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ARC Review: Kids’ Nonfiction Read in March 2023

Nomads: Life on the Move by Kinchoi Lam

Publication Date: May 2, 2023


A beguiling look at seven contemporary nomadic cultures around the world, offering a timely insight into alternative ways of life that connect us to our ancestral roots.

A fascinating and beautiful survey of seven nomadic societies spread across the continents. With delicately beautiful illustrations bringing the material to life, we learn about the Sama Bajau, fishing nomads from the Philippines who spend months at sea without ever touching land. We discover the Yanomami peoples of the Amazon rainforest whose connection to their environment informs every aspect of their lives. The Nenet nomads of Siberia follow their reindeer through blasting winds to the very edge of the Arctic Circle.

All these cultures face common pressures and problems. Governments want them to settle down and assimilate; local populations view them with suspicion; subsistence farming or herding is not viable in a cut-throat globalised world.

This book offers a timely window on a simpler way of life, and on human traditions and cultures that connect us to our distant ancestors. Elegantly and respectfully written and illustrated, this book is a captivating contribution to the growing literature on nomadic societies, and will appeal to both the education and the gift markets.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kiddo (8) and I loved this! It’s not information we’ve encountered anywhere else and it’s fascinating to see how differently people can live. His review: “It was really great!” We read it as a bedtime story over two nights and he was completely engrossed and kept asking me to read more. If he’d had his way we’d have read the whole thing in one night.

The writing is informative and engaging and the forward, introduction, and conclusion offer further insight into nomadic culture as a whole and the challenges faced. I definitely don’t recommend skipping them.

The information about each of the seven featured nomadic cultures is broken down into easily digestible chunks and beautifully illustrated – a good thing for sure since their ways of life are so very different than ours.

I like how the names of each item and concept are included from each culture, as well as an explanation. The one thing I missed having included is a pronunciation guide for each of the unfamiliar cultural terms. I was reading aloud to my kiddo and I always hate when I know I’m butchering the pronunciation of unfamiliar words from other cultures. At least he was reading along with me and could see the spelling of the terms.

This book offers a fascinating look into each of the seven cultures and ways of life, everything from the structure of their shelters to their food and clothing and religion. Kiddo was occasionally grossed out by the food, and also by the way the Nenets use every part of their reindeer to make everything they need. The fact that their reindeer hide clothing is stitched with reindeer sinew was one thing too many for him and he had to spend some time making faces and kicking his feet in the air before we could continue.

We learned a ton and gained a deeper appreciation for how differently people can live than us.

I definitely recommend this to elementary age students as a way to broaden their worldview and knowledge of other cultures. Nomadic peoples are not a topic I ever learned about in school, so I appreciated the chance to learn about them. I imagine they aren’t taught in a lot of schools and so many children (and adults) would benefit from this clear, concise, and intriguing book.

Kiddo asked for this one again a few weeks later instead of a new book and enjoyed it just as much the second time. He soaks up facts and information like a sponge, and who am I to deny him the books he enjoys.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Cicada Books for providing an early copy for review.

The Who, What, Why of Zoology: The Incredible Science of the Animal Kingdom by Jules Howard

Publication Date: April 4, 2023


What’s your favorite animal fact? Have you ever wondered who discovered it in the first place? Chances are, it was a zoologist!

Join the scientists uncovering the secrets of the animal kingdom in this funny, fact-packed introduction to zoology. The Who, What, Why of Zoology is an exciting first book on this fascinating field of science. From the deepest oceans to Himalayan valleys, zoologists explore far and wide to better understand the worlds of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and nearly anything else that can walk, fly, or swim!

Not only is this book filled with up-to-the-minute facts about your favorite animals, but it also goes behind the scenes and out in the field to show how real zoologists find out more about the creatures we know, and even discover new ones.

Each chapter dives into a different real-world environment to observe the animals that live there, then fills the scene with zoologists to explore how this exciting science actually works. Then, turn the page to learn about the modern mysteries to which scientists are still searching for answers. Every page is bursting with facts you’ve never heard before, as well as plenty of funny detail to keep you searching for hours.

With chapters including:
Tropical Reefs
Arctic Tundra
Deep Oceans
… and many more!

The Who, What, Why of Zoology  is the perfect introduction to an important STEM topic for readers aged 6-9, combining expertise from zoologist author Jules Howard with vibrant and humor-filled illustrations from Lucy Letherland. Bring science to life with this one-of-a-kind animal book!

My Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kiddo (8) loved this book about the many things zoologists do, the animals and environments they study. He’s into animals lately, and eternally into science books, so this one was a great fit for us. He listened intently and requested we read more whenever I stopped to breathe.

The layout of the book is very nice. It has a lot of illustrations with information bubbles scattered around the pages explaining what each scientist pictured is doing and studying. It also offers a lot of information about the biomes that each animal is found in — that’s how the book is divided, by biome rather than by chapter. The text is readable and broken into bite-sized chunks that are easy for elementary-school readers to digest.

We both learned a lot and were kept invested throughout. Definitely recommend for elementary school science classrooms and libraries, and any kids who are interested in science and/or animals.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Wide Eyed Editions for providing an early copy for review.

Modern Art for Kids: Hands-On Art and Craft Activities Inspired by the Masters by Stephanie Poon

Publication Date: April 25, 2023


Take a fun and engaging illustrated journey through modern art history, from Impressionism to Minimalism, to meet key artists and make crafts inspired by their work.

Modern Art for Kids, the debut book in the Art Stars series, is a charmingly illustrated hands-on guide packed with fun facts, amazing stories about the lives of artists, and arty-crafty activities for interactive learning. Filled with bite-sized summaries, the aim of this book is to inspire curious kids with interesting art topics and expose them to the freedom of creativity and the power of imagination.   

Explore these and more incredible artists and art movements:
Claude Monet (Impressionism) – Make your own serene Paper Pond Lilies.
Vincent van Gogh (Post-Impressionism) – Use expressive swirls to make a Salty Night.
Sonia Delaunay (Orphism) – Experiment with bright colors and shapes by making Colorful Lollipops.
Frida Kahlo (Surrealism) – Channel the artist and her work by making an upcycled Flower Crown.
Andy Warhol (Pop Art) – Set up your own “Factory” and make a Recycled Tray Print.

So journey through the ages, let your imagination run wild, and become an art star!
The Art Stars series introduces kids to the story of art through fun illustrated biographies of influential artists paired with simple hands-on activities inspired by their work. For thousands of years, people have been making and enjoying art. From miniature paintings to monumental sculptures, art is a universal language to express beliefs and feelings. Over the course of history, art historians have tried to organize all the different styles and types of art into movements. You don’t need to know anything about art to enjoy it, but learning the fascinating stories of artists and art movements will help you enjoy it even more.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a very good and accessible introduction to the various movements of art within the modern art period. Each movement gets a brief overview and then an example artist or two, each of which also gets a brief overview. For example, Impressionism features Claude Monet and Edgar Degas.

Each artist is then followed by a project for kids to complete. Some make more sense than others, but most are interesting and look like fun. Some of the suggested projects are a bit strange, however. The project for surrealism under Rene Magritte is to have a grownup take a photo of you (the kid) in a suit jacket and bowler hat and biting an apple, and then to paste the photo onto a background of the sky. Which… obviously connects to Magritte’s famous painting, but I feel like there is a better project out there to teach about surrealism. Also how many kids have suit jackets and bowler hats?

The layout of the book is easy to follow and full of vibrant colors and interesting compositions. The text is readily understandable while conveying a lot of information.

Overall this has a lot of good information about modern art and projects that look like they will be fun for kids to complete. I would recommend it to elementary-school classrooms and families.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Quarry Books for providing an early copy for review.

Glaciers Are Alive by Debbie S. Miller

Publication Date: May 9, 2023


This environmental picture book introduces young science and nature lovers to the wonders of glaciers, the wildlife that call them home, and how important they are to the health of our planet.

A glacier may look forbidding and empty, but it supports abundant life. Follow a glacier as it flows from mountain to ocean, providing a home for ice worms, birds, bears, and more. Where the glacier meets the sea, it creates a rich environment for marine life such as seals, otters, and whales.

As glaciers melt at a rapid rate due to climate change, their disappearance impacts not only the wildlife that calls them home, but also all life on earth. Glaciers are alive, and they need our protection!

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kiddo (8) and I very much enjoyed this look into how glaciers form and the many species of animals they provide habitat and food for.

The text is simple and provides lots of information about various animal species and how they depend on glaciers. It ends with a warning about climate change without getting too doomsday about it. There is an author’s note at the back with more information, which kiddo also enjoyed.

The paintings are lovely and the animals very cute. Kiddo especially enjoyed the cute animals.

I would definitely recommend this for elementary school science education. It is accessible and informative all wrapped up in a lovely package.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for providing an early copy for review


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