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I have wonderful news for the Animal Secrets Revealed! series. I am delighted to share the praise it received from School Library Journal, Series Made SimpleSMScover_plain

SMS compares that season’s series nonfiction, subject by subject. SLJ’s reviewers examine each set for currency, relevance, comprehensiveness, accuracy, adherence to education standards, and, of course, appeal, and provide a comparison among the series as well as a “bottom line” on which to buy.
Animal Secrets Revealed! is one of this season’s picks!

HERE IS THE REVIEW:
ea vol: 48p. (Animal Secrets Revealed!). charts. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Enslow. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $27.93. pap. $11.70.

Gr 4-7 –Each book presents five examples of scientists from around the world (most from the United States and Europe) working to discover new information about an animal. Each chapter starts with a moment that triggered the scientist’s curiosity about the animal’s behavior, then describes the process of developing experiments, analyzing results, and drawing conclusions. The animal “secrets” are all intriguing, as are the strategies used to unravel the mystery. The scientists’ own words, based on interviews with the author, capture the excitement of experimentation and discovery. Most of the research is current, though dates are usually provided only in the chapter notes. Some chapters include photographs of the scientists, sometimes interacting with their subjects, but others rely more on stock photos of animals. The stories themselves, though, are highly engaging, providing insight into modern scientific techniques and animal behaviors. VERDICT: Fascinating animal science for readers.”

“Enslow’s “Animal Secrets Revealed!” stands out for its lively exploration of contemporary scientists and their discoveries.”

TEACHER GUIDES

Screen shot of teacher's guide_Page_1The Animal Secrets Revealed! series includes hands-on activities, and, in addition, teacher’s guides – a Standards-Aligned Educator’s Guide for Grades 3-6 – for each book in the series are available for free download on my website.

PUBLISHER’S OFFER

The good news don’t stop here. Enslow is offering a discount on the books to school libraries. Check the details here.

 
AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

And for readers who are curious about science, Animal Secrets revealed! is available in paperback. Click here and then on the image of the book to purchase.

AUTHOR VISITS
Would you like your students to have a first-row seat on the lively exploration of contemporary [animal] scientists and their discoveries”? I am available for school visits, in person and via Skype. Email me for more details.

Thank you!
Ana Maria Rodriguez
Follow me on Twitter @RodriguezAMaria

Facebook at Ana Maria Rodriguez Writer

My website: Ana Maria Rodriguez 

Contact me! I am available for school visits, conferences and science talks at your event!

Some scientists let their curiosity make them do truly weird experiments. Meet Ken Catania. He studies strange-looking creatures, such as the star-nosed mole and its unusual way to smell underwater. More recently, Catania has been focusing on electric eels, and their ‘shocking’ abilities.
200pxElectric_eel

 

Click here to access the teacher guide

He discovered that eels can control how much electricity they put out. They use low voltage pulses to sense for prey, and they can turn up the power to make prey (think of fish) twitch or go numb. That was fascinating, but then Catania came across an 1800s illustration and an odd South American story from famous explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt wrote of eels attacking a group of horses that had stepped into a pool where the eels lived. There is a drawing of the time of this event, which you can see in this short video.

“The aggressive behavior of the eels, taking the offensive against the horses, seems the most fantastic and questionable part of the story,” he said.

Just when scientists thought they knew all there was to know about electric eels, here comes an old tale that makes them wonder. Can eels really jump out of the water? Catania had to solve the mystery and so he did using props shaped like alligator heads and human arms, and electric connections to see with his own eyes whether eels in his lab could jump as Humboldt’s allegedly did.

The Shocking Secret of the Electric Eel book also includes four more secrets: how parrot fish don’t let the sea bugs bite, the jumping spider’s amazing ‘hairy’ hearing, the mystery of European eels and their heads (these are much smaller that the electric eel and won’t shock you), and the secret of the underwater night hummers.

May I entice you with more animal secrets? I invite you to visit my website to explore the other titles of this series.

Teacher’s Guides for the other Animal Secrets books in this series are also available when you click on the eel above.
Follow me on Twitter @RodriguezAMaria

Facebook at Ana Maria Rodriguez Writer

My website: Ana Maria Rodriguez 

Contact me! I am available for school visits, conferences and science talks at your event!

In The Secret of the Scuba Diving Spider, and More book, scuba diving spiders, whistling caterpillars, jamming bats, zombie beetles, and speedy, squeezable cockroaches each reveal a secret that makes them survivors in their natural world.

Spider low res 9780766086296

Click here to access your teacher guide

Now, The Secret of the Scuba Diving Spider, and More free teacher guide connects the book to Common Core State Standards – Anchor Standards (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), as well as Next Generation Science Standards.

Together, book and guide empower teachers to communicate scientific concepts with simple yet detailed language, while engaging students in reading and writing about the wonders of nature. And the video, also available in the teacher guide, grabs your attention as you marvel at this one-of-a-kind spider.
No bigger that your thumbnail, the scuba diving spider triggered the curiosity of scientist Roger Seymour since he was a young boy. At 10 years old, he read Erna Pinner’s book, Curious Creatures. He told me, “One of the chapters described the diving bell spider that lived in ponds in Europe. I imagined what it would be like to live inside an underwater bubble.” That image remained in Seymour’s mind until he became a scientist and studied the spider’s secret.

Seymour teamed with scientist Stefan Hetz and together they made a home for the spiders in aquariums in the lab, and observed and measured their activities. They discovered how the spiders achieve this unique and quiet lifestyle. It has worked well for the spiders; it allows them to remain out of sight from predators, trap food, and create an underwater home for them to grow and have a family.

The spider, too, has an amazing name, Argyroneta aquatica, which means “aquatic spinner of silver.”

If this book appeals to you, may I entice you with more Animal Secrets? I invite you to visit my website to explore the other titles of this series.

The teacher guides for all the other Animal Secrets books are also available here!

Follow me on Twitter @RodriguezAMaria

Facebook at Ana MariaRodriguez Writer

My website: Ana MariaRodriguez 

Contact me! I am available for school visits, conferences, and science talks at your event!

Some scientists let their curiosity make them do truly weird experiments. Meet Ken Catania. He studies strange-looking creatures, such as the star-nosed mole and its unusual way to smell underwater. More recently, Catania has been focusing on electric eels, and their ‘shocking’ abilities.

200pxElectric_eel
He discovered that eels can control how much electricity they put out. They use low voltage pulses to sense for prey, and they can turn up the power to make prey (think of fish) twitch or go numb. That was fascinating, but then Catania came across an 1800s illustration and an odd South American story from famous explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt wrote of eels attacking a group of horses that had stepped into a pool where the eels lived.

“The aggressive behavior of the eels, taking the offensive against the horses, seems the most fantastic and questionable part of the story,” he said.

Just when scientists thought they knew all there was to know about electric eels, here comes an old tale that makes them wonder. Can eels really jump out of the water? Catania had to solve the mystery and so he did using props shaped like alligator heads and human arms, and electric connections to see with his own eyes whether eels in his lab could jump as Humboldt’s allegedly did.

The Shocking Secret of the Electric Eel book also includes four more secrets: how parrot fish don’t let the sea bugs bite, the jumping spider’s amazing ‘hairy’ hearing, the mystery of European eels and their heads (these are much smaller that the electric eel and won’t shock you), and the secret of the underwater night hummers.

May I entice you with more animal secrets? I invite you to visit my website to explore the other titles of this series.

Coming up soon: Teacher’s Guides for Animal Secrets books!

Follow me on Twitter @RodriguezAMaria

Facebook at Ana Maria Rodriguez Writer

My website: Ana Maria Rodriguez 

Contact me! I am available for school visits, conferences and science talks at your event!

Meet the scuba diving spider! A one-of-a-kind, air-breathing animal that spends most of its life underwater. How does it do it?

Spider low res 9780766086296

No bigger that your thumbnail, the scuba diving spider triggered the curiosity of scientist Roger Seymour since he was a young boy. At 10 years old, he read Erna Pinner’s book, Curious Creatures. He told me, “One of the chapters described the diving bell spider that lived in ponds in Europe. I imagined what it would be like to live inside an underwater bubble.” That image remained in Seymour’s mind until he became a scientist and studied the spider’s secret.

Seymour teamed with scientist Stefan Hetz and together they made a home for the spiders in aquariums in the lab, and observed and measured their activities. They discovered how the spiders achieve this unique and quiet lifestyle. It has worked well for the spiders; it allows them to remain out of sight from predators, trap food, and create an underwater home for them to grow and have a family.

The spider, too, has an amazing name, Argyroneta aquatica, which means “aquatic spinner of silver.”

TheSecret of the Scuba Diving Spider book also includes four more secrets: the secret of the not-so-quiet caterpillar, why bats jam with each other, zombie beetles, really?, and the secret of the unstoppable cockroach.

If this book appeals to you, may I entice you with more animal secrets? I invite you to visit my website to explore the other titles of this series.

ATTENTION TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS

Coming up soon: Teacher’s Guides for Animal Secrets books!

Follow me on Twitter @RodriguezAMaria

Facebook at Ana Maria Rodriguez Writer

My website: Ana Maria Rodriguez 

Contact me! I am available for school visits, conferences and science talks at your event!

August 15 is a date to celebrate. New Animal Secrets Revealed! books will be available both in library binding and paperback formats. Here is one of the covers hinting at the topic of one of the five chapters; birds are smart.

200pxBird_smart_brain

We have heard of Alex the parrot, and some of you probably read Stephanie Spinner’s book. We have all heard of crows’ amazing abilities to solve problems. Animal Secrets books dig on recent scientists’ investigations to discover what is so special in some birds’ brains that helps them solve problems or learn skills we thought they could not.

I have also updated my website, and I hope you will visit to peek at the book covers of the other books in the series. They all include a hands-on activity connected to the topic of one of the chapters. I had a lot of fun researching and writing these books. I hope children enjoy reading them!

Ana

In one of my previous post I promised to tell you why The Iron Butterfly’s subtitle is “The True Story of a Mermaid’s Daughter.” Obviously, her mother was a “mermaid,” which in the South Korean island where Choon-Ok was born was another name for “sea woman.” Choon-Ok’s mother was called a “mermaid” because she was free-diver who, like many other women living in the island, spent between 4-6 hours every day diving, searching for and collecting octopus, abalone, seaweed, sea urchin and other foods to sell and for their families to eat. Sea women supported their families in this way, and quite often they were the breadwinners. Sea women—haenyo in Korean—have existed for about 1,500 years.

Being a haenyo is a dangerous profession, so they dive in groups to watch for each other. Being a haenyo defines these amazing women’s lifestyle, who their friends are, and sometimes their fate. There is a strong bond among the women in the group. They know that staying alive in the water depends on them supporting each other.

Choon-Ok’s mother, as many other Korean haenyo, began her training as a young girl. Her mother taught her as her grandmother had taught her mother. Mothers have taught their daughters for many generations of Korean women hoping to pass on a useful trade that would allow these strong women to have economic independence and support their families. This is unconventional, to say the least, in a society in which men are traditionally the breadwinners and a woman’s role is to stay home and care for the family. But in Korea and Japan, haenyo are a symbol of the islands and a living representation of the strong body and character of these women.

For all of you interested in what happens to your body when you dive daily for hours in very cold water holding your breath for minutes at a time, here is what I have found out. In the beginning, before diving suits were invented, haenyo dove wearing cotton shirts and trunks. Choon-Ok’s mother dove year long wearing cotton clothes. Yes, even during the freezing Korean winters. The water is so cold in winter that her hair was covered in icicles when she surfaced. Scientists have been able to study how haenyo’s bodies adapted to continuous immersion in almost freezing water. They have found out that their bodies learned to trigger compensatory mechanisms that did not allow their bodies’ core temperature to drop to dangerous levels. When a haenyo began her training, her core temperature dropped significantly after an hour or less in the water. She needed to take a break on land and warm up–usually by a fire on the beach–before going back to another round of diving. But as training continued for weeks and months, their bodies triggered internal mechanisms that did not allow their core temperature to reach dangerous low levels. In this way, they were able to dive longer. Haenyo have lived long years, and have kept diving even after their sixties. Choon-Ok’s mother lived till she was 84 years old, although she had stopped diving many years before.

When diving suits became available, haenyo used them if they could afford them, and their ability to self-sustain a warm core has been reduced in time. Diving suits insulate the body, so the core temperature does not drop as much as when wearing cotton clothes, and the body does not have to compensate as much on its own. Choon-Ok’s mother never used a diving suit. They were expensive. An amazing woman on her own, Choon-Ok’s mother had many more strengths as you will discover in The Iron Butterfly.

Did the tradition continue in Choon-Ok’s family? Is Choon-Ok a haenyo like her mother? I’ll keep you in suspense until my next blog. Stay tuned! Check out this link for information about the Haenyo Museum in Korea. Find a direct link to the museum at the end of the article. The text is in Korean, but click on “Photo Gallery” to see haenyo photos.

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