Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free E-books at Barnes & Noble

Check out this deal at Barnes & Noble.

Until Monday at midnight, you can download 21 e-book classics for free! Some of the selections are: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, Federalist by Alexander Hamilton, Collection of Poems by Emily Dickinson, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London.

If you prefer hard copies of books, use this 20% coupon for any item on their website. The coupon code is Y9K7J7X.

Plus, Barnes & Noble has launched their Summer Warehouse Sale. Many of their books are marked down by 50-90%. I searched through their $1.99 deals, and found some terrific kids' titles.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Talking About the Gulf Oil Disaster

The folks over at the Ranger Rick website have some great information, geared toward kids, about the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Check out these helpful resources:

How to Talk with Kids about the Gulf Oil Spill (A Guide for Parents and Teachers)

Ranger Rick Answers Kids Questions about the Oil Disaster

Lesson Plans and Activities

Interested in a book about offshore drilling? Check out my post here.

Talking about the oil disaster with my kids works for me!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Offshore Drilling (Opposing Viewpoints Series)

While searching for information on this currently very relevant topic, I have found that there is not much pubished about offshore drilling. I was really looking for a book that would show, in layman's terms, some of the technical processes involved in offshore drilling but, as I said, there is little to be found.

However, I was thrilled to find this recently published book from the Opposing Viewpoints series. This book offers access to a diversity of opinions regarding offshore drilling. As such, it provides a springboard for discussion and further research on the topic.

Here's what the publishers have to say about the series:

For over 25 years, the Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series has developed and set the standard for current-issue studies. With more than 90 volumes covering nearly every controversial contemporary topic, Opposing Viewpoints is the leading source for libraries and classrooms in need of current-issue materials. Each title explores a specific issue by placing expert opinions in a unique pro/con format. The viewpoints are selected from a wide range of highly respected and often hard-to-find sources and publications. By choosing from such diverse sources and including both popular and unpopular views, the Opposing Viewpoints editorial team has adhered to its commitment to editorial objectivity. Readers are exposed to many sides of a debate, which promotes issue awareness as well as critical thinking. In short, Opposing Viewpoints is the best research and learning tool for exploring the issues that continually shape and define our turbulent and changing world.

The book contains four chapters, each comprised of six to eight essays offering contrasting opinions. The four chapters of this book are:
  1. Is Offshore Drilling Beneficial for the United States?
  2. What are the Consequences of Offshore Drilling?
  3. What Offshore Drilling Policies Should the U.S. Government Consider?
  4. What Other Energy Policies Should the U.S. Government Consider?

The selections are authored by experts, policy makers, and concerned citizens. They include previously published articles, speeches, and book exerpts.

Appropriate for middle and high school students, this book is sure to ignite your study of this important topic. Offshore Drilling (Opposing Viewpoints)is available at Amazon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Books About the Gulf of Mexico

I guess I wasn't the only one to go looking for books about the Gulf of Mexico. I ordered this book from Amazon, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico by Jen Green. It is now on backorder.

This is a 48-page paperback currently priced at $14.05. While I appreciate the color photographs, I do wish there was more about the marine life in the gulf. With everything going on there right now, that was my primary reason for purchasing the book. I want to be sure that we appreciate what was there.

The chapters of this book include: Physical Features, Climate and Currents, Marine Life, People and Settlements, Transporation and Communication, Resources, and the Environment and the Future. The book gives a nice overview of all topics concerning the area and is a nice reference in that regard. However, I'm still searching for a book that adequately covers the marine life of the area.

Caribbean Sea And Gulf of Mexico (Oceans and Seas) is available at Amazon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

If you like Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, you 'll love The Red Pyramid. Not convinced yet? Click here to read the entire first chapter!

I was hooked after that first chapter and it just gets better from there. This is the first book in Riordan's Kane Chronicles series which promises to be every bit as good as the Percy Jackson series. The Red Pyramid is available at Amazon.

The Great Brain Book (An Inside Look at the Inside of Your Head)

"Once upon a time, no one cared about the brain. People used to think that it was little more than stuffing for your head, like straw in a scarecrow. They thought that all your thinking and all your feelings came from other organs, like your stomach or your lungs." From The Great Brain Book by H.P. Newquist

After reading Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science, we wanted to know more about how the brain works. If you are looking for a comprehensive and entertaining book about brain science, here it is!

The Great Brain Book is a fascinating look at what the brain is and how it works. Written in an engaging style with bright illustrations, this is a book that will capture your attention. You will want to read every word, but then keep it as a reference.

In addition to anatomy and history, you will learn how you learn and remeber, how you can train your brain to work better, and the kinds of brain improvements that might be available in the future.

If you want to take a look at what's inside your head, check out The Great Brain Book: An Inside Look At The Inside Of Your Head.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I love using magazines to encourage reading. There's a magazine for any special interest. Plus, it's so exciting to get mail each month. That's why I purchased a Popular Mechanics subscription to encourage reading in our household.

Amazon currently has Popular Mechanics for only $7 per year! It shows a price of $12, but if you subscribe by June 30th, $5 will be deducted at checkout. Click here to subscribe.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Call of the Wild Audio CD (Tantor Unabridged Classics)

Since this is audiobook month, I listened to the unabridged version of The Call of the Wild on CD. This story is narrated by Patrick Lawlor. While I have not listened to a book in a long time, I found this recording to be very engaging.

Call of the Wild (Great Illustrated Classics)

I'm a huge fan of the Great Illustrated Classics. As both a parent and an elementary/middle school media specialist, I can attest to the fact that students really like these books! Using this series is a great way to introduce students to the classics even when they may not be ready for the advanced reading level in which many of the classics are written.

In this adaptation of the Jack London novel, Buck, a powerful young dog, is snatched away from an easy life in California and transported to the Far North where he becomes a sled dog and must learn cunning and toughness to survive. Although this version by Mitsu Yamamotu is considerably shorter than the unabridged novel, it remains very true to the original story line.

The unabridged version of Call of the Wild by Jack London has an ATOS reading level of 8.0 which may be a challenge for some readers. The Great Illustrated Classics abridged version has an ATOS reading level of 5.5.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June is AudioBook Month

June is audiobook month and the timing could not be more perfect. So many families are getting ready to hit the road on a summer vacation. Why not share an audio book?

Audiobooks are great for family listening --nothing ends the "are we there yet blues!" like a great audiobook. Audiobooks keep everyone in the car entertained while also increasing literacy skills. Families can even knock out a few of the titles on a child's summer reading list while on vacation.

Audiobooks are a great tool for building literacy. Teachers and librarians report that listening to audiobooks helps children build better vocabularies and also helps them to read with better expression.

I just finished listening to The Call of the Wild in my spare time in the car (review to follow). So I can attest to the appeal of the audiobook. I'm off to look for the titles on my children's reading lists.

Did you know that Paperback Swap also has books on CD and cassette? Audiobooks cost 2 credits but are well worth it!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science

Don't let the gruesome book cover scare you off! This is the amazing story of a construction forman who survived for 11 years after a 13 pound iron tamping rod shot through his brain.

This book teaches so much about the brain and how we came to understand brain science. You will find yourself constantly repeating "is this really true?"

Imagine that you are Mr. Gage himself. The year is 1848 and you're just an average railroad construction foreman. Your job consists of blasting rock out of the way of the construction, allowing further tracks to be laid. You're good at your job, and you've a custom-made tamping iron (thirteen-pound rod with a pointed end) to help you out.

Then, on September 13, 1848, you mess up. It could happen to anyone. One moment you're putting the highly combustible blasting powder down a hole. The next minute you've turned your head in distraction and you've dropped your tamping iron down that selfsame hole. The iron hits a piece of granite, produces a spark, and suddenly the iron has ripped through your left cheek, gone behind your left eyeball, and come up through the top of your head. There's blood everywhere, brains on the iron, and a very surprised Phineas Gage sitting in the midst of it all. You'd think a blast like that would kill a man, right? Wrong. Phineas not only is fine, he making entries into his time book as he goes to town for the doctor.

When the doctor isn't around, he then sits on the front steps of a nearby hotel and has a lengthy conversation with his landlord. All the while there's blood everywhere and a clear view into Phineas's head to his brains.

Is Phineas completely unchanged by the experience? Not quite. Though he lives for quite some time after the accident, Phineas suddenly is bereft of all his social skills. Why is this? What does it mean about the brain itself? And why did Phineas live?

There is plenty of gore in this book but there is also a lot of sound scientific information for questioning young minds. For those kids more interested in the accident itself, Phineas's skull is displayed throughout the book. You can clearly make out where the hole once was, as well as how it healed over time. Digitally rendered graphs show exactly how the tamping iron entered Mr. Gage's head and how it excited. Historical information about the state of brain science in the late 1800's is coupled with what we know (and still do not know) now. The book is filled with interesting photographs, graphs, and illustrations. For further information there's a great list of resources, as well as a fabulous glossary, and a complete index.

I got my copy of this book from Paperback Swap. It is also available at Amazon.