Ohio Resource Center
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The Science Bookshelf provides information about using science trade books for science instruction in K-5 classrooms. We have selected outstanding science trade books that align with Ohio's Science Standards and have the potential to enrich science teaching and learning. Information provided for each book includes:
  • a brief annotation
  • suggestions for use
  • reflections about how the book supports standards-based instruction
  • additional reflections about the book
  • standards alignment
  • a list of related ORC resources
These books may be available in your school library or local public library. If not, consider using your local library's interlibrary loan program, OhioLink, or INFOhio to locate and borrow the books.


Earth and Space Science / Life Science / Physical Science / Scientists and Their Work 

 
Earth and Space Science
 
 
  +enlarge   Our Big Home: An Earth Poem
Linda Glaser

"Sun, rain, air, animals, people - all are a part of the Earth, our big home. Portraits of children and animals are whimsically detailed through delightful multicultural drawings from around the world. The language is melodic and full of cheerful metaphors that make the characters lively and memorable."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2001. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2001.aspx.


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  The Moon
Seymour Simon

"An exciting introduction to Earth's nearest neighbor, The Moon features wonderful color photography and very informative text. The book starts by outlining the work of early scientists and takes the reader through the Moon explorations of Apollo astronauts."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2004. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2004.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Sun Up, Sun Down: The Story of Day and Night
Jacqui Bailey

This visually appealing and conceptually sound book introduces elementary students to the concepts of day and night. The concepts are addressed in a way students can relate to. Students in grades 3-5 would most benefit from this type of book because concepts such as revolution, rotation, and sun, moon, and earth distances may be too difficult for students younger than this to understand. This book provides many opportunities to stimulate discussions and perform demonstrations.

This book appears on the Americans for the Advancement of Science's Science Books and Films Best Books for Children 2005 list. http://sbfonline.com/bbchild05.htm.


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  Paint a Sun in the Sky: A First Look at the Seasons
Claire Llewellyn

This book focuses on four distinct seasonal changes, is written on a primary level and can be used with pre-readers as a read aloud. Illustrations are child friendly, mostly accurate and are set in an urban location. The back of the book contains an explanation for the reason we have seasons, which is friendly to young readers and is useful to teachers. The Useful Words and Fun Facts section is helpful for teachers to conduct authentic discussion of the scientific principles affecting the topic of seasons. Throughout, the story is told from a child's perspective and will help youngsters to identify with the impact seasonal change has on their activities and dress.

This book appears on the Americans for the Advancement of Science's Science Books and Films Best Books for Children 2005 list. http://sbfonline.com/bbchild05.htm


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  +enlarge   Night Wonders
Jane Anne Peddicord

This book introduces young students to various objects in the universe such as the moon, planets, nebulae, and galaxies through both poetry and informational text. The poetry portion describes a fantasy trip in which the reader travels around the universe on a beam of light. The informational text presents scientifically accurate information about the object described in the poem. Beautiful photographs accompany the text for each object.

This book appears on the Americans for the Advancement of Science's Science Books and Films Best Books for Children 2005 list. http://sbfonline.com/bbchild05.htm


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Life Science
 
 
 
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  Nature in the Neighborhood
Gordon Morrison

Nature in the Neighborhood is a beautifully illustrated and informative book about the abundance of animals and plants in an urban environment and how these organisms change with the seasons. The author demonstrates how nature can be found in one’s backyard, making this a valuable resource for anyone living in an urban setting.

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2005. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2005.aspx.



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  +enlarge   On the Way to the Beach
Henry Cole

"Gorgeous illustrations and a unique layout encourage the reader to make observations in a forest, at the edge of a salt marsh, on sand dunes, and on the beach. This transect approach provides an interesting perspective. Fold-out pages list the ecosystem inhabitants, and the reader can search the illustration for each plant, animal, or item. Picture keys at the back of the book allow the reader to identify the ecosystem inhabitants."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2004. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2004.aspx.


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  Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal
Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini

"Bold illustrations and journal notes, maps, clips from news articles, and fun tidbits provide a brilliant model for student journals. The story joyfully describes major seasonal changes that occur in a temperate pond community."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2002. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2002.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Temperate Forest: A Web of Life
Philip Johansson

"The author takes the reader on a journey through a temperate forest, providing a glimpse of the plants and animals found there and the interactions between them that create food webs. The author also describes how energy flows through this biome."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2005. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2005.aspx.


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  Starting Life: Butterfly
Claire Llewellyn

"A beautifully illustrated and detailed book about the life cycle of a monarch butterfly, Starting Life Butterfly also covers the topics of migration, predation, and ecosystems. The book is accurate in content but includes variations of typical egg-laying patterns for monarchs. Additionally, when the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis, the author refers to the butterfly as being “tired,” which is debatable. Regardless, this book will serve as a wonderful resource for children to learn about monarch butterflies. The book uses a unique disclosure page style that features two types of text. The main text is written at a primary level, but supplemental information on each page allows for much broader readability."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2004. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2004.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Spring Thaw
Steven Schnur

"Amidst beautiful illustrations, the text explores the changes in farmland as the signs of spring appear. More than melting of the snow, the story observes the gathering of maple syrup, the magnificence of young lambs, and the return of birds as spring arrives."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2001. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2001.aspx.


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  Butternut Hollow Pond
Brian J. Heinz

"The reader explores the interdependence of organisms in a pond with particular emphasis on food webs. Excitement reigns as an animal quickly changes its role from hunter to hunted. Through text and watercolor illustrations, the reader develops an appreciation of ecology and the environment."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2001. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2001.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Near One Cattail: Turtles, Logs and Leaping Frogs
Anthony D. Fredericks

This book, a winner of the Green Earth Book Award (2005), beautifully illustrates several species of animals and plants commonly found in the marshes, swamps, prairie potholes, and bogs found throughout North America. Educators will find this book beneficial when introducing young learners to topics such as conservation, habitats, animals, and plants. The author provides field notes at the end of the book for more in-depth information on each of the plants and animals found in the book.

This book appears on the Americans for the Advancement of Science's Science Books and Films Best Books for Children 2005 list. http://sbfonline.com/bbchild05.htm.


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  Turtle Crossing
Rick Chrustowski

"The life cycle of a painted turtle is the focus of this well-written and nicely illustrated book. The story begins with turtles scrambling out of their nest and progresses to them laying their own eggs five years later. A description of the environment in which the turtles live and the obstacles they encounter make this book one that helps young readers understand painted turtles and their journey to a nesting site."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2007. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2007.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Slippery, Slimy Baby Frogs
Sandra Markle

"Spectacular color photographs and engaging text help readers learn about frog species around the world. This book goes beyond typical egg-tadpole-adult life cycle descriptions to highlight diverse processes through which frog eggs transform into adults. It includes physical and behavioral characteristics and a short note about declining frog populations."



Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2007. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2007.aspx.



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  Here is the Tropical Rain Forest
Madeleine Dunphy

"This beautifully illustrated book explores the incredible diversity of life found in an endangered environment—the rain forest. The food web of the tropical rain forest is presented through lyrical text and naturalist paintings. Plants and animals are linked in a chain of life that will be evident to young readers."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2007. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2007.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Red Eyes or Blue Feathers
Patrica M. Stockland

"What’s the best way to survive in the wild? The book opens with this question and then explains how an animal’s color serves as a structure for survival in its environment. Many animals and their habitats are described, so young readers will become familiar with the function of survival."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2006. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2006.aspx.



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Physical Science
 
 
 
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  I Fall Down
Vicki Cobb

"This visually appealing and conceptually sound physical science book introduces young children to the concepts of gravity and weight. The concepts are reinforced through many real-life examples and fun activities that could easily be duplicated in class or at home."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2005. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2005.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Air Is Everywhere
Melissa Stewart

This book encourages children to think about and explore the properties of air and interactions between air and matter. The text and accompanying photographs use examples children are likely to be familiar with. Several activities that use common household materials are provided. Each activity includes illustrations and an explanation.

This book appears on the Americans for the Advancement of Science's Science Books and Films Best Books for Children 2005 list. http://sbfonline.com/bbchild05.htm.


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Scientists and Their Work
 
 
 
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  Benjamin Banneker: Pioneering Scientist
Ginger Wadsworth

"A free black man in the 1700s, Benjamin Banneker was a brilliant thinker. At a time when clocks were very expensive, he built his own out of wood. America’s first black man of science also was famous for his almanacs and his role in helping survey the streets of Washington, D.C. This book documents Banneker’s love of learning and desire for an end to slavery."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2004. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2004.aspx.


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  +enlarge   First to Fly: How Wilbur and Orville Wright Invented the Airplane
Peter Busby

"From their introduction to flight via a flying toy bought by their father, Orville and Wilbur Wright were destined for a place in history as the first to fly a powered heavier-than-air craft. This biography features side notes, photographs, and colorful illustrations that bring the Wright brothers and their work to life."


Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2004. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2004.aspx.


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  The Wildlife Detectives: How Forensic Scientists Fight Crimes Against Nature
Donna M. Jackson

"Readers can follow a crime scene investigation of the illegal shooting of an elk in Yellowstone National Park. A team of forensic scientists uses various techniques including DNA profiling to solve the crime in an effort to protect animals in the future."

Quoted material about this book appears as part of the National Science Teachers Association's list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2001. That list can be seen at http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2001.aspx.


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  +enlarge   Long, Long Ago
Gerry Bailey

This book poses a series of problems from moving heavy objects to crossing a river that led to some of our earliest inventions. For each of the ten problems there is a question, a description of the problem, a list of potential solutions, information about the invention that solved the problem, scientific background, and instructions for making a model of the invention.

This book appears on the Americans for the Advancement of Science's Science Books and Films Best Books for Children 2005 list. http://sbfonline.com/bbchild05.htm 



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