I first heard her story in 2011, because she survived the Japanese tsunami that struck in March that year, killing thousands and destroying a nuclear plant. Even seven years ago, it was an amazing story of survival. That’s when I worked with illustrator Kitty Harvill to write her story.
How Old is the Oldest Wild Bird in the World?
Answer: The oldest wild bird in the world is at least 68 years old.
How to a bird’s age? We don’t know exactly how old Wisdom, the Midway albatross is because no one was there at her birth. However, she was banded on December 10, 1956, or sixty-two years ago. At the time, she was nesting and the minimum age for these birds to breed is 5-6 years old. That means Wisdom is at least 67-68 years old, but may be much older.
Ornithologist Chandler Robbins who banded her said in 2012, “While I have grown old and gray and get around only with the use of a cane, Wisdom still looks and acts just the same as on the day I banded her.” Robbins passed away in March, 2017.
We must quickly qualify this answer: Wisdom is the oldest known wild bird in the world.
Known: If Wisdom is 68 years old, there are likely older birds, but they just didn’t get banded. With over 650,000 Laysan albatrosses nesting on Midway, it’s impossible to band every one.
Wild: There are older birds in captivity. For example, Cookie the Cockatoo lived to be 83 years old.
A sound representation of sound! Takes the, sometimes hard to grasp, concept of sound and sound waves and makes it fun to learn.
Historical Accuracy of Clang!
The book is about German scientist Ernst Chladni (KLOD-nee) being presented to Emperor Napoleon. We have a historical record of Chladni’s visit. He wrote about the event for a German music magazine, which is quoted verbatim in his biography. The event was important for Chladni, because he was looking for financial backing to rewrite his book about acoustics, or the study of sound. Napoleon did finance a translation of his German book into French, and while translating it, Chladni updated it.
Science of Sound in Clang!
It’s great that the NSTA recognizes that the book makes the subject of sound and sound waves easy and fun for kids. My master’s degree is in Audiology, or the study of sound. Audiologists test hearing, fit hearing aids and other duties related to hearing and hearing loss. Sound is what I studied in college.
It was interesting to take a subject that I know well and make it fun for kids. For example, the different musical instruments make sound in different ways:
Piano – vibrating wires
Clavicylinder (Chladni’s invention) – vibrating glass, a solid
Pipe organ – vibrating column of air
guitar – vibrating wires/strings
Brass plate – vibrating solid
This video demonstrates Chladni’s experiment with modern equipment.
Companion Book, Outstanding Science Trade Book: Nothing Stopped Sophie
Amazingly, another 2019 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book is related to CLANG! Ernst Chladni freely admitted to Napoleon that he didn’t understand the math behind the sound experiments. Napoleon offered another cash prize of 3000 francs to any mathematician who could write the acoustic formula. Eventually, it was won by Sophie Germain, the first woman to win a prize fromt he Paris Academy of Sciences. That story is told in Cheryl Bardoe’s book, Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain.
These would make great companion books as you study sound and talk about the math of sound.
A Versatile Scientist
One of the more interesting things about Ernst Chladni is that he’s known as the father of two branches of science. He’s the Father of Acoustics, as detailed in the book. His sound experiments, though, took him around Europe, and as he traveled, he became interested in strange rocks. The rocks were meteorites, and Chladni was the first person to suggest that meteorites came from outer space. He’s also known as the Father of Meteoritics.
70 years ago, my father, Private Henry B. Foster, was fighting in the Philippines, when the Allied Forces were overrun by the Japanese Fourteenth Army, resulting in the famous Death March, which sent 78,000 soldiers to the Camp O’Donnell as prisoners of war. Private Foster was on Corregidor, also known as “The Rock,” a tadpole-shaped island which divides the entrance of Manila Bay into the North and South Channels.
As the U.S. forces were cut off from supplies, conditions became difficult and at one point, rations were cut to 1/16 of a normal day’s food. Then, came the surrender on May 6, 1942 and removal to Camp O’Donnell to join those from the Death March. There, the conditions were so harsh, my father told stories of men who decided that no human should live this way; they turned their head to the wall and were dead in a few short days. But Private Foster was a survivor.
Two years later, when the tide of war turned, the POWs were taken by boat to Japan, herded into large cargo holds. (I actually found the name of his boat, and a list of passengers, which included his name.) My father climbed up into the pipes along the ceiling to be above the filthy, overflowing honey pots (latrines) and hopefully avoid some of the inevitable disease and sickness. They were fed boiled eggs, a smell which ever after he despised. For the year they were on Japanese soil, prisoners were on such short rations that everyone was emaciated, surviving on whatever rats or snakes they could capture. Once, they were allowed to visit a nearby river to bath. As he looked into the water, he wondered who that old man with white hair was, only to realize it was his own reflection. He contracted beri-beri and scurvy from vitamin deficiencies, and his gums were so infected that eventually he had to have all his teeth pulled and wore dentures the rest of his life.
Because of my Dad, survival stories have always touched me. Now, 70 years later, a different story of survival in the Pacific has captured my heart. When the Japanese tsunami overran Midway Atoll in March, 2011 the oldest known wild bird in the world—and her new chick—were in danger. Scientists said the scariest thing was that the tsunami struck at midnight when they could hear the water over-running the island, but couldn’t see what was happening. The next day, sunlight revealed 100,000 dead chicks and over 2000 dead adult seabirds. No one knew where Wisdom was. Her chick was a small heap of waterlogged feathers, bedraggled. And alone.
On the tenth day, Wisdom was spotted feeding her chick. She had survived.
Wisdom was first banded in 1956 by Chandler Robbins, a young Navy man. He said,
“On December 10, 1956, early in my first visit to Midway, I banded 99 incubating Laysan Albatrosses in the ‘downtown’ area of Sand Island, Midway. Wisdom (band number 587-51945) is still alive, healthy and incubating again in December, 2011. While I have grown old and gray and get around only with the use of a cane, Wisdom still looks and acts just the same as on the day I banded her.”
Since the first banding, she was caught and re-banded in 1966, 1985, 1993, and 2002. In 2006, she received two new bands: the usual metal one and a bright red band, Z333, which could be seen at a distance. She was also given the name Wisdom by former Refuge Biologist and current Deputy Refuge Manager, John Klavitter. Scientists observed that she laid an egg and hatched a chick in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. In 2017, her egg didn’t produce a chick, but she hatched another in 2018. At 65+ years old, she is still raising chicks!
That’s the bare bones of this story of survival and many stopped there. But it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to know more. I wanted details of her story of her survival.
Research took me back to 1951, the year Wisdom was presumably born and back to Midway Atoll and events in the Pacific. I studied other earthquakes and tsunamis: November 4, 1952 a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Kamchatka, Russia and sent a tsunami across the Pacific. Archival photos show the water in the streets on Midway.
I studied storms: tropical storms and hurricanes that struck Midway Atoll: Hurricane Dot in 1958, Hurricane Iwa in 1982, Tropical Depression Raymond in 1983, Hurricane Iniki in 1992, Tropical Depression Orlene in 1992, Tropical Depression Eugene in 1993.
I studied ecological problems that seabirds faced during the last half of the 20th century: As early as the 1960s came worrisome reports of seabirds eating plastic floating in the ocean. Since then, the problem has only become worse, and many chicks die because their stomachs are so full of plastic, no food will fit and they starve to death. For over 50 years, the alarm has been sounded–and ignored. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, predicted in scientific literature as early as 1988, has only grown with the addition of the debris from the Japanese tsunami, which is estimated to be the size of California.
I studied how fishing practices have affected the seabird population: Longline fishing is the practice of baiting lines that are several miles line and may contain up to 2500 hooks. When a seabird swoops to eat the bait and is caught on a hook, nothing can reach them fast enough to save them. In 1991, estimates said up to 100,000 albatrosses were caught on such lines; they were considered an acceptable by-catch. Today, even with required modifications, it is still a problem.
Add to these man-made and natural disasters the ever-present danger of predators. Sharks are often waiting in squid-rich waters when albatrosses land on the sea to eat and the albatross becomes prey instead of predator. And add to that the incredible distances albatrosses fly: In Wisdom’s 60+ years, it is estimated she has flown about 50,000 miles each year, for a total of about 2 to 3 million miles in her lifetime.
This is one of the incredible survival stories!
Years after my father was released from the POW camp and returned to the U.S., I visited Auschwitz in Poland and stood talking with a Polish man about the differences in the German and Japanese POW camps. Finally, the Polish man said, “Let’s talk of better days.”
“You don’t understand,” I said. “My Dad came home from the war, from three years as a POW. He married and had eight children. In spite of everything, he had a full and happy life. He survived.”
I am the product of a story of survival. In spite of everything, my Father survived. When I look at Wisdom and her chick, I see my father and his eight chicks.
And here’s something I never realized before: I have to tell every survival story I can.
Gift guides for the 2018 Christmas season. If you’re needing a gift for kids, Mim’s house has books for all ages. We all love getting book boxes, with the books and other things that go with it. Here are five suggestions for books and gifts you can get your loved ones!
Follow Michael Faraday back into the 1800s to read about his science experiment with fire! This is a great STEM book to read with your kids, as it condenses the lecture Faraday published in 1861 into something the whole family will understand.
Your child can also hold a glowing candle while you read.
About the Guest Blogger: Rachael is a five foot ten and a half inch tall writer who is frequently called smol. She writes while stroking her sister’s bunny, jumbling words to creates stories. Typically writing in fantasy and futuristic, she has written over twelve full length novels, both by herself and a few with other people. She blogs at theartofwritingforhim.blogspot.com, and is a intern at Mims House.
High-low stands for a high interest low reading level book. It’s designed for middle grade to high school. The interest is there, but the reading level is lower. The way they grade the reading level is sentence structure, complexity, etc. I couldn’t lower the vocabulary very well; there are a lot of new words in here. I could simplify the sentences. If you take away the complexity, it’s a great way to grow the readers vocabulary. Over the three books, there’s still this sweeping story of a planet thats about to implode and they need a new place to go. They ask earth, “You only live on land, can we live in your oceans?” The story is there, the emotion is there, the experience of reading the story is still there, I’ve just simplified it so that people with lower reading levels can read it.
Author Question #2: What made you want to write a high-low book?
Because our family has always had exchange students. We had six different exchange students all in high school who lived with us I know learning a second language and I know how hard it was to jump into Young Adult for them. It was very difficult. They are mature intelligent people. The internationals who come to come to the United States are the cream of the corn. I saw them struggling reading age appropriate reading materials. I’ve always had sympathy for people who struggle with reading but want books on their maturity level.
Author Question #3: Why did you choose to adapt Blue Planets World Series into a high-low series?
It was an easy entry because I already knew the story and I could concentrate on getting the reading level where I wanted it to be. It took one level of complexity away from the writing. I also think it might be fun in classrooms if someone is reading sirens if someone is reading sleepers and emerging readers are reading the same story. They can take part in the conversation, and although they don’t have all of the story since it’s cut down, they still have the basic story.
Author Question #4: How much research did you do for your high-low books?
I read some high-lows, I talked to industry professionals. One person challenged me to make the reading level as low as possible so it’s really an entry level book. It’s about 2.3 grade level. It’s very hard to get it to an early second grade level. It was definitely a challenge.
Author Question #5: How long did it take you to adapt it from a YA to a high-low?
I understand there’s a range of reading difficulties, and these books are for these readers. ADD, dyslexia, and other problems make it hard for some readers to concentrate. I’m old enough to remember the Readers Digest Condensed Books. I remember a time when I thought it was fine to speed things up and get the story quicker. With high-low books, you still get the basic story, it’s just speeded up.
Author Question #8: How can people learning a second language who aren’t from the U.S. relate to these books?
These books aren’t just targeted for internationals, but for them, its also a story of immigrants. These people are asking for permission to come to earth. There’s lots of technical difficulties and political problems with that, so there’s that sympathy for the immigrants as well.
About the Guest Blogger: Rachael is a five foot ten and a half inch tall writer who is frequently called smol. She writes while stroking her sister’s bunny, jumbling words to creates stories. Typically writing in fantasy and futuristic, she has written over twelve full length novels, both by herself and a few with other people. She blogs at theartofwritingforhim.blogspot.com, and is a intern at Mims House.
Moments in Science is a new collection of books from Mims House.
Sometimes in publishing, you stumble into something that works so well that you want to do more.
We’ve done that with a collection of elementary science picture books. And now, we’re making it formal by giving this collection a name.
Moments in Science – BURN:Michael Faraday’s Candle
It started with Burn: Michael Faraday’s Candle. Michael Faraday gave his famous juvenile lecture, “The Chemical Composition of a Candle,” in December 28, 1948. It was published a few weeks later and has never been out of print.
It’s the most successful science lecture ever given.
And it was originally given to children as part of the Royal Institution’s Christmas children’s lectures, a program that is still presents annual lectures.
However, I was astounded to learn that it had never been done as a children’s book.
It was daunting.
Over 6000 words of dense, archaic language. I cut it to about 600 words.
Add to that, Peter Willis’s amazing cartoon illustrations.
The result? BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle, one of our most popular science books.
Moments in Science – CLANG! Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments
Because BURN worked so well, I looked around for another “lecture” or “moment” of science where something changed or some important presentation helped people understand science better. I also looked at the NextGen Science Standards to make sure the book would have a wide appeal.
In 1806, German scientist Ernst Chladni (Klod NEE) was granted an audience with Napoleon Bonaparte. Why?
French scientist loved Chladni’s book on acoustics.
Chladni was a science entertainer. Think Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
He didn’t work for a university.
He didn’t have wealthy patrons.
Instead, he traveled and entertained with his science experiments.
What an opportunity! To perform for Napoleon, the Emperor of France!
Two things excited me about this story.
First, we have Chladni’s own words describing the encounter. He wrote for a French music magazine, which was quoted in his biography.
Second, Chaldni’s entertainment worked. Napoleon gave Chladni 5000 Francs to write his book, Acoustics, in French.
The story also gave me an opportunity to talk about sound, sound vibrations, wave forms, and so on to tie into the NextGen science standards.
Since its launch in February, 2018, it’s also receiving a lot of interest.
Moments in Science – POLLEN: Darwin’s 130 Year Prediction
Next March, we’ll launch a third science book and we’ll be adding all these books into a collection, Moments in Science.
Moments in Science is simple a collection of science picture books about important moments in science history that tie into the elementary curriculum.
We’re excited about our 2019 titles in the Moments of Science collection. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover for our March 2019 release, also illustrated by Peter Willis.
How long does it take for science to find an answer to a problem?
On January 25, 1862, naturalist Charles Darwin received a box –
– of orchids.
One flower, the Madagascar star orchid, fascinated him.
Why? Because it had an 11.5” nectary, the place where flowers make nectar, the sweet liquid that insects and birds eat.
How, he wondered, did the orchid get pollinated?
After experiments, he made a prediction.
There must be a giant moth with a 11.5” proboscis, a straw-like tongue.
Darwin died without ever seeing the moth, which was catalogued by entomologists in in 1903.
But still no one had actually observed the moth pollinating the orchid.
In 1992, German entomologist, Lutz Thilo Wasserthal, Ph.D. traveled to Madagascar.
By then, the moths were rare because of loss of habitat.
He managed to capture two moths.
He collected an orchid.
He released the moths into in a cage with the orchid.
Finally! He captured the first photo of the moth pollinating the flower, just as Darwin had predicted
130 years before.
Backmatter will feature the original photo taken by Wasserthal.
Look for this book in March, 2019.
Welcome to the Mims House eBook of the Month. We offer a free ebook each month. This month, we’re featuring our September release WONKY. Why?
New Classic! First day of school book!
Because while it’s a great Robotics Club story, it’s also a First-Day-of-School book. We hope you’ll share the book with your students on that first day! We know you have your favorites for the first day of school, but we think you’ll enjoy this book for variety! Find a new favorite!
Kirkus Reviews: “With pages filled with animals and robots, this tale will certainly appeal to kids; the story of friendship conquering first-day-of-school jitters remains a bonus.
“A delightful story of friendship and teamwork.” Dori Hillestad Butler, Theodore Geisel Honor Award for King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats, and Edgar award for The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy
“. . .offbeat and clever. . . With pages filled with animals and robots, this tale will certainly appeal to kids. . . .” Kirkus Reviews
Howie ambles into robot club hoping to find a friend. But when Lincoln bounds into the room, Howie hides. The strange new bird is too big and fluffy. The teacher, however, puts the unlikely pair together. Will they be able to accept each other’s wonky ideas and become friends?
For STEM classes, this story emphasizes the discussion of form v. function.
The story encourages divergent thinking as Lincoln and Howie design a robot. For kids who are rigid and inflexible, they’ll see the value of considering different options, and accepting those who are different.
Nathaniel Gold is the award-winning author and illustrator of the beloved Chimpman series, as well as Too Much TV Rots Your Brain and Other Poems. His first book, The Chimpanzee Manifesto, received a 2010 IPPY award for outstanding book of the year.
Nathaniel lives in upstate New York with his wife, two children, and a dog.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
“Charming. . .Pattison’s storytelling skills give readers a look into the give-and-take of friendship.”
Carla Killough McClafferty, author of The Many Faces of George Washington
“What’s WONKY? The heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship between Robot Club partners, told in Darcy Pattison’s classic, charming voice. WONKY is a good reminder that friendships are often found with a heart that’s open to the unexpected.” Lynn Rowe Reed, illustrator of Punctuation Takes a Vacation
“WONKY is a delightful mixture of a story about new friends and a robot club–honestly, what could be more fun? I adored Howie and Lincoln, Darcy Pattison’s endearing animal characters, and Nathaniel Gold’s colorful illustrations just pop off the page!” Monica Clark-Robinson, author of Let the Children March
CLANG! ERNST CHLADNI’S SOUND EXPERIMENTS has been reviewed in School Library Journal.
From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Pattison and Willis introduce Ernst Chladni, aka the Father of Acoustics, to young children through an engaging narrative and colorful cartoon illustrations. Chladni was a German scientist who traveled Europe entertaining people by explaining and demonstrating the science of sound in the early 1800s. The meeting between Chladni and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is the main focus of this telling. Willis’s charming artwork provides realistic representations of Chladni’s inventions while staying true to the fun cartoon style of the rest of the story. Pattison includes German and French words, acknowledging the language barrier that the scientist faced when describing his research on the science of sound. Included in the back matter is more information about Chladni’s instruments, his life, and additional historical context. The book can be utilized in the classroom for a variety of curriculum connections from history and science to music. Pattison’s and Willis’s early collaboration Burn: Michael Faraday’s Candle is an equally enjoyable read. VERDICT An additional purchase for elementary school libraries. —Aileen Barton, Sherman Public Library, TX
“Engaging Narrative” says School Library Journal
The reviewer “got” this book, calling it an “engaging narrative.” The illustrations by Peter Wills are “charming.”
This is the second book in the Moments in Science series. The first two focused on elementary physics. Next year, we’ll add two new titles to the series:
ECLIPSE: How the 1919 Eclipse Proved Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, Fall, 2019
Peter Willis will be back with exciting illustrations that make the science fun and interesting. Charming!
3 Reasons to Read and Buy
As the SLJ review says, this book is useful for three content areas:
HISTORY. Clang is the story of how Ernst Chladni met with Napoleon Bonaparte and earned a huge stipend to write his book about acoustics – in French. Placing scientists into context of history is important. Also fascinating is how the French and Germans cooperated to further the needs of science. Also of historical interest is the musical instrument that Chladni invented, the clavicylinder.
SCIENCE. While the focus is on the historical event of Chladni meeting Bonaparte, there’s also science about sound. Chladni studied how sound travels in solids. The book explains how sound makes wires, columns of air, and solids vibrate.
MUSIC. To understand music means you must understand sound. Music is a pleasant arrangement of sounds. The book shows how sound is created by vibrating wires, columns of air, and solids.
For extra reading: NOTHING STOPPED SOPHIE: The Story of the Unstoppable Mathematician Sophie German
While Ernst Chladni understood the science of his experiments, he didn’t fully understand the math behind the sound. Napoleon was also interested in the mathematical formulas. He offered a math prize to anyone who could solve the math. It was eventually won by French mathematician, Sophie German. This charming book tells her story. These two books make perfect companion books for the study of sound.
For a Elementary Physical Science companion book, consider, BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle. BURN is a discussion of light, while CLANG! covers sound. Together, they cover the Next Gen Science Standards for elementary physical science.
For June’s eBook of the Month, we are featuring KELL, THE ALIEN (Lexile: 530L) . When their spaceship crash lands on Earth, those lovable aliens from planet Bix must find a place to live, figure out how to make a living, and try to fit in with Earth’s culture.
Kell finds a best friend in his next-door neighbor, Bree, who inspires the aliens to create Aliens, Inc., a party planning business. They throw an alien party for Bree’s birthday. But what do aliens know about what Earthlings think aliens are like? It’s a mixed up mess complete with a rousing food fight.
It would be SO easy, if not for the Alien Chaser’s Society, led by the school’s principal, Mrs. Lynx. She’s convinced that there’s an alien in 3rd grade and she’s going to find it.
Publisher’s Weekly called this book “amusing” and “engaging and accessible.”
School Library Journal Review: “This fun chapter book series is out of this world.”
Join our Reader’s Group and we’ll send you KELL, THE ALIEN as the June eBook of the Month! You’ll be the first to know each month about the new books. Never miss a Mims House eBook of the Month!
FORMAT: The ebook is available in Kindle or ePub formats. Our customer service makes sure you can load it onto the ebook reader of your choice.
Summer reading! It’s time for beaches, mountains, grandmas, and, yes, reading! Whatever fun you’ve got cooked up for the kids this summer, you’ll want to have along some great books. Books on tape will keep them quiet and occupied during those long car rides, entertaining them with stories, keeping their minds occupied, and their hands away from their neighbor.
We’ve got a summer reading guide for you! It includes audiobooks stories of amazing animals and novels that will keep your teens fascinated. Let’s start with audiobooks.
Listen to the audiobooks!
Josiah Bildner is an amazing audiobook narrator who took on the task of narrating the aliens Inc. series. These books are our great for third graders to read; however, they are great audiobooks for anywhere from four years old to 10 years old.
Or, if you prefer adding the books to your ebook reader–it’s a slam dunk to hand a kid a reader and watch them be engrossed for hours–try this box set! Buy the three-book set now at a discounted price of only $4.99.
Our animal biography series is unique because each book features an individual animal and its life. Bird, spider, mammal–these animals are fascinating for the elementary crowd. CLICK EACH COVER FOR MORE INFORMATION.
B.L. Ochman is fascinated by this true story and asks Darcy to summarize the story. She talks about the Nantucket Publicity Committee created in March, 1937, and most members of that committee were involved in the hoax.
B.L asks why this would be a good children’s book.
“Kids need,” Darcy says, “a non-political story to discuss fake news.”
The sweet spot for this book is for grades 3-6. A documentary on the story is in process and Darcy may appear in the documentary.
The backmatter of the book includes a timeline, quotes from Thomas Jefferson, and sources.
Thomas advocates for literacy and a free press in his quote: “Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.”
Later, his opinion turns cynical: “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.”
Darcy says these two quotes frame the discussion of a free press in America. A democracy needs a free press to keep check on the government; but the free press is also free to print lies. In the end, citizens must maintain a healthy skepticism and support the free press so that democracy can thrive.
In August, 1937 Tony Sarg, inventor of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloons, floated a sea monster balloon off Nantucket as a publicity stunt. What raises this above the level of publicity stunt, though, is that all the newspapermen knew the story was fake and yet still published it. The book presents the reports as true and when it’s revealed that the sea monster is just a balloon, the kids were outraged!
Fake News & 3rd Grade: From Outrage to Understanding
The first reaction was outrage. From there, the kids tried to understand what had happened. They had to work through the ideas of fake news.
First, they related fake news to teacher cautions about using websites for research on their own projects.
They’ve been told to trust .org and .gov sites. But as we know, those can still lie.
They’ve been told to look for popular articles. But as we know, popularity isn’t a good gauge of truthfulness.
They’ve been told to check multiple sources. But as we know, each source may say something different and leave confusion.
Those things they could understand.
But one boy asked a specific question. The story said that an eyewitness reported seeing the sea monster rising 15-20 feet out of the air. “How,” he asked, “did they get that balloon to go so high?”
I asked, “Do you think that eyewitness actually saw a sea monster?”
That confused him.
“The eyewitness lied. He didn’t see anything. He just SAID that he saw something.”
That had never occurred to the boy before that moment.
Learning to distinguish truth from lies is hard for 3rd grade. They know when THEY lie, or when a family member lies. But lies on this scale were difficult to understand.
Which is exactly why we need books like this. Digital citizens must develop ways to assess the credibility of a source.
What I found most encouraging was the discussions of the issues. The kids were eager to ask questions and understand. Talking about fake news, it was an important day.
When middle grade students start seriously competing, their motivations are often mixed. Why do you compete? Because you love the sport? Or because you want to win? Or because you want to please someone, like a parent?
For Fans of Mike Lupica and Tim Green
Fourteen-year-old Jamie is growing too fast! Friends taunt him that his feet are so big the last time he stepped in a puddle, they called it the Mississippi River. As Jamie moves from 8th to 9th grade, Dad expects Jamie to join traditional sports, like football. Instead, Road Whiz, a retired greyhound racing dog, inspires Jamie to run. He starts training to run 5Ks.
Like the retired greyhound, Jamie struggles with the question of why should he run? Does he run to win, or does he run because he loves running? With Road Whiz as his mentor, Jamie faces the challenges in his life, from family changes to his own growing body.
This middle grade novel will mesmerize boys who struggle with the idea of competition. Jamie’s resolution of his doubts, fears and hopes about competing will inspire teens as they experience their own disturbing, if inevitable, growth.
For more information, see the catalog listing, including a recent librarian review. here.
We are thrilled that the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has named our book a 2018 Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts.
News of fake news has blanketed the political discussion for the past two years. In the midst of the accusations of truth and lies, it’s confusing to know how to discuss this issue with children. As students learn about civics and the American political system, balancing the need for a free press and the need to monitor the press’s truthfulness can become controversial.
On Saturday, August 7, 1939, the Inquirer and Mirror newspaper on Nantucket Island reported sightings of a sea monster. Island residents were troubled and scared. Tensions mounted as footprints were found on Mandaket Beach. Expert biologists were consulted who said they couldn’t explain the reports or footprint photos. More stories of sightings were published in the August 14 issue of the Inquirer and Mirror and by now, the reports had gone out on the wire services with newspapers nation-wide reporting the incidents.
However, on August 18, the real sea monster appeared: a rubber balloon that would fly in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
It was all great fun, the newspapers said because 1) no one was injured, and 2) Macy’s didn’t attempt to commercialize or make money from the event.
But this was far more than just a publicity stunt: the newspapermen knew the story was fake and yet published it anyway.
Two Thomas Jefferson quotes are offered for students to debate:
1) Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all if safe.
2) Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.
The book is a Junior Library Guild selection and has just been named a 2018 National Council of Teacher’s of English (NCTE) Notable Children’s Book in the Langauge Arts. (NCBLA). For more information, Click Here.
I’m an audio book junkie. I love listening to audio books as I drive. I always have a book going. Why? Because I love the medium. And because it makes a boring drive interesting. But the real question is if KIDS love audio books? (And do you spell it as two words or one? Audio books or audiobooks?)
Benefits of Audio Books for Kids
In an article on Reading Rockets, Denise Johnson lists these benefits for all readers, not just the ESL or striving readers.
Introduce students to books above their reading level
Model good interpretive reading
Teach critical listening
Highlight the humor in books
Introduce new genres that students might not otherwise consider
Introduce new vocabulary or difficult proper names or locales
Sidestep unfamiliar dialects or accents, Old English, and old-fashioned literary styles
Provide a read-aloud model
Provide a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together while commuting to sporting events, music lessons, or on vacations
Recapture “the essence and the delights of hearing stories beautifully told by extraordinarily talented storytellers” (Baskin & Harris, 1995, p. 376)
My son was a reluctant reader. He read well, but he didn’t want to sit still long enough to read. But he always loved books on tape. In fact, going back and forth to school, about a 20 minute drive, he and his sister listened to the entire 50 hour audio of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
In other words, audio books allowed me to give him a love of story! Now, as an adult, he reads more than ever.
Audible Free Trials
Audible offers a free trial to get you started listening to audio books. You can choose apps on any smart phone and get started quickly. Choose a book below to get started on your free trial.
Mims House is very excited by our March release, CLANG! Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments, a story about sound vibrations.
When Mims House published BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle, we had no idea that it would lead to more science history books. BURN is about Michael Faraday’s famous lecture on how a candle burns. Because elementary science studies light, the book has found a home in many classrooms.
The study of light often accompany studies of sound and sound vibrations. I wondered if there was an equally fascinating story about sound vibrations. So, I went looking for sound stories. This was especially interesting to me because my Master’s degree is in Audiology, or the study of hearing. I worked for a time testing hearing at a doctor’s office, and then teaching at the local deaf school. Sound, or acoustics, has always been fascinating to me.
A Fascinating, Vibrating Story
Clang! is a story of international cooperation among scientists.
Clang! is the story of the Father of Acoustics.
Clang! is the story of an Emperor taking an interest in a scientists experiments with sound vibrations.
The story opens in 1806 when Ernst Chladni . . .
(Wait right there. How do you say that name? KLOD-nee.)
. . . left his home in Wittenberg, Germany for a three year trip.
Most scientists of the time worked for a university, which provided a living, a lab, and funding for their work.
Instead, like Bill Nye the Science Guy, Chladni was a science entertainer and educator. He traveled giving demonstrations of his work to rich people who could act as his patron. He lingered in the Netherlands and Brussels, but finally made his way to Paris.
He arrived in France in 1808.
The French scientists were very interested in his German book, Die Akustik or The Acoustics, about acoustics and asked Chladni to translate it into French. They agreed to help with the French language problems. But Chladni needed funds to live while he did the translation. They had a solution for that, too.
At 7 pm on a Tuesday evening in February 1809, they took Chladni to see Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte!
Chladni showed his experiments, as always, and discussed the math behind acoustics.
The next day, Bonaparte sent Chladni 6000 francs (French dollars) to translate the work.
For me, as a writer, one of the most fascinating things was that I found a discussion of the event in Chladni’s own words! To find such a primary source is amazing! After the audience with Napoleon, Chladni wrote an article about the evening with
Napoleon for the Caecilia, a German music magazine. The article was quoted in his 1888 biography by Franz Melde, Chladni: Life and Times. That means this story is based on Chladni’s own account of his meeting with Napoleon.
In addition, the story is a useful addition to any elementary classroom study of sound and sound vibrations because it discusses vibrating strings, columns of air, and solid materials. Chladni’s own invention, the clavicylinder, is an example that will inspire young STEM students.
The books are available from the Mims House website for 10% discount, or from your favorite educational distributor or online bookstore. It officially launches on March 8. Review copies are available to bloggers or reviewers. Please email Sue Foster.
A Story of Pollen
Even more exciting is that science history will be featured in a forthcoming 2019 book. POLLEN: Darwin’s 130 Year Prediction will follow the pollen of a unique orchid. Look for more in the coming months about this fascinating story.
On the tiny Midway Atoll, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there lives the oldest bird, that is the oldest wild nesting bird. Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, and her mate, Akeakamai, nest close to the old Navy bunkhouses. Seabirds, they fly over the north Pacific for half the year before returning to Midway in December to nest.
I’ve been following Wisdom’s story since the 2011 Japanese tsunami. I wrote about her amazing survival story then. Her story is intriguing because she was banded by ornithologist Chandler Robbins in 1956, which means we can document that she is over 67 years old. Because she’s so old, I keep thinking that this is her last year to hatch a chick. One of these days, she just won’t come back in December. I anxiously await word that she’s back–somehow, she survived another year.
Scientists think that albatrosses will often take a sabbatical year, a year when they won’t come back and nest. But she’s been laying eggs continuously since 2003. Even if she didn’t show up in December, I’d think she’s just taking a vacation and hope that she’d be back the next year. Instead, she’s steady as clockwork. Appears in December to nest and lay an egg. Hatches that chick in February.
Well, two years ago, the chick didn’t hatch. For whatever reason, the egg just didn’t mature. It’s a common thing among the albatrosses. And last year’s chick hatched on February 4 with no problems.
Still, it’s exciting! On February 6th, 2018, Wisdom hatched a new chick. No one knows how many babies she’s had, but scientists estimate 30-35.
This week in the news, police in Aberdeenshire, Scotland were called to a farm because a tiger was sitting in a man’s barn! The police took this very seriously. They sent out several units, while others called local wildlife preserves to find out if an animal was missing.
Halfway across the globe in Banff, Canada, a cougar was seen strolling across downtown.
Immediately, officers went searching while an alert went out to residents to remove any outside food that might attract the wild animal. Officers quickly caught sight of the cougar darting between cars and followed its footprints. Eventually, the cougar returned to the wildlife corridor.
These aren’t surprising incidents. When I researched Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma, I discovered that the reclusive puma or cougar often lives in urban areas. Because they are nocturnal, they can often avoid being seen unless they attack and eat pets, chickens, and so on.
The Brazilian scientists, Márcia Rodrigues, Ph.D. and Sergio Ferreira, have worked hard to establish a wildlife corridor for the pumas there. A wildlife corridor is protected route for wildlife to travel between suitable habitat areas. It’s necessary because animals need to be able to find others of their kind to mate, because many animals travel as they hunt, and because of seasonal changes in food and shelter.
The Scottish police had to take the call about a wild animal in a barn seriously because it could easily happen. The Banff officials had to track the puma across downtown Banff to make sure it returned to the protected areas.
Because habitat is shrinking, humans must find ways to accommodate wildlife in our urban areas. Wildlife corridors are one important tool in living happily with wild pumas or cougars.
My grandson is seven years old. When we take short trips to the lake, about 1 1/2 hours away, we often listen to music. But there’s a big discussion about music styles. Daddy likes country. My Darling Husband (DH) has an eclectic taste, though, so we often pull up Pandora or Spotify and try something different.
We have sung along with the three tenors as they sing opera.
We’ve listened to popular Broadway songs. DH was singing “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you,” a memorable line from a song in The KING AND I musical.
By far, though, the most popular genre for the grandkids is cowboy music. Especially yodeling. They LOVE to listen to yodeling like this video. Isn’t this kid amazing?
Are your students struggling to write informative essays? The Common Core requires informative essays starting in first grade with a how-to essay. After that informative essays (or expository essays) are required writing every year.
Author Darcy Pattison draws on her many years of professional writing and experience teaching professional development classes in The Read and Write series of books to help students write better.
Informative Essay Printables – Simple & Fun to Teach
In Book 4, Darcy turns her attention to informative writing. Students will be entranced by the ongoing story of cousins Dennis and Mellie as they interact with their pet dogs and their family. This time, it’s Grandma’s birthday and the family goes to the K-9 Karnival. While there, the cousins learn about their dog breeds and give their dirty dogs a bath. Later, at home, Mellie write a how-to essay about dog baths while Dennis write an informative essay about groups of dog breeds. These mentor texts are perfect for the elementary class who is learning to write informative essays, how to essays, or expository essays.
To make it even easier for teachers, we offer free printables. They makes the books into a complete lesson plan! Fill out the form below to receive the printables. The book is available now for PREORDER on many platforms. By next week, it should be available everywhere.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE READ AND WRITE SERIES
Hurrah for Essays! All writing lessons should be this much fun.
“. . .fill(s) a niche for teachers. . .” – School Library Journal 5/1/15
” “. . .breezy and engaging introduction to genre writing.”
” “The model essay can be used across multiple genres (informational and narrative nonfiction in addition to opinion).”
” “. . .useful for teachers showing early elementary students the relevancy, power, and importance of effective writing.”
We are excited to be teaming up with Triangle Media to create read-along versions of selected picture books. These ebooks are ePub3 standards, for which Overdrive has recently added the capability.
The books are the regular ebooks, but they are enhanced by added audio that is synced to the text. When a word is read, the word is highlighted. The technology to create this type of ebook has been around a while, but not all ebook readers were capable of correctly rendering the ebook. Until now. Overdrive now makes this available across its network. The enhanced ebooks are on sale at a 25% discount till January 31.
Read the Samples Read Along Picture Books – 25% Discount Ends on January 31
The enhanced ebooks are currently available from Overdrive who has provided samples.
Please click on the book cover below to read the sample: