STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Philip Hoose Flies Again with Moonbird

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Have you heard? Phillip Hoose has a wonderful new middle-grade book released in July, Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. After winning the 2009 National Book Award with Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, he has gone in a new direction, but once again he has found a little-known main character whose story deserves to be told.

Who or what is “Moonbird?” The title refers to a tiny bird who has flown an estimated 350,000 miles – over the distance to the moon and halfway back – in his lifetime!

Moonbird is also known as B95 because that was the number he was banded with in South America in 1995. He is a male shorebird commonly called a red knot. He’s a member of the rufa subspecies, which migrates from the tip of South America all the way to the Arctic Circle and then back each year. Scientists have been spotting B95 during portions of his trip. The most recent sighting was in May of this year. If you do the math 2012-1995 (when he was first tagged) = an age of 17 years. That is impressive enough, but scientists estimate he was already a mature bird when he was first tagged, which means he was probably at least three years old. B95 is some 20 years old and still going strong.

It is tempting to tell you all the details about amazing B95, but we’re supposed to be reviewing the book. Phillip Hoose follows B95’s journey, starting with a trip to the tip of South America to visit the spot where B95 was first banded. He then moves to the critical stopover station in Delaware Bay, before traveling north to the birds’ breeding ground in the Arctic and then heading south again. To keep the reader oriented during all this moving about, the book contains numerous helpful maps. Also, at each stop Hoose meets and profiles dedicated scientists who study the birds. The final chapter addresses the issue of extinction, why you should care about these tiny birds, and, as you will find out, horseshoe crabs as well. He also brings the story back to young people and what they can do to help.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 is a must-read book for budding ornithologists and conservation biologists. Others who read it might just be inspired to take up a new hobby, birdwatching.

What our STEM Friday participants are sharing today:

Right in time for learning more about space exploration, Marina has Buzz Aldrin: Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin at Marina’s Tween Materials Blog.

Shirley found an interesting graphic format book Eggs, Legs, WINGS:  A Butterfly Life Cycle by Shannon Knudsen and illustrated by Simon Smith, featured at Simply Science Blog.

In a celebration of summer, Sue has A Butterfly’s Life by Ellen Lawrence, How do You Know It’s Summer by Ruth Owen, and Chipmunk’s Hole by Dee Phillips at Archimedes Notebook. These are sure to entice children outdoors.

Jeff has a fun and informative review of Volcanoes by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by Megan Lloyd at NC Teacher Stuff.

Ana has author Alexandra Siy today visiting her blog today. She has outstanding, award-winning books about science for children including Cars on Mars: Roving the RedPlanet.

Today’s host is Wrapped In Foil blog.

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Author: Roberta

Trained as a scientist, I blog about science and nature at Growing With Science, and about children's books at Wrapped in Foil.

8 thoughts on “Philip Hoose Flies Again with Moonbird

  1. I recommend Buzz Aldrin’s illustrated autobiography: “Buzz Aldrin: Reaching for the Moon.” http://marinaduff.blogspot.com/2012/08/buzz-aldrin-reaching-for-moon.html

    • Marina, I’m sure children are going to be very interested in learning more about space right now with the Mars Rover Curiosity in the news.

  2. I’ve got a couple very earth-bound books … on summer, Monarch butterflies, and a peek inside a chipmunks home. http://archimedesnotebook.blogspot.com/2012/08/summer-reading-butterflies-weather-and.html

    • Sue, Great choices to inspire children to get outdoors.

      Note: I think those monarchs might fly just a bit :-)

  3. Moonbird sounds great, Roberta. At NC Teacher Stuff, I have posted a review of Volcanoes:

    http://ncteacherstuff.blogspot.com/2012/08/volcanoes.html

    Thank you for posting at STEM Friday today.

  4. Hello, Roberta!
    My contribution today at Ana’s NonFiction Blog (http://anasnonfictionblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/take-road-trip-to-mars.html#links) is an interview with children nonfiction author Alexandra Siy and her book “Cars on Mars”.
    I am fascinated with the Mars rover Curiosity and her mission on Mars and my Friday blog posts will be about that, the red planet and books and class activities to engage kids (hopefully) on STEM.
    Moonbird sounds delightful. Right down my alley….
    Thank you for hosting today!

  5. Thank you, Roberta! I’m moving slowly today and this was a lovely surprise!

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