Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sea Otter Heroes

This was a really neat scientific mystery.  The Elkhorn Slough was far healthier than scientists thought it should be.  It is close to nearby farms and orchards and the runoff from fertilizers should have made the algae grow and destroy the sea grass but the opposite was happening; the seagrass was flourishing.  Through careful observation, study, and some luck, Brent Hughes was able to discover how the sea otter population was helping to ward off the algae.  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush

For students who are reading and are fans of Jack London's works this may be a good addition and back story to many of his tales.  I did not find this to be overly exciting - simply a telling of certain events in his experiences without much flair.  I did like the tie in of his experiences and their appearances in his writing.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Extreme Weather

This book is chock full of weather facts and fun.  It starts with a basic introduction to weather and then goes into the more extreme aspects.  Droughts, tsunamis, tornadoes, blizzards, and so on are all discussed in terms of causes, records, etc.  

While my students will enjoy this and find many interesting facts, I was annoyed by the organization or lack thereof.  The information jumped around.  Tornadoes were discussed and then many pages later there was a challenge about them and then they were discussed more later.  Thank goodness for the index.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cold Summer

So, I love time travel books and movies.  The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorites.  When I saw the blurb for Cold Summer on Edelweiss I was thinking - "Time Traveler's Wife" for teens - nuff said.

Kale has been a time traveler since he was a young boy but very few people know about it.  His parents - they always thought he was just a runaway, especially his dad, even though Kale has tried to explain it many times.  Usually it has been short trips - back to the 70s, 90s and never returning to the same place over and over.  But that has changed.  Now he keeps going back as a soldier in World War II and as his life at home in the present gets worse, the pull back gets more frequent.

Then there is Harper.  They have know each other since they were kids and she would come for the summers.  But now she is there to stay and the attraction has become so much more.

Can Kale find a way to get his father to believe him and ground himself in the present before something happens to him in the past?

I did enjoy this.  I felt like it took awhile to really get into gear - a lot of time was spent with Kale and Harper avoiding their attraction and of course, Kale trying to come to terms with his family and his "ability".  The last 1/4 of the book was really good.  There is a bit of swearing a a close sexual encounter.  I think the book would be okay for upper middle school and high school though.

Out of Wonder

This was divine.  In this collection Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderly, and Marjory Wentworth pay homage to a diverse cast of poets and their work.  Some poets mimic a style, some showcase theme, and others just celebrate a certain poet or poem.  Not only were the works beautiful and diverse but as an educator I can see this book as a doorway introducing students to these wonderful poets.  Very well done.

Geology is a Piece of Cake

Katie Coppens introduces geology concepts like rocks, minerals, tectonics, and so on using cake.  This is a perfect text for 4th and 5th graders just learning these concepts and the delivery is done in a fun and lighthearted way.  I can't wait to show this to the teachers at my school.  The only problem is that if they wanted to use all these recipes in their instruction I am sure the health committee would get on them :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


For the last 6 months Axel and Daisha have been pursued by men trying to steal their parent's invention.  You see, their parents invention always people to transport simply by GPS coordinates instantaneously.  Their parents worked for a wealthy investor who wants to use the invention solely for financial gain.  To prevent that Axel and Daisha's parent decided to destroy the invention but were killed before they could.  Their last words to the kids were to take the devices to a mysterious person (turns out not to be  person but a place) and destroy it.

Can Axel and Daisha keep evading the men in pursuit and destroy the devices before it is too late?  I wish I knew :)  This is the first book in a series and it ain't over...  But it was full of action - a bit too scientific in parts but good overall.