Literacy Matters Vol 24 Winter 2024

Luminous: Living Things That Light Up the Night

more easily understood by young readers. This book may be intriguing for children who enjoy learning about animals and helps readers to see the bigger picture of the ocean and the life that is over and under the waves. Kate Messner has a series of other “Over and Under” stories; this book is a perfect addition to her scientific literature series and would be great in any classroom library.

Kuo, Julia. (2022). Unpaged. Greystone Kids/ Greystone Books LTD. 978-1771648882. $18.95 (Primary) —Natasha Kudlak What do a firefly, a fungus, and a vampire squid all have in common? You will find out after reading Julia Kuo’s beautifully illustrated informational

Nesting Cole, Henry. (2021). Illus. by Henry Cole. Unpaged. HarperCollins Publishers. 978 0062885920. $17.99 (Primary) —Kyleigh Murphy

book about bioluminescent living things. Julia Kuo does a beautiful job of creating a book that is not only exciting to look at but also exciting to read! She uses larger, bolder text to take us through the lyrical story of a young child and adult investigating a glowing world and smaller captions throughout to share essential facts about these underappreciated bioluminescent creatures. Not only did I learn so much about bioluminescent species after reading this book, but I was also amazed by just how many there are! Julia Kuo does a fantastic job of maintaining a story and relaying important information while subtly bringing up environmental issues and the human-made harm to these living creatures. This book has encouraged me to keep my eyes peeled and always look for the hidden treasures of our extraordinary world!

Have you ever seen the beautiful blue eggs robins lay? If you look in

your backyard, chances are birds, maybe robins, have made it their home for the season. This picture book by Henry Cole is perfect for a nature lover and budding birder. Cole tells the story of a pair of robins building a nest together to raise their babies while enduring the challenges of the changing seasons and lurking predators. With detailed black and white illustrations, this book serves as an excellent guide to introduce the life cycle of a bird. Consider embracing a black-and-white illustrated book, as it allows students the opportunity to use their imagination and envision the content in color on their own. Cole has included vividly drawn bright blue eggs that serve as a captivating focal point, likely to capture the attention and enjoyment of young readers as they explore the pages. Henry Cole’s experience as a science teacher, coupled with the author’s note at the end of the book, provides a trustworthy resource for students to gain insights into the animals in their yards at home. It is important to note that while there are few words throughout the book, it may be challenging for some early readers. However, it is likely to be a winner when choosing books for your classroom library. Dive into Nesting and learn about the adventures of a charming family of robins. You won’t be disappointed!

Literacy Matters General Articles

Over and Under the Waves Messner, Kate. (2022). Illus. by Christopher Silas Neal. Unpaged. Chronicle Books LLC. 978 1797203478. $16.99 (Primary/Intermediate) —Madelyn Hurley “But under the waves, there’s a whole hidden forest full of whales and wolf eels, sardines and sea bass, leopard sharks and luminous jellies, and the waving kelp that shelters them

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep Sayre, April Pulley. (2016). Illus. by Steve Jenkins. Unpaged. Henry Holt and Company. LLC. 978-0805092516. $18.99 (Primary) —Bianca Tierno

all.” Join a young girl and her mother on their paddling adventure above the waves. Readers will learn about the magical depths of the ocean, the plants and animals that coexist in it, and the animals that exist above the ocean waves. Right below the waves are where kelp bass hunt and where the anchovies live. Closer to the ocean floor, animals like leopard sharks and wolf eels live and hunt, where barnacles make their home. The girl and her mother paddle right above the waves, surrounded by octopi, jellies, wobbly-legged crabs, and the kelp that protects the animals that lie beneath. Readers also witness how whales can lunge to the surface and crash back down to the waves, startling the seagulls from above. Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal combine text and illustrations to show life over and under the waves. For example, an illustration of the ocean from the perspective of the ocean floor, paired with the text, explains how there is a whole hidden forest under the waves. The surrounding illustrations show many different animals and plants that exist. The dark blues and water-colored hues reflect the ocean’s depth, and the bright-colored animals and plants stand out on the dark-colored pages. The illustrator conveys the vastness of the ocean by incorporating numerous double-page spreads, strategically breaking up the informative text. This approach aims to make the content less daunting and

Have you ever thought about the busy life of a squirrel? April Pulley Sayre gives you an inside look at the busy antics of one of nature’s most endearing creatures. The book has a rhythmic tone along with playful language and vibrant descriptions that draw readers in. Sayre’s writing is both approachable and captivating, rendering it an ideal choice for read-aloud sessions with young audiences. Interactive lines like “Squirrels chirp, Squirrels drink. Can you guess what squirrels think?” capture the readers’ attention and engage them in the narrative. There is an effortless balance between scientific information about squirrels and a delightful narrative throughout that creates the perfect blend of education and entertainment. With Steve Jenkins’s illustrations, you see the essence of these agile creatures. The visuals and text work

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