Many children are naturally curious about all kinds of animals, and have a lot of questions before or after a trip. That's where the many high quality picture books come in! Whether you seek them out before, after, or during your visit, it's a great way to take learning to the next level.
And so today, I'd like to recommend two very unique nonfiction picture books which will help you do just that.
The first one, Astro: The Steller Sea Lion, by Jeanne Walker Harvey (author) and Shennen Bersani (illustrator), left me more and more fascinated with each turn of the page!
Before I even read the true story, I just had to take a close look at the illustrations. Some of them were so life-like that they could have been real photographs, so I just had to find out what materials were used to create them. The illustrator explained that she used colored pencils and some paint. The end result is unlike anything I'd ever seen before in a picture book. The level of detail is truly extraordinary.
Do you ever take a picture walk before you read a book with your child? It's a great way to spark interest and talk about what the book might be about.
And as expected, the writing is the icing on the cake. It's the heartwarming story of a Steller sea lion pup, which loses his mother just a few days after he is born, and is rescued by a scientist from The Marine Mammal Center in California. He's well cared for, and comes to love being around people.
After repeated attempts to release him back into the ocean, however, Astro keeps coming back to shore. He's grown to love being around people, and will not acclimate to life in the vast ocean. So, with a little help from his friends, he is lucky enough to find a home across the country at The Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. His fans can still visit him there today.
Talk about picture books that bring the real world to your doorstep!
An added plus, Sylvan Dell has their signature "For Creative Minds" section at the book's end. Children can learn more about sea lions, and how they differ from seals. The publisher also has related activities available online as well.
A nice complement, for those who are eager to learn even more, can be found in Seals and Sea Lions (The Living Ocean), by Bobbie Kalman and John Crossingham. The photographic book provides independent readers with extensive information about the many kinds of seals and sea lions. With separate sections and important vocabulary words highlighted in bold, the layout and visual appeal of the book will pull readers in, and allow them to read and absorb a little bit at a time. Of course, this one's ripe for a picture book walk too, as the photographs are stunning.
And so, here are just a few of the many connections that could be made between these two books and your child's world:
- Head to the library to seek out other children's books about marine animals.
- Take a trip to an aquarium or zoo that has seals and sea lions.
- If you live near the ocean, see if there are seal or sea lion observation boat trips the whole family can enjoy. If you live near La Jolla, California, you might want to see seals in a natural beach setting.
- Draw or paint sea lions and/or seals and make up a story about them.
I'm keeping it short this month, so please feel free to add to this list!
You can find similar posts in my "Open 2 Books" category.