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Editor's Blog

Welcome to the SB&F Editor's Blog. I am Maria Sosa, Editor-in-Chief of SB&F. Through this blog I hope to interact with the SB&F community and post news and information related to science books, videos, authors, opportunities and other topics of interest to our readers. I hope you find the blog useful and entertaining. Please, join the conversation by posting a comment on our Facebook page. I'd love to hear from you!


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  • As a culture we like to pretend that Halloween is just for children, but we all know that isn't true; adults also like to dress up as vampires, witches, goblins, ghosts, and monsters. We also like to carve pumpkins, as you can see from the picture on the left, a winning entry in a recent AAAS staff pumpkin carving contest! What is it about Halloween that captures our imagination? The books below don't really answer that question, but we thought they would make appropriate recommendations for this time of year. America's Neighborhood Bats: Understanding and Learning to Live in Harmony with Them , by Merlin Tuttle. Bats are ubiquitous symbols of Halloween, but are they really scary...      Read more...
    Published 16 Oct 2012 12:22 PM by Maria Sosa
  • Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. Every day in November, the Picture Book Month features a new post from a picture book champion explaining why he/she thinks picture books are important. What better time, then, to focus on the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize finalists in the Children's Science Picture Book category? The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize has very specific criteria for the award in this category. It is the only category in which the author and illustrator are both honored. To select the finalists and ultimate winner, the judges use these criteria: The book is appropriate for children in grades...      Read more...
    Published 11 Nov 2015 9:12 AM by Maria Sosa
  • Mythbusters , the seven-time Emmy®- nominated series premiered on Discovery in January, 2003. Little did the network imagine that when it introduced two special effects artists, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, the show would still be going strong after thirteen years. These two men had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and they found a loyal audience that was eager to learn along with them. But all good things come to an end and now, after 248 episodes, 2950 experiments, 1050 myths, and 900 explosions, hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman will say goodbye to the series this winter. Mythbusters will be back for one final season, starting January 9, 2016. Before they say goodbye, though, Adam...      Read more...
  • Here's a bonus book review from our archives in honor of World Turtle Day. Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir , by David M. Carroll. (Illus.) Boston Houghton Mifflin 2004. xii+182pp. 2003047895. ISBN 0-618-16225-9. Louis Agassiz wrote, “Study nature, not books.” It is through the study and observation of living organisms that one gains the ability to truly see and appreciate the intricate details of our world. In an engaging memoir, David Carroll describes how his own studies of nature--in particular, turtles--honed his powers of observation. Indeed, he aptly illustrates the importance of developing search images when he states, “One has to find a turtle, before one can...      Read more...
  • In our September issue, we shared a resource guide inspired by Disposable Culture , an art exhibit at AAAS headquarters. We thought that our readers might also be interested in a few other science-focused art exhibits. One is Focus on Nature (FON) , a biennial exhibition of scientific, natural and cultural history. It began in 1990 in conjunction with the Northeast Natural History Conference. Artworks considered for inclusion must accurately represent the subjects, or research results and processes. The current exhibition is open through December 31, 2012 in the Photography Gallery of the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. It features 93 natural history illustrations, representing the work...      Read more...
  • Nominations open through September 5, 2014 . Submission Guidelines Introduction The SB&F Prizes aim to encourage the reading, writing and publishing of quality science books. The Prizes began in 2005 by looking back on 40 years of outstanding science books and honoring six authors for their distinguished and lasting contribution to science literature. Beginning in 2006 and beyond, the Prizes honor recently published, individual books. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Children's Science Picture Book (prize to author and illustrator) Middle Grades Science Book (prize to author) Young Adult Science Book (prize to author) Hands-On Science Book (prize to author) A judging...      Read more...
  • FableVision , a Boston-based group of education media development and publishing companies, and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's largest children's literacy nonprofit, have teamed up to develop and distribute two free apps focused on building early childhood literacy in preschool and elementary-aged children. The apps are intended to promote an early love of reading through interactive read-aloud stories, digital drawing boards, and virtual science labs. The apps were developed using best practices in literacy and are designed to help children build strong foundations for reading while engaging them through entertaining stories and vibrant loveable characters. They are available...      Read more...
    Published 15 Oct 2013 1:19 PM by Maria Sosa
  • On Thursday, November 15, 2012, Verizon's Thinkfinity community will be offering a live webinar called Meeting the Demands of the Common Core: Mentoring Readers of Science and Technical Texts . The presenter will be Doug Buehl author of Developing Readers in the Academic Disciplines , published by the International Reading Association (IRA). The live presentation will occur at 4:00 pm ET (1:00 pm PT/2:00 pm MT/3:00 pm). Participants will discover why integrating literacy practices into the flow of regular disciplinary instruction is integral to 21st-century learners. As students strive to meet new rigorous standards, teachers of science, mathematics, and technical subjects face an urgent...      Read more...
    Published 13 Nov 2012 3:20 PM by Maria Sosa
  • We thought that the 25th anniversary of Earth Day would be a good day to share this review. Klein, Grady, and Yoram Bauman. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change. (Illus.) Washington, DC: Island Press, 2014. This book provides a balanced analysis of climate change and fossil fuel use in cartoon form. What's not to like? The authors express deep concerns about what the future holds if we do not change our fossil fuel consumption behaviors, but they do an excellent job of presenting data and evidence about a highly polarized issue and allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. Humor eases the way for personal contemplation of serious issues. Some of the many complex concepts addressed...      Read more...
  • We've been blogging recently on the intersection of science on art.. Therefore, a new trio of exhibits that opened last week at theNational Air and Space Museum here in Washington, D.C. , caught our attention. Housed together, though technically separate exhibits, "High Art: A Decade of Collecting," "Searching for Goldilocks" and "Suited for Space" showcase the exploration of space and aviation. The exhibits are described below. If you are planning a trip to D.C. in the next few months, these are definitely worth adding to your itinerary. High Art: A Decade of Collecting showcases 50 pieces of art acquired by the museum during the past 10 years. These pieces...      Read more...
  • As part of our occasional series of Throwback Thursday reviews, here is one from 1991. Prairie Visions: The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher , by Pam Conrad . (Illus.) NY Harpercollins 1991. 85pp. For her award-winning novel, Prairie Songs , Pam Conrad researched the achives at the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln. There, she came across a collection of photographs taken by a man named Solomon Butcher. His pictures documented the people and the prairie of Nebraska in the late 1800s. She incorporated Butcher into her novel, embellishing his personality with her own imagination. In Prairie Visions: The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher, Conrad reflects upon the life of the real Solomon...      Read more...
  • A Book Recommendation for World Penguin Day ! Penguins: The Ultimate Guide , by by Tui De Roy , Mark Jones , and Julie Cornthwaite. (Illus.) Princeton, NJ Princeton 2014. 240pp. $35.00. 2013956959. ISBN 9780691162997. Index; C.I.P. Although not a scientific treatise, Penguins is built on a solid foundation of scientific research. Furthermore, and importantly, the three authors of Penguins have extensive firsthand experience with penguins making readers feel as if they are on an ecotourism trip under knowledgeable guides. A plethora of large, color photographs lend themselves to the feeling of ecotourism and are an integral component of the book. Indeed, the stunning detail and broad scope of...      Read more...
  • As the world’s population swells beyond 10 billion people later this century, what can we do to sustain the farmland, energy and water supplies needed to keep everyone fed? That’s the challenging question that Sustainable Food , a web-based toolkit, addresses with an anchor video and dozens of resources. The toolkit is a project of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. "We basically have to double the amount of food we produce over the next 50 to 60 years,” says John Floros, Ph.D, in the anchor video, called Feeding the World . “The question is, can we do that, and how should we do it?” Floros, dean of the College...      Read more...
    Published 9 Jan 2014 2:33 PM by Maria Sosa
  • The American Library Association (ALA) announced today that The New York Public Library has joined as one of the co-sponsors of the I Love My Librarian Award. The New York Public Library will work with the ALA in the promotion of the award and the selection process. “The New York Public Library is honored to become a co-sponsor of the I Love My Librarian Award,” said Tony Marx, President and CEO of The New York Public Library. “Our libraries are only as strong as our staff – the dedicated people who devote their days to helping, teaching, and enriching the experience for visitors. We're excited to participate in an award that celebrates and recognizes these everyday...      Read more...
  • Recently I've come across a number of interesting science-related contests and competitions that I thought I would share with our readers. Check out the opportunities below. From chemistry to earth science to science fiction poetry, one of them might be perfect for you! American Chemical Society invites entries in video contest on ‘Everyday Chemistry’ Scientists and students still have two weeks to submit entries to a new American Chemical Society (ACS) video contest to win prizes that include a paid trip to the next national meeting of the world’s largest scientific society. Contest details and a sample video are available at cenm.ag/everydaychem . ACS launched the “Everyday...      Read more...
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