Three Dawn Publications: Nature Picture Books One Day Giveaway!

The giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to Debra Getsinger of Shelby, NC for winning these three titles!

Enter for a Chance to Win Three Dawn Nature Books!

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Dawn is a publisher dedicated to educating your children about nature. Their beautiful, affordable paperback books, apps and online activities offer a wide variety of subjects for teaching and learning.

Today I am giving away these three new titles which to be released on March 1, 2015, to one lucky winner. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter, and I will email the winner and announce it on my Facebook Page at 5:00 pm. today, February 24, 2015. Note: If you do not respond with your mailing address within 24 hours, you forfeit your chance to win, and I will select a new winner.

Did you enter our Nine-Book Giveaway yet?

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Book #1

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Noisy Bird Sing Along

•        Targeted Audience: Preschool and Lower Elementary (Ages 3-8)
•        Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book
•        Author/Illustrator: John Himmelman
•        Publisher: Dawn Publications
•        Publication Date: March 1, 2015
•        Binding: Paperback
•        Dimensions: 9.5″ x 9.5″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 32 Pages
•        Retail: $8.95
•        ISBN: 978-1584695141

“The deep voice of a barred owl seems to ask a question. Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you allll?”

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Dawn Publications

Look, Listen and Learn

Noisy Bird Sing Along is John Himmelman’s third Noisy title. Children love to bird watch and listen to birds chirping, and inside the pages of this title, they will learn about the habitats and sounds of many of the species they typically hear. Every two-page spread features a different species of bird – thirteen in all – such as a white-throated sparrow, yellow warbler, hummingbird and downy woodpecker. The text is written on curvy lines and big bold letters reveal the sound each bird makes. The illustrations are large and colorful and are fun to look at, with wonderful details showing what the birds look like. Combine reading the book with Dawn’s Activities Page, where you can listen to actual sounds many of the birds make, and you’ve got a treasure of a learning tool for the youngest readers. There’s a page of Fun Facts About Birds and another of Birdy Things to Do, with tips on feeding and watching them, plus resources to learn more.

The book is fun to read, lovely to look at and so educational. Get outside with your young child and learn all about birds together!

Listen to sounds the birds in the book make on Dawn’s Activities Page!

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Dawn Publications

About the Author/Illustrator

Himmelman-John-SMWhen John Himmelman was eight years old, he started his first “Bug Club” in a friend’s garage, and he’s been playing with insects ever since. Even now, on summer nights John is often in his wooded yard in Killingworth, Connecticut, flashlight in hand, searching for little creatures. Some of his most exciting discoveries are found just a few feet from his house! John co-founded the Connecticut Butterfly Association, is past president of the New Haven Bird Club, and both gives nature programs and makes school visits. He is an author and illustrator of over 75 books for children.

Check out these other Noisy titles too:

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Book #2

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Over on a Mountain: Somewhere in the World

•        Targeted Audience: Preschool and Lower Elementary (Ages 3-8)
•        Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book
•        Author: Marianne Berkes
•        Illustrator: Jill Dubon
•        Publisher: Dawn Publications
•        Publication Date: March 1, 2015
•        Binding: Paperback
•        Dimensions: 9.5″ x 9.5″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 32 Pages
•        Retail: $8.95
•        ISBN: 978-1584695196

“Over in a mountain
Grazing in the morning sun,
Lived a wooly mother llama
And her little aria one.
‘Roll,’ said the mother.
‘I roll,’ said the one.
So they rolled in the dirt
Grazing in the morning sun.”

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Geography and Nature, A Beautiful Combination

Author Marianne Berkes spends her days teaching children about nature – whether she’s writing a new book or visiting a classroom.

My regular readers know how I feel about geography education and the lack of it in our schools, so I get excited when I see a book that teaches geography, especially to the youngest readers. Over on a Mountain introduces children as young as three to different mountain ranges around the world and the animals who live there. There are mini maps on each two-page spread showing where the mountains are, and delightful paper collages illustrating animal families. The text is lyrical and rhyming and makes for a perfect read aloud experience. In the back of the book is a big uncluttered world map, plus facts about mountains and animals that are not so easy to see in the mountains, because they love to hide. There’s more detail about the animals in the story, activity suggestions from the author, and even tips from the illustrator who talks about how she creates her fascinating artwork. But that’s not all, there’s lyrics and music to the tune, “Over on a Mountain” too.

You’ll love the depth and texture of the paper collage illustrations the illustrations. The animals’ fur really looks like fur! There’s so much fascinating information here presented in a perfect format for readers ages three and up. What an amazing book to use in a classroom!

Check out the Dawn Publications Activities Page for more information about this book.

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About the Author

Marianne_BerkesMarianne Berkes has spent much of her life with children as a teacher, children’s theater director and children’s librarian. She knows how much children enjoy brilliantly illustrated, interactive picture books with predictable text about real animals. She retired to write full time and visit schools, libraries and literary conferences. Marianne is the author of eighteen picture books about nature. The twelve books Marianne has published with Dawn Publications have won numerous awards and garnered exceptional reviews. Her verse is lyrical, reflecting the fact that music and theater have always been part of her life. Marianne lives near the ocean in Florida, where she still picks up beautiful shells to add to her collection.

About the Illustrator

DubinJill Dubin’s whimsical art has appeared in over 30 children’s books, including five Dawn Publication titles. Her cut paper illustrations reflect her interest in combining color, pattern and texture. She grew up in Yonkers, New York, and graduated from Pratt Institute. She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia, including two dogs that do very little but with great enthusiasm.

Book #3

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Pitter and Patter

•        Targeted Audience: Preschool, Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 4-10)
•        Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book
•        Author: Martha Sullivan
•        Illustrator: Cathy Morrison
•        Publisher: Dawn Publications
•        Publication Date: March 1, 2015
•        Binding: Paperback
•        Dimensions: 9.5″ x 9.5″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 32 Pages
•        Retail: $8.95
•        ISBN: 978-1584695097

“The river poured into a wetland of tall, swaying grasses.
Hello crab.
So nice to meet you shrimp.
A happy day to you, heron.”

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The Story of Two Raindrops

Pitter and Patter are two raindrops go on an extraordinary visual outdoor adventure to teach children about the cycle of water.  They drop from a cloud one day to greet a squirrel, blue jay and caterpillar in an oak tree, fall to the stream below and get carried through a maze of wondrous places. Along the way they see so many different animals and landscapes, rivers and streams. I had the pleasure of interviewing artist Cathy Morrison about her astounding artwork in The Prairie That Nature Built. Her artistic genius continues with Pitter and Patter as she takes readers on a journey above and below ground and water with her vibrant digital illustrations that are incredibly detailed. Pair those image masterpieces with the simple text by author Martha Sullivan, written as though the raindrops are greeting the creatures they meet, and you’ve got an engaging book. There are a few Explore More pages in the back of the book introducing readers to how water constantly changes and moves (something my own daughter is studying as she is working toward a PhD is Geomorphology), definition of a watershed, different states of water – solid, liquid, gas – and  activities suggestions for further learning.

What’s not to love about a geology book for young readers with extraordinary illustrations and invaluable information?

Check out the Dawn Publications Activities Page for more information about this book.

About the Author

Sullivan-Martha-350Martha Sullivan is a children’s book author with a special interest in nature and sustainability. Born and raised in the US, Martha has also lived in Belgium, Austria, the UK, and most recently, County Clare, Ireland, where she enjoys kayaking, hiking, set-dancing, and gardening. Martha is passionate about her mission—helping children to connect with the natural world so that they are primed to protect it later in life. A Master’s thesis on Education for Sustainable Development through the University of Bath was the catalyst that moved Martha from the classroom where she taught Biology for fifteen years to the writer’s desk. She now focuses on stories that help children to understand the importance of biodiversity and conservation.

About the Illustrator

Morrison1408-011 copyCathy Morrison is an award-winning illustrator who lives on a shortgrass prairie in Colorado, at the western edge of the Great Plains in view of the Rocky Mountain National Forest. She watches the grasses, the animals and their burrows, as well as floods and fire—all close up and personal. She began her career in animation and graphic design, but discovered her passion for children’s book illustration while raising her two children. After several years illustrating with traditional media, she now works digitally, which helps the publisher adapt the art into interactive book apps.

Read my interview with Cathy Morrison

Read my review of The Prairie That Nature Built

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Sidewalk Flowers…And You Thought They Were Just Weeds

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Cover image – Courtesy of Groundwood Books

Sidewalk Flowers

•        Targeted Audience: Preschool & Lower Elementary (Ages 4-7)
•        Genre: Fiction Wordless Picture Book
•        Author: JonArno Lawson
•        Illustrator: Sydney Smith
•        Publisher: Groundwood Books
•        Publication Date: March 17, 2015
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions: 9″ x 9″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 32 Pages
•        Retail: $18.99
•        ISBN: 978-1554984312

Joy in the Smallest Gestures

In this wordless picture book, a young girl takes a walk with her father through town. The father pays little attention to the girl, because he is preoccupied, talking on his cell phone or hailing a taxi. But the girl doesn’t mind, because she is busy picking wildflowers she finds in the cracks of sidewalks, and each flower she picks becomes a gift for someone. Some of those receivers may not notice the flowers, but like magic, they brighten their day just the same.

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© Copyright – Inside Spread  Courtesy of Groundwood Books

Mesmerizing Illustrations Bring A Heartwarming Message

The illustrations by Sydney Smith evoke the innocence of childhood in a most touching way. In the beginning of the book, the girl in her bright red jacket, stands out against a backdrop of black and white illustrations. As the story progresses, more and more color is added to the images. Her thoughtfulness, kindness and selflessness make you want to climb inside the book and give her a great big hug. Her unpretentious wish to brighten those she meets along her way inspires readers to go out and do the same. What we typically think of as weeds, turn out to be gifts of love. For it’s the simple pleasures in life that make us most joyful.

Why You Should Buy This Endearing Book

SidewalkFlowersImageAlthough books with words are a crucial part of learning to read, wordless picture books have their place in learning too. They are becoming more and more popular – and for good reason. They allow the child to decipher the story and figure out the message by paying attention to the action in the illustrations. The storyline in Sidewalk Flowers is so positive and uplifting, it teaches children that small acts of gentle kindness can make a big impact on the world. Equally as impressive as the message here are the illustrations themselves. They’re unique, playful and incredibly expressive. This book would make a lovely gift for the special young child in your life, or for anyone you know who could use a reminder that it’s the innocence of a child that makes everything right in this complicated world.

© Copyright – Inside Image Courtesy of Groundwood Books

About the Author

A three-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Children’s Poetry, JonArno Lawson is the author of numerous books for children and adults, including Enjoy It While It Hurts, Down in the Bottom of the Bottom of the Box, and Think Again. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

About the Illustrator

Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia, and has been drawing since an early age. Since graduating from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, he has illustrated multiple children’s books and has received awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. He now lives in Toronto and works in a shared studio space in Chinatown where he eats too many banh mi sandwiches and goes to the library or the Art Gallery of Ontario on his breaks.

If you like this book, you’ll also love:

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Educating Teens About Food, the Most Important Subject of All: Interview With Foodprints Author Paula Ayer

Paula photoAs an Associate Editor at Annick Press, Paula Ayer knows a good book when she reads one. And she sure knows how to write one too. She recently penned an outstanding title for teens called Foodprints, and it is one of the best written and most important nonfiction titles for kids I’ve ever read. Paula takes teens on a journey of discovering the history of our food, what we eat, how the bulk of it is grown on megafarms, how it is marketed, consumed, wasted and so much more. I was so impressed with Foodprints, its usefulness and the important messages it conveys, I wanted to learn more about what went into the making of this comprehensive book and ask Paula what mealtime is like in her home, since she and her young daughter are vegetarians and her husband is a meat eater.

“I didn’t know any other vegetarians, but on a shallow level, I thought it was a cool thing to be, and on a deeper level, I didn’t like the idea that animals had to suffer for my food.”

Growing up in a family that made sausages, can you tell us what inspired you to become a 1420664306-2vegetarian?

I became very interested in food as a teenager and started doing a lot of reading about diet and health, and about how animals are treated in the factory-farm system. This was pre-internet, so I was discovering things through books and magazines. John Robbins’s book Diet for a New America was a big influence. I didn’t know any other vegetarians, but on a shallow level, I thought it was a cool thing to be, and on a deeper level, I didn’t like the idea that animals had to suffer for my food. I don’t know if I made a conscious decision to stop eating meat altogether, but I started eating less and less, and by the time I was 15 I was completely vegetarian. My mom had no idea what to make for me so I started doing some cooking at home, and after a couple of years my parents and brother went vegetarian too! Everyone probably thought we were crazy. It wasn’t so mainstream at the time.

That’s fantastic that you started cooking your own healthy meals as a teen.

I should mention I wasn’t always a healthy vegetarian. For a while I was very concerned about eating only “correct” things, and in the way of many teenagers, I went totally overboard. It took a while to find the right balance.

From what I read it, your husband was raised in a vegetarian family, but now eats meat. So how do you cook at home to please everyone?

10857749_10152950909916151_1074058350431513331_nYes, it’s funny how our diets have followed contrary paths. He was born in India and his family’s background is Hindu and Jain, so he grew up vegetarian. He started eating meat in his teens, right around the age I stopped. There was probably an element of teenage rebellion in both decisions, or at least wanting to step outside of our cultural comfort zones! We cook vegetarian at home and he eats meat mostly when he’s out, and he does make an effort to find organic or free-range meat. Our daughter, who’s five, has so far chosen to be vegetarian, so he’s outnumbered.

© Image of Paula and her five-year-old daughter

What inspired you to write Foodprints for kids?

The preteen and teen years are when many people start to make their own decisions about food. It’s also a time when kids are bombarded with information; so much fast-food and snack-food marketing is targeted at kids and teens, and then they’re seeing stuff on the internet, and hearing scary things about obesity and what they should and shouldn’t eat, and so on. It’s overwhelming, even for adults, and so much of the information out there is misleading or has an agenda (like getting you to buy something). I wanted to help kids make some sense of it, and equip them with the skills to think about information critically, whether it’s a fast-food ad or GMOs or a new diet they hear about. I also wanted to write the kind of book that I would have found useful when I was a kid curious about these things.

The book is so comprehensive and informative. How did you decide what to put in the book?

I had a very clear idea right from the start about what information I wanted to include. Food is a huge topic, and there’s an almost unlimited amount of information you could use, but I was trying to hit on the basics, to give kids a grounding in the big issues around food production, how it’s sold, how it affects our bodies and the planet. I also wanted to include stories that were positive and empowering, and then there are things I threw in just because I thought they were interesting or funny!

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Annick Press

Was it difficult for you to organize all that information into cohesive chapters that flow?

In addition to having a clear understanding of what information I wanted to cover from the start, I also had a vision of how I was going to structure it. I think I sat down to write a chapter outline and did it all in one go in a couple of hours. It probably helps that I’ve worked with kids’ books for years, as an editor and behind-the-scenes person, so I had a pretty good sense of how a book like this needed to be organized. Of course there was some fine-tuning along the way; I think we switched the order of two chapters at one point in editing, and there were things that were added or taken out to make it flow better.

Can you share with us how you went about conducting research for this book?

There were a few books I relied on for information about particular aspects, like the history of food, or factory farming, or food marketing. For specific examples, I found news articles and scholarly journals online. Wikipedia articles, if they’re well sourced, can be great for getting the basics on a subject, and then I’d follow the article links to primary sources. There’s a huge amount of information out there, so I felt my purpose was to bring it together and present it in a teen-friendly way.

You did an amazing job with that! The “Infobites” in the book, with their statistics, are truly staggering. While compiling information for these were you often surprised by the numbers yourself, and which ones did you find most astonishing?

DSC_0058Oh, absolutely. I had an idea, but some of the actual numbers were shocking. The amount of food wasted is one that’s unbelievable to me—about a third of all food worldwide goes to waste. I also found the numbers on food insecurity incredibly depressing: 1 in 4 kids in the US don’t have regular access to enough food, and in Canada it’s only slightly better. There’s no way those kids can have equal chances in life if they’re in school hungry, or worrying about not having enough to eat.

 

© Copyright – Image courtesy of Annick Press

It’s really shocking and sad that so many kids don’t have enough food, and yet we waste so much of it. Did you find it challenging to write about food science for a younger audience?

One nice thing about writing for younger readers is it forces you to really take apart things you think you know and say, “Okay, in the most basic terms, what is happening here? How does it work?” You can’t rely on the shorthand you might use with adults, where you just assume your readers understand something. I found I had a much clearer comprehension of things after trying to explain them to kids, whether it was biodiversity or the difference between simple and complex carbs.

“If we have kids graduating high school who don’t know how to cook something from scratch, and don’t know how to shop for groceries or prepare food, that’s a major failure.”

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The statistics on the volume of sugar we eat on a daily basis are staggering. Do you think nutrition and healthy eating should be part of the curriculum in schools?

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I do think we need a big cultural shift when it comes to sugar. We evolved eating very tiny amounts of it, and up until very recently it was an expensive luxury. All the research is telling us it’s an addictive substance and it’s a big reason for kids and teens becoming pre-diabetic and developing other health problems. And yet we practically mainline it in sodas and Frappucinos, and we push so much of it on kids. It’s a hard thing to talk about without sounding like you’re head of the Temperance Union and you want to ban all fun. And I’m a hypocrite on the subject because I can barely go a day without chocolate! But we’d be better off treating sugar as more of an occasional, special thing, not an ingredient in every food we eat.

If we have kids graduating high school who don’t know how to cook something from scratch, and don’t know how to shop for groceries or prepare food, that’s a major failure. It’s one of the most important life skills you can have! I think there’s more of an awareness of that now, and some schools are teaching cooking and food literacy, starting garden projects, and such. But of course there needs to be much more.

“Don’t talk about how eating something will make you fat, or teach them to associate food with guilt and shame. Show them that eating well makes you feel good.”

What else can we do as parents to encourage healthy eating habits?81DonyBOD8L

As for what we can do as parents, one big thing is to set good examples by showing kids we enjoy healthy food, and that cooking and eating is a pleasure, not a chore. Involve them in shopping for and preparing food—even young kids can help wash veggies or get out ingredients from the fridge or whatever. Talk to them about where their food comes from. I think it’s also important to model healthy attitudes about food and body image. Don’t talk about how eating something will make you fat, or teach them to associate food with guilt and shame. Show them that eating well makes you feel good. And try to sit down and have meals together, even if you can only manage once or twice a week.

© Copyright – Image courtesy of Annick Press

Excellent advice! Do you think it’s possible for teens who grew up eating fast food, drinking soda and eating sweets to successfully change their eating habits? And what would it take to do that?

I think anyone can change his or her eating habits. And teens can change their entire fashion styles, musical tastes, and personas pretty much overnight, so they are probably the most adaptable to change!

Most people find if they get in the habit of eating healthier food, as long as it’s tasty and nutritious and they’re eating enough of it, then they enjoy eating that way and they don’t crave greasy or sugary things all the time. So it’s a matter of building those habits. Of course it helps if they have support from families, and if there’s a culture of healthy eating around them. Fast-food places need to have some truly healthier options, beyond boring salads—it’s getting better, but there’s still a long way to go. And schools and communities need to help too. It’s very hard if you’re on a school trip or at a sports meet or whatever, and there’s nothing to eat but hot dogs and donuts.

“…livestock production actually contributes more CO2 to the atmosphere than transportation!”

I so often think about that fact that the volume of unhealthy foods readily available to kids and the lack of healthy choices, are the biggest parts of the problem. What concerns you most about the future of our food supply in North America?

25275vClimate change is a big worry. The way we produce food is a huge contributor to climate change—livestock production actually contributes more CO2 to the atmosphere than transportation! And we’ve already seen how a changing climate affects our food supply—look at the droughts in California, which supplies about half of all our produce in North America.

Image of farm in California in the Public Domain

All those facts are certainly eye-opening. What do you hope readers learn most from the book?

What inspired me most while writing was how many stories there are about young people who have made a difference. Like the two Girl Guides who said, “No, we don’t think it’s right that orangutan habitats are being destroyed so we can get palm oil to make cookies,” and they actually got major companies to change their policies. Kids who stand up and say, “I don’t want animals to be treated that way to get my fast food,” or “There’s nowhere to buy fresh food in my community, and I’m going to do something about it,” are inspiring others. So I hope readers take to heart that there are things they can do, that there’s more awareness than ever before about many of these issues and they can find networks and organizations to help.

It’s amazing what kids with a passion can accomplish! Do you have any advise for someone who might want tofarm-animals-13800419412Sq write a sophisticated nonfiction book for older children like you did?

Kids and teens are smart, and they can handle more complex issues and ideas than we adults sometimes give them credit for. You don’t have to talk down to them or try too hard to sound like their buddy, because they can sense that phoniness a mile away. And nobody wants to be told what to think—your readers are the ones who get to decide how to think and what to do with the information you’ve given them.

Image of the cow in the Public Domain

No one else could have said that any better!

indexOf course, you do have to keep in mind how much information kids can take in without becoming overwhelmed, and you want to create something that’s appealing and fun to read. I was lucky to have great editors and readers who helped me find that balance. Presentation helps, too—Foodprints really benefits from having lots of colorful illustrations, photos, and graphics, which can help draw kids in to more complex or serious subjects.

Image of produce in the Public Domain

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Paula, I am so thrilled you wrote this outstanding, comprehensive book for teens. We’ve got to do a better job as  a society educating our children about not only what they are eating but also where their food is coming from, and your book is an excellent resource for them. If only every middle and high school had a course utilizing this book, the world would be a much better, healthier place!

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 Buy Foodprints: The Story of What We Eat here

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetables in Underwear: Impossible You Say?

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Cover image courtesy of Abrams

Vegetables in Underwear

•        Targeted Audience: PreSchool, Lower Elementary (Ages 2-5)
•        Genre: Fiction Picture Book
•        Author/Illustrator: Jared Chapman
•        Publisher: Abrams/Appleseed
•        Publication Date: April 7, 2015
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions: 8″ X 8″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 40 Pages
•        Retail: $14.95
•        ISBN: 978-1419714641

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© Copyright  – image courtesy of Abrams

Irresistible Humor for PreSchoolers

We all know that vegetables, don’t walk and talk and wear clothing – particularly undies! But what if they could do those things? Well, it would be pretty darn hilarious, wouldn’t it? In Vegetables in Underwear author Jared Chapman uses his terrific sense of humor to entertain the littlest readers. Seeing vibrantly painted eggplant, carrots, potatoes and turnips in their tidy whities (or other colors) is sure cause for giggles. Short sentences with very descriptive adjectives along with adorable illustrations give readers all they need to learn all they every wanted to know about underwear.

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© Copyright  – image courtesy of Abrams

What This Book Teaches

While kids are laughing their way through Vegetables in Underwear they are encouraged to take a liking to veggies, will learn about the many different varieties and will want to eat more of them. Perhaps they’ll even want to work on potty training to get out of diapers – if they still wear them – and wear big boy or girl undies. The text is simple and bold and will help little ones start associating sounds with letters. Opposites are introduced  too (i.e serious/funny, old/new, boys/girls).

Why You Should Buy This Book

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The illustrations in the book are charming and humorous, and I just love books that have pictures in the inside covers. The best way to encourage the youngest children to love reading and books is to make them laugh, and Vegetables in Underwear will do just that. Cuddling up in bed with your children and listening to them roar with laughter is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

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About the Author

me & oscar_smallJared Chapman was born in Louisiana, grew up in Texas, went to college in Georgia, lived in Austin, and now calls the piney woods of northeast Texas his home. He has done work for Walt Disney Television Animation, Nick Jr., Nike, McSweeney’s, Hallmark, Jib Jab, Asthmatic Kitty Records, Mudpuppy, Thomas Nelson, Snoball, Sterling Publishing, and The Hollywood Reporter. He and his young brood prefer silly underwear to serious, and broccoli to celery.

 

 

Foodprints: The Story of What We Eat

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Cover image courtesy of Annick Press

Foodprints: The Story of What We Eat

•        Targeted Audience: Middle & High School (Ages 12-18)
•        Genre: Non-Fiction
•        Author/: Paula Ayer
•        Publisher: Annick Press
•        Publication Date: February 10, 2014
•        Binding: Paperback
•        Dimensions: 6.5″ X 9″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 206 Pages
•        Retail: $16.95
•        ISBN: 978-1554517183

“For several hundred thousand years humans existed like this-hunting animals, fishing and foraging for whatever edible plants or fruits they could find. Then around 12,000 years ago, things started to change in a big way.”

One of the Best Non-Fiction Children’s Books I’ve Ever Read

20150115_174658_resizedI’m an avid cook and organic home gardener, so I often think about where our food comes from, just how much of it we consume and that we can just walk into a grocery story and buy it beautifully wrapped without having to get our own food like  hunters and gatherers before us. I also live in Miami and am well aware of how much our country relies upon our farmers to produce fruits and vegetables during the winter months. But nothing prepared me for just how much I’d learn reading Foodprints: The Story of What We Eat.  The book is jaw-dropping fascinating and one of the best children’s non-fiction books I’ve ever read.

© Copyright Debbie Glade – My first organic tomatoes of this season.

“The World Health Organization recommends no more than 5 teaspoons of added sugar per day…The average American consumes a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.”

 Changing the Way We Think About Food

We all take for granted the fact that we have an abundance of food here in North America, and it’s truly easy to obtain. Just walk into a grocery store or farmer’s market and fill your cart, or even order it online and get it delivered to your door. But what does it take to feed hundreds of millions of people on our continent, keeping in mind that the food must be safe, appealing and affordable? When you discover how food is grown and shipped, packaged and displayed, you’ll think twice about the fact that Americans waste 40% of what they buy.

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© Copyright – image courtesy of Annick Press

On top of all this, the choices we make about what we eat are some of the most important decisions we make in our lives – not only for our own health but also for the future of planet earth. Teens discover just how much their food choices are influenced by marketing, and by the time they are done reading this book, they will want to take a fresh new look at their diets.

“Over 90% of allergic reactions are caused by only eight foods: peanuts, other nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs, soy and wheat.”

A Comprehensive Look at Food

There’s so much invaluable information in Foodprints I can’t begin to present you with all the highlights, but here’s a list of some of what this book teaches:

  • DSC_0062How our food system evolved from hunter gatherers to on-line ordering
  • How mega farms and factories came to produce the bulk of our current food supply and what it takes to feed hundreds of millions of people from producing the food to shipping it and getting it on our grocery store shelves
  • How many of our foods contain corn and soy
  • How to work through confusing nutrition advice like good and bad carbs, as well as trendy superfoods such as kale, fad diets and how we digest our food
  • The role of science in the modern food system, from food-bourne illnesses, improving safety and convenience to GMOs and artificial flavors
  • How what we grow and farm effect the environment
  • Why food advertisers want teens’ attention and how they get it
  • Stories about youth who are working to shape the future of food in positive ways, such as guerilla gardening and media activism

Although Foodprints is packed with information, the text is broken up with photographs and drawings and spectacular pages called Infobites, containing charts and numbers that boggle the mind.

© Copyright – image courtesy of Annick Press

Why Every Teen in North America Should Read This Book

81DonyBOD8LA tremendous amount of research and work went into creating this book. It is written in a way that kids will understand and find fascinating. The bottom line is that we mustn’t take for granted the sources where our fruits and veggies are grown, meats are raised and the convenient ways we obtain them. The challenges and issues surrounding our food are not all clear cut. For example, genetically modified foods are often criticized, yet without them, we may not be able to produce food in the quantities needed to feed the world.  Kids need to see the big picture so they can draw their own conclusions about what is best. Eating habits are generally lifelong, so if we teach our children to make healthier choices while they are young, they will live longer, more productive lives. Just go to any grocery store and notice the volume of overweight and obese shoppers. Then glance at their carts to see the many high calorie, low-nutrition foods they are feeding their families. Just reading the statistics in Foodprints is enough to motivate our youth to get on board.

© Copyright – image courtesy of Annick Press

IMG000078_400x400About the Author

Paula Ayer has worked as an editor, translator, and art director, and has written for magazines and websites. She lives in Vancouver, BC, where she usually eats three meals a day.

Along with this book, I strongly recommend you order the outstanding workshop curriculum-based Media Smart Youth Program from The National Institutes of Health:

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