What is your favorite children’s or young adult book?

Recently, NSTA and the Children’s Book Council (CBC) announced the winners for the annual list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12 (books published in 2013).  Previous year’s lists and winners also include books that are still in print and add an opportunity to create a rich reading experience for your students.

So this month’s Continue the Conversation asks the question “what is your favorite children’s or chapter trade book that you have students read or that you share with your class?” and I will go one step further in asking what aspects about the book you like and how do you use it?

In considering all of the year’s winners from the OSTB list as well as other books that I have utilized, I’m not sure I can choose just one, so will share a few of my favorites with you.

A book I just shared with the fifth grade class at our laboratory school on campus was Meredith Hooper’s The Drop in My Drink which tells the story about water on our planet.  The students had just finished a unit on the water cycle and watersheds taught by one of our biology faculty members and I had been asked to add a literature connection to this in the form of a guest read aloud.  This book was also featured in a previous month’s Science and Children’s Teaching Through Trade Books column titled Water Wherever and provides an activity for grades 4-6 on the water cycle.

Another recent book that I have read is a recent OSTB winner as well – Deadly –How Do You Catch an Invisible Killer.  The book is reviewed in the NSTA Recommends section of the website. This chapter book for older students focuses on the process by which a young lady who secures a job as an assistant to a Department of Health inspector helps to track down the outbreak of Typhoid.  Great for examining the process of science, importance of research, and the content associated with diseases.

Biographical books that I am absolutely enamored with include:  Odd Boy Out, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Snowflake Bentley, Lives of Scientists, and Come See the Earth Turn.

Regardless of whether the book is read for content or pleasure, there are many opportunities to incorporate science into reading selections.  Often the manner in which the excitement of the content is shared is through a good book – so as the winter month’s approach and the opportunity to curl up with a good book presents itself —what would you recommend?  What is your favorite children’s book or young adult chapter book and how do you connect it to science?

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6 Comments

  1. Peggy Ashbrook
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The Holling Clancy Holling books, “Seabird,” “Paddle to the Sea,” and “Tree in the Trail” were favorites of mine and my children. The natural and human history come together in stories, with small illustrations on the sides (a style now used by Jan Brett) give additional detail and information.

  2. melissa
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Olivia Brophie and the Pearl of Tagelus is a wonderful middle grade read. :)

  3. Kathy Hinton
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. It is chock-full of teachable moments. But when Brian tries to make fire and can’t quite remember how, he berates his teacher for not teaching him well enough. I always had our 4th graders discuss this. Is it possible it was taught, but Brian never put the teaching together with a real-life scenario? Or is it possible that it wasn’t taught well-enough? Or did he not think it was important? How do we learn to do great things and think great thoughts of ingenuity? Always a wonderful discussion with children who rarely think about their own learning. I started every year reading this book to them. I would throughout the year say, “Think, Brian, think” when a student wanted an answer given to them instead of struggling it out.

  4. Posted December 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Kathy – Thank you for sharing such a great view of Hatchet! It’s a great way to remind students about the importance of thinking!

  5. Peggy Ashbrook
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George is another great book.

  6. Ariela O Vader
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    “A Wrinkle in TIme” by Madeleine L’Engle. The connection I am thinking of isn’t so much to science content, but to the role model of a female scientist who is also the mother of four. She is not the main character, but definitely one of the strong supporting characters. Also, making hot chocolate over a bunsen burner is just plain cool.

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