Teachers are concerned with meaningfully meeting the requirements of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and Common Core. My push is to find books for school and home that meet these needs and engage students, like the books below.
Ingot Arndts Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers and Claws (Holiday House, ages 4-7) invites children to participate. The book pairs a large photograph of a foot with a question about whose it is. A page turn reveals the answer, more photographs and examples of animals that use that foot, flipper or claw in a similar way.
Ted Lewins What Am I? Where Am I? (Holiday House, ages 2-5) also uses a guessing format to identify animals and their habitats. The simple language pattern works well for new readers, and Lewins watercolors are stunning.
Tedd Arnolds Fly Guy Presents: Space (Scholastic, ages 4-6) expands the world of emergent readers favorite characters, Buzz and Fly Guy. With limited vocabulary, lots of photographs and silly illustrations, the exuberant guides relate numerous space facts. Other books in this series explore sharks and dinosaurs.
Lola M. Shaefers Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives (Chronicle, ages 2-5) reveals a lifetime behavior of 11 different animals. The authors inspiring writing combines counting and science facts, accented by Christopher Neals expansive, understated art. A male seahorse, for example, will carry and birth 1,000 teeny-weeny, squiggly-wiggly baby seahorses.
Elizabeth Ruschs Volcano Rising (Charlesbridge, ages 4-8) adds gorgeous collage to a fascinating subject. Large, simple text works for young children while smaller print provides more information for older students.
David Adlers Millions, Billions & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers (Holiday House, ages 5-8) describes large numbers with child-centered images and words to stir imagination. A billion dollars, for example, could buy one thousand sundaes every day for more than five hundred years. Adler has similar fun for science in Things That Float and Things That Dont (Holiday House, ages 5-8). His examples stimulate curiosity and encourage hands-on experimentation.
Rob Colsons Bone Collection: Animals (Scholastic, ages 6 and up), gives information, plentiful photographs and intricate skeletal drawings of more than 40 animals. The elegant presentations, engaging factoids and clear layout make relationships between animals easy to suss out. This a great book for a child who loves to explore pictures and make those connections.
Sy Montgomerys The Tapir Scientist: Saving South Americas Largest Mammal (Houghton, ages 10 and up) adds to the award-winning Scientists in the Field series. Montgomerys approachable, lively voice gives authentic expression to the experience of a Brazilian scientist who tracks one of the weirdest-looking and most mysterious animals on earth, an animal thats hard to find, capture and study. Photos by Nic Bishop extend the text.
Jonathan Littons Mesmerizing Math (Templar, 2013, ages 7-10) explains everything from sequences to square numbers, making it playful with interactive flaps and tabs.