Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy

Softcover

Cover image – Courtesy of Annick Press

Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy

•    Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle School (Ages 9-12)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction, Science
•    Author: Shaker Paleja
•    Illustrator: Glenda Tse
•    Publisher: Annick Press
•    Publication Date: April 7, 2015
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 8″ x 10″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length:56 Pages
•    Retail: $12.95
•    ISBN: 978-1554517275

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“You can use up things like wind and water, because they’re naturally replenished or renewable. Different technologies can convert these natural types of energy into forms we can use.”

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Annick Press

Energy – Past, Present & Future

We rely upon energy day in and out, but how often do we think about where that energy comes from or how it even works? Through colorful diagrams, charts and other illustrations, fascinating facts and figures, Power Up! teaches middle readers the basics of energy – its past, present and future. Learn about the history of energy, renewable (solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal) and non-renewable (oil, coal, natural gas) sources of energy as well as new energy sources. Facts about the climate effects from energy sources are discussed as are ways we can all be more energy efficient ourselves.

“Greenhouse gases trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, making the planet hotter. As emissions increase, this causes changes to our climate – the pattern of weather over time.”

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Annick Press

Easy to Understand, Fascinating to Learn

Author Shaker Paleja has taken a complicated subject and has broken it down into manageable, understandable segments. By showing through illustrations, what the well-written text is explaining, middle readers can truly grasp these complex concepts. And some of these facts are astounding – like how much oil the US consumes and the fact that we as a nation produce the highest CO2 emissions per person in the world. By understanding the basic types of energy and how these sources affect our planet, children can become a part of the solution rather than ignore a problem they simply don’t understand.

“Coal produces 40% of the world’s electricity- and almost 40% of global CO2 emissions! That’s why many countries are trying to replace electricity from coal with cleaner alternatives.”

Why You Should Buy This Book

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 7.57.21 PMYou’ll be hard pressed to find another book as good as Power Up! on this subject for middle readers. It encourages readers to start thinking about how important the complex subject of energy truly is and starts them questioning what they thought they knew about it – or if they even knew anything at all on the subject. We’ve got to educate our children on global issues so they become aware and concerned and are driven to take action. Children today are our scientists of tomorrow. I learned a great deal from this book myself, and just the Light Bulb Comparison Study alone has me taking inventory of the bulbs we use in our house.

© Copyright – Image courtesy of Annick Press

About the Author

1426707792Shaker Paleja is an actor and writer who has performed in theaters across North America, and appeared on numerous film & TV shows. Some credits include: Gracepoint; Sanctuary; Arrow; Stargate SG-1; Battlestar Galactica; Smallville; The Day the Earth Stood Still; Elegy. The opening chapter of his novel, An Extraordinary Destiny, was published last year in the Dalhousie Review. The novel is mostly set in Bombay, India, where he was born, before moving to Canada at a young age. Shaker also authored an infographic non-fiction title, Native Americans: A Visual Exploration (2014) for Annick Press. The book was selected by The White Ravens catalog in Germany as one of four notable Canadian children’s books. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and five-year-old daughter with whom he enjoys reading books.

 About the Illustrator

d6ee355007357.54ed19a7c8f6eGlenda Tse holds a BA in Illustration from Sheridan College. Glenda says, ” My diverse portfolio of creative work combines my strong passion for illustration and design, with the use of both traditional and digital media. I seek inspiration from animals, nature, daily experiences, and the psychology of the human mind. Though I specialize in illustration, my focus has developed further to include hand-lettering and typography, as used in many of my recent works.” Glenda lives in Toronto with her husky, Myla.

Edward Hopper Paints His World and He Will Paint Yours Too

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Cover – Courtesy of Henry Holt Publishing

 Edward Hopper Paints His World

•        Targeted Audience: Lower and Upper Elementary School (Ages 5-10)
•        Genre: Nonfiction
•        Author: Robert Burleigh
•        Illustrator: Wendell Minor
•        Publisher: Henry Holt
•        Publication Date: August 19, 2014
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions: 10″ x 10″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 40 Pages
•        Retail: $16.99
•        ISBN: 978-0805087529

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“America was changing, and Edward was eager to make art in a fresh, new American way. There was one big problem. No one wanted to buy his paintings. Still, he didn’t give up.”

Note: All images on this post are © copyrighted material and are not to be used without permission from the publisher, Henry Holt.

EH spread 28-29I’ve always admired the work of Edward Hopper, and then while visiting Boston in 2007, I happened upon an extraordinary Hopper Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. I was so enamored with his work, and how he used shadow and light, that I couldn’t tear myself away from the exhibit until I was literally asked to leave at closing time. I left that day with a beautiful box of Hopper note cards, which I use sparingly, and only people I truly respect and admire have ever received a note from me on one of those treasured cards.

The Story of One of America’s Greatest Artists for the Youngest Readers

Lately I find myself saying, more and more, how wonderful it is that there are new EH spread 4-5biographies popping up in picture book form. Traditionally, biographies have been available only for older children and adults, but that’s all changing. Edward Hopper Paints His World is a gloriously sophisticated picture book that takes illustration to a level of soaring heights. Veteran author Robert Burleigh knows how to write for a very young audience, and does so in such a way that children can  understand what he’s saying and at the same time be challenged intellectually. (Very young children will want to read and discuss the book and vocabulary words with their parents.) Pairing the clever text with the paintings by Wendell Minor results in the most beautiful picture book I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen many.

A Man of Courage, Resilience and Determination

EH studio artEdward Hopper wrote, “Edward Hopper Would Be Artist” on his colored pencil box when he was a small boy. He was a quiet and gentle child who enjoyed spending time outdoors painting the natural beauty around him. As an adult, he set out for New York City to study art. He worked tirelessly at his craft to become the painter he longed to be. He even traveled to Paris to visit art museums and broaden his artistic horizons. Back in New York he worked  as an illustrator for magazines to pay his bills, but he just wanted to paint. The problem is that no one wanted to buy his paintings. Edward Hopper Paints His World is the story of how this quiet determined artist persevered and dedicated his life to painting what he saw and what was not commonly painted by other artists.

Illustrations Worthy of Hopper’s Original Art

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If you’ve had the chance to read my interview with Wendell Minor, then you know the caliber of his artistic abilities and his admirable integrity. Wendell has taken the artistic genius of Edward Hopper and put his own mark on it through the many paintings he completed to illustrate this book. His use of color is astounding. Wendell explains in the back of the book how Edward Hopper influenced him as a EH Sunday Morningpainter from the start of his own career in his use of light, color and composition. In addition to many magnificent full-color paintings in the book, there are  also gray scale sketches, giving the reader a varied view of the world of Hopper as a celebrated artist. Also in the back of the book are images of four of Hopper’s original paintings, so children can compare and contrast them to Wendell’s illustrations. There simply aren’t enough adjectives to describe the magnificence of Wendell’s work here.

What This Book TeachesIllustrator Hopper

Edward Hopper Paints His World teaches children about the long road Edward Hopper took to success, and how he achieved that on his own terms, painting exactly what he saw in the exact way he wanted to paint his subjects. Children will learn that passion, patience, determination and persistence are commendable and necessary qualities for achieving great things and that people who are talented often don’t always get noticed right away. They will discover the importance of Hopper’s extraordinary work and perhaps embrace their own uniqueness. Robert Burleigh explains more about Edward Hopper’s life in the back of the book and also includes some notable Hopper quotes. I love books like this that engage readers so much that they can’t wait to do more research on their own.

Why You Should Buy This Book

EH at Good Harbor Beach art Edward Hopper Paints His World is an incredibly inspiring true life story. All children can appreciate beauty, and Hopper’s work and the way this author and illustrator depict it, is quite simply beautiful. You never know what will ignite a child’s interest, and if you ask any artist – including Wendell Minor – he or she will tell you the passion was there at a very young age.  Edward Hopper is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding biographies for young readers. It is to be read, studied, admired and kept safe in your home or school library. I will not be parting with my copy and I am certain, once you and your child read this book, you too will want to treasure it for a lifetime.

Buy Edward Hopper Paints His World here.

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About the Author

bobBurleighRobert Burleigh earned his undergraduate degree from DePauw University and his Master’s in Humanities from the University of Chicago. He has written more than 40 picture books on many different subjects, including several illustrated by Wendell Minor – Abraham Lincoln Comes Home, If You Spent a Day with Thoreau at Walden Pond and most recently, Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue. In addition to writing, Robert paints under the name of Burleigh Kronquist. He splits his time between Grand Haven, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois.

About the Illustrator

Wendell Minor is the illustrator of over fifty children’s books including The Last Train, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaylight Starlight Wildlife, Sequoia, How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow and most recently, Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue. He works in oil, acrylic, gouache and watercolors in his beautiful studio in rural Connecticut. His interest in nature and the environment has taken him and his wife, Florence from the east coast to the west coast and everywhere in between. Wendell’s outstanding artwork has been exhibited in universities and museums and has been acquired by private collectors. An exhibition of 25 years of his children’s book art, entitled, “Wendell Minor’s America,” was on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum from November 2013 through May, 2014.

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Read my in-depth interview with Wendell Minor
Read my
review of Sequoia

Further Learning

  1. Download the Teacher’s Guide for this title.
  2. Visit the Edward Hopper House.
  3. Find an art museum housing Hopper paintings or possibly a traveling exhibit.

Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog

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Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog

•        Targeted Audience: Elementary School (Ages 5-8)
•        Genre: Nonfiction
•        Author: Carol Chiodo Fleischman
•        Illustrator: Stephanie Ford
•        Publisher: Pelican Publishing
•        Publication Date: January 20, 2015
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions:8.5″ x 11″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 32 Pages
•        Retail: $16.99
•        ISBN: 978-0985076214

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 From Nadine: My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog by Carol Chiodo Fleischman, illustrated by Stephanie Ford, illustrations © 2015 Stephanie Ford, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

A True Story About a Blind Woman and Her Guide Dog

Author Carol Chiodo Fleischman is legally blind and has used a guide dog since 1992, and one of Carol’s real guide dogs from many years ago was Nadine.  Carol tells the account of how she and Nadine first got acquainted, and how her sometimes silly guide dog loved to play and get into trouble. One day when they set out on a walk on a winter’s day, a blustery snowstorm broke out and made the journey back home a bit unnerving. Did Nadine start her playful antics when Carol needed her most, or did she remain the brave and trusty guide dog she was trained to be?

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 From Nadine: My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog by Carol Chiodo Fleischman, illustrated by Stephanie Ford, illustrations © 2015 Stephanie Ford, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

An Inspiring Story Kids Can Relate to with Delightful Illustrations

Children love dogs and are particularly fascinated by service dogs. I know this firsthand, because as a visiting author, I often present my book to children at literacy events where reading dogs are present. The true story of Nadine is uplifting and inspiring and shows children just how special a dog can be to a person who has physical challenges. The beautiful colored pencil and watercolor illustrations are playful just like Nadine herself, and the illustrator does a marvelous job of depicting the wintry scenes. I admire the incredible detail the colored pencil strokes provide.

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From Nadine: My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog by Carol Chiodo Fleischman, illustrated by Stephanie Ford, illustrations © 2015 Stephanie Ford, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

What This Book Teaches

Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog shows children that people with disabilities can learn to become independent and lead full, productive lives. They can do many of the same things the rest of us can do, despite their challenges, including the author of this book who is blind. The book teaches them too, just how much we rely upon our canine friends for guidance and security. In the back of the book is a fascinating Author’s Note describing how puppies are selected and trained to become guide dogs for the blind and how these dogs are matched with humans.

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 From Nadine: My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog by Carol Chiodo Fleischman, illustrated by Stephanie Ford, illustrations © 2015 Stephanie Ford, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

Why You Should Buy the Book

Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog is a lovely true story – one that both educates and inspires. What I love most about this book is that it teaches kids compassion and understanding for those who are different than they are and how important it is to respect them and the animals that guide them. It demonstrates hope and takes away the fear a child may have of others who are living with disabilities. Nadine is a wonderful picture book, and I highly recommend it.

About the Author

CarolFleischmanCarol Chiodo Fleischman is a professional writer who also happens to be blind. Her writing has appeared in books, magazines, and newspapers including the New York Times, Guideposts, Highlights, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has been a member of the Association of Professional Women Writers for more than twenty years and is a sought-after speaker. Fleischman is the recipient of the Best Article of the Year award from the Association of Assistance Dog Partners. She and her husband share their home in New York with her trusted guide dog.

About the Illustrator

Stephanie Ford earned bachelor of arts degrees in both history and art from Stephen F. Austin State University and teaches StephanieFordhigh-school art and English. She is the illustrator of Confederate Alphabet and Willy the Texas Longhorn, published by Pelican, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives with her husband in Barry, Texas.

Further Learning

  1. Learn more about blind awareness on the National Federation of the Blind website.
  2. Read my interview with a teacher for the blind.
  3. Learn more about guide dogs.

 

Smile & Succeed for Teens: A crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication Book & Bookmark Giveaway!

DSC_0001I’m giving away one copy of this AUTOGRAPHED book plus bookmark to one lucky winner.

Simply Like us on Facebook and leave a valid comment on this post. The winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, March 11 at 5:00 pm!

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Cover image courtesy of Solid Press

Smile and Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World

•        Targeted Audience: Middle School & High School (Ages 10 and Up)
•        Genre: Nonfiction
•        Author: Kirt Manecke
•        Publisher: Solid Press
•        Publication Date: June 6, 2014
•        Binding: Paperback
•        Dimensions: 5.5″ x 8.5″
•        Printing: Black & White
•        Length: 144 Pages
•        Retail: $9.95
•        ISBN: 978-0985076214

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“One of the most valuable lessons you can learn from this book is PAY ATTENTION to people.

HERE’S HOW
Make good eye contact.
Focus on words they are saying.
Ask questions to clarify when necessary.
Engage in conversation.
Let people finish talking before you respond.”

A Crash Course for Teens in People Skills in a High Tech World

imagesSmile and Succeed for Teens gives adolescents and teens the basic personal and professional skills they need to succeed today and tomorrow, in whatever it is they strive to do. Author Kirt Manecke decided to create this book after writing Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service for adults. In this world of texts, emails and Instagrams, kids need a course in face-to-face social skills now more than ever.

In the seven chapters of the book, learn essential people skills, get tips on getting and keeping a job, learn how to treat others with respect, discover the secrets to successful selling, keep customers happy and make your life extraordinary. Woven within the text of the chapters are useful lists and inspirational quotes too.

What This Book Teaches

Smile and Succeed for Teens can be considered as a How to Win Friends and Influence People guide for teenagers. The practical information set forth in the book is essential for success in life, and these are all lessons not taught in schools – but should be. Manacke’s writing is simple, straight forward and is super easy to read, though it is not preachy or condescending in any way. Cartoon style drawings add to the learning experience and keep the topic light. The book teaches teens that their demeanor, manners and work ethic are what provide them with opportunities to succeed. The strategies for selling their skills as well as selling products are invaluable here, and the book teaches them how to go the extra mile. These are tools that lay the foundation for a future that is bright, no matter what field your child delves into down the road.

Why You Should Buy This Book

Kids who implement the tips in Smile and Succeed for Teens will stand above all the rest. The book provides them with Social-skills-for-teenscommon sense tactics outlining a blueprint of success that will follow them into adulthood. Teens who practice these winning strategies will form positive, professional habits that will set them apart from many of their peers. It’s a competitive world, and those who want to have fulfilling careers, be respected for their work and foster long lasting relationships can use all the help they can get. The tips here can be utilized, not only for jobs and careers, but also for getting into college and securing scholarships. I commend Kirt Manecke for writing a book for teens like this, on a topic that is generally written for adults. If our schools don’t teach these skills, then it’s imperative we provide our kids with other means to learn them. Smile and Succeed for Teens motivates the reader while it teaches these life skills.

About the Author

© Carl R. Sams IIKirt Manecke is a an award-winning author and sales, marketing, fundraising, and business development specialist with over 30 years of experience surprising and delighting customers. Smile and Succeed for Teens is based on Kirt’s award-winning book Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service, (winner of 8 awards) promoting and teaching the simple premise that good service is good business.  In addition to his work, Kirt is a strong proponent of buying local to create thriving downtowns and supports the 3/50 Project. He is also passionate about land conservation and also supports local farmer’s markets along with dog and cat animal rescue groups. (1% of the proceeds from Kirt’s books are donated to animal welfare.) He is also a volunteer judge at DECA conferences to help high school and college students become our next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. Kirt lives in Milford, Michigan.

Further Learning

  1. Download the Teacher’s Guide.
  2. Read articles that help teens succeed.
  3. Read FREE Tips for Teens.
  4. Watch the Book Trailer.

A Bird is a Bird Because . . .

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A Bird is a Bird

•        Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary & Middle School (Ages 3-7)
•        Genre: Nonfiction Science Early Reader
•        Author/Illustrator: Lizzy Rockwell
•        Publisher: Holiday House Books
•        Publication Date: January 30, 2015
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions: 8.5″ x 10″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 32 Pages
•        Retail: $6.95
•        ISBN: 978-0823430420

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 Bird Science for the youngest Readers

A Bird is a Bird reveals to children as young as three the reasons why a bird is scientifically a bird. With simple text, ideal for the age of the audience, readers discover the common traits birds have; they lay eggs, have beaks and wings and feathers, of course. In addition to short, educational prose are colorful gouache and colored pencil illustrations with the names of the species next to each bird.

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 What This Book Teaches (and Why You Should Read it)

There are many wonderful animals books for young readers, but what makes this one unique us that it is a combination picture book and field guide. Children learn about the habitats of birds, what makes each species unique and what they all have in common. The text is ideal for new readers to read aloud, and the content will lead to some interesting discussion for further learning. The lovely illustrations offer children a lot to look at and may inspire them to keep a journal and sketch some of the birds they observe outside themselves.

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Buy A Bird is a Bird Here

About the Author

LizzyRockwellLizzy Rockwell is an illustrator whose artwork can be seen in picture books, magazines, games and on walls. She studied art and art history at Connecticut College, and drawing and illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Lizzy is the illustrator of over 25 children’s books by a variety of authors including her mother, Anne Rockwell. She is the author/illustrator of Plants Feed MeGood Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition, Hello Baby! and The Busy Body Book: A Kid’s Guide to Fitness. Lizzy has two grown sons, and lives and works in Bridgeport, CT with her husband, Ken Alcorn, a high school social studies teacher, and their dog Reggie.

Further Learning

  1. Learn more about birds with National Geographic.
  2. Get an Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds.
  3. Encourage your child to keep a bird journal.

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