STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

STEM Friday with African Animal Alphabet


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African Animal Alphabet

By Beverly and Dereck Joubert

National Geographic, 2011

ISBN #978-1426307812

Grades PreK-3


“As we lie in our tent at night in the African bush listening to the barks, chirps, twitters, and roars of the animals around us, we understand that all these animals have their own way of talking. We’ve filmed and photographed these creatures for many years and have come to know them very well. Each animal is different, just like you and me.”

This alphabet book is filled with short fact blurbs and large, exquisite photographs of African animals centered on the alphabet theme by the authors, who have spent more than 25 years in Africa. Familiar and not-so-familiar animals are presented in the spreads and come following a map of Africa showing the terrain and a short introduction about finding more words in the text that begin with that letter.

Readers and listeners will find the pictures appealing and the layouts draw the reader’s attention to some of the “Did You Know” text boxes. Back matter includes more short facts about each animal presented, a glossary, and more information and web sites.

The appeal of this book is that it appeals to a wider age range than most alphabet books and would be a fun read, reference, introduction to animals, or an excellent way to introduce Africa. From pictures to facts, this is a terrific book and would make a great gift, too.


Make an alphabet book of animals from your state, region, or country. Look up animals and make a book as a group of individually. If you are working with young children, assign each child a letter of the alphabet to research. Write 2-4 facts about the animal, draw a picture, put it in a category, and try to use alliterative words in the animal facts.

National Geographic has animal information for kids.

This site has child-friendly information.

National Science Standard: structure and function; growth and development

Book provided by publisher.

Author: Shirley Duke

Bio for Shirley Duke I am a children's writer, science content editor, and presenter. I taught science and ESL in elementary, middle school, and high school for twenty-five years and then began to write for children. I've written 34 books for the trade and educational market and 8 books for an individual. I've written freelance for publishers, book packagers, and individuals. This work includes books, magazines, Booklinks, tests, teacher guides, flashcards, workbooks, ghostwriting, my college alumni bulletin, and blogs. I began writing about fourteen years ago. My first book, No Bows!, was published in 2006. I have most recently been writing science books for the school and library markets. I also have done science content editing for Blue Door Publishing and Red Line Editorial. With Anastasia Suen, I wrote a book on STEM and the Commmon Core for ABC-Clio. It contains 44 lessons for librarians to incorporate more STEM subjects into their lessons while covering the Common Core standards. I also correlated the Next Generation Science Standards and Common core for Kingfisher's Basher series. Look for the Growing STEM column in LibrarySparks that Anastasia Suen and I write. I've spoken at schools, ALA, TLA, TSRA, ALA, NAEYC, universities, libraries, and book fairs and festivals. Visit my website at to see more about me. I also do a few library and school visits.

4 thoughts on “STEM Friday with African Animal Alphabet

  1. Pingback: African Animal Alphabet « SimplyScience Blog

  2. Great choice, Shirley! Thank you for the guest post. At NC Teacher Stuff, I am featuring How Things Work In the House:

  3. Animal alphabets… I love ’em. Over at Archimedes Notebook I’m taking a field trip to a bridge:

  4. In the better late than never department, I have a review of “Sinking and Floating” by Mark Weakland at

    I love the beautiful photography on the cover of the animal alphabet book and the way the baboons are coming out of the B.

    Have a great weekend. I think I am hosting here next week…