Of course, every adult knows that not all children’s books are just for kids. This installment of books by Sneed Collard, Justin Olson, Kathleen Dent, Alli DePuy and Lauri Travis promise to educate and entertain readers of all ages.
Birds of Every Color
Bucking Horse Books’ 10th title, Birds of Every Color, takes a whimsical yet fascinating look at a little-known topic, the colors of birds.
As the book’s title proclaims, birds almost literally come feathered in every color, and author Sneed B. Collard III gleefully explores the diversity, functions and sources of these spectacular hues.
On each page or spread, oversized text provides a charming, engaging narrative for read-alouds or beginning readers, while smaller, more detailed text answers questions for older readers, parents and teachers – anyone who has ever been intrigued by the vibrant red of a cardinal or startling blue feet of a Blue-footed Booby.
The book features stunning photographs by the author and his son, Braden Collard, an accomplished birder and photographer, and a student at Hellgate High School in Missoula.
Collard is the author of more than 80 books for young people and the winner of many awards, including the prestigious Washington Post-Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award for his body of work. Together, Sneed and Braden write a weekly birding blog at FatherSonBirding.com.
Earth to Charlie
Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her in Justin Olson’s moving story. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him.
Charlie will admit that he doesn’t have many reasons to stick around; he doesn’t get along well with his father, he’s constantly bullied at school and at work, and the only friend he has is his 600-pound neighbor Geoffrey, and Geoffrey’s three-legged dog, Tickles.
Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?
“Olson’s story is one of losing something and finding it again, told in the voice of an easily relatable protagonist as he faces the ups and downs of friendship and family,” writes Booklist. “Poignant yet hopeful, this is a lesson in grief, loneliness, and what it means to truly dream.”
Olson, a Butte native, taught high school English and theater in Montana before moving to Los Angeles, where he continues to write novels and is an independent film and TV producer. Earth to Charlie is his debut novel. He currently splits his time between LA and Montana.
Bear in the Bathtub
Mia is a curious girl, and the thing she loves most is being outdoors in the big, beautiful world. Every day, she races out the door, eager to explore, experiment, play, and learn. She doesn’t want to end her fun – not even for dinner, and especially not for a bath. Mia’s in luck, though, because every night she finds a bear in the bathtub, so her skeptical mom is forced to send her off to bed without a bath. But what is that bear doing in the bathtub, anyway?
Elementary and middle school students from across the U.S. were asked to imagine just that. Their artwork, combined with that of Alli DePuy, brings lively text from Kathleen Dent to life. A non-fiction section based on the research of carnivore ecologist Dr. Michael Sawaya explains the science behind bathing bears everywhere and why it is important to understand their behavior in our changing climate.
This collaborative effort aims to ignite curiosity about bear behavior and then teach children the biological reasons behind that behavior using text that is interesting, approachable, and based on published research and a current scientific study in Yellowstone National Park.
Inspired Classroom co-owners Kathleen Dent and Alli DePuy each live in Missoula, where they run an education technology start-up that’s focused on building, delivering, and facilitating educational content via in-depth virtual learning experiences and projects with a real-world focus. Learn more at inspiredclassroom.com.
Arrowheads, Spears, Buffalo Jumps: Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Great Plains
Ancestors of today’s Native Americans populated the Great Plains about 14,000 years ago, about the time glaciers of the last Ice Age began melting back to the north. Prehistoric people living on the dry plains east of the Rocky Mountains were hunter-gatherers, moving from place to place in search of animals to hunt and seeds, roots and berries to gather.
Archaeologists have reconstructed the history of these hunter-gatherers by studying old campsites and tools made of stone and antler. In Arrowheads, Spears, Buffalo Jumps, Helena author and scientist Lauri Travis introduces readers to the science of archaeology, shedding light on how field scientists find evidence of people who did not build permanent houses and how researchers determine the age of an arrowhead and what it was used to kill.
Archaeological illustrator Eric Carlson, who lives in Missoula, brings to life the daily activities of early people, showing how they funneled animals over buffalo jumps, used sinew to attach points to spears, and employed grinding stones to mash seeds into flour.
The book also includes photographs of artifacts and excavation sites, a glossary, and a list of archaeological sites to visit while exploring the vast plains where mammoths used to roam.