Tag Archives: science

#blogbookaday: Bird Builds a Nest

14 Apr

Bird Builds a NestSummary:  “It’s time for Bird to build her nest! Follow her as she pulls a worm out of the ground, lifts some twigs that are just the right size, and pushes the twigs into place. Uh-oh! One of the twigs falls to the ground! But after a day of hard work, Bird’s nest is ready and waiting. Can you guess what it’s waiting for? Using simple, clear language and beautiful illustrations, this engaging story is the perfect introduction to physical forces for very young readers. A final spread with some simple questions promotes discussion with parents, teachers, or caregivers and encourages readers to think about the concepts introduced.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: With words like “A First Science Storybook” on the cover, I was hesitant to see what this book was all about. I’m always looking for picture books that teach kids without them really knowing that they’re learning. I want young kids to enjoy learning and exploring and not feel as though they are being lectured or grilled about a specific concept or idea. This book does a great job for really young kids explaining how a bird builds a nest. What they look for, how heavy something is, the steps involved from start to finish. And what’s great is that if you want to ask your child some questions about the story and how it relates to science, they have simple questions printed that allows you to do that at a developmentally-appropriate level.

Personal Reaction: I loved the color palette of this book – with the leaves of the trees in shades of yellows, oranges, and greens. I would have loved to see more bright colors for spring, but this color palette works really well together and I think works well for the story. Who would have thought that learning about force would be as much as learning about birds’ nests.

Title: Bird Builds a Nest
Author: Martin Jenkins
Illustrator: Richard Jones
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: January 17, 2018

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!


AtoZ Blogging Challenge – Lunch At the Library

13 Apr

blurred-background-bread-breakfast-908577.jpgProgram Name: Lunch at the Library

What: We haven’t offered this program before, but I can see how it would be a really great way for libraries in urban and suburban communities to draw in a crowd during the week. Offer a program as often as you want – once a week, once a month, once a season for adults to come with their lunch and learn about a topic. This could be something as simple as “How to Take Better Photos on Vacation” or “Best Mystery Reads of 2018” or “Easy  and Healthy Lunches for Work” – you could take this any direction you wanted to go. My library is in a very busy suburban area and I think this would be a fun idea to try!

Where: You’d need a meeting space that you’re not worried about cleaning up after people eat, so a place with tables and chairs (maybe in a “U” shape) where people could eat while listening to a presentation.

When: Obviously during lunch time! But what time that is would depend on you community. Again, this could be offered as often as you’d like. I’d probably shoot for something once a month to try it out.

Who: Adults who work/live in close proximity to the library who can stop by for a 45-minute program during their lunch hour. I think getting the word out about this program could be difficult and may require some in-person meetings with local business leaders to help promote this idea. Partnering with the Rotary could also be helpful to reach out to local business people.

How: This could be as simple as the staff sharing their expertise or you could bring someone in who wouldn’t mind volunteering some time to help present on a specific topic.


  • If lunches just wouldn’t work for your service area, try a Saturday morning or Thursday evening – the time is flexible.
  • I’d also love to try a How-To Fair where people setup tables in a variety of locations in your library and teach people how to do something for 30 minutes and then someone else teaches people about a different topic. These look like a lot of work to set-up, but so much fun!


During the month of April, I’ll be participating in the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For this year’s theme, I’ll be offering you a library program plan with everything you to need to re-create it at your own library. Most of these programs we’ve offered in the past, others are programs I’d like to try in the future. I’m always looking for new inspiration and I thought you might be too!

60 STEM Titles for 3-6 Year Olds

15 Mar

We often are asked by parents for “science books for preschoolers” and after a reference interview, we find that they are looking to teach their kids a variety of science concepts at a young age and finding books that are academic enough to satisfy the parents can be difficult. I created the list below filled with nonfiction titles, but also picture book titles that introduce some basic science concepts, but are still developmentally appropriate for a very young audience. I created a math list previously on this site (14 Picture Books to Introduce Math Concepts), so stop by that list for math titles (you won’t find them repeated here). These are just a few, there are more than I could ever put into a list, but find a few of these as a jumping off point! Enjoy!

stem preschool.png


  1. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
  2. Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Camille Andros
  3. Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns
  4. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why by Amy Shields
  5. What Is a Scientist? by Barbara Lehn


  1. Best In Snow by April Pulley Sayre
  2. Calendar by Myra Cohn Livingston
  3. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
  4. Leaves by David Ezra Stein
  5. Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
  6. Our Seasons by Grace Lin and Ranida T. McKneally
  7. Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
  8. Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre
  9. Water is Water by Miranda Paul
  10. The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins


  1. A Butterfly Is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
  2. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
  3. DK First Animal Encyclopedia
  4. First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  5. I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton 
  6. Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer
  7. Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Collins Berkes
  8. A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston
  9. Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
  10. Who Am I? by Steve Jenkins

Human Body

  1. Bones by Steve Jenkins
  2. The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell
  3. DK First Human Body Encyclopedia
  4. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
  5. I Hear a Pickle (And Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) by Rachel Isadora
  6. Inside Your Outside! By Tish Rabe
  7. The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body by Joanna Cole
  8. Me and My Amazing Body by Joan Sweeney
  9. My Five Senses by Aliki
  10. Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

Outer Space

  1. If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty
  2. Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes
  3. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
  4. The Sun Is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch
  5. Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! By Margaret Mayo


  1. Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer
  2. Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
  3. Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
  4. In a Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
  5. Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole
  6. Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
  7. A Rock Is Lively by  Dianna Hutts Aston
  8. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston
  9. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  10. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner


  1. 11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill
  2. Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall
  3. Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
  4. Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
  5. Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
  6. If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
  7. Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
  8. Monkey with A Tool Belt and The Noisy Problem by Chris Monroe
  9. Robots, Robots Everywhere! by Sue Fliess
  10. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

18 STEM Picture Book Biographies

7 Feb


  1. Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by April Chu
  2. The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos  by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by  LeUyen Pham
  3. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by  Daniel Rieley
  4. Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by Katy Wu
  5. Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot by Matthew Clark Smith, illustrated by Matt Tavares

  6. Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Éric Puybaret

  7. Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Lucy Knisley
  8. Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

  9. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

  10. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
  11. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian
  12. Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson
  13. The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
  14. Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prévot

  15. The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter

  16. Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton, illustrated by Don Tate
  17. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
  18. The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter

Elementary STEAM: Popcorn Science

19 Nov

popcorn Last week I offered a Popcorn Science class for our Fun Friday program.  I actually had two programs – 1 for 2nd through 4th graders and the other for Kindergarten & 1st graders.

The kids were beyond excited to eat the popcorn, but first I wanted to do a little discussion and sharing.  So we began by sharing everything we already know about popcorn.  As we did, I included questions that would be answered during the program. “How long have people been eating popcorn?” “What makes popcorn pop?”  “Does all corn pop?”

After our discussion, I shared a great NPR video about popcorn and at only a minute and a half, it worked out perfectly.  Then we briefly talked (with the older kids) about states of matter and how once popcorn changes it can’t change back.

After the video, I gave each child a straw and a piece of popcorn.  Then I let them figure out what you can do with it.  The kids usually give me a panicked look to start and then the fun starts, popcorn was literally flying through the air as the kids learned how to shoot it from their straws.  It was a lot of fun to watch.  Finally, we got to the most important part – our taste test.

I popped SO much popcorn during my lunch break.  I made plain popcorn with nothing on it, a batch of popcorn with some garlic and seasoned salt, and a batch of kettle corn.  Each child got to try all three and then we voted on our favorite.

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