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April 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Book Links April 2018
Just recently, I learned that the term “scientific method” is no longer in vogue. Many of you who are educators probably already know this, but for those of you who are as surprised as I was, the reasoning here is that science, when it comes to methodology, is mutable; there are many methods, many processes, many ways to come to a theory.
It’s appropriate, then, that several of the features in this issue take a varied approach to STEM. Perhaps the most traditional is a collection of picture books about food chains. You’ll find plenty of informational texts here, but there are some fictional tales as well, and even a few poetry books (this is the language arts issue, after all). We also speak with National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer about his latest series, which blends science and fantasy in an Amazon adventure, and with debut author Tae Keller, whose heroine uses scientific methodology (oh, hey there) to process grief.
Much like science, language is always changing as well. The dictionary adds new colloquialisms every year, and the way we use words changes with the seasons. To that end, we have several features here that celebrate language and storytelling: a collection of trickster tales from around the world and interviews with Lauren Wolk, who received a Newbery Honor for Wolf Hollow (2016), and Tahereh Mafi, who uses an extended metaphor to craft the worlds of her middle-grade fantasies.
Of course, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and we’ve got a few of those on display as well: a feature on picture-book biographies of artists and an interview with acclaimed, highly prolific picture-book author (and himself an occasional illustrator) Jonah Winter.
In his interview, Winter discusses one of his latest books, The Secret Project (2017, illustrated by Jeanette Winter). It’s a picture book that, surprisingly for some, deals with the difficult topic of the Manhattan Project. This moment from American history can be tricky for adults to comprehend, much less children. How do we talk to children about things like this? Where do we find the language to explain it to them, especially in something as short-form as a picture book? Well, Winter has some thoughts, and it’s likely you will as well.
At the end of the day, the language we use—whether we’re using it to describe science, history, fantasy, or something else, is always changing. In this traditionally language-arts-focused issue, we pay attention to the words we use, and to how they themselves can be building blocks for change. That change is worth a discussion, and we welcome you to join us in it.
Books and Authors
Talking with Eliot Schrefer, by Gillian Engberg
Talking with Jonah Winter, by Briana Shemroske
Talking with Lauren Wolk, by Pat Scales
Talking with Tae Keller, by Jennifer Barnes
Talking with Tahereh Mafi, by Kay Weisman
Artist Biographies, by Kathleen McBroom
Trickster Tales around the World, by Kristin Rydholm
What’s Eating You?, by Angela Leeper
Reid-Aloud Alert, by Rob Reid
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