Archives for April, 2011
Another phenomenal Friday fact!
than North America.
Photograph by NASA images courtesy NASA Ozone Hole Watch.
May is Get Caught Reading month. And you, our book-loving friends on DogEared, can get the word out!
We’ve teamed up with several generous book publishers and the
Get Caught Reading folks to give you the chance to win prizes… um,
just for reading. Yup! JUST FOR READING. Which we know you love to do!
Here’s how it works. If an adult you know catches you reading, fill out
this card and send it in for a chance to win these cool prizes! And who
doesn’t need awesome new books for summer vacation?
Now, grab a book and Get Caught Reading!
Teams from 30 universities and 18 high schools from the United States
and Canada – including the first all girls team — met in Houston for
Shell’s Eco-marathon Americas competition on April 16 and 17 to show
that it is possible to create cars that use less fuel. The teams proved
this by slow-speed racing their homemade vehicles.
The all-girls team from Washington’s Granite Falls High School had high hopes for their lime green vehicle, the Iron Maiden, but technical problems denied them their fuel economy goal of 678 miles per gallon (288 kilometers per liter), which would have broken the 26-year-old program’s previous record for diesel vehicles. Instead, they ran at 378 mpg (161 km/l) and received a special award for safety in vehicle design, construction and onsite behavior.
See the entire list of winners.
Look at pictures from the event.
The tamarisk tree was brought to the United States in the 1800s as a decorative tree, and it was also used to help stabilize the soil on rivers. The tree has thrived in the southwest, crowding out native trees. For many years, biologists have removed the invasive trees by digging them up or using herbicides In 2001, land managers began releasing imported salt cedar leaf beetles in an attempt to help stop the spread of the trees (tamarisk trees are also called salt cedars).
The beetles are doing their job more effectively than expected and have migrated up to 100 miles away from where they were released. Scientists are now concerned that species that have gotten used to the tamarisk trees may have trouble adjusting when the trees are gone. One example of this is the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, which prefers nesting in tamarisk trees even when there are other native trees available.
Iggy Arbuckle has tried a similar trick to eliminate invasive species in the Kookamunga! Watch the video on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Michael Melford, National Geographic
BOOK NAME: Washington City is Burning
AUTHOR: Harriette Gillem Robinet
Virginia of Madison worked as a slave at Montpelier. One day, an old slave man, named Tobias, came to Montpelier to take Virginia in his carriage. She found out she would work at the White House, to President James and Miss Dolley Madison. Later Virginia was to find out that Tobias needed her to go on secret missions and help free her people.
Virginia was not off to a great start the day she arrived at the White House. There was a slave woman, named Rosetta Bell, who hated Virginia, and did the best she could to get her into trouble. Virginia never knew why Rosetta hated her. Weeks later, Virginia started to go on secret missions, bringing slaves to freedom.
Great Britain got into a fight with Washington City, and one day, only one word could be heard in the streets. “War!” Everyone began to flee from Washington City, including Miss Dolley. Virginia stayed behind, though. She watched as the British came and burned everything down, even the White House! After the war, Miss Dolley came back home. The British would soon board ships to Alexandria, and slaves could go along to freedom. Now Virginia had a choice. Would she stay there? Or would she leave Tobias, Aunt Sally, and Miss Dolley, and go to freedom?
I really loved this book. I read it in school. The book was so interesting! My favorite character was Virginia, such a young girl with so much bravery.
Phenomenal Friday fact!
Earth Day is celebrated every year by more than a billion people in 180 nations around the world.
How do you celebrate Earth Day? Comment below.
Photograph by Kevin Turner, Flickr
Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow
Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow is about a boy named Jake and his sister. They go to a museum and they each have these coins on necklaces that they got from their parents who died. They died while they were discovering artifacts at this archaeological dig. At the museum Jake grabbed the two necklaces and held them together against this pyramid and they fit together and matched a symbol on the pyramid.
This caused them to travel to this weird place, where they immediately almost got eaten by a Tyranosaurus rex. They met two people who would become their best friends in the story. They are taken to the main town and everyone thinks that they were sent by the Skull King. But there are no signs of this so they’re allowed to stay.
The people of the town get attacked by the Skull King’s minions. Jake is made an assistant priest of the town because of his knowledge of sy-enz (science) which is like magic to the people in this land. You’ll have to read the book to find out how and if Jake and his sister can save the town and themselves.
I recommend this book to maybe 7-15 year olds. You will like it if you like adventure, action and awesome books. Me and my dad are going to read the second book of the series, which hasn’t even come out yet, but I got an early reader copy. It’s called Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx.
Professional cartoonist and environmental activist Drew Aquilina is bringing fun and laughter to the 2011 Earth Day project “A Billion Acts of Green” with his new collection of nature cartoons in his book “Green Pieces: Green From the Pond Up.”
Aquilina uses his cartoons to teach respect for nature by reconnecting with it. Aquilina’s message focuses on the idea that the more people go outside to learn about the world from nature’s perspective, the more they’ll understand and want to protect it.
Click to enlarge cartoons:
NGKids: What are your plans this Earth Day?
Aquilina: I am planning on going to a local childrens hospital to donate some Green Pieces: Green From the Pond Up cartoon books and light tables for use at the hospital’s classroom. Many of our local hospitals have classrooms for kids to help them stay academically current with their studies during their hospital stay. During my visits, I will be teaching kids how to draw cartoons by using the light tables and to talk about the environment.
NGKids: What are five fun Earth Day activities that kids of all ages can enjoy?
1. Plan a camping trip in your own backyard, this can be a test run for future camping trips at local camp sites.
Identify what plants and animals live in your yard. Try to discover
what is living right outside your house and get to know your local
plants and animals. Make a list. If you cannot identify each species,
take a photograph or notes and check your encyclopedia, local library,
or online research source to try and identify them.
3. Sign up for
a local Earth Day event. Check local listings for habit revitalizations
or clean ups and help your local environment.
4. Build a friend a
home. Put up or build a bird house to attract nature to your yard. Try
to attract hummingbirds: With the help of an adult, boil one part sugar
to three parts water. Place in a cup.
5. Plant a plant! What
better way to celebrate Nature than to add to it. Plant native trees,
shrubs, or wildflowers. Have fun researching with other people to
discover which native plants exist in your area and enjoy your efforts
long after Earth Day.
NGKids: What’s one thing every person can do every day of the year to help the planet, not just on Earth Day?
Aquilina: There are so many activities that are not only fun but helpful. The main ideas that can be applied every day include recycling, reducing trash, and disposing of it properly. If you see trash anywhere outside, take the time to put it in its right place. We wouldn’t want people to leave trash around our own homes, do think of the outdoors as Nature’s house and keep it clean.
Read the whole post »
One year ago, on April 20, 2010, an oil rig called Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill that started with the explosion was the worst in U.S. history. A year after the disaster, the Gulf appears to be bouncing back–at least on the surface. Many animal populations were affected by the oil, and there is still oil in the depths of the Gulf, even if it cannot be seen on the surface. However, scientists warn that the true scope and lasting effects of the oil spill won’t be known for a long time.
Photograph courtesy Stephen Lehmann, U.S. Coast Guard
BOOK NAME: The Kidnapped Prince
AUTHOR: Olaudah Equino
ADAPTED BY: Ann Cameron
In 1755 a young African boy, Olaudah Equino, was kidnapped from his people and sold into slavery. Never being exposed to any other people or cultures other than his own village, this frightened him greatly. His first taste of the world was the bitter and cruel ways of the white people, beating people of other races and treating them like animals. As Olaudah serves as a slave for most of his life, he learns the difference between right and wrong in many instances. On his journey to earning back the freedom he should’ve already had Olaudah travels halfway around the world, experiencing things that made him famous.
This was a book I was to read as part of my world history for school. I wouldn’t have picked this book off of a shelf and read it willingly, but I’m rather glad I did. Although the book is historical fiction and my tastes tend to lean more to the ‘steampunk’ style, I enjoyed it and actually learned some things from it. I was happy to read a book that featured slavery from the view of an actual slave. Olaudah Equino wrote his autobiography and it became a best-seller. Later, author Ann Cameron edited his biography to a story that could be enjoyed by all ages.
The Kidnapped Prince is a short chapter book, each chapter being about two pages long. I recommend this to anyone who can read and even to those, like myself, who have no interest in the history of slavery. This short read with increase your knowledge in slavery and peak your interests greatly, leaving you wanting more.
BOOK NAME: The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles
AUTHOR: Padraic Colum
Let’s take a journey back in time and encounter Greek gods, heroes, mysterious creatures, and more! Greek mythology is truly interesting and intriguing. When you read The Golden Fleece, the characters and images described are vivid and remarkable.
This is the tale of the hero, Jason, and his quest for the legendary Golden Fleece in Colchis. The legendary, solid gold wool is a fabulous treasure. It takes a powerful warrior to earn and obtain it. Along with his comrades Heracles, Atlanta, Orpheus, and many other warriors, Jason sets out on a long, treacherous voyage aboard a ship known as the Argo. They face many battles, testing both their physical and mental limitations. However, one major obstacle awaits them in their quest to obtain the Golden Fleece. To reach the Golden Fleece, they must first triumph over the magic spells that guard it. Can the heroes ever reach the Golden Fleece and return safely home with their treasure? Along the perilous trek, stories are told of the courageous encounters and battles of Heracles and the Hydra, Theseus and the Minotaur, and Perseus and Medusa.
This book was filled with amazing characters! I particularly was fascinated by Jason’s physical and mental strength. I seldom read books about Greek mythology, but this book captured my interest immediately and makes me want to read more about Greek mythology. I learned a lot about ancient Greek civilization and learned of the gods known as the Olympians and the Titans. The book was well written with elaborate detail. The illustrations were described with such clarity, that I could picture every character and every scene. For example, the author describes the Minotaur as a huge, muscular beast. This creature is half man, half bull, with fangs, a slobbering mouth, thick lips, calloused skin, dragon claws, icy breath, and no blood in its veins. I could definitely picture the true essence of the legendary Minotaur. I enjoy drawing, so I often try to sketch pictures of the creatures based on the author’s brilliant descriptions. Overall, The Golden Fleece was truly a magnificent read!
Phenomenal Friday fact!
Glass can last for millions of years on Earth. So, don’t throw it away — recycle it!
Photograph by David Friedman, My Shot
BOOK NAME: Little Joe
AUTHOR: Sandra Neil Wallace
Have you ever wondered what it is like growing up on a farm? Little Joe by Sandra Neil Wallace is a realistic fiction book about life on a farm. It shows how love and affection towards an animal will make the animal love back.
Eli Stegner is a young boy who is growing up on the Stegner farm. He gets his first calf which he names Little Joe. Everyday, Eli gets closer to Little Joe, his big black calf. Caring and compassionate Eli teaches Little Joe to follow his directions and helps Little Joe when he has to part with his mother, Fancy. Soon, Eli, along with Grandpa’s help, starts preparing Little Joe for the annual Country Fair. This is where everyone shows their animals in the show ring and the owner of the meatiest calf wins a blue ribbon. Eli’s big dream is for Little Joe and him to win the blue ribbon and he has high hopes on it.
I would definitely recommend this book for others to read. The book sets a lively mood. The story is simple to follow and is filled with fun moments. There are lots of details about calves and how to raise them. At the front of the book there is a labeled diagram of a cow’s body parts which I would refer to while reading the book. My favorite part in this book is the “Big Night” when Eli and Grandpa see so many amphibians coming out of hibernation.
On April 12, 1962, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union (now called Russia) became the first human to fly in space. He orbited around Earth in the spacecraft Vostok 1, which was entirely controlled by engineers on the ground. According to Cathleen Lewis of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, when Gagarin returned to Earth he said: “When I orbited the Earth, I saw how beautiful our planet is. We must protect and preserve this beauty and not destroy it.”
Photograph by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images
BOOK NAME: A Whole Nother Story
AUTHOR: Dr. Cuthbert Soup
I sensed this was going to be a different kind of book when I found out that the Cheeseman family included a balding dog and a sock puppet named Steve. Actually, it sounded like my kind of family! To make matters more intriguing, this particular family is on the run from top-secret agents, international spies, and one chimpanzee.
Mr. Cheeseman is an inventor and all the people chasing him want one thing, his greatest creation, a time machine! His family includes three children. They are nice kids, but have no friends. Why is that? The problem is that they never stay in one place for very long. They are always on the go because their father is afraid that those chasing them will use his invention for evil purposes. And he is correct!
Sometimes the kids have to get creative to keep themselves occupied. For example, the youngest child, Crandall, created his own best friend, Steve the sock puppet. The reason Crandall holds onto the puppet so dearly is because it was a gift from his mother. She passed away from a mysterious illness and so he takes comfort in her gift. Steve was a “snarky” looking puppet and “never missed an opportunity to comment on anything and everything in his annoyingly squeaky voice, which sounded not unlike a dolphin with laryngitis, if you can imagine such horrible squeaking.”
This book is full of these kinds of witty descriptions that had me chuckling throughout it. I don’t want to give away their adventures, but Dr. Cuthbert Soup does make an appearance as the head of the National Center for Unsolicited Advice. After reading this book, I’m definitely ready for some more Soup!
The National Geographic Kids website has been nominated for a 2011 Webby Award! Grab your parents and ask if you can register and vote for NG Kids (kids.nationalgeographic.com), in the Website – Living – Youth category on the Webby Awards People’s Voice page.
Would you like to be involved in possibly the biggest chemistry experiment ever conducted? The Global Water Experiment is asking students to test the water where they live and share their results with students around the globe. Participants will learn about sustainable water management and the role that chemistry plays in purifying water for human consumption. The results will be featured on an interactive global data map through the end of 2011, the “International Year of Chemistry,” as designated by the United Nations.
Find out how you can participate in the Global Water Experiment (ask your parents for their permission).
How much do you know about water? Take this quiz.
This morning, National Geographic Society employees spotted new arrivals in the courtyard–mallard ducklings!
Ken Geiger, senior editor for technology at National Geographic magazine, snapped this picture. Two ducklings were in the courtyard’s decorative pool at the time, and after taking the photo, Geiger and another staffer fashioned a duckling ramp to help them climb out.
Photograph by Ken Geiger, National Geographic
BOOK NAME: Everwild
If you liked Everlost, then you’re sure to love Everwild, the sequel and second book in The Skinjacker Trilogy. Everwild came out a while ago, but the third book is coming out this spring so I decided to wait until it was closer to that time to review it. Everwild is the second book in the series, and follows Allie, Nick, Mary, and quite a few other characters in their journeys through Everlost. Nick is dubbed ‘The Chocolate Monster’ by Mary because of the chocolate stain that just won’t go away, and he is trying to get all of the kids in Everlost to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, Mary Hightower is trying to keep them all in Everlost forever. Allie goes back home to try and find her parents, and runs into some skinjackers. Near the end of the novel, she discovers the real reason why she can skinjack–and that reason will definitely be a big factor in some huge decisions she will have to make in the third book.
I love Neal Shusterman’s writing, and he continues to amaze me with his creative and imaginative stories. I would recommend this book to pretty much all kids who aren’t freaked out by the concept of ‘ghosts.’ For more information about the series, read my review of Everlost, the first book, to see if this is for you. My favorite character was actually a new character named Zinnia (although everyone called her Zin). She had a great personality and I was constantly laughing out loud at her antics. Overall, this is yet another hit that I encourage everyone to read (but not before you read the first book).
The common wasp is an invasive species in New Zealand. These wasps compete for food with an ant species called Prolasius advenus, which is a native species. Scientists performing an experiment with the insects noticed the wasps doing something unique: picking up ants crawling on food, flying a short distance away, and then dropping the ants. The scientists noticed that while the two species competed for a food source, the ants could be aggressive towards the much larger wasps, trying to bite them or spraying them with formic acid. The researchers think that the wasps might drop the ants, rather than killing them, to touch as little of the formic acid as possible.
Photograph by Julien Grangier, Victoria University of Wellington
Phenomenal Friday fact!
The air trapped inside an iceberg can be thousands of years
Photograph by Todd White, My Shot
BOOK NAME: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
AUTHOR: Tom Angleberger
Hi guys, I’m back. I read a book that was just hysterical: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. I think that you guys are going to like this book.
This book is about a kid named Dwight who is the strangest kid ever. He made this origami Yoda and he puts it on his finger and walks around school like that. Origami Yoda starts to give advice to people about their personal problems. Dwight puts Origami Yoda up to his ear and Yoda “whispers” the advice and then Dwight says the advice in a Yoda accent.
Tommy is the main character in the book and he wants to get to the bottom of this, so he starts a file and asks people who got advice from Origami Yoda to write a paper to add to his file. The whole book you are reading are the papers from Tommy’s file. It is very interesting.
One of the stories in the file is about Tommy’s best friend who doesn’t believe in Origami Yoda so he makes another Origami Yoda. Dwight’s Yoda says that there will be a battle of the Origami Yodas. You are going to have to read the book to find out what happens next but I guarantee you that you are going to be surprised at what happens next.
Thanks for reading my review I hope that you enjoyed it. I know I did. Thanks again, and bye! See you next time!
BOOK NAME: Fudge-a-Mania
When Peter Hatcher and his family want to go on vacation, Peter does not expect it to be right next to his enemy, Sheila Tubman. Not only were their houses near each other, but when he got to Maine, Peter found out that their houses were CONNECTED! How would he survive living next to the entire Tubman family? His family was enough to have to deal with!
In Maine, Peter meets Mrs. A and Mitzi, who he later finds out are wife and daughter of Big Apfel (only the greatest baseball player ever)! Peter goes through many weird times, including the time where his little brother Fudge’s bird escapes, and he has to go find it. Fudge was so weird. So weird, that he even wished to marry Sheila! But at the end of the book, Sheila and Fudge don’t get married, someone else does!
I really liked this book. I think Judy Blume is a great author. She has a great sense of humor. My favorite character in the book was Mitzi. She doesn’t have such a big part in the storyline, but she’s just so cute! I wish I had a little sister just like her! I also liked the way Judy Blume portrays Fudge’s character. It’s such a typical five year old! I could think of many five year olds who are just like Fudge. Just as annoying, and just as crazy! Fudge-a-mania is a great book! All the characters are great!
Want another opinion? Read Isabel’s review.
Youth Services America, or YSA, has announced that this year’s Global Youth Service Day will be April 15-17. This year marks the 23rd annual observance of the day. This annual campaign celebrates youth all over the world who help their communities with service projects. Youth will be working on projects in more than 100 countries and all 50 states. Will your school, scout troop, or other organization participate?
Want to learn how to get involved? Visit the official Global Youth Service Day website.
Image courtesy Youth Service America
Mark and Suzi Lilly had a big dream–that everyone should have access to fresh, local produce. In 2009, they started Farm to Family, a farmers’ market on wheels that serves people in Central Virginia.Their goal is to connect farms with communities and encourage a diet of fresh products.
Photograph by Mark Lilly
Mark and Suzi drive an old, brightly-painted school bus to areas that don’t have access to fresh food and teach people about the produce and how to cook it.
Photograph by Karima Selehdar
Learn more about Farm to Family.
Grow your own garden.