THE HUMAN BODY

HumanBody_2018_CoverDid you know that your brain has up to 100 billion nerve cells? Wow! What else is going on in your body?

In The Human Body: Get Under the Skin with Science Activities for Kids, middle schoolers learn about the different bodily systems that keep people breathing, moving, thinking, and staying healthy! Kids get a good look at all the action that’s going on right inside their own bodies, from understanding just how that apple turns into energy to how the “leftovers” make their exit.

By studying the circulatory system, the digestive system, muscles, bones, the brain, senses, reproduction system, and more, kids gain a deep understanding of why they can do the things they do and even learn about what they can do to take care of their bodies so they live long and healthy lives. Through science-minded STEM activities, readers see exactly how smoke affects the lungs, how the heart really acts as a liquid pump, and how the different joints are structured and serve different purposes.

MY TAKE: Is there a future doctor in the house? Or maybe you have someone with an interest in knowing what is going on in the fantastic and often taken for granted human body. This new title from Nomad Press fills in all the details from head to toe. Even adults will learn a thing or two.

The book begins with a timeline of human life right up to 2017 where gene therapy is curing a case of sickle cell disease. Eight chapters follow (each with a teacher pleasing essential question). The chapters begin with a cartoon style set of panels of a boy and girl talking about the topic to be explored.

A glossary in the back keeps you straight on the vocabulary (So that’s what a periosteum is!) What I appreciated is not having to go back there every time I needed a full blown definition. A frequent WORDS TO KNOW box brings the word out of the glossary right to the page where it is being covered.  No more thumbing back and forth.

This is no dry textbook approach. Instead readers will enjoy the nice balance of text, drawings and photos. The explanations of each area of the body were the clearest descriptions I’ve ever come across and perfect for the target audience. If you have a QR app on your phone, extend your understanding with videos and articles from the web. The web sites are also listed in the final pages of the book for those who have no access to a QR code reader.

What’s even more fun are the special hands-on activities at the end of each chapter. Make a model ear or your own homemade skin care products are just a sample of the 18 included.

Get a head start this summer on this science based book for kids. You’ll be ahead of your peers when school starts up again in the Fall.

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MMGM for June 24, 2019

                  

REACH A BLOGGER’S POST WITH A CLICK ON THEIR GREEN BOOK!

Here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of CATERPILLAR SUMMER by Gillian McDunn, a timely contemporary read.

June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ features a non-fiction oceanography book, Dolphins! Strange and Wonderful.

Faith Hough at Life’s an Art! has a post on Kate DiCamillo’s Beverly, Right Here.

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal gives us her take on a weird, creepy, and fun book, The Problim Children: Carnival Catastrophe (Vol. 2) by Natalie Lloyd.

A Garden of Books is back this week with a review of  The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea has some insights on Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.

Rosi Hollinbeck reviews MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool. Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.

Dorine White at The Write Path features Silent Lee and the Adventure of the Side Door Key.

Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has another informative MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her reviews the past week including The Curse of Greg.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)

You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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CATERPILLAR SUMMER

IT’S ANOTHER EDITION OF MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY and a great way to kick off the first week of summer with CATERPILLAR SUMMER!

caterpillarsummer

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond–Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a “meltdown” she’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn’t go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes.

MY TAKE: An island off the North Carolina coast provides the perfect setting for this touching contemporary story. Pictured on the cover are Caterpillar and Chicken, nicknames and also the characters in their author mom’s picture books. The illustrations from her books appear at various times showing the parallel to the real Cat and Chicken.

Cat is what a big sister is meant to be, always there for her little brother who has challenges of his own. Her mom has given Cat a lot of responsibility to be the go to person in the family, but Cat wants a little more kid time to herself. It seems hardly possible once Mom leaves them at her parent’s house, the grandparents Cat and Chicken had never met. Grandma is nice but Grandpa is a total grump.

The overall feel of the story is to never judge a person by what you know or see. Dig deeper and get down to who they really are. The past can often hinder friendships and family growth. The third person narration flows like the ocean currents and you’ll hope for another summer with this family.

PUBLISHED: 2019 PAGE COUNT: 304

laugh2FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:laugh2

CATERPILLAR SUMMER  by Gillian McDunn

  1. The two children are biracial (Mom is white and the deceased father black). It never becomes the focus of the story as it could have been. These are just two kids growing up in a sometimes confusing world.
  2. All the characters, including the minor ones, were memorable and attest to the fine job the author did in creating each one. The character arcs are marvelously woven.
  3. This is summer in all of its splendor with walks on the beach, miniature golf, and fishing contests. The story goes by as fast as every summer does.
  4. Grandparents are such a needed part of the family. They provide memories and support that often isn’t noticed right away.
  5. Chicken is a handful, but his antics will have you smiling at how they’re handled by the important people in his life.

FAVORITE LINES

He took a bite and made a silly face, crossing his eyes. They laughed, huddled under the table like it was their secret cave. But even then, Cat held his shoulder. She had to keep him safe.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GILLIAN McDUNN has lived in California, Missouri, and North Carolina, and is a fan of both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. She lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, with her family.

Like Cat, Gillian grew up as the big sister to a younger brother with special needs.

(For more about Gillian visit her author website , Twitter and Instagram)

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If you have time, please comment below.

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CAPTAIN AQUATICA’S AWESOME OCEAN

Take to the seas with marine conservationist and shark researcher Captain Aquatica and her hammerhead shark sidekick, Fin, to explore the ocean’s wettest and wildest depths and get the latest facts from the field!ngogeokbca_1024x1024

Scientist Jessica Cramp illuminates her work studying sharks and protecting our amazing ocean with in-depth scientific info and comic-book flair. Cramp’s conversational and witty explanations will make kids want to dive right in. Colorful side stories in graphic novel-style feature Cramp as character Captain Aquatica, with her sidekick shark, Fin. Together they help make big concepts accessible and interesting to kids of all levels. Amazing photography and cool content draw kids into the subject and story, attracting STEM fanatics and reluctant readers alike.

MY THOUGHTS: The Science Superhero Series continues with book two. Like last year’s Dr. E’s Super Stellar Solar System, science is presented through the eyes of a researcher turned comic book hero.

Each chapter begins with two pages of cartoon style panels (much appreciated were the numbered dialog bubbles). They have a humorous and often fantasy type tone. Don’t be fooled as the rest of the pages are a serious look at special features and animals of the ocean. Accompanied by stunning photographs, maps, and drawings, the text delves into topics like Plate Tectonics, habitat modification by plants and animals, along with a fascinating discussion of tidal and ocean zones.

Later chapters are sure to please even the casual reader. Animals of the ocean are detailed. Along with the more familiar ones (i.e. polar bears and sea turtles), the less known creatures are given proper billing (nudibranch and lined chiton are two examples). An entire chapter is devoted to sharks who really do put the awesome into the ocean.

Next comes the technology and history of how scientists study the world under water. Readers get an understanding of the crafts used to get deep into areas never before explored. But all of the detailed facts and stories from the first eight chapters come together in the most important one: SAVING OUR OCEANS. A warming climate, plastic pollution, and over-fishing have a detrimental effect. Solutions are provided along with some simple things we can all do to ensure the ocean’s health.

Scattered within the chapters are scientist profiles both present and past of the important people who do the hard work. They might plant the the hint for middle grade kids to pursue the same path. Hands-on experiments even let them pursue this possible new interest. A glossary, index, and additional web/ book resources wrap up the impressive volume.

A much needed resource, Captain Aquatic’s Awesome Ocean, would be a welcome addition to elementary and middle school book shelves. Get a head start and take the dive this summer!

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Coming up this Monday is another edition of…

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). Email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book or author you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

THE GIRL WHO SAILED THE STARS

Welcome to Day Three of the Blog Tour for

THE GIRL WHO SAILED THE STARS

June 19 – Always in the Middle – Review

When Oona Britt was born in the magical town of Nordlor, where all of the homes 9780525515241are built from wrecked ships, her parents never expected her to be a girl. Having listened to a faulty prediction from a washed-up soothsayer, they were promised a “bold and brave son,” so as the youngest of seven sisters, Oona’s birth became a disappointment — especially to her sea captain father, who doesn’t believe there’s a place for girls aboard ships.

But Oona is different from the rest of her family. She longs for adventure and knowledge. So she steals aboard her father’s ship just as he’s about to set sail for his annual winter whale hunt, and suddenly finds herself in the midst of a grand adventure! The ship has its own sea cat, Barnacles, and a navigator named Haroyld, who show Oona how to follow the stars. But for all that, Oona’s father is furious. Can she prove to him that she’s worth his love and pride, even though she’s not the bold and brave son he was promised?

MY THOUGHTS: A story about family and being who you want to be gets a touch of magical realism. The tale tugs on the heart strings throughout. The third person narration stays close to Oona, the disgraced seventh sister, straying occasionally to the future teller who had a big part in causing the whole mess. There are also brief looks into what is happening with the mother and six sisters who are traveling south to find a prince the girls can take in marriage (be careful what you wish for!).

Oona has the chance to show her bravery on the high seas to a father who despises her presence. He could be the poster dad for how not to act as a parent. The mythical beast nardoo along with the ship’s navigator show what compassion and caring is all about.

Drawings adorn the border of every page and several full page whimsical scenes also appear. They add to the story’s fairy tale feel. So too does Barnacles the sea cat, who has a rather nasty disposition given she is on the last of her nine lives. Be prepared for a nice character arc with this sneaky feline.

Your time will be well spent either reading or listening to a read aloud of this adventure. You’ll find what is most important in our world is kindness. Something we don’t have enough of these days.di48R8RLT

For more about Australian author Matilda Woods check out her web site.

I received an ARC from the publisher for my honest review.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release | Tagged , | 2 Comments

MMGM for June 17, 2019

                   

Summer officially begins on Friday! More time to read! Click on each blogger’s cool sun for their feature or review.

Here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of RETURN OF THE EVENING STAR by Diane Rios.

June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic’ reviews another recently-released ‘Who HQ?’ biography, ‘Who is Norman Rockwell?’

S.A. Larsen at Writer’s Alley is hosting Middle Grade Author Tara Tyler and her latest release WINDY HOLLOW and she’s offering up a pretty sweet giveaway!

Susan Uhlig returns and is over the moon for Natalie Lloyd’s OVER THE MOON.

Making up for lost time, Susan Uhlig has a second post and thinks THE STORM KEEPER’S ISLAND is a keeper.

Completely Full Bookshelf recommends Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson.

Maria Antonia at Of Books, Photography, and Tea reviews Genevieve’s War by Patricia Reilly Giff

A GARDEN OF BOOKS has a post on a new book being released this week called Space Dragons by Robin Bennett.

Rosi Hollinbeck reviews PAY ATTENTION CARTER JONES by Gary D. Schmidt. Rosi also has some not to be missed links for her writing friends.

Suzanne Warr at Tales from the Raven spotlights Have Sword, Will Travel, by Garth Nix and Sean Williams. Suzanne also has some news she is pleased to share.

Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads has another informative MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her reviews the past week including PLANET EARTH IS BLUE.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Return of the Evening Star

IT’S ANOTHER EDITION OF MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY and a FEATURED REVIEW of RETURN OF THE EVENING STAR by DIANE RIOS

THE OFFICIAL PLOT: A mysterious hospital deep in the Oregon woods is sending marauding ambulances into the countryside, retrunofeveningstarlooking for new patients. Mowing down anything in their path, the deadly ambulance drivers have forced the people and animals of the land into hiding. Twelve-year-old Chloe Ashton has returned to Fairfax and is desperate to find her mother. Together with her friends—the magical cook Mrs. Goodweather, carpenter Brisco Knot, and clever white rat Shakespeare—she hatches a plan to enter the hospital and stop the bloodshed. At the same time a rumor reaches them from the east: Silas the Stargazer is coming, and he is bringing an army. An animal army.

MY CRITIQUE: The sequel to the critically acclaimed BRIDGE OF THE GODS stands well on it’s own. The author does a superb job filling in what led to this Oregon town and young Chloe Ashton into such a dire situation.  While book one left many dangling plot points, book two covers them all and delivers the results in a glorious climatic finish.

The prologue sets the stage: a conversation between constellations Cygnus and Scorpius about the dangers coming to Earth. From there the story is sure to challenge young readers. With many characters, both human and animal, along with a plot that emerges in different locales, this tale takes full concentration. The overriding theme is how everything and everyone in nature is connected. We need each other to survive.

The animals are portrayed in all their majestic beauty from the silver horses to King Auberon, a gigantic bear. They are rightfully skeptical of working with humans given what they know, but there are unique individuals like Chloe who has a gift of speaking to them with understanding. Her love of creatures and natures shines through to the end.

Find a quiet spot this summer, preferably outside, and escape into a fantasy with a mythical quality found in very few middle grade books.

PUBLISHED: 2019   PAGE COUNT: 256

laugh2FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:laugh2

RETURN of the EVENING STAR

  1. You know you have a great character when after finishing the book I hoped Chloe would return in another story. Her upcoming years hold many plot possibilities.
  2. Rebuilding a bridge, the Bridge of the Gods, was the perfect way to show how this one task could help heal the rift between animals and humans.
  3. Magic is all around us. Not in our phones, but in nature and the world. We just need to stop once in awhile to listen and look.
  4. Chloe’s love for her mother and the home she once had was touching. She also has many friends from the past who come to help.
  5. I’m not a big fan of rats but darling Shakespeare had me liking them a bit more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author and illustrator Diane Rios lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Her debut novel, Bridge of the Gods, won the 2017 silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Pre-Teen Fantasy, was a finalist for the USA Best Book Award in Children’s Fiction, and was a finalist for a 2017 Oregon Book Award for Children’s Literature. A long-time Oregon artist and musician, Rios wrote and illustrated the picture book Dizzy’s Dream. Rios spent three years working at the world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s Books in Portland, where she greatly increased her own children’s book collection and was inspired to write the Silver Mountain Series.

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I received a copy of this book from SHE WRITES PRESS

If you have time, please comment below.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments