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From My Backyard

Look around! Have you ever wondered what clouds are made of? How a plant grows? Wondered about food groups or noticed how the sun's angle changes with each season? Have you ever read a poem that makes you look at commonplace things differently? You can find out about these and more in your own community — but be sure to start with a book!

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Beneath the Sun

By: Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by: Constance Bergum
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

While children cavort through a sprinkler on a suburban lawn, animals thrive or survive in other habitats (desert, field, wetland, and seaside). The same sun has a different effect in different places on all living creatures presented in a clear text and handsome, realistic, detailed illustrations.


By: Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by: Frané Lessac
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Fog is the only type of cloud that is close enough to feel; all other clouds can only be seen. Folk art and crisp text brings different types of clouds into focus for budding scientists. Cloud facts and directions for making a cloud in a jar conclude this informative and engaging introduction to clouds, weather and observation.

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

By: Paul Janeczko
Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Seasons are celebrated from spring when "Rain beats down,/roots stretch up…" to a cold winter night as "A welcome mat of moonlight/on the floor…" entices a child to snuggle in a warm bed. Accessible, jewel-toned illustrations add setting and movement to a wide range of appealing and very short poems.

It's Raining

By: Gail Gibbons
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Water is essential for all life on earth. In the author/illustrator's signature style, the water cycle, clouds, and more are introduced. Straightforward language and characteristic illustrations include maps, cautions, and additional tidbits of nformation about rain and related topics.

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

By: Annette Cate
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

They can be observed anywhere; in fact, "You don't have to go anywhere fancy to watch birds!" The informative, informal and playful guide encourages close observation and identification as well as tips for recording and finding out more about these ubiquitous creatures.

Mama Built a Little Nest

By: Jennifer Ward
Illustrated by: Steve Jenkins
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Birds craft surprisingly unique nests. Brief verses introduce different birds and how their nest is made complemented by equally engaging but concise factual information in a different typeface. Memorable illustrations are realistic, made of cut paper collages placed on uncluttered pages.

Plants Feed Me

By: Lizzy Rockwell
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

"I am a plant eater," announces a boy with a wide grin eating munching on a slice of watermelon and surrounded by a harvest of fruits and vegetables. He then introduces where, how, and the different parts of what he (and we) eat. Cheery, informative illustrations are clearly labeled and correspond to the straightforward, engaging text.

Rooting for You

By: Susan Hood
Illustrated by: Matthew Cordell
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Growing up is not easy, even for a small seed. But with encouragement from a bespectacled worm, a frightened seed pushes on and up and develops into a handsome flower. Rhyming text and cartoon line drawings suggest the challenges of sprouting — both literally and figuratively — while presenting a saga in which many children will see themselves.

Secrets of the Seasons

By: Kathleen Zoehfeld
Illustrated by: Priscilla Lamont
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As seasons change, Alice and her friend, Zack, notice changes in the length of the day. Together with Alice's little brother, the children examine the changing seasons as they observe birds, animal tracks, and more. Two articulate chickens named Maisy and Daisy add a bit of whimsical humor as well as scientific detail in this winning and enlightening book.

The Food Parade: Healthy Eating with Nutritious Food Groups

By: Elicia Castaldi
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The mayor of Food Town introduces each of the five groups: grains, vegetables, fruit, protein, and dairy. Each personified group parades through town with its relatives. Humorous illustrations of foods with personality, all labeled, are used with an understated text to present palatable nutrition information. A bit more easily digestible information ends the book.

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