Category archives for Uncategorized
BOOK NAME: Glory Be
AUTHOR: Augusta Scattergood
Glory’s lazy summer had been slowing strolling along until a big event happened that didn’t just change her summer, but her whole life! Set in 1960s Mississippi, Glory Be introduces you to Glory, a regular eleven year old girl who bothers her older sister, causes trouble, and looks forward to the swimming pool during the blazing summers. She’s had every birthday celebration there since she could swim, but now there are rumors the pool might close. In fact, nothing in town has been the same since a Yankee girl named Laura and her mother have come from Ohio to stir things up. Apparently those folks in the north don’t care much for segregation. In fact, Laura evens goes so far as to help an African American girl drink out of the white’s only fountain!
Glory doesn’t know any different way of life because she has grown up with segregation. But now there’s all kinds of talk about change such as her best friend leaving her school if it becomes desegregated. All these different opinions are making Glory’s head spin as she witnesses first-hand the civil rights movement starting into motion. She is now faced with some difficult choices as she stands up for what she believes is right.
This book was truly amazing and readers will love it just because it is a good read, and they won’t realize they are learning at the same time. The southern spin on the book also makes it all the more enjoyable, opening up a new window to the world for me as a northerner. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn about an interesting topic in our nation’s history or just wants a book to brighten up dark days.
Has your family ever dreamed of exploring Costa Rica? Pottery Barn Kids has announced a sweepstakes for families. Only adults can enter the Pottery Barn Kids Dare To Explore Costa Rica sweepstakes. One family will win an amazing eight-day trip with National Geographic Expeditions to explore the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion!
BOOK NAME: Atherton: House of Power
AUTHOR: Patrick Carman
Atherton: House of Power by Patrick Carman is tremendously wonderful. You will expect adventure, action, and mystery. Atherton is a 3 layered land of the Highlands, Tabletop, and the Flatlands. The Highlands is the top of Atherton and supplies Atherton with all the water. Tabletop is where Atherton receives all the supply of food which is why there are slaves in Tabletop. The Flatlands is the place filled with creatures such as cleaners which have suction discs and are able to live on garbage waste and little water. A boy ,named Edgar, living in Tabletop, secretly goes near a cliff escaping from the plantation behind him. Edgar finds a mysterious book about his missing father. Since he can’t read he must reach the Highlands since they know how to read. The number one rule is to never climb the cliffs to the Highlands. Edgar climbs regularly, but the penalty is death!
Atherton: House of Power is a stupendous book because as I said it contains adventure, action, and mystery. My favorite character is Edgar because he was courageous enough to climb to the Highlands even though he most likely would have died just in search of his father. Mr. Ratikan is my favorite villain because he treats the kids ok for a person that uses kids as slaves. If I had to compare this book to another book it would have to be The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi because they both show a character trying to uncover a mystery. I highly recommend House of Power as a dystopian novel.
Want another opinion? Read Kyle’s review!
This spring, swarms of periodical cicadas will emerge on the east coast of the United States. These Brood II (or Brood 2), 1.5-inch long cicadas spend most of their lives underground, coming to the surface 17 years after they were laid as eggs by their mother! The cicadas start appearing after the temperature in the ground rises to 64°F. The year’s first cicadas have been spotted in the last few days.
They don’t sting or bite, but there will be millions of them crawling and flying around.
The mighty Zambezi was calling our name so we ventured up river to see The Falls from a different perspective. Our tented camp was right on the edge of the river. We spent our days listening to the one million liters of water thundering each second and watching the smoke it created hover over our heads.
One afternoon we went into town and visited a school. It is hard to imagine 60 students in one class with just one teacher, but in Africa there are often larger classes. Even though the school was built of four simple walls, all the kids were happy and learning. We wanted to do our part to help so we went to the school supply store and bought tons of paint sets, pencils, colored pencils, exercise books, erasers, and glue sticks. They all seemed so incredibly happy about our small contribution.
While we were in town we also went to the craft market. At every stop in Africa we have seen extraordinary crafts, but in Zambia the collection of artists and crafts was outstanding. To our right there were vibrant fabrics, to our left there were intricately woven baskets, and in front of us were wildlife oil paintings so real you thought the animals might hop off the canvas and bite (and of course my mom fell in love with one).
The patterns and colors of the fabrics are so beautifully African. The women use the fabric for everything; for their skirts, for their bags, and for their baby holders. Something else I noticed as we wandered through the shops is their creativity and the fact that nothing goes to waste. We saw people playing checkers with some rusty bottle tops in the sand. We also saw people taking old pieces of plastic and weaving them into bags and dresses.
Our final night in Livingstone was really special. We went out for an evening boat cruise. The sunset that night was stunning. The sky turned a fiery orange and the reflection in the turquoise water made it even better. Then to top off a perfect night we saw a herd of elephant (instant smile) at the water’s edge. They were admiring the awe-inspiring night just like we were. The Smoke that Thunders wowed us and will always be remembered, but the time had come to move on, so we are off to Malawi, the warm heart of Africa.
This Sunday, May 12, is a day for families in the U.S. and many other countries to celebrate their moms! President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May to be set aside as a Mother’s Day holiday in 1914, and we have been celebrating every year since then.
Do you do anything special for your mom on Mother’s Day?
BOOK NAME: Laugh With the Moon
AUTHOR: Shana Burg
Clare is a thirteen year old girl who lives in Boston with her father, or at least used to. When her dad unexpectedly moves them to Malawi, Africa for two months, Clare is unwillingly dragged to a new place where they barely speak any English. Laugh With the Moon is an inspirational story about how Clare learns to cope with moving to what seems like “a whole other planet” and the aftermath pain of her mother’s death. Clare is faced with many challenges, but with the help from her new friends and father, she’ll learn valuable life lessons that will stick with readers forever.
I was stepping completely out of my comfort zone when reading this realistic fiction book but I really enjoyed it and found it extremely inspirational. I loved that Clare was portrayed as a normal girl that reacted to such drastic changes and challenges like a normal 13-year-old girl would. It helped connect to her and her story which made the book that much better. My favorite character in this book was Memory. I found her really intelligent, clever, and independent even when the world threw hurdles in her way. This book taught me that “grief isn’t a tunnel you walk through and you’re done”. It was extremely moving and I recommend it for ages 10 to 14.
National Kids to Parks Day is Saturday, May 18. National Kids to Parks Day is all about kids connecting with nature, so visit the National Kids to Parks Day website to find an event near you! As the National Park Trust mascot Buddy Bison says, “Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!”
You may have seen a dog accompanying a passenger on your local bus, but some wild animals have been spotted hitching a ride on public transportation! In 2002, a coyote climbed aboard a Portland, Oregon, light rail train and snuggled into a seat. Wildlife specialists removed the coyote before the train started moving. Cats, pigeons, and even rhesus monkeys have been spotted on buses and light rail trains!
It’s time to celebrate the national parks! April 27 is volunteer day, so look for opportunities to help out in your nearest national park.
National Park Week began on April 20 and runs through April 28. Is your family going to visit a national park this weekend?
Hi, I’m Lucy Gammon, 13-year-old NG Kids reporter, and on Monday I got the chance to visit the Vice President’s residence for a reception honoring the National and State Teachers of the Year. Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, an educator herself, welcomed all the teachers to her house and talked about how important teachers are in the world.
I got the chance to talk to the 2013 National Teacher of Year, Jeff Carbonneau, a high school teacher from Washington state. Jeff told me he was planning to be a vet, but took a tutoring job and “was hooked” on teaching. So he switched his major and became a teacher. He teaches science and engineering classes.
He also enjoys the outdoors. I decided to ask him what animal he would be if he could be any animal in the world. He said he would be a giraffe, because giraffes are able to look over everything and see things in a different perspective.
Phenomenal Friday Fact
Palm trees grew at the North Pole about 55 million years ago.
The Earth is an amazing planet. As we celebrate Earth Day this April 22, consider the changing environment and take steps to protect it for the future.
Check out books and movies about nature and the environment.
Earth Day is April 22! How are you and your family going to celebrate? It’s a great day to get outside and ride bikes, or make a point to recycle, but there are other ways you could spend the day. You can learn more about the Earth and the animals and creatures that make the world a special place to be.
Below are lists of books from National Geographic and movies which you and your family may want to take a look at on Earth Day. They all share the common theme of the environment (and some have cute animals too)! Do you have any favorites on the list?
True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin
This book offers you 100 great tips and tricks on how you can make a difference. Being environmentally friendly isn’t hard with these great ideas!
Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders by Susan Magsamen
You’ll never get bored with this environmentally aware book. Chock-full of poetry, literature, art and activity ideas, there is something for everyone and is great to share with the family.
Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis
Poetry is pretty great. Animals, are also pretty great. How about 200 poems about animals with pictures? Really great! This book is full of roaring, squeaking and soaring.
National Parks Guide U.S.A.
America’s National Parks are some of the country’s most valued treasures. This book has lots of great pictures of the sites, facts about animals there, tips on exploring, and more.
Amazing facts about 2,500 animals! This book has maps, fun trivia and 1,000 color pictures of just about any animal you’re curious about.
The World Is Waiting for You by Barbara Kerley
How many times have you been asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” This book helps you figure it out based on things you love and are interested in now as a kid. All the while encouraging you to explore, discover, and go on adventures!
A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley
This picture book helps show how we are all connected around the world by our need for water. It doesn’t matter if you get it from the kitchen or scoop it up from a river, we all need this vital resource.
One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley
No matter where you are from or where you are going there is one very basic fact: we are all sharing the same journey. Through amazing pictures and storytelling, see how we are all connected.
Backyard Wilderness by Catherine Herbert Howell
Here’s a pocket guide to many of the great animals found in North America including bats, squirrels, birds and bugs.
Earth in the Hot Seat by Marfe Ferguson Delano
Take a look at how the environment is changing and the scientific reasons behind. Maybe it’ll inspire you to make a difference!
This film shows what may happen to our Earth in the future if we don’t take care of it and leave it behind. By taking care of ourselves and protecting the Earth, we can live in a happy and healthy environment.
Can you imagine living in a world without trees? They provide us with oxygen and hundreds of homes for animals. We can all be like the Lorax and protect the remaining trees, or even plant new ones!
Though the rainforests may not be the home of fairies, it is an important ecosystem for other plants and animals. Deforestation and pollution are one the greatest threats to these lush habitats.
After seeing all the beauty that’s out there, can you imagine it all being wiped out by mankind’s careless ways? Do your part to make the Earth a better place for all of these animals.
How would you react if someone took away your home? These animals aren’t going to stand for the overdevelopment of their land!
March of the Penguins
Take another look at how amazing animals are and their natural environments. It’s our job to protect them.
Not everyone has the environment’s best interest at heart. But just like these kids in the movie, you can take a stand and make a difference.
Most humans eat three meals a day, yet the Dolly Varden trout can go up to a year without eating anything! This fish can expand or shrink its stomach, depending on how much food it can (or can’t) find.
Dolly Varden trout eat the eggs that salmon lay during their spawning season. However, since food can be scarce, they must conserve their energy. By shrinking their intestinal tracts, they can use less energy until they are able to find more food. When they finally get a chance to eat salmon eggs, they can expand their stomachs. Imagine how helpful that would be when you want to finish a banana split!
11% of the Earth’s surface is used to grow crops.
BOOK NAME: My Amazing Life in Photos
AUTHOR: National Geographic
My Amazing Life in Photos by National Geographic is truly a fun, wacky, and inspirational photo scrapbook.
Snap tons of pictures in a variety of topics and paste them in these pretty backgrounds. A category of “All About Me” allows you to put pictures of you from a cute, little baby all the way to a big kid. Where do you live? Bring to life your bright, spectacular bedroom and pretty neighborhood with vivid pictures. Frame a picture of your family and don’t forget about your special pet! Put a class picture and those unforgettable moments with your friends and buddies. Don’t forget to put in all the fun stuff you enjoy doing during your free time. Also, explore your many vacations through the pictures you put on the festive pages. Celebrate with your birthday pictures flying high in balloons. Plus, there’s one whole section dedicated to your pictures in different moods.
My Amazing Life in Photos is a treasurable book in which kids can preserve a lifetime of memorable pictures. The pages have backgrounds which match up with the different themes. For example in the section where kids can put pictures of games and toys they love, there is a background of the game “Operation”. The frames add to the professionalism of this scrapbook since the section about family portraits has the traditional brown oval frames. Also, with each picture, there is a line provided to write a caption so that the meaning of the picture is saved forever. There are lots of tips provided on how to capture the best shot by playing with the zoom and light effects, which will definitely enhance your photo-taking skills.
Calling all budding chefs! If you are between the ages of 8 and 12, you are eligible to submit an original recipe to the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. After the grand success of its inaugural year, Michelle Obama, the USDA, the U.S. Department of Education, and Epicurious have teamed up once more to see what delicious and healthy recipe kids have to offer.
“Last year’s young chefs impressed and inspired me with their creativity, and I can’t wait to welcome a whole new group to the White House this summer and taste their creations,” says Michelle Obama.
One winner from each of the 50 states and U.S. Territories will come to Washington D.C. over the summer and attend the Kids’ “State Dinner,” which will be hosted by the First Lady! Selected entries will be served at the event.
You can submit virtually any meal or dish, from sandwiches, soups and pastas to salads, stews, and yogurt parfaits. Your submission has to be original, affordable and delicious. Since this is the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, half of your dish should be made up of fruits and veggies, grains, lean proteins, or low-fat dairy.
So, in the words of the First Lady, “let’s get cooking!”
Do you like to cook?
Erin Henderson, a linebacker on the Minnesota Vikings football team, has always loved big cats. While watching shows on the Nat Geo WILD channel during Big Cat Week, he was inspired to become what we like to call a “LIONbacker,” and help raise awareness of these endangered animals. He wants to make sure they will still be around when his two-year-old son grows up. He contacted National Geographic and offered to raise both awareness and money through his “Sacks for Cats” campaign–he pledged to make a donation for every sack he made during the 2012-2013 NFL season.
Henderson recently visited National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. with his family to present a $5,000 check to the Big Cats Initiative.
BOOK NAME: The Schwa Was Here
AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman
Calvin Schwa, also known as “the Schwa,” is not invisible. He is just easy to overlook. He is a nobody, so much so that he might as well be part of the scenery. Even his own father cannot be particularly sure of his whereabouts. Some call this “The Schwa Effect”, a condition that renders one virtually invisible to all but the extremely observant. It is said that this effect is terminal, eventually causing the person to simply fade away.
Anthony “Antsy” Bonano barely even noticed The Schwa when they first met. Calvin seemed to blend in perfectly with his surroundings, virtually unnoticeable. Moreover, the Schwa had sat next to Antsy in class for a long time without Antsy ever noticing until that fateful day. Antsy decided to befriend his “invisible-ish” classmate and assist him with his unusual predicament. After doing extensive experimentation on the effectiveness of the Schwa Effect, Antsy had the “brilliant” idea to use the Schwa’s stealth as a profit generating opportunity. The two-some completed spying tasks as well as dares for the entertainment of the other students, as well as for cash.
All is not well, however. Antsy and the Schwa may have just accepted one triple-DOG-dare too many. Furthermore, the Schwa is having trouble coming to grips with his Schwa Effect. He feels as if he is fading away, and that one day, possibly in the very near future, he will cease to exist. There will be emotional pain, there will be cold hard truth, and there will be plenty of ferocious dogs…
This book was excellent. My favorite part was the author’s style of writing. The book was full of humorous lines and phrases. Sarcasm, jokes, puns, and idioms were all present in this book. Such sayings as, “He didn’t have a cow, he had a whole herd,” and “It smelled like something had died in there because it had smelled something else that had died in there,” were commonplace. I could not stop chuckling to myself, and some were good enough to read aloud to family members for more laughs. Even the titles of the chapters were funny. Behind all of the humor, the plot was excellent as well. There were many unexpected twists and turns, as well as several shocking events. I will not spoil these, so read the book. I have also read another book in the series, called “Antsy Does Time”, which was similar to this book in many ways. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story with plenty of laughs thrown in.
Want another opinion? Read Mairen’s review!
Many years ago David Livingstone was the first white person to experience the mighty smoke that thunders or as David Livingstone called it Victoria Falls. This week we had the good fortune to experience Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world! We stood on the edge of a cliff and stared in awe at its power. The water was piling over the edge, the smoke was rising, the water was thundering, the white river was swirling and my clothes were soaking.
Later in the afternoon we took our adrenaline buzz up a notch with a zip-line across the mighty Zambezi River from the shores of Zambia all the way to the shores of Zimbabwe. The wind was blowing in my hair, my heart was beating fast, the falls were thundering in my ear, and we were zipping across the awe-inspiring gorge at 70 miles per hour! My mom was squeezing my hand, hoping the wire was secure, as we looked down over 200 feet and saw nothing but water, water filled with crocodiles.
As if we hadn’t had enough adrenaline already, the next day we jumped into a cage and were lowered down into crocodile infested waters. Their Jaws were chomping, their eyes were staring, and my heart was pounding.
With loads of adrenaline still racing through us we decided to take it down a notch. The next day took an art class with a local Zimbabwean artist. We were jammin’ to Marley, making jewelry “with good energy man”, and letting out our inner Rasta. Another amazing night we went to Mama Africa and saw a traditional show. Their drums were beating, their feet were moving to the rhythm, and their voices were singing to the music.
To end the week we took our energy from laid back to elegant and rolled in to the grand Victoria Falls Hotel. It is a beautiful colonial property, steeped in history. Old black and white photos adorn the walls, tea and crumpets are delivered each afternoon, the gardens are gorgeous and the veranda has epic views of The Falls. The night we arrived there was a full moon which made the experience even better. It was full of pure elegance.
After zipping, swimming, soaking, jammin’, and eating crumpets we all agreed that Victoria Falls was super awesome.
Zoe Willcutts, age 10, is a National Geographic Kids reporter and covered the events at this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll. Here is her report.
I went to the White House Easter Egg Roll as a kid reporter to take photos and a poll. I asked 53 people the same question: if they were president, what color would they dye the White House for Easter? I got a full rainbow of choices. Race car driver Danica Patrick said teal. Chef Spike Mendelsohn chose lime green. Al Roker, from the Today show, said he would choose lavender. Teen singer Coco Jones agreed and picked lavender too. Singer Austin Mahone said he would go with red because it was his favorite color. The band members of The Wanted were all over the map–Max chose black, Tom chose pink, and Siva said, “definitely light blue.” And best of all was the Kid President’s answer: Red, white and blue!
I also got to ask a few people what they thought ordinary kids could do to make a difference in the world. Today host Al Roker said kids can help their parents. Danica Patrick, the NASCAR driver, encouraged kids to give compliments, because “it feels great to give them and to get them.” And the Kid President Robbie Novak said “I’ve got this covered; I’m all about how we can make a difference! Don’t throw trash on the ground.”
Overall, it was a great day and I really enjoyed meeting people and seeing everyone outside being healthy and active on the White House lawn.
Saturday, March 23, 2013 marked the seventh year that people around the world participated in Earth Hour. From 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., businesses, individuals and governments around the globe turned off the lights, computers, and TVs.
Hundreds of millions of people in 7,001 cities in 153 countries across the continents participated this year! With people on all 7 continents pledging to do their part and create a sustainable future, we can reduce the energy footprint on Earth.
Did you and your family participate in this year’s Earth Hour?
Simon’s cat is a rather complicated book. It’s about… a man named Simon and his cat. Hey! I guess it’s not so complicated after all!
The book tells the story of Simon, a young man with a big cat, who finds a kitten in a box in his backyard. Feeling pity for the kitten, Simon brings it into his home. But without his knowledge, the kitten gets into quite some trouble. It begins to fight with Simon’s other cat, and destroys everything in the home! Yet Simon always comes at the wrong times- when it looks like his cat is the culprit. This sparks a lot of arguments and competitions between Simon’s cat and the kitten.
The kitten is constantly playing tricks on Simon’s cat and getting itself into dangerous situations, such as playing with the hedgehogs or releasing the rabbits. It also ruins the cat’s litter box, and rips Simon’s pants and shoes! The fights are endless! It seems like the cat and the kitten will never be friends! But towards the end of the book, the cat and the kitten learn to get along. They begin to get used to each other, and they even become friends.
I enjoyed this book. It really gives you an image of what the story is trying to tell! I would recommend it to anyone, even young children. Through silly pranks and stupendous surprises, the story of Simon’s cat and the kitten is truly a great one. And the greatest surprise yet? The entire book is in pictures!
Andrew Evans, National Geographic’s Digital Nomad, recently traveled to South Padre Island in Texas. During his stay, he visited Sea Turtle Inc, an organization that helps injured sea turtles recover before releasing them back into the wild.
Andrew met a turtle named Allison at the facility. Allison is a green sea turtle that has lost three out of her four flippers, probably to a shark. Allison has been given a prosthetic fin to help her swim.
Today is Holi, the Hindu ”Festival of Colors.” To celebrate the arrival of spring, people light bonfires and throw colorful powder and water at each other. During the festival, it’s not uncommon to see people with all kinds of colors covering their face, hair, and clothing! Most people who observe Holi live in India and Nepal, but Hindus all over the world join in the celebration.