Monday, May 10, 2021

Synergy: Spiders

Spiders are six-legged, air-breathing arthropods. The largest order of arachnids, most have fangs that inject venom and spinnerets that spin silk. Other than Antarctica, spiders are found throughout the world.

Read the science poetry book for children, then learn more at the websites:

SPI-KU: A CLUTTER OF SHORT VERSE ON EIGHT LEGS written by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Robert Meganck combines poetry and science for an engaging exploration of spiders. This richly illustrated work contained over a dozen, two-page explorations of these fascinating arthropods. Each spread focuses on a different topic and includes poem(s) along with useful information and realistic illustrations. Haiku, tanka, doditsu, and cinquain are just a few of the poetic forms used in the text. The book concludes with a glossary, notes about poetic form, activities, and additional information.

Use the following websites to jumpstart spider poetry writing ideas.

SPIDERS from Cornell University provide learning resources about spider biology. To learn more, go to

SPIDERS: SILK AND FANGS from San Diego Zoo Kids is an attractive infographic introducing students to spiders. To view the infographic, go to To read a more in-depth page, go to

ARC courtesy of Peachtree.

Monday, May 03, 2021

Synergy: Veterinarian

A veterinarian is a professional who treats the diseases, injuries, and disorders of non-human animals. Many veterinary physicians work with a specific group of animals such as livestock, pets, zoo animals, or wild animals. There are many specializations within veterinary medicine such as animal welfare, surgery, and dentistry.

Read the nonfiction book for youth, then learn more at the websites:

WILD VET ADVENTURES: SAVING ANIMALS AROUND THE WORLD with Dr. Gabby Wild follows a wildlife veterinarian as she cares for animals around the world. As readers explore each continent, they learn about the wildlife and the people who co-exist in each ecosystem. In each section, readers learn about veterinary patients including animal anatomy, habitats, and the dangers they face from predators and people. The book concludes with information about conservation and a glossary. The use of icons, fact boxes, bright colors, and photographs are likely to engage even the most reluctant reader.

WILDLIFE REHABILITATION from the Wildlife Medical Clinic at the University of Illinois teaches teens about veterinary care, education, and conservation. To learn more, go to

Author DR. GABBY WILD has a website and YouTube Channel. The web-based resources share her role as both a veterinarian and eco-fashionista. To learn more, go to Visit her YouTube Channel at

ARC courtesy of National Geographic Kids.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Synergy: Fungi

Fungi such as mushrooms, yeasts, and molds are living microorganisms. Part of the eukaryotic kingdom, they aren’t plants, bacteria, or animals. However, like animals they acquire food through absorption rather than photosynthesis. These important decomposers can be found worldwide but are often overlooked because they are so small. They play an important role in medicine, foods, and pest control.

Read the middle grade nonfiction book for youth, then learn more at the websites:

FUNGARIUM curated by Katie Scott and Ester Gaya is the latest in the WELCOME TO THE MUSEUM SERIES. Readers are invited into the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, England to learn about these essential living organisms. The book is divided into four galleries exploring biology, diversity, interactions, and human connections. Each topic is presented in a two-page spread containing text along with detailed images.

Other books in the series include Planetarium, Dinosaurium, Botanicum, Historium, and Animalium. Each oversized book allows children to explore the world’s most amazing museum exhibitions.

THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S FUNGI from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is a story map sharing information about the world’s fungi and their importance to life on Earth. To read the report, go to

The BRITISH LICHEN SOCIETY website contains resources for identification of lichens along with lots of activity ideas. To learn more, go to

The FIFTH KINGDOM is an online mycology textbook containing lots of fascinating photographs and diagrams. To read the e-book, go to

FUNGI: DEATH BECOMES THEM from CrashCourse is a short, engaging video helping students learn the basics of fungi and their vital function in the global food web. To view the video, go to

ARC courtesy of Big Picture Press an imprint of Candlewick Press.

Monday, April 19, 2021


OPERATION VALKYRIE was a German World War II emergency plan modified by a secret network of officers and civilians to assassinate Adolph Hitler and retake control of Germany. The failure of the coup caused serious repercussions for the families of the resistance leaders.

Read the recently nonfiction work for youth, then learn more at the websites:

ENSNARING IN THE WOLF’S LAIR by Ann Bausum tells the true story of the 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler and the ghost children of this revenge. This well-research children’s book uses a compelling narrative along with primary source documents to engage readers in the devastating aftermath of Operation Valkyrie. After the failed assassination attempt, Hitler relentlessly sought revenge on the children and relatives of a secretive network of Germans who were conspiring against Hitler’s regime. Weaving in excerpts from the diary of Christa von Hofacker and other accounts, the story comes alive through the trauma of the children of the resistance. The book concludes with a helpful timeline, family information, list of resources, and author’s note.

THE GERMAN RESISTANCE MEMORIAL CENTER contains primary source documents, biographies, and exhibitions related to the German Resistance. To visit the website, go to

INTRODUCING THE WARTIME DIARY OF CHRISTA VON HOFACKER shares an interview with the author about her connection to Christa’s diary that inspired the book. To view the video, go to

ANN BAUSUM’s website contains behind-the-scenes information and classroom activities. To explore the website, go to

ARC courtesy of National Geographic.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Synergy: School Band

A school band is a team of student musicians who learn to play musical instruments, rehearse as a group, and perform together. They are usually part of the school’s music education program. Many stereotypes have emerged around school band members. However, many students have embraced terms such as band nerd as symbols of pride.

Read the recently published series for youth, then learn more at the websites:

BAND NERDS: POETRY FROM THE 13TH CHAIR TROMBONE PLAYER by DJ Corchin contains dozens of humorous poems and illustrations to inspire those with a passion for school bands and their unique culture. Part of a series of books exploring the world of school bands, young musicians are likely to see themselves and enjoy celebrating the life of band nerds.

THE 13TH CHAIR is a website dedicated to the Band Nerds book series. It includes information about the series, a blog, and excerpts from the books. To visit the website, go to

NAMM FOUNDATION celebrates and promotes music education. Sections for parents and educators highlight the benefits of music education, music communities, and resources. To learn more, go to

ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks eXplore.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Synergy: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The monument is dedicated to United States service members whose remains have not been identified. Approved by Congress in 1921, the monument has been expanded to include unknown soldiers since World War I. The sentinels are U.S. Army soldiers who follow a precise route involving a series of 21 steps.

Read the recently published picture book for children, then learn more at the websites:

TWENTY-ONE STEPS by Jeff Gottesfeld and illustrated by Matt Tavares is a picture book sharing the story of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The book begins with The Sentinel’s Creed. Then, traces the history through the voice of the “unknown”. An afterward provides additional background information.

The ARLINGTON CEMETERY website contains background information about the creation of the tomb along with the changing of the guard. To explore the website, go to

VOICES FROM THE TOMB is a behind-the-scenes documentary examining Tomb Guards at Arlington National Cemetery. To view the video, go to

CHANGING OF THE GUARD is a short video showing the changing of the guard ceremony. To view the video, go to

ARC courtesy of Candlewick Press.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Synergy: Grand Prix Racing

Grand Prix racing is a motorsport competition that began at the turn of the 20th century in France. Today, it’s known as formula racing.

Read the recently published books, then learn more at the websites:

THE RACERS by Neal Bascomb is a young readers’ adaptation of the adult title FASTER. It tells the true story of how an outcast driver, an American heiress, and a legendary car beat Hitler’s best. The combination of fascinating characters, world history, and racing will appeal to a broad audience. This well-research title incorporates historical photos, maps, and detailed race information. Teens with an interest in racing may prefer to read the adult edition.

To learn more about Rene Dreyfus, go to

To learn more about Lucy O’Reilly-Schell, go to

To watch a video from the 1938 Grand Prix de Pau, got to

To watch a discussion with the author, go to

ARC courtesy of Focus, an imprint of Scholastic.