhat different and interesting, as the main character speaks to the reader, explaining his memories and feelings. It's a great book to study to learn about how to bring out the emotions in a story. 

My thoughts as an educator:

I haven't seen too many picture books about separating parents and I like the way this one is told through what the child notices and feels. This book could work as a class read aloud, but it might also be great to read one on one with a child who is going through change and difficult family situation. 


Grades: K – grade 2

Themes: family separation, life changes, feelings


Family connections:   Who lives with you? Draw a picture of the people in your family and the places where they live. 

Writing: Draw a picture of a time when you felt scared. 

Social-Emotional Learning: Think of something that scares you. What do you do  when you feel scared? Are there other things that might help you feel better?

Additional Resources: 

 This interview with Naseem Hrab gives some background information on her inspiration for writing this story.