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Archive for September, 2016

The Thing About Jellyfish

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Emma

This week’s book to review, The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, is a best-seller that’s won critical acclaim and starred-reviews. What makes this middle grade novel so special? It’s a great mix of STEM, with jellyfish facts and other useful science facts, but it also tells a great story and may even help a reader deal with grief.

 

Emma stopped by the blog to talk about it. She’s 8-years-old and enjoys gymnastics, reading and hanging out with friends. When she gets older, she hopes to be a wild-animal vet, specializing in sloths. To the left, she’s dressed for career day. Here’s what she had to say about this story.

 

Q: What is this book about?

A: This book is about a girl named Suzy. Her friend, Franny, died while swimming. Suzy is sad and wants to figure out what really happened.

 

Q: What was the best part about this book? 
A: The best part of the book was when Sarah, a new friend, asked if Suzy wanted to come over.

 

Q: What part of this book made you smile? 
A: When she tried to fly to Australia and she used her dad’s credit card to buy plane tickets. As I read this, I thought oh no, this is not going to work. Also, I smiled when Justin kept on trying to be her friend and communicate with her. He could tell that she really needed a friend, and he needed a friend, too.jellyfish

 

Q: What part of the book surprised you most?

A: That she used her dad’s credit card to buy a ticket to Australia. She got so close but didn’t make it. I was also surprised by all that research and planning she did, but it did not go the way she expected in the end.

 

Q: What part of the book worried or concerned you?

A: When she was sneaking around and her parents didn’t know about her trip to Australia. She stopped talking to everyone. Also, when she stole money from her whole family.

 

Q: What did you learn from reading this book?

A: I learned a LOT of facts about Jellyfish.

 

Q: List three words that best describe this book.

A: Tense, Grief, Relief.

 

Q: What was your favorite line or phrase from the book?

A: “Maybe instead of feeling like a mote of dust, we can remember that all the creatures on this earth are made from stardust. And we are the only ones who get to know it. That’s the thing about jellyfish: They’ll never understand that. All they can do is drift along unaware.” (I liked knowing how the book got its name.)

 

Q: Who else should read this book AND why?

A: Everyone! Especially the people who are dealing with the loss of a friend or family member.

 

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(NOTE: The book features Irukandji jellyfish facts. Take a look at them, compared to the tip of a matchstick.)

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Do you know young scientists who love learning about animals? If so, please check out the following kits from the Hub’s inventory:

* PSS’s Animal Classification
* PSS’s Insectigations
* EiE’s Water, Water Everywhere
* EiE’s Invasive Species

Email us at scstemhub@drake.edu!

Leaf Man Inspires Outdoor Exploration

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Kyle Leaf Man

If you’re looking for the ideal book to kick-off an outdoor adventure, 8-year-old Kyle has a suggestion for you! It’s Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.

Take a poetic journey with Lean Man as he travels wherever the wind may lead. Lois Ehlert engages her classic illustration style by using leaves and die-cuts to create the pictures. This is the great addition to any fall reading list.

Thanks to 8-year-old Kyle, who recommended this book! Kyle loves 4-H, being outside and reading. He took a moment to tell us why it’s so great.

What is this book about?
Leaf Man blew away – where did he go and what did he see?

What was the best part about this book?
The pictures/drawings (illustrations)

What part of the book made you smile?
Leaves made into a Butterfly

What part of the book worried or concerned you?Leaf Man Cover Art (2)
When Leaf Man went missing (blew away)

What did you learn from reading this book?
How leaves are different shapes, sizes, and colors – and can be used to make other things in nature.

Three words that best describe this book:
Creativity, Leaves, Ability

What was your favorite line or phrase from the book?
My family made up our own Leaf Man song to go with the book.  Also have fun going on hikes to gather different kinds of leaves and twigs to make our own Leaf Man/Leaf Creatures.

Who else should read the book and why?
Anybody – it’s cool!

leafman 5leaf man 4leafman 7leaf man 3leaf man 2leaf man 1

Challenge: Make your own Leaf Man or leaf creature and send us a picture of it. We’ll feature your creation on the Hub’s Facebook and Instagram #leafSTEM. (Above images from the internet.) Send anytime between now and October 15.

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The Hub has several nature-themed curriculum kits, including: Carolina’s Plant Growth and Development, AWIM’s Inspired by Nature, EiE’s Animal Sounds, Pint-Size Science’s Insectigations, and more. Contact us at scstemhub@drake.edu for check out or additional information!

Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing

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thumbnail_KerriganAshely Spires’ picture book, The Most Magnificent Thing (Kids Can Press), has won a dozen awards. It’s about a little girl who decides she’s going to make something wonderful. But making something isn’t always as easy as it looks. This book is a great example of what can happen with a little perseverance and creativity.

Meet our reviewer: 4-year-old Kerrigan, at the left. She likes to read, draw and play with play dough. See what she thought about this story.

AND if, after you read the book, you you want to make your own magnificent things, visit area STEM festivals this fall. Click HERE for a complete calendar.
September 17 — WiSE STEM Fest
October 14 — Kidzmania STEM Fest
October 22 — Appanoose County/Centerville STEM Festival
October 24 — DMACC-Ankeny STEM Festival

Most Mag Thing 2Q: What is this book about?
A: The girl was building a thing with her dog.  She had to work slowly and use her brain.

Q: What was the best part about this book?
A: When the dog and girl had fun on the scooter.

Q: What part of this book made you smile?
A: When she made a scooter.

Q: What part of the book worried or concerned you?
A: When the girl hit her finger.

Q: What did you learn from reading this book?
A: I learned to think and work gently and slowly.

Q: List three words that best describe this book.
A: Good, exciting, and funny.

Q: What was your favorite line or phrase from the book?
A: “If only the thing would just work!”  (Kerrigan liked this illustration the best, too.)

Q: Who else should read this book AND why?
A: Everyone. Because they could learn to fix things gently.

Check out this Kids Can Press, the book’s publisher, book trailer.

 

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