I often get to the end of a month and say “whew, this month seemed like it took forever,” but I’ve never felt that as much as I do now. Earth Day and the Environmental Movement: Standing Up for Earth launched March 3, AKA one thousand years ago. I will be giving away a copy on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22. Look for more details here or join me on Instagram or Twitter (see links on page—above, right).
Of course, my science news feed has been filled with news of the Microbe That Shall Not Be Named. But this obscured the BEST NEWS. Turduckens are real!
The March 20 issue of Science reported that paleontologists have found a brand new bird. It lived just shy of 67 million years ago and shares characteristics with modern ducks and with chickens and turkeys. Apparently the bones at the back of its head look more like a duck, but the face and beak look like a chicken. Scientists think it was about the size of a seagull. According to Science, the bird has been named Asteriornis maastrichtensis after Asteria, “the Greek goddess of falling stars who turns herself into a quail. (I am officially naming a chicken after her in honor of this find—as soon as I get chickens!) You can read more about this super-cool find on the Smithsonian website.
Below you’ll find details of books I highlighted on social media this month. If you’re interested, please consider purchasing them through your local, independent bookseller.
Adult Nonfiction Read-Along
- Eating the Sun: Small Musings on a Vast Universe, by Ella Frances Sanders–A lovely book of essays on every topic under the sun. A little slight on details at times, but really beautiful writing and just the right length for a family read-aloud.
Tuesday Book Breaks
- Dreams from Many Rivers: A Hispanic History of the United States Told in Poems, by Margarita Engle, art by Beatriz Gutierrez Hernandez–This beautiful and thought-provoking book brings home the often overlooked fact that Hispanic history IS American history. Its mix of Spanish, Indigenous, and African cultures have helped shape this country since before it was a country. Engle’s poems capture the lovely and the unlovely bits and remind us of many things we should have known, but didn’t. Gutierrez Hernandez’s illustrations are part folk art, part dream world. It would be a fantastic classroom read-aloud as part of a history curriculum. Highly recommended.
- Red Rover, by Richard Ho, Illustrated by Katherine Roy–Red Rover follows Curiosity as it explores Mars. The perfectly balanced text is an example of how a picture book can pack in plenty of emotion and information in few words. And of course, I’m in love with Katherine Roy’s stunning illustrations. Recommended for all ages, but especially for Mars lovers. Also recommended as a mentor text for aspiring picture book writers.
- You Can Count on Monsters, by Richard Evan Schwartz and Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, by Randall Munroe–Many of you find yourselves temporarily homeschooling. As a veteran homeschooler, I have some idea of how daunting it feels. Books are a great way to have a little fun together and see concepts in new ways. These two titles are perfect for that.
- You Can Count on Monsters breaks down multiplication, factors, primes, etc. visually. There are a few pages of explanation in the front—the rest of the book is filled with colorful monsters. Super cool math fun that’s helpful for all ages.
- Thing Explainer, by Randall Munroe, explains concepts from all scientific disciplines using only the first thousand most commonly-used words in the English language. This super-simplified approach is both hilarious and brilliant. You will learn something, and so will your kids.
Here’s looking at you, April. The current situation isn’t going to magically solve itself in the next few weeks, but through our diligence as we follow safety protocols and care for our community, we will get through this. My next book launches April 7, so more about that soon. Until then, I wish you peace and safety.