Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trailblazing Women in STEM

Special thanks to intern Rachel Burnham for the following post!

With growing attention paid to STEM studies in schools, it is important to get your children excited about science and inspire them to follow their dreams, no matter how big. Check out the new Fall STEM Trailblazer Bios with Lerner Digital, and follow the lives of several scientists and mathematicians that made important contributions to STEM fields throughout the years. This season features women who made significant contributions in the STEM world, even at times when their work was unappreciated.

Check out the story of the first African-American female astronaut, Mae Jemison, who flew into space aboard the Endeavour in 1992. Even though she experienced adversity through her education, her hard work and dedication to her academics paid off as she not only made it to space, but went on to form her own company and became the head of the 100 Year Starship project that focuses on inventing systems that humans would need for interstellar travel (she even got to guest star on an episode of her favorite show, Star Trek).
Read up on the life of Jane Goodall, a world famous animal scientist and activist. Her close study of chimpanzees and their behavior helped redefine their close connection to humans. Although she had no degree, she obtained her Ph.D. in ethology from Cambridge University and went on to found the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoot Program that brings together young people of all ages to work on environmental and humanitarian issues.

Learn about Ada Lovelace, whose work with programming concepts and big ideas helped inspire scientists to create the first computers. Even though her ideas were largely forgotten after her death in 1852, she is now considered as one of the first to grasp the possibilities of the computer, and in 1970 a computer language was named Ada in her honor.

Other women featured in this series include mathematician and computer scientist Grace Hopper, vaccine innovators Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering, computer scientist Jean Bartik, nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu and environmentalist Rachel Carson. One thing in common with all of these amazing women was their passion and persistence in following their dreams. Check out the STEM Trailblazer Bios series for more stories on STEM contributors that will get your children excited about science and math, while encouraging them that no dream is too big to be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Weekend Retreats

Close-to-home getaways are my favorite. I love acting like a tourist in places just outside my own back door. Do you have close-to-home spots you love escaping to on weekends? Here are a few of mine, straight from the pages of What’s Great about Wisconsin? and What’s Great about Minnesota? (Although I have to confess, some of these spots I haven’t been to in approximately forever. Hmmm, perhaps it’s time for a weekend retreat!)

9781467733908fc_LargeWisconsin Dells
Water parks! Need I say more? Of course, there’s a lot more than water slides in Wisconsin’s most-visited city. The area has gorgeous natural features, from cliffs and gorges to rock formations. There’s also a crazy upside-down White House—a funhouse that looks just like the US landmark.

Door County
This peninsula in Wisconsin juts out into Lake Michigan. It has no fewer than 300 miles of shoreline. Lots of beautiful and mysterious lighthouses are found near those shores—fantastic for exploring. There’s also no shortage of amazing food in Door County: Fresh cherries perfect for picking, ice cream at old-fashioned parlors, lingonberry pancakes. If I did nothing but eat during my stay at Door County, I’d go home happy.

Mall of America
Yeah, it’s kind of campy, but it’s also—almost literally—right
outside my door, so it does make for a convenient getaway. It’s the biggest mall in the country, with more than five hundred stores, about fifty restaurants, an amusement park, and an aquarium—all
of which can help you feel like you’re truly on vacation. My favorite is to go in the winter, when the greenery in the amusement park makes it seem like you’re in your own little tropical world.

Minnesota State Fair
Does this count as a getaway? It’s more of an event than a place (although it’s so big, it almost feels like its own city), and you have just two weeks before Labor Day to take advantage of this particular retreat—then the fair closes up shop until next year. The fair boasts the giant slide, projects by 4-H kids, the Miracle of Birth Center, and heads carved out of butter. It’s also home to many famous foods, including overflowing buckets of chocolate chip cookies, roasted sweet corn, cheese curds, deep-fried candy bars, and pickles on a stick.

Here’s to weekends, close-to-home retreats, and playing tourist on your own stomping grounds. Happy Hometown Exploring, blog readers!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Free Book Friday: The Immortal Throne

Happy Free Book Friday! First, congratulations to Joanna Bloehm, who's won The Thief's ApprenticeJoanna, please send your address to publicity@lernerbooks.com so we can get your book in the mail.

Today we're giving away a copy of the final book of Bree Despain's Into the Dark trilogy: The Immortal Throne.

Haden Lord chose love over honor when he chose to protect Daphne Raines, the human girl he was supposed to bring to the Underrealm. Haden's choice is put to the test when the Skylords devise a plan that could destroy all of the realms.

 Embracing her destiny as the Cypher, Daphne begins to understand the power of her musical ability to control the elements, but she must come to terms with her feelings for Haden. 

 Believing the Key of Hades can stop the Underrealm Court from releasing the monstrous Keres on the mortal world, Haden, Daphne, and their friends set out to find the Key at all costs. 

If you'd like a chance to win The Immortal Throne, please leave a comment on this post or send an email to publicity@lernerbooks.com that includes your first and last name. Or tweet this line: 

Free Book Friday! Tweet to win THE IMMORTAL THRONE by @BreeDespain from  @LernerBooks. bit.ly/1OrSN 

US entries only, please. We'll announce the winner on the blog on Friday, July 29. Good luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spotlight on New Fall Titles Distributed by Lerner Publisher Services

Today on the blog, we're featuring books that Lerner Publisher Services distributes for small presses and international publishers. Here are a few notable titles coming out this fall:

Bicycling to the Moon, written by Timo Parvela and illustrated by Virpi Talvitie (Gecko Press)

Written by Finland's number-one children's author, this captivating and funny chapter book for young readers is about two friends: an idealistic cat and a very patient dog.

Black Beauty, written by Anna Sewell and Ruth Brown and illustrated by Ruth Brown (Andersen Press USA)

Black Beauty's classic story is retold for young horse lovers in this beautiful picture book by beloved English author Ruth Brown.

Don't Cross the Line!, written by Isabel Minhos Martins and illustrated by Bernardo Carvalho (Gecko Press)

This slapstick postmodern tale is also a profound statement about dictatorship and peaceful revolution, from an award-winning Portuguese author/illustrator team. 

Life According to Dani, written by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Eriksson (Gecko Press)

From a Swedish author/illustrator team, a standalone follow-up to the acclaimed and beloved chapter books that began with NY Times Notable Book My Happy Life.

Nara and the Island by Dan Ungureanu (Andersen Press USA)

This stunning picture book by debut author-illustrator Dan Ungureanu follows Nara, who lives with her father on a tiny island and dreams of visiting the mysterious island across the waves, on an amazing adventure. 

Scary Stories Retold series, written by Wiley Blevins and illustrated by Steve Cox (Red Chair Press)

This new six-book series features non-traditional fairy tales for young readers looking for haunted and creepy stories. Kirkus Reviews called Cinderella and the Vampire Prince "a delightfully monstrous and fresh take on a traditional story" in its starred review of the title! 

Tickle My Ears by Jörg Mϋhle (Gecko Press)

This adorable board book asks readers to help little rabbit with his bedtime ritual and also serves as a gentle and effective way to help toddlers fall asleep, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Honoring Olympians

Special thanks to intern Rebecca Rowell for the following post!

In little more than two weeks, the 2016 Summer Olympics will get underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The games open on August 5 and close August 21. During that time, sports fans will have a feast of events to choose from as athletes from 206 countries participate in 306 events across 42 disciplines.

As we prepare to cheer on this year’s athletes, let’s look at the great athletes who stood out in earlier games—some of whom will participate in the Rio games. Check out the Amazing Athletes series with Lerner Digital which highlight several individuals who have excelled in the Olympics.   

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. To-date, he has a whopping twenty-two medals, eighteen of them gold. Learn about this phenomenal swimming talent in the revised edition of Michael Phelps, written by Jeffrey Zuehlke. Now Phelps came out of retirement and made the US swim team. Look for this amazing athlete at the Rio games next month.
Gabby Douglas is another repeat Olympian who will take part in Rio. Although she's just 4 feet, 11 inches tall, Gabby Douglas made a larger-than-life impact on the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She won the gold medal in the women’s all-around event, and she was only sixteen. Learn about this rising talent and more in Gabby Douglas (also available as an interactive book), written by Jon M. Fishman. 

Krystyna Poray Goddu tells the story of one of the most remembered American female Olympians in What’s Your Story, Wilma Rudolph?. She was the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single games. Geared toward readers in grades K–3, this book shows how to use interviewing skills and journalistic questions to reveal a story—in this case, the story of a famous American and honored Olympian.

Enjoy these stories. And, whatever sport you like to watch, enjoy the games.