Library Lists: 10 Great Animal Books for Kids

Are you looking for cool facts about animals? Are you interested in seeing amazing, detailed pictures of animals and how they swim, run, climb, and eat? Here’s ten of the best designed, researched and illustrated books on animals for kids in grades K-8.

1. Bone collection: Animals: This book has detailed pictures and drawings of the skeletons of some of the world’s most fascinating animals! Study their bones to find out how they move and survive.

2. Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth: Many animals can survive in conditions that humans could never tolerate. Learn about these animals and their special adaptations that allow them to brave the driest deserts, the coldest poles, and other amazing locations.

3. Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World: Animals have eyes of all different shapes, colors, and seeing-capabilities. Learn why different animals have such unique eyes and how they use them to gain information about what’s around them.

4. Amazing Giant Wild Animals: This awesome book features fold out pages of some of the longest, widest, tallest and heaviest creatures on Earth, allowing you to get a feel for their true size!

5. Actual Size: Steve Jenkins’ amazing paper-cut illustrations make this amazing book even more wonderful. Each page features part of an animal or a whole animal presented in its real-life size. You can see how animal shapes and sizes compare to your own body parts and to other animals!

6. Nocturne: Creatures of the Night: Amazing photographs of nocturnal animals take readers on a journey through the animal kingdom at night. Learn about the habits and habitats of forty different night-dwelling creatures.

7. Creature Features: Some animals have strange features! In this beautiful book, the animals themselves explain why they look the way they do, and why their seemingly unusual traits actually help them survive in the wild.

8. National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds: This colorful almanac for beginning bird watchers is filled with over a hundred species, arranged by habitat. A must-have guide for those interested in learning about the birds we see in our backyards!

9. Animalium: Take a journey to the museum with this stunning book! Invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are all featured in gorgeous illustrations in this virtual museum with exhibits open 365 days a year!

10. The Animal Book: This “collection of the fastest, fiercest, toughest, cleverest, shyest--and most surprising--animals on Earth” features over 300 types of animals and offers an easily comprehensible history of life on Earth. My personal favorite animal book for kids!

Still want more? Check out this more extensive list of great, kid-friendly books on animals!

Lift-the-Flap Board Books!

The library has many baby board books, with thick pages ready for babies and toddlers to handle. But sometimes you’re looking for the books that have peek-a-boo style flaps that the kiddos can lift up and explore! We have several of those.

This past week Ms. Amanda featured Guess What? - Food at storytime, and it’s great if you’re looking for a silly guessing story, even for preschoolers. AADL also has many more lift the flap books to choose from! Check out the list and see what might make your little one's reading time more hands-on.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #516

My Sunshine Away * * by M(ilton) O('Neal) Walsh unfolds in 1989, in the Woodland Hills subdivision, a leafy middle-class Baton Rouge neighborhood, when the unthinkable happened. 15 year-old Lindy Simpson, free spirit, track star, and belle of the block was raped, right there on Old Man Casemore's lawn, and no arrests were made.

Narrating before and after this pivotal summer is one of the 4 suspects - a 14 year-old boy who worships Lindy from his bedroom window across the street. Driven by a misguided desire to solve the crime, he eventually uncovers the truth but at a cost that virtually destroys everyone else in the process.

Baton Rouge native "Walsh (MFA, University of Mississippi and is currently the director of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans), brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love."

"At times funny, at times spine-tinglingly suspenseful, and at times just flat-out wise, this novel is also a meditation on memory, how it can destroy or damn us but redeem us as well" ~ Tom Franklin.

"... Not just southern, but American in its vivid Baton Rouge colors and scents, treetops and grasses, My Sunshine Away is the story of how the events of our youth profoundly affects us as adults,... A mystery you cannot wait to solve." ~ Kathryn Stockett

Southern fiction fans might also enjoy Stephen Wetta's debut novel If Jack's in Love * and What Dies in Summer by Tom Wright, another FFF.

* * = 2 starred review
* = Starred review

It's All Write: The Countdown Begins!

Short story writers, if you haven't written a story for the 2015 It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest, now's the time to get started! The deadline for submission is March 13, which means you have one week in which to write a totally awesome, amazing, incredible, hilarious, jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching, inspired story! Don't have time to write a brand new one? Dust off and spruce up that draft you've got sitting around on your hard drive!

Go to the It's All Write page to find writing guidelines and the submission form.

Happy writing!

The 2015 Story Prize

Elizabeth McCracken was presented with the $20,000 Story Prize for her collection, Thunderstruck and Other Stories * * on March 4 in New York City.

The Story Prize is an annual book award honoring the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction with a $20,000 cash award.

Anyone who loves her work (my favorite remains the unforgettable The Giant's House - her debut novel and a National Book Award finalist) will agree that this award is richly deserved.

Thunderstruck is a collection of stories that navigates the fragile space between love and loneliness, including the title story in which a family finds their lives irrevocably changed by their teenage daughter's risky behavior.

Other finalists for the prize are Francesca Marciano for The Other Language * *, and Lorrie Moore for Bark * * * . They each received $5,000.

* * * = 3 starred reviews
* * = 2 starred review

New Adult Fiction: In Some Other World, Maybe

I saw In Some Other World, Maybe, by Shari Goldhagen, reviewed a few months ago and have been eagerly anticipating its arrival at the AADL ever since. And now that I’ve read it, I can vouch for its greatness! The premise of this book is an intriguing one. One night in the early ‘90s different groups of teenagers across the country go to see the same movie. Their motivations for seeing the film are all different (and some don’t even make it through the whole thing), but this early insight that readers gain into the characters’ younger years sets an excellent backdrop for the rest of the book. Over the next two decades, these characters’ lives connect and disconnect, entwined by friendship, love, ambition, fame, and tragedy. Goldhagen chooses to focus on different characters at different points in their lives, so sometimes readers are left wondering what the others are up to. More than once I was surprised and pleased when one character appeared in the plot line of another and the two stories went along together for awhile. It’s this instilment of curiosity in readers that keeps the book moving at an unexpectedly quick pace, and that kept me turning pages later into the night than was good for me.

BookPage calls In Some Other World, Maybe, “a compelling tale that leaves readers pondering what is and, had life taken another direction, what could have been.” Fans of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings should absolutely give In Some Other World, Maybe a try.

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault

Already anticipating next year's release of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie? Antsy to get your hands on new Harry Potter reading material?

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault is a brand new companion book to the series, and is bursting with information regarding your favorite Harry Potter creatures. This enormous book is filled to the brim with behind-the-scenes information, including rare concept art and backstage photographs. Learn about dragons, acromantulas, hippogriffs, house elves and more with detailed profiles of each creature, including which books and movies each creature appears in. This stunning book delves into the process each creature took from page to screen, and details each stage of development. Also included are interesting filmmaking secrets from the set (did you know that Hedwig was played by at least 7 different snowy owls?). This mesmerizing collection is a must read for any Harry Potter fan. A word of warning: some of the early development pictures can get pretty creepy!

For more Harry Potter creature research, try the classic Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. For more behind-the-scenes action, take a look at Harry Potter Film Wizardry, one of my personal favorites.

PreK BITS – “X” = Expedition on Extinct !

Ms Rachel did stories with extinct creatures in them.
ME WANT PET ! by Tammi Sauer is about a little Neanderthal child who wants to bring home pets.... Mama say, "No can keep!"
We went on a "Dino Hunt", found some bones, and put them together like a dinosaur exhibit.
The CD MOST AMAZING DINOSAUR SONGS brings us “Dem Bones” and other activity songs related to dinosaurs.
There was a box we found in the room ... and in that box was another box. What did we find? Someone will remember.

If you want more books for your expedition on extinct try the following:
DINOSAUR vs. BEDTIME and other books by Bob Shea
IF The DINOSAURS CAME BACK is an imagination tale by Bernard Most, who loves dinosaurs best.
TEA REX by Molly Schaar Idle
DINOSAUR STARTS SCHOOL by Pamela Duncan Edwards.
DINOSAUR THUNDER by Marion Dane Bauer.
DINOSAUR PARADE by Shari Halpern.
DINOSAUR BONES by Bob Barner.
NEVER ASK A DINOSAUR To DINNER! by Gareth Edwards.
DINOSAUR ALPHABET and other preschool concepts presented with dinosaurs by David West.
Now get in your time machine and go "Whrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr .... back in time to extinct !"
'Whrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !"

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #515 - “A mathematical formula for happiness: Reality divided by expectations. There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.” ~ Jodi Picoult

Bonita Avenue * * * by Peter Buwalda - the instant bestseller in its native Netherlands, a triple-award-winning debut optioned for a TV series, is "flat-out extraordinary." See the (New York Times review).

Three uniquely unreliable voices narrate this darkly humorous familial drama: the mentally precarious photographer Aaron Bever; his beautiful girlfriend, Joni; and her stepfather, eminent math genius (Fields Medal) and university rector Siem Sigerius. "They were a family of prevaricators - all of them had secrets and they all had something to hide".

Bonita Avenue, a street in Berkeley, California, where a younger Sigerius and his new family lived briefly while he pursued his mathematics career at the university, is remembered as a truly happy period before the family's troubles start. The reemergence of Wilbert,a convicted murderer and Siem's son from his first marriage, presents a threat to the family. Siem discovers the highly profitable web porn site created by Joni and Aaron, under particularly ignoble circumstances. "Guilt and fear rule the decisions the characters make, sending each further down the darkest of path."

"This tumultuous saga of a family breaking down...is "variously compelling, trashy and horrific."

In The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer, Rachela Karnokovitch, a much-admired rock star in mathematics, is rumored to have solved the million-dollar Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize problem just before her death, and secreted the solution somewhere. Uninvited, her quirky colleagues descend on Madison (WI), and on her grieving family in search of said solution. Her son Sasha, who wants nothing more than a family-only shivah, must referee the intruding geniuses.

"Interspersed with Rachela's recollections of growing up under Russian anti-Semitism, Rojstaczer, a PhD geophysicist, has created a complex and chaotic rainbow of characters that makes his first novel both comedic and compelling."

"An enjoyable debut... a multilayered story of family, genius, and loss."

* * * = 3 starred reviews

Read Across America Day & National Reading Month

Today is Read Across America Day!

Read Across America Day was founded in 1997 “to promote the joy and importance of reading and to celebrate the birthday of beloved author Dr. Seuss.” It has become a nationwide event celebrated by schools, libraries and bookstores across the country. You just mind find an elementary school principal dressed up like Thing 1 or Thing 2, and some students may end up eating green eggs and ham for lunch. How wacky! How Seussy!

Did you know that there will be a NEW Dr. Seuss book coming out in July? The manuscript for Which Pet Should I get was recently found by his widow.

Be sure to check out your favorite Dr. Seuss titles and get some reading done! Hooray for reading! It's not just today, the entire month of March is National Reading Month.

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