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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Plants and Soil

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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The following picture books support the Grade 3 Plants and Soil Science unit:

Weeds Find a Way, by Cindy Jenson-Elliott, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher, is a simple yet memorable picture book about weed seeds. The beautiful language of the text, i.e. “Weeds find a way to be loved, sending up flares of riotous red,” is followed by an endnote outlining weeds’ adaptive qualities and a description of the different soil types.

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Book Cover If You Hold a Seed

If You Hold a Seed, by Elly MacKay, follows the growth of a seed as well as the boy who plants it. MacKay’s dreamlike mixed media pictures beautifully illustrate life throughout the seasons, both plant and human. 

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David Suzuki, in The Tree Suitcase, illustrated by Yvonne Cathcart, brilliantly narrates how soil, …

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: On Structures

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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Structures! Here are some great fiction and nonfiction titles to launch the Grade 3 science unit.

The picture book, Home, by Carson Ellis, is a great discussion-starter about different types of houses, as well as materials used to build them. This creative and humorous book showcases some fantastical structures, interspersed with questions: Who in the world lives here? And why? There’s a Japanese businessman’s sparse, cuboid home, a highly decorative Nordic god’s, a shoe (as in, ‘There was an old woman who lived in a…’), a tour bus, as well as homes belonging to a Kenyan blacksmith, and a “moonian.”

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Going Up! Elisha Otis’s Trip to the Top, a picture book by Monica Kulling, illustrated by David Parkins, will inspire young inventors. As a Vermont farm boy in 1818, Otis was intrigued by the ropes and pulleys hoisting hay up to the barn loft. As a grownup, he invented a platform to lift heavy machinery parts. He then moved onto elevatin …

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