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Tag: animals

Booklist: New Nonfiction Science

It’s been a very science-y week so far! The Hub kicked off Monday with funny science books for teens, and yesterday was the delicious Pi Day (not to mention Einstein’s birthday). Today I’ve got a sampling of some new nonfiction science books available for teen readers. For information on STEAM vs. STEM programming, check out this post on the YALSAblog, or for more inspiration on science programming, check out Anyone Can Do Science! which has lots of fun ways to incorporate science into your regular programming schedule.

Put on your lab coats and take a look — and don’t miss a PDF of this list at the end.

New nonfiction science for teens

 

The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World, by Nancy F. Castaldo

Discusses the impact of seeds on food supply, and their importance in everything from biodiversity to the global economy.

It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change, by Bridget Heos

Examines the history of climate change on our planet, including humanity’s role and current politics, and how young readers can take action. To add to an environmental discussion, pair with Fuel Under Fire: Petroleum and Its Perils, by Margaret J. Goldstein.

For the Love of Cats: Felines in YA Fiction

Last month I wrote about canines in YA literature. This month I want to give equal time to the felines. Firstly because I had the joy of growing up in a household of cats. Secondly, there are dastardly cat gangs out there which watch our every move, and I don’t want to get on their bad side. Or so goes the familiar negative image of cats in some popular lore. However, anyone who has actually shared their life with cats knows that this is not at all the reality. Each cat, like each dog, has its own characteristics, whether affectionate or independent, forgiving or wary. With that in mind, in the following list I’ve tried to include fiction titles which I feel are well-suited to teens and which include feline characters in a variety of roles and with a variety of personalities.

blacksadBlacksad (Blacksad series) by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido

The Spanish Canales and Guarnido originally created their Eisner Award-winning detective noir graphic novel series for French readers, but the setting is early 1950s U.S. This first volume collects the first three issues, which include a murder mystery and stories concerning the effects of white supremacy on individuals and the Red Scare. Private Investigator John Blacksad is an unforgettable feline. Lucia Cedeira Serantes, in her summer 2005 Young Adult Library Services article “¿Es un Pájaro? ¿Es un Avión?.…Spanish Comics for American Libraries” mentions two of the issues in this volume as being among the best in graphic novels and comics from Spain. (Adult Graphic Novel)

Book of Night with Moon (Feline Wizards trilogy) by Diane Duane

This is the first novel in a series which combines science fantasy, adventure, horror and even humor. There is a secret civilization of cats in Manhattan complete with its own language, a glossary of which is included in the novel. When the world is threatened with invasion by monsters from the “Downside”, four cats – Rhiow, Saash, Urruah and Arhu — seek out the wizard responsible for the dire situation. The cats make interesting observations about the differences between human and feline culture. (Adult Fiction)

For the Love of Dogs (and a Few Wolves): Canines in YA Literature

Image by NDPetitt. See: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/NDPetitt
Image by NDPetitt. See: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/NDPetitt

This Valentine’s Day, because my husband needed to be away, my dog was my date.  That evening she and I took a walk, had dinner and lounged on the couch together.  I read while she dozed and snored.  In other words, we had a perfect evening.  This made me think that in this month of love, I’d like to honor our canine friends who devote themselves to us so unconditionally.

Below are several YA novels (and one adult novel well-suited to teens), some in print and some in graphic format, in which canines play a large part.  They may be the main character’s best friend or arch enemy, or even the story’s protagonist.  I’ve taken the liberty of including a few books with wolves. I’m hoping you’ll agree that the probable common ancestry of wolves and dogs — and also just the fact that these “wolf” novels are pretty great — justifies the inclusion of these works.

Make sure to also check out earlier Hub posts about dogs and other animals in YA literature.  See Laura Perenic’s “Dog Days of Summer…Reading” (8/7/12) and Kate McNair’s “Animals Who Shine” (9/14/12).

laika nick abadzisLaika by Nick Abadzis (2008 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

This is a fictionalized account of Laika, the Samoyed-husky who in November 1957 became the first sentient being to leave Earth’s orbit, on the Sputnik II satellite.  A dog who had survived on the streets of Russia, she was taken by scientists in order to further their space program, her life knowingly sacrificed.  This is a powerful and poignant graphic novel which shows how politics can generate intense pressure on scientists to be first in their field.  (younger teen graphic novel)

 

BB Wolf and the Three LPs by J. D. Arnold & Rich Koslowski (2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

This graphic novel turns the story of The Three Little Pigs on its head.  In this version, BB Wolf is a farmer and blues musician in the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s. When the pigs decide that they’re going to take his land, BB Wolf strikes back in revenge.  There are parallels here to Jim Crow racial segregation and oppression and also to the life of the real Barnabus Benjamin Wolf, who influenced American Blues music and was executed for murder.  (older teen graphic novel) 

Animals Who Shine

September is Animal Remembrance Month, and when I started this post it was going to be about lost literary pets. I started compiling my list and became sadder and sadder with each title. These were the animals I fell in love with while reading, who mattered more than some (or all) human characters in their books. Instead, I thought, I will write a post about our favorite animal characters, focusing on their lives, not their deaths.

Manchee from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (2009 Best Books for Young Adults, 2011 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.” With this opening line, Ness introduces the reader to Manchee, the talking dog who will work his way into their hearts. Machee mostly spends his time thinking about squirrels and poop, as I am sure most dogs do. I tried to read this book several times and Manchee always annoyed me until I listened the audiobook. Manchee is brought to life by Nick Podehl and you can’t help but love his blind loyalty and earnest love for Todd. If you had told me that Manchee would quickly become one of my favorite characters, I would have laughed in your face … now I can’t imagine the book without him.