Out of School and Into Nature, The Anna Comstock Story
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017
A delightful introduction to Anna Comstock, a naturalist and artist, who became a scientist in the 1800’s, well before women were allowed to do so. From a very young girl, she loved being in nature and learned many things through observation. At college, she learned more about insects and was inspired to draw them. Which led to her carving lines into a woodblock and printing them. Her fine art were used in colleges and to help teach farmers about insects. Author Suzanne Slade sprinkles delightful phrases throughout the story, such as “nutty as an oak tree” and “spread faster than dandelion seeds on a windy day.” When Anna discovered nature was not taught in the schools, she created curriculums and taught teachers about nature. In this way, she helped inspire future naturalists, today’s environmentalists.
An inspiring nature book for young children.
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The Inventor’s Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
NSTA 2016 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12
Who knew that two famous inventors, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, were friends? And what was Thomas Edison’s secret for his many, many inventions?
This delightful story starts when both were curious boys who spent most of their time running experiments—and getting into trouble! Thomas made explosions with chemistry experiments and was especially curious about electricity. Henry was curious about the energy in a river and when he built a dam and waterwheel to catch the river’s energy, he flooded a neighbor’s field. Mostly he was curious about engines. When he built his first steam engine, it exploded and set his school’s fence on fire!
Thomas made many inventions, which everyone heard about. Henry made a quadricycle that everyone laughed at. What was Thomas’ secret, he wondered. Then one day he decided to meet Thomas and find out his secret. He talked his way into a dinner and waited and waited, until finally he had a chance to talk to Thomas. Thomas lit up like a light blub when Henry told him about his four-cycle engine. Henry sketched his invention and Thomas asked question after question. And then it happened. Thomas banged his fist on the table, and shared his secret!
This book is filled with history nuggets and an afterward sharing Thomas and Henry’s special friendship, how the author came to write the book and the challenges the illustrator had to accurately illustrate the book. It also includes snippets of information on several inventions of both Thomas and Henry. A great introduction to two twentieth century men who changed the world. The Inventor’s Secret was awarded the NSTA 2016 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12.
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