Archives for June, 2011
Who’s this octopus? He’s Marmo, the mascot for PUMA’s new ocean conservation campaign. He is a smart, strong sea creature. In this photo, he is standing with PUMA’s boat the Mar Mostro, which sails with the PUMA Volvo Ocean Racing team.
During the upcoming 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race, Marmo will share his experiences as well as information on marine creatures, habitats, and ocean issues. He will also make appearances at local aquariums and schools in stopover ports along the race’s route.
Marmo will share his experiences on PUMA’s website. Click here to visit!
Photograph courtesy of PUMA
BOOK NAME: Thirteen Days to Midnight
AUTHOR: Patrick Carman
You are indestructible. Three words that transferred a power to Jacob Fielding that would soon change everything. Without knowing the “rules” or “guidelines” of the power, he remained unsure about it and hesitated to use it for a long time. Daily, he holds a flame under his fingers and wished it would burn his skin, but it doesn’t.
Then Ophelia James, a drop dead gorgeous daredevil at heart moves in town and become friends with Jacob and his best friend, Milo. When the secret is released to her, she becomes filled with ideas, all of which are to help people. But there is something addictive about testing the boundaries of the power and the fear that comes with running through fire unharmed, falling off buildings without a bruise and emerging yourself in water for an hour without drowning.
Jacob has to chose which lives to safe and which to let go. After a while, though, the choices become difficult and suddenly pressured. With every good deed and life they save, the power becomes cursed and Jacob only has 12 days to figure out how to release the curse.
The author wrote this beautifully and I won’t ever forget the adventure Jacob and Ophelia had cheating death. Although the cover and summary on the back might make it seem scary, it isn’t. The only thing to be cautious about was the mild language and conversations about hell. It’s an exciting quick read and any pre-teen/teen could easily eat this book up in a few days.
Hi, this Emily from National Geographic Kid’s first expedition to the Galapagos Islands back in 2006! At the beginning of the expedition, I was a curious nine year old in third grade, but at the end of the expedition I was an inspired, audacious, bold, confident and differentiated nine year old in third grade. Needless to say, my experience with the National Geographic crew in the Galapagos Islands greatly affected my perspective on conservation as well as my outlook on the future and what I would like to become. One interest in particular that the Galapagos trip sparked was my interest in marine biology. Before the expedition, I had no memorable experiences in the ocean to speak of, but after that one time snorkeling in the pristine reef by pinnacle rock, I was awestruck. I had never seen anything so beautiful in nature before and I think that one experience was one that will change the course of my life.
Since then, I’ve recently been to marine biology camp in San Diego, California where I learned more about ocean life, but was inspired to go because of my experience in the Galapagos. I’ve also found myself having more of an appreciation and love for science since the trip which is probably because I was lucky enough to see scientific knowledge being put to use at a young age, unlike many of the people surrounding me. I’ve also spent a day in the field with a herpetologist which, no doubt, taught me a lot, and gave me a more hands-on look at why conservation is important in my own backyard.
One thing that has been keeping my involved with National Geographic are the annual Explorers Symposiums in Washington D.C which my mom and I have been making it a point to attend. I feel extremely privileged to, every year, be able to see, meet and listen to legendary conservationists, activists, and scientists in every field. Every year after the event, I feel a renewed sense of inspiration and love for the earth, the same inspiration that I felt after coming back from the Galapagos. This year’s symposium felt extra special because, although the more famous and legendary explorers are great, I got to meet some emerging explorers with interests that pertained to me even more than usual. One of the speakers and emerging explorers that I really felt a connection to, was Mattias Klum, a Swedish photographer and film-maker. I enjoyed hearing him speak about his job and philosophy because I think my future career may be more along the lines of what he is doing now, and it’s always nice to be able to look up to someone.
Right now, I am looking forward to moving to North Carolina with the knowledge that I’ll be in reachable distance to one of my fellow Galapagos Explorers and hopes that I’ll be closer to the ocean and will have new opportunities to meet people like the ones that I always do at the symposium, which I will undoubtedly continue to attend as long as they happen!
BOOK NAME: Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles #1: The Brimstone Key
AUTHORS: Derek Benz & J.S. Lewis
One year ago, Max, Natalia, Ernie and Harley were just regular kids from Avalon, Minnesota…but that was before they learned that evil faeries, werewolves, and other unthinkable monsters actually existed. Now they are the Grey Griffins: monster hunters, celebrated heroes, and allies of the legendary Templar Knights–but even heroes have to go to school.
At Iron Bridge Academy, a school where the students learn to fight the forces of evil, the Griffins find themselves in a whole new adventure when the Clockwork King, a Templar enemy from the past, returns with a deadly plan. Will the Griffins have trouble defeating their infamous foe? Or will they pass with flying colors?
The winner of the Nautilus Patch Contest has been chosen! The winner is Emma Tarpley, 8, from Marion, North Carolina. Her patch design is shown above. Emma’s design will be made into a patch that will be worn on the 2011 Nautilus excursion. In addition to receiving a patch with her design, Emma will receive a package of National Geographic books.
The winning entry was chosen by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Bob Ballard and 2006 Emerging Explorer Katy Croff Bell.
Illustration by Emma Tarpley
BOOK NAME: Number the Stars
AUTHOR: Lois Lowry
As Denmark surrendered to Germany during the war in 1940, life became harder for the Danish Jews. It was 1943. Annemarie Johansen and her Jewish neighbor Ellen Rosen were best friends. Annemarie had a little sister Kristi, and she had another sister Lise, who died in an accident two years earlier. Her parents never told her what had really happened to Lise. Ellen, the Jewish girl, was an only child.
Soon, the Germans started capturing Danish Jews and relocating them. Ellen came to live with Annemarie and the rest of the Johansens, and pretended to be part of their family. Peter, the boy who was originally engaged to Lise, helped hide Ellen’s parents in a safer place. It was very dangerous for a non-Jewish family to hide Jews in their homes. If they were caught by the Germans, they too would be killed! But even though times were tough for both families, through much courage, Annemarie managed to save her friend.
When the war ended, Annemarie found out that Peter was a member of a group that tried to destroy the Germans, and he was killed. That’s when the truth is uncovered about Lise. Lise was also part of that group, and the Germans had caught her, too. Annemarie decided to wear Ellen’s necklace with the Jewish star, until she sees her friend again.
I really enjoyed this book. The character I think I am most like is Ellen, because I am Jewish, just like her character was. I follow all the traditions she does in the book. I also loved Annemarie’s character, because I really admire what a great friend she was.
Ever since I went to South Africa as a part of the 2007 team, there isn’t a single moment that doesn’t make me long for just on more dance of the local kids of the Sam Nzima School (now the Ezweni School) or just to be two feet away from an African elephant (that isn’t in a zoo). Of course when I got the call saying that I was among the fifteen winners who were offered the amazing opportunity, it all seemed somewhat surreal. It wasn’t until we got off the airplane that I realized that we were actually in South Africa! Though the scenery was utterly and completely amazing, it was in Africa that I discovered my love for people. While being able to just breathe in the crisp African air was just breath-taking, what I really loved was being amongst the people of the village township. Just being able to talk and laugh with them when they were living in buildings with tin roofs was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Thanks to them I realized that I wanted to be a social anthropologist and devote my life to studying people. Whether it be a homeless person on the street corner or a mother in a Swiss village–everyone has a story worth telling. Why not spend my life hearing as many as I can?
By attending the 2011 Explorer Symposium this week and hearing the members of the panel talk about their lives’ work, I was motivated to follow my dreams (cliche but true). I couldn’t help but hear the passion in their voices. It was inspiring. Many people spend their lives searching for what it is that they actually want to do. Well, I’m not one of them. I have found my passion and I have National Geographic to thank for it.
Two new Explorers-in-Residence were named at National Geographic’s 2011 Explorer’s Symposium: Dr. Enric Sala and James Cameron. Enric Sala is a marine ecologist who studies ocean environments. He was formerly a National Geographic Fellow. James Cameron is a filmmaker who is passionate about exploring.
Hi, this is Casey from Team Australia. I can’t believe it’s already been three years since our trip Down Under! Anyhow, I was at the Explorer’s Symposium on June 21st, and I would like to tell you about it. I arrived a little early after a two hour drive from West Virginia, which gave me a little time to explore the garden behind the National Geographic building. It was filled with a large variety of beautiful plants, which all of the birds seemed to enjoy.
The reception started at 5:00 pm, so I had an hour to talk to the other kids from the trips to the Galapagos, South Africa, and Peru, and some of the National Geographic staff who I hadn’t seen for two years. I also enjoyed the excellent food they served from different cultures. At 6:00, two Buffett Awards were presented to Moi Enomenga and Paula Kahumbu for their role in Latin-American and African conservation, respectively. Moi, a native Ecuadorian from the Huaorani tribe was given the Buffet Award for helping to build the Huaorani Ecolodge, which helps to collect funds for the Huaorani and promotes environmental conservation. Paula is a Kenyan Emerging Explorer for National Geographic who has played a fundamental role in African wildlife conservation, such as leading the fight to ban a pesticide that is killing many of Africa’s endangered wildlife including lions and hyenas.
Read the whole post »
BOOK NAME: Code Orange
AUTHOR: Caroline B. Cooney
A historic killer will possibly ravage New York City. This weapon of mass destruction is so small that it is undetected by the naked eye. It takes a microscope to see it. Who or what could wreak havoc on the city and the people who live there? It’s a virus known as Variola major, or smallpox. Throughout history smallpox killed thousands of people until its eradication a century ago. That is, it was believed to be eradicated.
For his biology course, Mitty has to do a report on an infectious disease. Mitty, a known slacker, would rather talk and goof off. As the due date for the report nears, Mitty knows he must begin his report. In a hunt for his topic, Mitty discovers several old books about smallpox. Not only that, he discovers actual smallpox scabs in an envelope lodged in one of the books. Since Mitty has not researched the virus and is unaware of the infectious risk, he unknowingly handles the scabs. Unwittingly, Mitty Blake might become the first smallpox case in over 100 years. Soon after handling the scabs, he begins to show peculiar signs and symptoms. To make matters worse, Mitty lives in one of the most heavily populated cities in the United States, New York City. New York City has been the target for terrorists, including bioterrorists, who could use Mitty’s find to cause a human catastrophe in this great city. Smallpox, one of the most deadly diseases of all time, could possibly infect everyone. What will be the fate of Mitty and New York City?
This book was actually quite tense. The most intriguing thing about this story is that a smallpox outbreak could quite possibly happen if the virus managed to stay alive over time. If a scientist could store and contain infected tissue in which a virus managed to survive, who knows what would be the consequences. The descriptions of the oozing pox or pustules and other symptoms of smallpox made my skin crawl. I actually pictured the horrible disease in my mind, almost like I was seeing it with my own eyes. I enjoyed the constant suspense. Almost every chapter ended with a time line of how long it had been since Mitty had touched the scabs and made me uncertain what would happen next. If you like fiction that seems realistic, and have a strong stomach, this is the book for you!
National Geographic Explorers working on projects all over the world are meeting at NG headquarters in Washington D.C. this week to share their latest fieldwork. Learn more about these superheroes, including the 2011 Emerging Explorers, by visiting the Nat Geo E-Team online!
Illustration by Chris Rooney
This summer, join us on a thrilling quest to discover great new stories. Each week, we’ll share with you a new exciting read, together with an Adventure Pack to go even further with the story. You’ll also be able to enter the sweepstakes for the chance to win fantastic prizes.
To get started, download your checklist of the featured books so you can make sure you don’t miss any of the fun!
BOOK NAME: Homeless Bird
AUTHOR: Gloria Whelan
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan is like getting stuck in a maze and thinking there is no way out of it, but eventually coming out and feeling relieved. This realistic fiction book shows that courage is always rewarding.
Koly, a 13 year old girl living in India is married to a boy named Hari by her parents. Hari is sick and dies soon after the marriage making Koly a widow which is considered inauspicious. Her life becomes miserable and all her dreams and hopes disappear. Koly has to bear the harsh scoldings of her cunning Sass or mother-in-law. To get rid of Koly, Sass slyly abandons her in Vrindavan, a city for widows. Here, Koly struggles to find food and shelter. Eventually she makes a living by using her talent of embroidery. Koly meets a hardworking and caring boy named Raji and makes many friends at the widows’ house where she stays. Her new life turns her grief into happiness, making her dreams come true.
I would suggest others to read this book filled with sorrow, pain, relief, and love. Homeless Bird shows many aspects of Indian culture and tradition such as arranged marriages and few rights for widows. I was able to feel Koly’s emotions because of the author’s clever use of similes. The title, Homeless Bird, is very appropriate for it symbolizes Koly’s journey through life. It is definitely an interesting book that you cannot put down once you start reading.
When you speed up video of emperor penguins huddling together in Antarctica, you see them do the wave! The penguins snuggle up together to keep warm and as new penguins join the group they take small steps, creating the wave effect. Researchers say that this helps the penguins get equal chance at time in the middle of the huddle.
Watch a video of penguins doing the wave!
BOOK NAME: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
AUTHOR: Jeff Kinney
This book is the fifth installment in this best selling series, which I personally adored from the first book. These books are always very witty in what they say and always make me laugh. They allow you to enter the mind of a middle school boy and learn how he sees the world. Some people may think that Greg is annoying because he is constantly complaining and being lazy, but the author ingeniously turns these traits into a very likable character who is just trying to get through life. This book features even more wacky situations in which Greg finds himself.
For example, he is excited about going to a lock-in at his school which includes boys and girls. However, it turns out to be a bunch of lame games, so he spends his time with the other boys plotting their escape. Another time he had to be a “flower boy” at his uncle’s wedding and had to wear a matching tuxedo with his little brother. He was supposed to have been at a party thrown by a cool 8th grader, but he had wedding duty instead. Pretty embarrassing stuff!
The books may seem long if you look at the page numbers, but I usually manage to read it in one day. The book is set in a journal format and features comic type pictures that are always well done and simple. I wish the author would write books quicker because they are so good I can’t wait to read them, but I can understand that an amazing book can take time to create and write. I guess I’ll just have to be patient for the next one to be released!
The great snipe is able to complete a flight from Sweden to sub-Saharan Africa in as little as two days (without any rest breaks)! Why? Scientists think it might be because these shorebirds are chubby. “They almost double their body weight before the flight,” said study leader Raymond Klaasen, a biologist at Lund University in Sweden. “And all this fat will be burned during the flight, and they will arrive lean and exhausted in Africa.” Other birds fly faster than the great snipe, but for shorter distances.
Although the snipe holds the current record for the fastest transcontinental migration, it may not hold the record for very long. There are probably faster birds out there. “Generally we know rather little about the performances of different species, as many have not yet been tracked,” said Klaasen.
Photograph by Klaus Nigge, National Geographic
BOOK NAME: Museum of Thieves
AUTHOR: Lian Tanner
I haven’t read a book like this before. It is one of the weirdest that I’ve ever read. It’s about a girl named Goldie who lives in an over-protective city where all children are chained up so nothing bad can happen to them-that is if you don’t consider being chained up to be bad. On the day that Goldie was supposed to be released from her chains, the city learns that 20 children have been killed in a bombing outside the town. The city leaders then decide that Goldie and all other children shouldn’t be separated from their chains. Goldie becomes so mad that she escapes the city. She then discovers a museum and sneaks into the building, where she meets the museum’s four keepers, named Sinew, Olga Ciavolga, Herro Dan, and the boy Toadspit. They all teach Goldie how to pick locks, act like someone else, blend in with the background, and other sneaky skills. While there, she finds crazy rooms and learns that the museum and its rooms sometimes shift. When the so-called Guardians of the over-protective city inspect the museum, they nail down the walls so they can map and find Goldie. They take her and Toadspit back to the city, where the adventure continues.
This book is so unique and strange that it is definitely worth reading. I consider it to be one of my all-time favorites.
Did you know that kids living in the U.S. spend 50% less time outdoors than kids did 20 years ago? Forests are great places to have outdoor adventures, spend time with your family, and learn about nature. You never know what you’ll discover. Grab your parents and tell them you want to go on an outdoor adventure this weekend.
National Get Outdoors Day is on June 11. What will you do outside to celebrate?
Getting outdoors doesn’t have to mean a long trip. Find out how to go camping in your own backyard on National Geographic Kids.
Image courtesy USDA Forest Service and The Ad Council
The average shower lasts about eight minutes long and uses 15 gallons of water. If you can shorten your shower, you can save several gallons!
BOOK NAME: Nothing But the Truth
I had to read this book for school. Even though I had to read it for an assignment, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. Sometimes reading for homework isn’t that bad, because you can end up reading some amazing books.
We already know that telling a lie is never good, but in this story we see that a lie can quickly escalate as more and more lies are added on to cover for the first one. Philip Malloy is in 9th grade and he dislikes his English teacher, Miss Narwin. Because of this, he purposely tries to do things to get on her nerves. As part of the daily morning activates at his high school, the national anthem is played. One day, Philip started humming along while it was being played. Despite warnings, he did this two more times during that same week, and ultimately was kicked out of the classroom and suspended from school.
Philip claims that this was an act of patriotism, but he’s really not a very big patriot in the first place. But many people jump on his bandwagon which leads to a series of events that result in some unfortunate consequences for almost everyone involved. It would seem that no one wins this battle.
Nothing But the Truth is a very intriguing book in that you’ll find yourself asking what is a lie and what is the truth? Sometimes it falls somewhere in between. I like the documentary style of this book’s writing because I found it easy to follow. It was also a great way to lay out the different viewpoints of the characters.
I would recommend this book for middle schoolers as I think they would find the subject matter the most interesting. This story will really make you stop and think and realize that there is always more than one side to a story, and that there can be some dire consequences to telling a lie.
BOOK NAME: Feed
AUTHOR: M.T. Anderson
While walking through the bookstore with a 2-foot-high stack of books in my arms, I saw Feed and added it to the stack. It somehow managed to survive the rigorous tests that got it into my bag on the way out of said bookstore, and I’m glad that it did. I started to read it and, while being confused with the language used, was quickly drawn into the vortex that is M.T. Anderson’s book.
Now, don’t go pick up this book if you can’t take bad language. It’s in the teen section for a reason, folks. Please get your parent’s permission if you’re 13 or under.
Moving past that awkward disclaimer, the book revolves around a teenager named Titus who spends his time e-chatting people, taking Spring Break on the Moon (awesome!) and generally hanging out with his friends. This might seem normal (well, except the Moon part), but everything is done over the Feed. The Feed is a network that is integrated into people’s heads and that is used to communicate and get information. Basically, think smartphone/encyclopedia/knowledge base all in one and in your head. That’s a pretty cool idea to begin with, but the way that M.T. Anderson exploits it to force the reader to take a look at our society and what it could evolve into is really enrapturing. Titus meets Violet, a girl who likes to talk in person (shocker) and is generally a little bit strange. When a hacker disables their feeds, they are sent into rehab and Titus learns all about Violet’s view on life.
This book, once you wrap your head around the decidedly futuristic language, is great. I haven’t read a “teen” book in a while that really makes you take as big a step back as Feed did. I can see how Violet was alone in a world where everything was done on the feed, and how that could soon become our society. Basically, read this book at some point in your life. If you’re not old or mature enough now, read it when you’re in high school, or even college. It will do you some good and give you a little perspective on life.
Today, June 8, is World Oceans Day. It’s a global celebration of the ocean and its creatures. The ocean is important to all of us. Are you doing anything to celebrate World Oceans day? What does the ocean mean to you? Leave a comment and let us know!
Photograph by Gary Brennand, Your Shot
Have you ever dreamed about being an archaeologist? Visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis gives you a chance to experience real archaeological discoveries as you explore the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Seti I, the terra cotta warriors excavation site in China, and Captain Kidd’s shipwreck off the coast of the Dominican Republic. The National Geographic Treasures of the Earth exhibit was created with the assistance of the National Geographic Society and opens on June 11, 2011. Watch this video to get an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the exhibit!
This summer, join us on a reading adventure! Each week, we’ll share with you an exciting new read complete with a customized Adventure Pack that will allow you continue the adventure even after the story has ended. You’ll also be able to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win thrilling prizes!
Where will reading take YOU this summer?
On an epic battle against evil forces?
BOOK NAME: Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles #1: The Brimstone Key
To a mystical–and dangerous–land full of fairies?
BOOK NAME: 13 Treasures
AUTHOR: Michelle Harrison
On a fight against deadly ninjas?
BOOK NAME: Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja
AUTHOR: Simon Higgins
On a trip back in time aboard a famous ship?
BOOK NAME: The Time-Traveling Fashionista
AUTHOR: Bianca Turetsky
On a magical quest to find a mythical creature?
BOOK NAME: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
AUTHOR: Grace Lin
BOOK NAME: The Titan’s Curse
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
How is everyone doing? I’ve got another Percy Jackson blog for you. I hope you enjoy this one.
The book starts off with Percy’s mom driving Thalia, Annabeth, and Percy to a school were Grover had reported that he had found a half-blood. When they got to the school there was a school dance going on. Thalia used some sort of “Jedi Mind Trick” on an instructor so they could get in the school. Once they got in they found Grover and he pointed out the two half-bloods. Their names were Bianca and Nico–brother and sister.
Percy, Thalia and Annabeth had to blend in with everyone else by dancing to get to Nico and Bianca. They all got separated from each other at the dance, and then something weird happened and they ended up in the forest. Once they regrouped, they figured out that the same instructor that they had tricked had done this and he had Nico and Bianca captured. Then the instructor flicked his tail and spikes came flying at Percy and his friends. Wait! he has a tail and that can only mean one thing: the instructor is a monster.
You guys have to read to find out what happens and what I’ve told you is really important to the rest of the book, so keep that in mind. This is one of the best books in the series. I hope that you guys think the same thing. Well guys I got to go, so until next time, bye!