8 by Eight
This month's 8 by Eight list focuses on books about hobbies.
January is National Hobby Month. As anyone raising and working with children knows, kids have lots of interests and are continually engaging with and learning about their environment. They can recite complicated dinosaur names, explain the intricacies of vehicles, know all about animals unfamiliar to adults! This month's list of 8 by Eight won't begin to cover the range of kids interests and hobbies, but hopefully it will inspire you to visit your local bookstore and library to find exciting books about whatever topics and activities are currently captivating your little learner.
We'll start with Mirelle Messier and Irene Luxbacher's book Treasure. Treasure is about two siblings on an outdoor adventure looking for treasure. The older one has rules: treasures are shiny, mysterious, and hidden away. The younger sibling finds nature treasures along the way (a feather, acorn, seedpod). Although deemed "not treasure" by the older sibling, you'll have fun talking with your reader about what they think a treasure is. The siblings don't give up and they do discover a natural treasure together, one that is shiny, mysterious, and hidden away. Treasure is perfect for kids who like to be active, enjoy being out doors, and are collectors of their own treasures.
If the beach and ocean are your families hobbies, you're in luck! Not only are we surrounded by beautiful beaches, but there are plenty of books available to help you learn more about what you find on your own beach treasure hunts. Check out The Sea Book, which investigates different oceans, introduces marine animals big and small, and provides information about harmful environmental factors as well as ways to protect our oceans.
Every Tree has a Story combines international stories of real trees or tree traditions with large imaginative illustrations. The stories are one-page and could be read at bedtime and the sophisticated illustrations will entrance older readers. Enjoy learning about sequoia's, baobab, or the ginko biloba, which has been around since the time of the dinosaurs.
Mapping Sam by Joyce Hesselberth is a delightful book about maps. Sam, the cat, takes a night time adventure. The book maps Sam's travels around the neighborhood, then maps Sam, then offers a map that looks much like a subway guide. We see maps of the world, the constellations, and the solar system. Back matter (glossary, index, and additional information about the book's topic) includes information about maps as well as the various maps represented in the book.
Speaking of the solar system, there are also lots of wonderful books for kids who are interested in planets, asteroids, moons, etc. Pluto Gets the Call is a quirky narrative about Pluto -- proud to be one of the nine planets --, who receives a call from "Earth Scientists" explaining that Pluto is no longer a planet. Pluto visits all the other planets and eventually the Sun. Fortunately the sun is very bright and offers Pluto sage advice. A fun interactive story, Pluto Gets the Call is funny but also packed with facts about the planets,
For kids interested in coding and computer science, we're seeing more and more instructional books, but How to Code a Roller Coaster (companion title to How to Code a Sandcastle) are great picture book introductions to young readers. Pearl and her robot Pascal visit an amusrment park. The story introduces concepts such as variable, value, loop, and sequence. Back matter includes further definitions and examples. How to Code a Rollercoaster offers innovative ways to translate coding principles to real life events and actions. If this line is short, then we will ride the roller coaster. If this book is fun, then we will read it again.
Crafty Llama is a sweet story about crafts and giving. Llama knits when she needs to do some thinking. It's fun. Beaver likes to do things that are useful. Doing useful things helps him think. Fortunately for llama and beaver, crafting can be both fun and useful. And it's always nice to make something for friends!
Drum Dream Girl is inspired by the true story of Millo Castro Zaldarriga. According to the back matter, Millo was a "Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo agains female drummers." Margarita Engle's stunning and inspiring poetic text, "On an island of music // in a city of drumbeats // the drum dream girl // dreamed," is coupled with Rafael López's gorgeous and inspiriting illustrations. Whatever your hobbies are -- music, science, crafting -- do them with passion, regardless of what the world thinks.