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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

The summer song of cicadas

September 3, 2010

There's a special sound to late summer. The air almost seems to vibrate with the songs of insects.

I was walking down the sidewalk earlier today and came across a shell of a really ugly (at least in my opinion) critter. But I recognized it as that of a totally harmless cicada, one of the likely music makers.

I knew this because my son and I collected cicadas when one variety made their once-every-17-years appearance in the late 1990s and because I'd just read a new book by the prolific science writer, Laurence Pringle.

Over the years, Pringle has introduced me to everything from dinosaurs to cockroaches. And now his clear style provided a fascinating introduction to Cicadas!: Strange and Wonderful (Boyds Mill).

I like the idea of a nature walk followed up by a book to fill in the blanks, to answer questions, or spark additional research. And nonfiction — informational text — for children is often a fine experience for readers of all ages. There's a lot to choose from, much of it authoritative yet accessible.

(I was sent a link to a molting cicada shown through time lapse photography. It's almost like being there!)

I'm waiting for the cool air of autumn as I enjoy the sounds of summer — and look for books (as well as the occasional website) to explore the change of seasons.

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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald