Stop Kids Summer Brain Drain with This Summer Reading List
The diversity of bats, the language of birds, "wacky" animal defenses, and the inspiring true stories of physicist Albert Einstein, oceanographer Sylvia Earle, and environmentalist Rachel Carson are all covered on a new list of 10 top summer science books for children in kindergarten through fourth grade.
A Place for Bats by Melissa Stewart (illustrated by Higgins Bond). A dozen bats are presented in this charming, fact-filled book, which introduces young readers to the ways that human action, or inaction, can affect bat populations. The engaging narrative will open children's minds to a wide range of environmental issues. Atlanta, Ga.: Peachtree Publishers, 2012, 34 pages.
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne (illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky). By capturing Einstein's ideas and thought processes at a very high (but comprehensible) level, this beautifully illustrated book is a perfect introduction to the famous physicist. It's also a book the whole family can enjoy. The art, in pen and ink and rapidâ€‘brush watercolor, is emotionally nuanced and stimulating. San Francisco, Calif.: Chronicle Books, 2013, 56 pages.
Bird Talk: What Birds Are Saying and Why by Lita Judge. Common birds such as goldfinches and blue jays hold their place in this book, along with more conventionally charismatic species like sage grouse and birds of paradise. Mating calls, greeting ceremonies, communication with chicks, and strategies for avoiding predators are illustrated with appealing examples. The simple, accurate language clearly explains birds' vocalizations and will engross three-year-olds as well as adults. New York, N.Y.: Roaring Brook Press, 2012, 48 pages.
City Fish, Country Fish by Mary M. Cerullo (photographs by Jeffrey L. Rotman). This beautiful book describes how fish live in their natural habitats, whether in "city" coral reefs or cold "country" waters. Ocean photographer Rotman contributes stunning images that enhance Cerullo's delightful text. Gardiner, Me.: Tilbury House, 2012, 30 pages.
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola. The heart of this book is the inspiring story of Sylvia Earle, world-renowned oceanographer and environmentalist. Nivola conveys Earle's passion for the ocean environment in words and images that will capture a young reader's imagination. New York, N.Y.: Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2012, 32 pages.
The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit's Amazing Migration by Sandra Markle (illustrated by Mia Posada). Markle tells a remarkable story about a shorebird, the Barâ€‘tailed Godwit, and its yearly migration. Outstanding fullâ€‘page color illustrations capture the life of this hardy bird from its spring birth in Alaska, to its arrival in New Zealand the following fall. The story is simple and heartwarming. Illustrations are appropriate for very young readers. Minneapolis, Minn.: Millbrook Press, 2013, 32 pages.
Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas, by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm . From tiny aquatic plants to the biggest whale or fish, Bang and Chisholm present a moving, living picture of the miraculous balance sustaining each creature's life cycle and the food chain deep within the oceans. The lyrical text also provides a clear explanation of the role of the sun in photosynthesis on land and seas. New York, N.Y.: Blue Sky Press, 2012, 48 pages.
Slime, Poop, and Other Wacky Animal Defenses by Janet Riehecky. Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. The use of poop as a dousing agent and a repellent smell, and the use of vomit as a poison are just two examples of animal defenses that will capture any reader's attention. Descriptions of each offensive tactic are accompanied by an image of the attacking animal, making readers feel they are on the front lines. Minneapolis, Minn.: Capstone Press, 2012, 32 pages.
Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor . Rachel Carson, a biologist and environmentalist, wrote Silent Spring, a game-changing book that pointed out the dangerous effects of chemicals on the living world. Lawlor's exploration of Silent Spring conveys the importance of the work and the impact of Carson's message. Baltimore, Md.: Holiday House Publishers, 2012, 32 pages.
Saving Yasha: The Incredible True Story of an Adoptive Moon Bear by Lia Kvatum (photographs by Liya Pokrovskaya). In this lovely book, readers
encounter two scientists who bring an orphaned bear cub to safe surroundings, where he is allowed to live with two other orphaned cubs. As the story unfolds, readers learn in the most direct and simple (yet enthralling) way about the steps taken to raise the cub and return him back to the wild. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2012, 32 pages.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. Science Books & Film, established in 1965 by AAAS, serves as an authoritative guide to science resources for students, teachers, librarians, caregivers, and others. See www.sbfonline.com.