Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pull-Tabs and Rubber Ducks

So, what’s popular in the kid’s non-fiction section these days? Interactive books.

Not the kind with CDs and Internet codes. I mean the real hands-on books with pull tabs, pop-ups, rotating dials, and flaps. For a lot of kids (and parents) interactive means more engaged learning and active hands. It also means more information can fit on one page. I mean, if it’s non-fiction, you want to get your moneys worth, right?

Let’s dive in to Booksmith’s new and awesome arrival: How the World Works: A Hands-On Guide to Our Amazing Planet, put out by Templar Books (a new imprint of Candlewick).

This Earth Science book covers everything from how the earth orbits, to why earthquakes happen, to how weather works, and more! The layout of this book is approachable and easy to follow. For example, the "Ocean Currents" section uses energetic text, on several green continents, to talk about how water moves. In the blue ocean, energetic arrows and rubber ducks illustrate how water currents flow from one ocean to another. A pull-tab talks about the moon’s influence on the tides. Pretty cool, eh?

Through the use of pull-tabs and flaps and all of those other wonderful interactive tools, this book also makes it easier for readers to follow the subjects one point at a time. The last thing you want in an interactive text is to feel overwhelmed.

How the World Works also provides some logical green tips. Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw out your car and everything plastic. Even simple things help, like turning off the lights and computers when they are not in use. This book emphasizes that humans do have an impact, and a small carbon footprint is okay; just don’t become a Bigfoot when it comes to producing carbon. The best part of this book is the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger. Just how much carbon is emitted through a cheeseburger with lettuce and onions?

Well, you’ll have to read the book to find that one out.

Now, you may be thinking, this is all great information but when it comes to non-fiction books, I have my own theories and opinions. Okay, I do too. But don’t throw the book out because you disagree with a theory or two. Use that incorrect point to talk to your kids about why.
Books are great tools for discussion starters!

Other popular interactive books:
The Ultimate Interactive Atlas of Space (Scholastic Publishing)
Ultimate Interactive Atlas of the World (Scholastic Publishing)
Human Body: An Interactive Guide to the Inner Workings of the Body (Discoverology Series)
The –Ology series: Dragonology, Mythology, Oceanology, and more (Candlewick Press)

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