Archives for August, 2011
BOOK NAME: Fern Valley
AUTHOR: Aileen Stewart
Do you want to read some interesting stories about animals? Then you may want to read Fern Valley, a collection of short stories written by Aileen Stewart.
This book has many stories about animals who are all neighbors and friends in Fern Valley. These animals have lots of fun but learn lessons, too. For example, Kimmy Curlytail, a pig, one day came across a locket that wasn’t hers. She, however, was amazed with its beauty and decided to keep it for a little while. When guilt started to overcome her, she soon realized the importance of the locket for Alice, and returned it to her. Kimmy learnt never to take something that isn’t hers. Another story tells of Roberta and Mildred Cornstalk, two chickens filled with ideas. When it rained, the two girls called some friends over and guess what they did! Using some quilts they made a whole indoor fort in which they played inside. All of the other stories were just as exciting as these two.
This short book is a great pick to read when you have some free time. The animals in this book are just like us. That’s why it’s fun reading about the activities they play and the important lessons they learn. The morals that these stories teach us can be used in our everyday life. Also, it was easy to remember which family was what animal such as the Curlytail family was pigs and the Woolrich family was lambs. So, read this book and share the stories, for I’ve already read the book twice!
This past weekend, Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast of the U.S. The Category 1 hurricane first touched land in North Carolina. People living in Virginia to New York experienced flooding and downed trees. By the time it reached New York City and New England, Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Hurricanes get weaker after they pass over land. Irene did slow down, but it remained large and destructive much longer than most hurricanes as it moved north through Vermont.
Photograph by Hyunsoo Leo Kim, The Virginian-Pilot/AP
BOOK NAME: Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life
AUTHOR: Rachel Renee Russell
Dork Diaries is a charming book that accounts the story of a “dork” trying to survive middle school, which just about anyone in middle school (like me) can appreciate. It recognizes the very hard lives of tweens everywhere. No character type is overlooked in this book: mean popular girls, embarrassing parents, annoying little sisters, dorky best friends, and let’s not forget those heart -throbbing crushes.
I first heard of this book because it was a nominee for Favorite Book Series for the Kids Choice Awards. Since I was running out of book ideas, I gave it a try. Looking at the cover and format I initially thought I was holding a bad version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. But it actually turned out to be an amazing book that was very unique from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Since the main character of this book, Nikki Maxwell, is female, the target audience is mostly girls. But I think guys should read it too! I fell in love with Nikki and I could relate a lot to what she said. It is a real page turner that will have you charmed and waiting for the next one. I love the adorable drawings that they since the really help you visualize the story a lot better. I read at the end of the book that the author has daughters that help her with the pictures and story, so no wonder it is so good! I like the idea that the story is coming from real tween dorks! After reading these books, I hope you will enjoy being a dork too.
BOOK NAME: Silent Stranger: A Kaya Mystery
A hawk frequently circles above the woman’s head, so Kaya thinks that a hawk may be the woman’s wyakin, or Guardian Spirit. She therefore calls the woman Hawk Woman. Hawk Woman kicks and punches in her sleep, as if she’s having a bad dream. Kaya still doesn’t know what this woman is doing in their tribe.
Hawk Woman has a strange connection to Kaya’s dog, Talto. One day, she disappears with Talto, and Kaya must follow the footsteps to uncover her story. Read The Silent Stranger to find out what Hawk Woman’s story is.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading about the Native Americans. Their culture always fascinates me. I also love all the Native American names, which are so different from ours. They name their children according to things in nature. I find that very interesting.
Throughout the book, Kaya’s feelings change towards Hawk Woman. Kaya keeps trying to convince herself not to have bad feelings with Hawk Woman. I think this is a very important lesson. Just because a person may be strange on the outside, we should not have bad feelings towards them, because they most probably are good people.
On August 23, a 40-year-old woman named Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner from Austria climbed to the top of K2 (Earth’s second-tallest mountain). With this ascent, Kaltenbrunner has become the first woman to climb all of the world’s 8,000-meter (26,246-foot) peaks without using extra oxygen. That’s 14 climbs in all!
Photograph by Ralf Dujmovits, National Geographic
Another Phenomenal Friday Fact
Things got a little shaky at National Geographic headquarters yesterday! A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the U.S. East Coast, shaking Washington D.C., New York City, and beyond. The earthquake’s epicenter was in Mineral, Virginia, which is near Richmond. Earthquakes are rare in this part of the country, but their effects can be felt farther away than ones that strike the West Coast.
Humans weren’t the only ones shaken up by the quake. Animals at the National Zoo exhibited unusual behavior before and after the earthquake.
Photograph by Justin Lane, European Pressphoto Agency
BOOK NAME: Shark Wars
AUTHOR: EJ Altwater
What’s up readers, I’m back with another action packed review. This book really has some bite. I hope you enjoy my review.
This book starts on the warm Caribbean waters. Grey and his best friend Barkley are going to school for another boring day in their opinion. But Grey runs into some trouble on his way back and ends getting banished from his shiver (group). When Grey is banished, Barkley goes with him. But the rouge pair ends up running into other rogue Sharks.
Snork, Striiker, Mari, Shell, Barkley and Grey end up making their own shiver. But they end up wandering into another the Goblin shiver’s home waters. The Goblin shiver is led by Goblin (unique name, huh?). They are at war with the Razor shiver. They are forced into joining this shiver. Grey loves it in the Goblin shiver because he is treated great by Goblin. But then Barkley overhears some of Goblin’s line (the line is like the right-hand man except there are 5 of them) talking about using Grey for battle. Will Barkley end up saving Grey or will Grey be sucked into Goblin’s plan? I can’t tell you the end, because I don’t want to ruin the book for you.
P.S. Did I mention that this book is about sharks? No, I mean it’s actually ABOUT sharks! Grey and all his friends are sharks!
This book is for advanced 5th graders and up and it’s pretty good. Well, it was fun making this review so I hope you enjoy it. See you later.
Earlier this year, many of you submitted designs for the official patch for one of Dr. Ballard’s expeditions on the ship, Nautilus. Today, you can “ride along” on the Expedition Vessel Nautilus as the team members explore the depths of the ocean and search for shipwrecks! Visit the Nautilus Live page on National Geographic to watch the live expedition and check out video highlights of things the team has already discovered.
Image courtesy Sea Research Foundation
BOOK NAME: Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage
AUTHOR: Sophie Webb
Do you ever wonder what fabulous life forms dwell in the deep ocean? Would you ever want to travel far from shore and discover what is beneath the surface of the sparkling blue waters? Then maybe a career like Sophie Webb’s is one for you! Sophie is a naturalist and artist with a strong interest in birds. In this book, Sophie describes one of her voyages into the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). The purpose of her journey is to count, photograph, and take samples of the vast array of marine life that live in the ETP. This information will help to show the human impact on this unique and diverse ecosystem. Sophie observes the seabirds and dolphins, and through illustrations and writing, describes her unique experiences over the four-month voyage. From tiny flying fish to massive blue whales, Sophie’s art depicts the incredible wonders of nature.
This book was especially interesting for me to read. Marine biology and art have both been my passions for as long as I can remember. I’ve drawn thousands of pictures of ocean animals, and have learned many names and characteristics of many species of marine life. This book taught me about new creatures and incredible facts that I had never heard of before. For example, I learned that spinner dolphins can look different depending on where they are found. I also used to think that sperm whales were the deepest divers, but thanks to this book, I now know that Cuvier’s beaked whales hold the record for deep dives. I also have begun to draw some of animals pictured in the book, using Sophie’s illustrations to create masterpieces of my own. This story took me on a fascinating ocean adventure. It is a short and easy non-fiction read, making it a very unique combination that is a welcome addition to any reader’s collection. The story is written with such incredible detail and paints realistic images of the sea life. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
BOOK NAME: The Cay
AUTHOR: Theodore Taylor
Imagine being stranded on an isolated island unable to even see where you are. The Cay by Theodore Taylor depicts such a life. This book shows that one should never take advantage of another’s help.
Phillip, an 11 year old boy is living on the island of Curacao during World War II. When the war comes firsthand in the Caribbean, Phillip’s worried mom wants to go back to their home in safe Virginia, U.S.A. However their ship to the U.S. is torpedoed. Phillip is lost at sea on a raft with only a black man Timothy and a cat named Stew. Soon Philip gets blind due to a head injury. They arrive on a barren island, or cay. Timothy teaches Phillip how to survive on his own without his eyesight and Phillip grows more mature. Phillip has grown up learning that blacks are different, but he now realizes that that doesn’t affect the wisdom and intelligence of his guardian, Timothy. Will Phillip and Timothy ever be rescued from this island?
This book filled with adventure is one you would want to read. The author has brought Timothy’s voice by spelling words in the calypso accent making his character sound strong, rich, and powerful, like, “Why b’feesh different color, or flower b’different color? I true don’ know, Philleep, but I true tink beneath d’skin is all d’same” (79). The survival techniques that Timothy shows Phillip are very useful and portray how barren islands can be lifesaving, too. It’s interesting to read how Phillip matures because of Timothy’s influence.
Mosquitoes like smelly socks. Or more specifically, they are attracted to chemicals that people produce from their legs and feet. Researchers in Tanzania are testing mosquito traps that use smelly socks to lure mosquitoes into traps, where they are poisoned. Why is it so important to trap mosquitoes in Tanzania? Many mosquitoes in Africa carry the parasite that causes malaria.
Photograph by Mimi Klein, My Shot
BOOK NAME: One-Handed Catch
AUTHOR: Jane Auch
Some of the best stories are the inspirational ones, and this book sure is one of them. One-Handed Catch is based on the true story of the author’s husband who learns to play baseball one-handed and learns to excel at not just baseball, but in life too. Norm is a 6th grader who has great struggles after he loses his hand in an accident. I can’t even imagine having that happen to me, but Norm thinks that it was really a blessing because it made him work hard to overcome new challenges that most people don’t have to deal with. And these challenges are even small things like learning to tie your shoes with just one hand. Norm thinks that he probably wouldn’t have made the baseball team if he hadn’t lost his hand because it actually forced him to practice harder and improve. Norm’s mom is the “tough love” type mother and tells all of his teachers that they shouldn’t go easy on him or else he would never be able to handle new problems. Fortunately, his friend Leon doesn’t treat him differently either, which I think helps Norm a lot.
This book reminds me of Shark Girl because they both lose part of their arm and must overcome adversity and adapt to their new reality. They are both unsure of themselves, but in the end they accomplish goals beyond their dreams and set a new standard of what it means to be normal. Boys, this one’s for you, but I think girls will enjoy it too!
Astronomers say three space rocks found near Pluto might actually be new dwarf planets. Astronomer Scott Sheppard and his colleagues used the reflectivity of the space rocks to determine their size. However, because the space rocks are so far away, scientists are not sure if they are spherical (which means they would need to be to be named dwarf planets). There are currently five dwarf planets: Pluto, Eris, Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake.
Illustration courtesy Dana Berry, Kepler/NASA
BOOK NAME: The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing
AUTHOR: Suzanne Jurmain
Do you remember the last time you were sick…really sick? Did you have an icy chill that coursed through your body, followed by a horrible head ache and painful stomach ache, an excessive temperature, yellowing skin and eyes, black vomit containing blood, violent muscle spasms, and excessive bleeding? I assume your symptoms weren’t as severe as the ones that were mentioned. The symptoms being described are linked to one of the most deadly and mysterious diseases in the medical world, yellow fever.
Throughout history, yellow fever has killed over 100,000 people. Both the yellow fever germ and its infecting agent pretty much remained a mystery to scientists for a long time. In a major outbreak in the early 1900s, a group of dedicated scientists decided to try and crack the case of the unknown killer. Walter Reed was the leader of this group of scientists. His co-workers were Jesse Lazear, Aristides Agramonte, and James Carrol. Carlos Finlay was a scientist who conducted independent research and studies related to yellow fever. Through long months of hard work, a complicated series of experiments, and countless failures, this team of scientists searched for answers on why this disease was taking so many lives. Then something finally arose. The work of brave volunteers, dedicated research, and even the tragic death of a scientist, helped one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in history be made, the prevention of yellow fever.
This is the first non-fiction book that I blogged on this year. Yellow fever and the scientists’ quest to discover its source seems like something out of a science fiction movie. All of the odds were against them since they knew very little about the yellow fever germ and how it spread. I am amazed at the teamwork, perseverance, and logic of the scientists trying to crack the yellow fever case. Despite the risks and the fact that they had very little information on yellow fever, the scientists still managed to find the preventative strategies to save thousands of people all over the world from getting infected with yellow fever. The gruesome description of the disease that I referred to earlier was based off of all of the detailed information in the book. The book is short, making it a quick read during your spare time, so I highly recommend picking it up. Another amazing thing is that many modern day scientists are trying to find preventative measures and cures for diseases that are just as mysterious as yellow fever. In fact, a new cure for a disease may be found while you are reading this blog!
Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe, has been erupting off and on since early July. Although the volcano erupts often, the lava moves slowly, so there almost never any danger. The volcano has become more active during the last 50 years.
Photograph by Marcello Paternostro, AFP/Getty Images
BOOK NAME: The Strange Message in the Parchment (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 54)
AUTHOR: Carolyn Keene
Do you want to get involved in some detective work? Read The Strange Message in the Parchment by Carolyn Keene. This is a mystery which is part of the Nancy Drew series, one of my all time favorites.
Nancy Drew is an amateur detective who is working diligently to decipher a message in a parchment. Nancy’s friend, Junie, and her family have a parchment with paintings which they bought from their neighbor, Mr. Rocco. They need to decode the hidden message in the paintings. Nancy and Junie question Mr. Rocco about the parchment, but he keeps quiet – which is suspicious. Also, the girls meet young Tony, a worker for Mr. Rocco, who tells them that Mr. Rocco treats him cruelly and that someday he wants to find his family. Nancy’s biggest disappointment comes when the parchment is stolen. However, her picture perfect memory helps her track down the artist. Read the book to see if Nancy is successful in catching the thief and finding Tony’s family. How do the paintings on the parchment weave into the whole mystery?
Kids would love reading this book filled with endless suspense. Each chapter ended with excitement or left me hanging on a thread that I never felt like letting go of the book. Also, this book is composed of couple of mysteries which are interconnected making the book more complex and interesting to read. The way the clues are put together, I myself felt like a detective trying to solve the case. So pick this spine-tingling book off the library shelf and start reading.
BOOK NAME: Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture
AUTHOR: Kathryn Lasky
Hello readers, how are you all? I sure know that I’m good. I’m here to
tell you about the first book in an amazing series. You may have heard
of the movie Legend of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole…well, that’s
based on the first three books of a 14-book series. I haven’t quite
gotten through all of them yet – I’ve only read the first two, but I’m
going to keep reading the series. Did I mention that the series is all
about owls? Talking owls. And they wear battle armor.
Enough of this introduction! On to the review…
The first book in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series is called The Capture.
It starts when there is an egg hatching at Soren”s hollow. Soren is the
main character in the book and he has an older brother named Kludd who
really isn’t the nicest owl. He is pretty mean to Soren. There is also
a nest maid in the family. A nest maid is a snake that is born blind
and they serve for barn owls. Her name is Mrs. P and the owl family
loves her. Eglantine is the owl that’s hatched and Soren loves his new
sister with all of his heart. When Soren somehow falls out of his nest,
Kludd refuses to help him and he threatens to eat Mrs. P so nobody can
help Soren. His parents won’t be back from their hunting trip for a few
Soren is then snatched by St. Aggie’s patrols. The patrols are looking
to capture any and all owls who fall from their hollows because they
want to make them their slaves. On his way to St. Aggie’s, he becomes
friends with a little Elf Owl named Gylfie. St. Aggies’s is a horrible
place for Owls and Book 1 is about how Soren and Gylfie try to escape.
I’m not going to tell you exactly what happens…you are going to have
to get the book to find out what happens next. This is a really good
adventure book…sort of like an IndiOWL Jones. Get it?
See ya next time. Reed OUT!
Want another opinion? Read Mairen’s review!
BOOK NAME: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
AUTHOR: Grace Lin
Young Minli lives in the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, where she and her parents spend their days working hard in the fields. At night, Minli listens to her father’s tales about the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to everything. Minli sets out on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon–he will know how she can bring good fortune to her family. Along the way, she meets many magical friends, including a talking fish, a powerful king, and a dragon who can fly!
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar designated six new national natural landmarks last week. One of the new landmarks, Lake Billy Chinook in Oregon, is pictured above. In a statement, Salazar said “By designating these remarkable sites in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington as national natural landmarks, we help establish and pass down to future generations those awe-inspiring places that make America truly beautiful.”
Photograph by Buddy Mays, Alamy
The Prometheus Project: Trapped
Douglas E. Richards
This book begins by introducing you to siblings Ryan and Regan Resnick as their family moves to the “boringest place on earth”, Brewster, Pennsylvania. But as you read this book, you are teleported to a secret world that is anything but boring! In this world aliens have created, they test other intelligent life forms. The siblings are trusted with this secret when they infiltrate the Prometheus Project, where their mom and dad work. A freak accident happens while the scientists are conducting research. I can’t tell you what happens, but the two kids have to understand a problem by themselves or they might never see their parents again since they will be trapped in the unknown world created by aliens. It must have been a difficult experience for Ryan and Regan because it is hard enough to find food and water in the wild, but most likely would be almost impossible to find it on a strange, alien planet.
The author vividly describes very advanced and ingenious technology like sidewalks that are bouncy so you can walk at five times the speed as a regular sidewalk. While fascinating to think about, the scary part to me is thinking that there might be some race or creature that may be even more intelligent and knowing than us. I really like the author’s attention to details like descriptions of the houses and landscape. This is the best book about aliens I have read since Ender’s Game. This stunning book is a great mix between adventure and science fiction, so I would definitely recommend this book to fans of both genres. Of course anyone can read this book and I think they should! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.