Category Archives: Children’s Nonfiction

The Story of Seeds : from Mendel’s garden to your plate and how there’s more of less to eat in the world

Something as small as a seed can have a worldwide impact. Did you know there are top-secret seed vaults hidden throughout the world? And once a seed disappears, that’s it—it’s gone forever? With the growth of genetically modified foods, the use of many seeds is dwindling—of 80,000 edible plants, only about 150 are being cultivated. With a global cast of men and women, scientists and laypeople, and photographic documentation, Nancy Castaldo chronicles where our food comes from, and more importantly, where it is going as she digs deeper into the importance of seeds in our world. This empowering book also calls young adult readers to action with suggestions as to how they can preserve the variety of one of our most valuable food sources through simple everyday actions. Readers of Michael Pollen will enjoy the depth and fascinatingly intricate social economy of seeds.

Houghton Mifflin  ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544320239

Seed photo cover

Released February 23, 2016          Download Curriculum Guide

 

Reviews

“A terrific, engrossing resource.”   – *Booklist starred review

“Championing seeds as one of our planet’s most precious and vulnerable resources, Castaldo delivers a sobering global status report—and a call to action.”  “Well-crafted and inspiring.”  – Kirkus

“Castaldo breaks down threats like climate change and disease, while providing a greater sense of interconnectivity in nature and within world communities.” – Publishers Weekly

“As compelling and complex as any novel, The Story of Seeds is one of the most important books for young readers to be written in years. Every student, teacher, and parent ought to read this book—and then follow the author’s call to action. A must-have addition to every home and classroom library.” – Lauris White Reyes Blog

“This eye-opening book on science and politics of agriculture serves as a wake-up call to readers about the facility of something many of us take for granted: our plant-based food supply. Castaldo clearly lays out a case for the importance of plant diversity (“Seeds equal life”), presenting engaging scientific and historical information…” – Horn Book Magazine

Lists and Awards:

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The Race Around the World

Do you have what it takes to race around the world? When Nellie Bly read Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, she had an amazing idea. What if she traveled around the world in real life, and did it in less than eighty days? In 1889, people doubted it could be done – especially by a woman. But with one small bag and a sturdy coat, Nellie set out anyway. Soon the whole world was rooting for her. Could she make it back in time? Nellie Cover

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Mission Polar Bear Rescue

Meet the awesome wild polar bear. Mission: Polar Bear Rescue is full of fun facts, field reports, and hands-on rescue activities and challenges.

Polar Bear cover

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Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (And Their Noses) Save the World

 Anyone who has ever spent time with a dog knows that dogs love sniffing!

They sniff out hidden food, dirty socks, and the visitor who comes to the door.  But some dogs work with police officers, soldiers and even scientists to put their “sniffers” to work.  Sniffer dogs make use of the amazing biology behind their noses to protect people from bombs, catch criminals smuggling drugs, or help researchers locate a hard to find snail in a forest.

     A dog’s nose is so sensitive that if a human could see as well as a dog could smell, we would be able to see the small letters on an eye chart from four (four!) miles away.  Is it any wonder then that dogs can be trained to find missing people in piles of rubble or a certain flower blooming amongst hundreds or thousands of other smells?

In Sniffer Dogs you will meet many dogs and their handlers and learn all about their jobs. Some of these dogs are raised from birth to detect blood sugar levels in their owners.  Others are rescued from animal shelters and their boisterous personalities help make them excellent sniffer dogs. Featuring a balance between science and social science,Sniffer Dogs will appeal to dog lovers and science lovers alike.

From HMH Books for Young Readers –  Order Now   ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544088931

Reviews

“An exemplary presentation of information in a lively, engaging way—readers will be left feeling awe for their canine companions and enthusiasm for their abilities.”  *Kirkus – starred review

“Superb coverage of the canine contribution to rescue and safety in both text and illustration, Castaldo’s book presents both the dogs and their trainers and handlers in roles involving world peril and individual handicap.” VOYA Magazine

“A well-organized, thoughtfully written title that celebrates the achievements of these great dogs.” – School Library Journal

“This fascinating account will leave young readers feeling wonder and gratitude for the gifts of the canine set.” Wall Street Journal

“The adventurous element of search and rescue and military duty adds an edge to draw readers unnoticed by (or unwilling to be caught with) mere cute puppies.” – Bulletin

“Castaldo’s excellent research and lively writing along with great dog photos make this a book kids will love, and they won’t even suspect they are learning.” San Francisco Book Review

“This is a perfectly executed nonfiction book, from its appealing subject right down to its useful appendix with bibliography of books and articles, listings of web sites, places to visit, “Ways to Get Involved,” and a useful glossary. For serious dog fanciers, research report writers, and almost any school or public library, Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World is definitely “Best in Show.” BooksForKidsBlog

“Finally, a title that combines all of these aspects—hook, subject, relatable elements, and design—is Nancy Castaldo’s Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World (HMH, 2014). School Library Journal  – Selecting and Promoting Nonfiction in Your Library 

Lists and Awards

**National Science Teachers Association 2015 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 

  • SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for NY
  • Maine State Library Cream of the Crop List
  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year 2015
  • NYC Reads 365 – 5th grade list
  • Kirkus star

 

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Deserts

DesertsKids are wild about deserts! These 50-plus games, activities, and experiments are an enormous amount of fun whether you live near the Mohave Desert in California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada or near the New Jersey turnpike. Every continent boasts deserts and young children will enjoy exploring the various types found around the world-from the hot and dry to the coastal, semiarid, and even polar. They will love learning about this strange and often misunderstood environment that is home to camels, rattlesnakes, and kangaroos, vast sand dunes, ancient cacti, and quicksand. Kids will be delighted to find out all the creative ways plants and animals have adapted to survive the beautiful but harsh desert environment.

Reviews and Awards:

“Whether the topic is Mongolian gerbils or the “People of the Veil”, DESERTS provides a wonderful introduction to the world’s deserts in a stimulating context that will both educate and excite the target six- to nine-ear olds, their parents, and their teachers.” Science Books & Films, Sept/Oct 2004

Science Books and Films – Best Books For Children 2004

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Rainforests

RainforestsNorth America boasts a surprising number of rainforests, including El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Olympic National Forest in Washington State, Chugah and Tonga National Forests in Alaska, and the forests in Hawaii. Rainforests: An Activity Guide takes kids through the common layers of the rainforest, from the forest floor to above the enclosed canopy, and introduces them to plants, animals, and people around the world, including those from the temperate rainforests of North America to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America. Activities include making a West African yam festival gourd rattle, building a model of an Alaskan totem pole, and creating a Javanese Wayang-kuilt, or shadow puppet. Kids are encouraged to make a difference and become active supporters of the rainforests no matter where they live.

Reviews and Awards:

Science Books And Films – Best Books For Children 2003

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River Wild

River WildKids will delight in learning about the formation of rivers, the water cycle, and the variety of habitats that exist along the length of a river in this introduction to the precious natural resource of rivers. All major rivers that run through the United States, Canada, and Mexico are discussed in regional chapters, including the Chattahoochee, Colorado, Columbia, Hudson, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Rio Grande, and St. Lawrence Rivers as well as many others. Kids will discover how rivers have shaped our history and learn of the issues that are currently facing these important waterways. More than 30 fun-filled activities including Build Your Own Dam, Huckleberry Finn Log Raft, Salmon Trap Game, and Settling Sediment are provided. Sidebars on river keepers around the country, and a complete resource section listing books, videos, and websites complete this activity guide.

Reviews and Awards:

“An indispensable resource for every educator” —NSTA Recommends

“Good source of information and projects.” —Booklist

“Engaging.” —Science News

“A journey of discovery.” —Curriculum Review

“New tool for learning.” —The Sacramento Bee

“This activity guide awakens curiosity, and enriches the lives of readers by expanding their views of rivers.” —Rebecca Johnson, Watershed Educator, Hudson River

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Leap Into Space

Leap Into SpaceLeap Into Space and learn the interconnectivity of the universe through intriguing experiments, comic illustrations, amazing facts, spectacular photos of space, and ideas for things to do. Leap Into Space is packed with fantastic things to think about, unusual experiments to try, and the key to opening the door to a limitless future.

Leap Into Space on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRLmiaWma8s

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Keeping Our Earth Green

KeepingOurEarthGreen-coverKeeping Our Earth Green provides readers with over 100 hands-on ways to help save the Earth. Discover facts about pollution, global warming, biofuels, and much more. Try experiments at home or in a classroom. Read about the cool things being done to help our planet. Discover Earth Heroes – real people who have made a difference. Take action!

Reviews and Awards:

“Keeping our Earth Green by Nancy F. Castaldo sends a very important message we should teach and pass on to our children as future stewards of our planet. Castaldo, an environmental educator and member of the Sierra Club’s National Education Committee, talks about environmental issues in a fun and engaging way for child education.”—The Parenting Magazine

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