Archives for February, 2010
The Plastiki is a 60-foot (18-meter) catamaran made of over 12,000 plastic bottles, as well as other recyclable plastic. The Plastiki will sail from San Francisco, California to Sydney, Australia. National Geographic Explorer David de Rothschild and his crew hope to raise awareness of plastic waste in the ocean, as well as to raise interest in using waste in new ways. Even though plastic bottles are recyclable, only about one fifth of them end up in the recycling bin. The rest end up in landfills.
Read an interview with David de Rothschild on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Adventure Ecology
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On February 5, we asked for your help naming our upcoming Explorers’ area on National Geographic Kids. You sent in some great ideas, and now you can help narrow down the names! Visit http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/contests/Explorers-name-voting and vote for your favorite name in the poll.
Illustration by Chris Rooney
BOOK NAME: How it Happened in Peach Hill
AUTHOR: Marthe Jocelyn
Annie’s mother has “special powers” or so she says. She can draw out people’s secrets without them even knowing! Annie’s mother is Madame Caterina, and as a fortune teller, no one can resist her.
Deception runs in the family and Madame Caterina expects her daughter to follow in her family’s footsteps. Annie must lie about herself and find information about other people so her mother can have a successful career. Annie is getting tired of being the town idiot and wants to be like every other normal teenager. When Annie meets a boy named Sammy she immediately wants to impress him, but acting stupid won’t help. This is a story about a girl who learns to understand the importance of telling the truth and how she overcomes the wrong she’s done in her life.
This book didn’t take long at all to read. It’s a pretty small book, but the story isn’t short or boring. Though the mother was kinda the “bad guy” in the story, I really liked her free and interesting personality. I liked how she got along with others and how people just felt connected to her for no reason. I didn’t care much for Annie’s personality, though. Even though fortune telling isn’t true, I still enjoy reading about characters in books that use it. I think just about anyone could read this book, but I believe girls would appreciate the story line more.
BOOK NAME: Hoot
AUTHOR: Carl Hiaasen
This is book was made into a movie, and I liked the movie so much that I wanted to read it.
It’s a story about a boy who moves from Montana to Florida and becomes friends with a girl and her stepbrother who want to stop a restaurant from being built on top of some burrowing owls. The boy joins them to protect the tiny owls and other creatures that live on the land. The kids play tricks on the company, called Mother Paula’s Pancake House, to make it stop before destroying the owls’ homes. Their tricks include pulling up all the survey stakes on the property, putting big snakes all over it and taking the seat off a bull-dozer and other ground-moving machines that are parked there. It’s funny.
I would say the book is a little better than the movie because it is more detailed and the author’s voice tells you more than what you can see in the movie. I highly recommend reading the book and seeing the movie, but the book is long so make sure you have enough time to finish reading it.
Want more opinions? Read Eleanor’s review of Hoot.
Visit the Huggable Heroes website to find out more and enter, or pick up an entry form at a participating Build-A-Bear Workshop store.
Photograph courtesy Build-A-Bear Workshop
BOOK NAME: The Green Book
AUTHOR: Jill Paton Walsh
I really recommended this book for 8-year-olds. I had to do a book report at school on a science fiction book and this is the one I chose.
The book is about how everybody on Earth has to leave the planet because of a nuclear war. Pattie doesn’t want to but she has to. They all go on a big spaceship to go to their new world. When they get there, the youngest of the group on that spaceship got to name the planet. Pattie was the youngest and she named it Planet Shine.
The main story is about how everyone gets used to Shine. They use all the wood they find to build cabins. They burn jellyfish to make lamps. The bad thing is that their crops won’t grow properly. But then they notice that they can eat the jellyfish. They also found the Candy Tree in the forest and they discovered they could eat the sap and it was sweet.
Pattie was playing in a place called Boulder Valley and then suddenly the boulders broke and they turned into giant moths, at least that’s what the people called them. They were friendly until they all died.
My favorite part was when they had to leave Earth. It was cool. I recommend this book if you like made up things like magical creatures.
This doghouse isn’t just for the family pet. Sweet Willy is a 30-foot-tall (9 meters) beagle with guest rooms in his belly. Climb the wooden stairs beside his hind leg to enter the door in his side. You can relax in the main bedroom, go up a few steps to the loft in Willy’s head, or hang out inside his nose. Gotta “go?” Although you have a full private bathroom in your quarters, there’s also a toilet in the 12-foot-tall (3.6 meters) fire hydrant outside. You can find the Dog Bark Park Inn B&B in Cottonwood, Idaho.
Read about more of the world’s wackiest hotels in the February issue of National Geographic Kids magazine, on newsstands now.
Find out about cool vacation destinations on National Geographic Kids. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/PeoplePlaces/Cool-vacations
The Global Bros stayed in some pretty cool locations during their year-long trip! Relive their adventure and read their blog. http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/globalbros/
Text adapted from the February 2010 issue of National Geographic Kids magazine
Photograph courtesy Dog Bark Park
BOOK NAME: Rules
AUTHOR: Cynthia Lord
This story is about a 12 year old named Catherine who longs for a normal life. But she has a brother, David, with autism and the spotlight is on him constantly. There’s always something that needs to be done for him: go to therapy, go to the doctor, etc… She thinks he makes her look bad in front of her friends all the time. That’s why she teaches her brother rules like “no toys in the fish tank,” “if it’s too loud cover your ears or ask the other person to be quiet,” “sometimes you got to work with what you got,” and other things to keep her brother in order. She learns never to trust a sibling unless your parents tell you to.
I would recommend this book to anyone because you can relate to the emotions being expressed in it. Its emotional scenes draw you right into the book. I also liked this book’s humor and easy style atmosphere. I thought the cover was very attractive too. I can relate to this book because I also have two siblings. They are not as predictable as Catherine’s, but can be just as annoying. In the end, she learns that just because David has autism, it doesn’t mean he’s not smart. Kind of reminds me of the saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover!”
The opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics tonight from Vancouver, British Columbia, kicks off over two weeks of winter sports competitions! Athletes from around the world will be compete in events such as skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, ice hockey, and more.
The spectacular opening ceremony welcome spectators and athletes to the 2010 Winter Games. Canadian culture will be featured in the performances tonight. The lighting of the Olympic Flame is the high point and symbolizes the official start of the Games.
The opening ceremony will be shown on NBC tonight at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. See if you can stay up and watch!
Get information on your favorite events on the Vancouver Olympic Games website.
Photograph by Dale Matthews, Your Shot
BOOK NAME: Crocodile Tears
AUTHOR: Anthony Horowitz
Alex Rider has worked for different intelligence agencies no less than six times: M16, the CIA, and the ASIS, to be specific. However, he’s not a James Bond character… no tailored suit or gun for him. On his missions, he wears a t-shirt and jeans; his job is to look completely innocent – a task that isn’t very hard, as he’s only 15 years old.
Alex used to be the British Intelligence, or M16′s, secret weapon. After his uncle and guardian, British spy Ian Rider, died when he was 14, M16 recruited Alex for various missions. Alex proved to be more than capable of handling dangerous situations, but he didn’t like to be a spy–he wanted to lead a normal life. Now, he’s convinced that he’s finally going to be able to be an ordinary teenager. But a series of events that occurs while he’s on holiday rapidly change his view of things. Alex is once again plunged into the dangerous spy world as he learns more about the potentially fatal situation – which wouldn’t just mean death for him, but for millions of people across Africa as well.
When one of my best friends mentioned this book to me, I wanted to read it right away. However, I couldn’t, because Crocodile Tears is the 7th book in the Alex Rider series. I’ve found that the books can stand alone, but it’s still a good idea to read them in order. One thing I didn’t like about this book as much is that it’s not really written from Alex’s point of view, which was one of the factors that drew me to the other books. I think it took away from the story a bit, but the novel is still one of the best I’ve ever read. The author also uses a technique that I like a lot: giving specific details like the model of car, what kind of engine it has, along with other things. If you liked The Hunger Games, Crocodile Tears would be a great read for you!
An underwater volcano 745 miles south of Tokyo, Japan, erupted earlier this month. The volcano, Fukutoku-Okanoba, last erupted in July 2005. Past Fukutoku-Okanoba eruptions have caused miniature islands to form, but the ocean’s waves have washed them away. The eruption of underwater volcanoes can also form very large islands, like those that make up the Hawaiian Islands.
Will this eruption create a new island? “We have seen no evidence of an island being created yet, but it is possible, and we will continue to monitor the situation,” said Keiji Doi of the Japan Meteorological Agency.
See pictures of the eruption on National Geographic News.
Visit a gallery of erupting volcano pictures on National Geographic Kids.
How much do you know about volcanoes? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Do you love the Five Ancestors series? Our friends at Random House want to see your best Five Ancestors story! Series author Jeff Stone has started the story, but you get to finish it. If your story is really good, you could win a free Cooler E-Reader!
Visit FiveAncestors.com for the complete rules and to find out how to enter.
Have you ever wondered what color dinosaurs were when they walked the earth? Now we know–at least for one species, Anchiornis huxleyi. This dino was about the size of a chicken, and was mostly black and white, except for a rust-colored crest on its head (similar to today’s woodpecker).
How do scientists know that Anchiornis huxleyi looked like this? They examined fossils of the dinosaur’s feathers and were able to determine their colors based on melanosomes. Melanosomes are parts of cells that produce melanin (that’s the stuff that pigments your skin). They were able to figure out the dino’s colors by comparing their fossilized melansonomes with the melanosomes found in modern birds.
Get the whole story on National Geographic News.
Test your knowledge of dino trivia on National Geographic Kids.
Illustration by National Geographic
BOOK NAME: A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson
AUTHOR: Michelle Y. Green
This is a biography about an African-American girl who wants to play baseball. Her name was Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Mamie loved baseball so much that people think that she was born with one in her hand! She wanted to play in the higher leagues but they wouldn’t let her because she was African-American. They would yell at her if she tried to go in any training facilities because they are for Whites only. So Mamie tried out for the Negro League and made the team. She played hard with a winning record of 33-8 and a batting average of .284. Mamie is still alive and lives in the Washington D.C. area.
I read this book for a biography book report. I chose her because I was a softball pitcher so I thought that I would like to read a book related to that. Mamie is an awesome baseball player I found out. She even struck Babe Ruth out! I don’t read biographies often so it was cool to learn about someone I hadn’t ever heard of.
If you were to write a biography about yourself than what would you title it? EXAMPLE: Jordan; the Blog-Writer. Leave a comment with your answer.
National Geographic Kids is about to launch a new online feature to showcase our amazing group of National Geographic Explorers! You can get a sneak peek in the illustration above. We want your creative ideas on what to name our upcoming explorers area. Our explorers not only dive into the depths of the ocean to do research, they also preserve languages, study wildlife, explore world cultures, and pore over scientific data to understand our planet and nature.
Please send us your ideas! You can either post your ideas as a comment, or email us. Thanks!
Illustration by Chris Rooney
Think big for a second. If you could do anything, what would you do? Google wants to know and is inviting K-12 students to get their creative imaginations working on what you’d do if you could do absolutely anything.
Your school must be registered by March 17 for you to be able to submit a design and all entries must be received by March 31.
Feeling really artistic? Enter the Ocean Flag Design Contest on National Geographic Kids.
BOOK NAME: Shepherd’s Quest: The Broken Key #1
AUTHOR: Brian Pratt
Chad Kelon and Riyan Borenson dreamed of nothing but adventures. They continuously tell each other stories of themselves rescuing fair ladies and defeating monstrous creatures. Then there was Bartholomew Agreani who is known as Bart. He is one of Riyan’s new friends and is handy with all sorts of tools used by thieves.
Accidentally, Riyan stumbles upon a cave which contained a few copper coins worth a lot of money. Unsure of what other treasures might remain deep in the cave Riyan informs Chad and Bart of his discovery leading to an adventure beyond their imaginations and their made-up stories. Along the way, the boys meet Kevik, a magic user. They have courage and bravery while they suffer the loss of many things, but they also benefit in the discoveries that they find.
When I read the summary on the back of the book and saw the cover I wanted to read this book. It seemed mysterious and maybe kind of scary. I read it to discover that it wasn’t scary at all. I think the vocabulary in this book is geared more for readers 10 and up. Shepherd’s Quest: The Broken Key # 1 is the first of three books. I found this book intriguing so I am going to read the other two in the series.
This morning, Punxatawney Phil came out of his tree stump and saw his shadow. That means winter’s not quite over yet. According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day (February 2), we will have six more weeks of winter weather. However, if the day is cloudy and Phil’s shadow is nowhere to be found, spring is just around the corner.
Read about the history of Groundhog Day on National Geographic News.
Learn more about groundhogs on National Geographic.
Photograph by Jason Cohn / Reuters
You want to save energy and help the environment? Why not start with your school? DoSomething.org and Hewlett-Packard want to see your ideas for making your school more energy efficient and they are handing out some cool prizes!
Check out a video with Nick Cannon explaining the program and find out how you can get involved. Check out Increase Your Green.
Photograph courtesy DoSomething.org
BOOK NAME: Runaway Ralph
AUTHOR: Beverly Cleary
Ralph, a talking mouse with his own little motorcycle, felt under respected so he ran away from the hotel where he lived with his family. He drove to a summer camp and became the pet of a nice boy there, who kept him in a cage in the craft shop next to Chum, a cranky guinea pig.
A cat named Catso stole a watch from a girl and she accused the nice boy of doing it. The boy then found out that Ralph could talk and asked him to help find the watch. Ralph found it in Catso’s bed and put it in the girls’ locker room, where the girl found it and stopped being mean to the boy. When summer camp came to an end, Ralph drove back home to the hotel.
I think Ralph would be a fun pet. I have an old dog named Sonny but he can’t do much of anything any more because he’s 13 years old in human years, 91 in dog years.
In this book, I really liked how Ralph was able to drive a motorcycle and he did a neat trick to get it on the road. This was a fun adventure and easy to read. There are more books about Ralph, but this is the only one I’ve read so far. I’d recommend checking it out.