August StoryWalk: These Seas Count

The Trove’s Second 2022 Summer Storywalk:
These Seas Count by Alison Formento and Illustrated by Sarah Snow
Monday, August 1st – Wednesday, August 31st

This summer the Library’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities” and we are continuing this theme with our second StoryWalk. Take a stroll in the Garden Plaza and along your way enjoy the book, These Seas Count, written by Alison Formento and illustrated by Sarah Snow. These Seas Count is a story about a day at the beach where a community of kids, a captain, and a teacher participate in a beach clean up activity and learn about the stories of the sea.

When Mr. Tate’s class wants to help on Clean-Up Day, they meet Captain Ned, who needs help cleaning up the trash on the beach. As the children walk along the shore, they see empty food containers, plastic bags and even old tires. Captain Ned explains that with all of this pollution the sea is sad. Captain Ned then tells the story of the creatures that live within these deep waters.

Readers learn that one whale leaps high, two giant sea turtles surf through a seaweed forest, three mighty marlins glide across the waves and four sea horses gallop in a saltwater rodeo. The children continue to listen to the sea as it tells its story. There are other creatures like rays that swim, pelicans that slurp fish, and jelly fish that dance a water ballet along with many more that live in an incredible ecosystem.

The class also learns that phytoplankton are tiny plants for smaller fish, which become food for bigger fish; however when the water is polluted, phytoplankton can’t grow. Mr. Tate explains the ripple effect of this phenomena:“ the oceans and seas aren’t clean, that hurts fish and people.” Captain Ned explains where the trash comes from as the children witness a crab limping with a plastic bag trailing from its leg. Mr. Tate’s class cleans up the beach, and then the children enjoy a fun ride on the Sea Fan. Aboard the Sea Fan the class continues to clean with long poles, so that the sea can feel better. These Seas Count (Library Catalog, Libby) is a great book that teaches children about environmentalism. Furthermore, These Seas Count uses mathematics and would also make a great book for a STEAM collection.

Suggested Activities:

Visit One of Westchester County’s Public Beaches and have fun with some of the following activities:

Below you will find additional stories and activities to share with your children to celebrate this summer’s theme – “Oceans of Possibilities”:

Kid Scientist: Marine Biologists on a Dive by Sue Fliess, Illustrated by Mia Powell
(Grades K-4)
Library Catalog

“What do marine biologists do? To answer that question, Fliess focuses on fieldwork, certainly the most glamorous part of the job. After months of research, Maggie, a Black marine biologist, and her racially diverse team dive into the ocean to swim with humpback whales. They each have a different task, related to their personal research questions, and they’ve each brought different tools. The straightforward text offers general information about humpback whales, including migration, whale song, the use of fluke-slapping as an alarm signal, and diet (krill), as well as the importance of a hypothesis, part of the scientific method. At the conclusion of their research, the team members free a young whale calf trapped in a fishing net—an episode likely to appeal to young readers and listeners as well as a subtle reminder of the problem of trash in our waters. Depicting characters with round, oversize heads, Powell’s illustrations make the dive look both easy and fun, with scenes underwater and in the lab. One final spread includes relevant labels on images (flukes, dorsal ridge, plankton). Backmatter provides general information on marine biologists, what they do, and how to train to be one. There’s also a quick review of how Maggie and her group’s actions correspond to the scientific method. A highly simplified but inviting overview of marine biology.”–Kirkus Reviews

My Ocean is Blue by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron
(Preschool – 2nd Grade)
Library Catalog

“A companion to Lebeuf and Barron's previous outing, My Forest is Green (2019). A young tot with short blond hair, pale skin, and a wondrous fascination with the ocean looks forward to spending the day at the beach. Incidental to the text but prominent in the illustrations, the child also uses forearm crutches. Cut paper that's been textured with watercolor, acrylic, and pencil crayon creates the scenes of pebbled sand, frothy waves, and quiet tide pools. The child sees the ocean as a multitude of opposites. Sometimes it is ‘big’ (with a vast, endless horizon), and sometimes it is ‘small’ (a tiny hermit crab pokes out its head). Sometimes it is ‘dry’ (a large piece of driftwood), and sometimes it is ‘wet’ (a splashing water fight). Lebeuf gradually builds to more lyrical phrases. Sea gulls, whales, and dolphins playfully cavort while a motorboat slides by: ‘My ocean splashes and crashes / and echoes and squawks. // My ocean laughs and hums.’ The real delight, besides the intentional focus on detailed observations, is the ease with which the child's disability is slipped into the illustrations. At times, the crutches are laid aside, showing the tot swimming, kneeling, or playing in the sand. Any possible preconceived limitations are dashed–instead, childlike wonder and curiosity shine. A joyful marine romp.”–Kirkus Reviews

How Will We Get to the Beach? / Cómo iremos a la playa? By Bridgitte Luciani
(Preschool – 3rd Grade)
Library Catalog

“It's a beautiful summer day and Roxanne wants to go to the beach. She takes only the essentials: her green turtle, her yellow beach umbrella, the blue book of stories, the orange beach ball, and, of course, her baby. When her car won't start, a quest begins for an alternate means of transportation. She tries the bus, a bicycle, a skateboard, a kayak, and a hot-air balloon; but in each case, one of her items just won't fit. Finally, a friendly farmer offers a solution and a wonderful day ensues. The double-page watercolor illustrations, reminiscent of Lorna Balian's style, depict a young mom toting all her belongings through a charming pastoral landscape. The repetitive text shows each conveyance and poses the identical question: “But something couldn't go with them. What was it?” Preschool and early elementary students will find the game intriguing. Both the English text and the Iberian Spanish carry the tone and story line well, though the whole retains a thoroughly European feel. A solid purchase for public libraries and bookstores. Great for read-alouds, this book is also recommended for preschools.”–Criticas

The Heart of a Whale by Anna Pignataro
(Preschool – 3rd Grade)
Library Catalog
“The flora and fauna of the ocean respond to a lonely whale’s beautiful music by helping him find another whale. “Whale’s song was so beautiful it could reach the farthest of faraways.’ Over a double-page spread, a simply drawn white whale—detailed with a large eye, a small mouth and fins, and a small lavender heart—swims past a variety of pastel-hued sea denizens. The lyrical text is set in type that emulates hand-lettering. Watercolors are the appropriate choice for a tale that occurs in a sea full of creatures—with an occasional glimpse of land and sky as well as a cheerfully colored sailboat and lighthouse. Collage, pencil sketching, and washes produce a dreamlike effect that also feels sweetly humorous. A double-page spread of sea horses lounging atop spirited jellyfish is especially whimsical. Musical terms are cleverly used to describe the singing whale’s positive effects on others (‘a cheerful symphony for a sad urchin’). After several pages of poetic lines about the talented singer, readers learn that his heart feels ‘empty.’ The ocean carries his sighing wish across miles of lovingly rendered sea habitats until the solo becomes a duet. Although the flap copy speaks of friendship, even the youngest of readers will sense that this is a whale of a romance. Beneath its warmth is a poignant reminder of the loss to all if whale songs become history.” –Kirkus Reviews
The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens by Isabel Roxas
(3rd Grade-6th grade)
Library Catalog

“When pigeon enthusiast Agnes, oceanography buff Ruby, and synchronized swimmer Roberta can’t recruit enough members to form a club at the Salmagundi Boys and Girls Club of Shadyside Queens, they band together to create Team POM (‘pigeons, ocean stuff, miscellaneous’). A synchronized swimming competition ushers in a crushing defeat by Roberta’s rivals and former teammates, but the crew’s fortunes soon change. They encounter a friendly giant squid, Cyd, hiding from a villain and his rat agents, who seek the tentacled creature’s ink. Offering Cyd sanctuary, the team hopes that adding a squid to their number will elevate their next routine to Junior Diving Diva status. Madcap and joke-filled, Roxas’s (Our Skin) graphic novel debut expressively illustrates nonstop action and slapstick humor while grounding it in a recognizably depicted version of Queens and clearly delineating the primary cast members’ personalities. The ethnically inclusive team and their friendship dynamic is a highlight of this joyfully absurd, pleasingly overstuffed story, and while ‘little boss’ Roberta basks in the spotlight, Agnes and Ruby also make themselves felt.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Shells! Shells! Shells! By Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
(Gr. K-4)
Library Catalog

“On a trip to the beach, Buddy Bear collects seashells and his Mama teaches him about the animals that made them. Buddy is the perfect curious pupil; young readers will experience the sights, sounds and textures of the beach through his senses. Mama introduces lots of mollusk vocabulary, explaining in easy-to-understand language what each new word means, and linking it to words and concepts that children already know (mantle and skin, bivalve and bicycle). Wallace presents quite a bit of information, and she will keep readers’ attention by breaking up the learning with Buddy’s numerous snack breaks and clever wordplay jokes. The artwork is a combination of cut-paper and real shells. The curious result keeps the focus on the shells, highlighting each one and making sure none blends into the background. Backmatter presents a few more seashell facts and gives directions in making a bookmark. A stellar introduction to mollusks and the shells they make; an informative, accessible and necessary addition to any seaside library and every school where oceans are studied.”–Kirkus Reviews

Natsumi’s Song of Summer by Robert Paut Weston
(Pre-K–3rd Grade)
Library Catalog

“Poetry and art harmoniously evoke the simplicity of a summer friendship set in Japan. Natsumi, a young peach-skinned girl with straight, dark hair, was born in lotus season. Her name means ‘the sea in summer,’ and summer seems to run through her veins. She loves the heat, the outdoor activities, ‘the cool bursts / of plum rain, heavy and sweet.’ Eye-catching illustrations, done in a seasonal palette of pinks, greens, blues, and purples, capture the flora and fauna of these few months—especially the cicadas. Natsumi is intrigued by these fleeting flyers and seeks them out when they arrive. On her birthday, her cousin Jill, a girl with brown skin and curly hair, comes on a plane to visit, and Natsumi worries whether they will be friends, whether Jill will like Natsumi’s world. Long stalks of bamboo and swaying paper lanterns intersect the page here to denote Natsumi’s anxiety. But in fact, Jill and Natsumi fit together like sun and summer, eating watermelon on the beach; dancing, kimono-clad, in a festival; and watching fireworks. But will Jill be frightened by the unfamiliar, buzzing cicadas? Their friendship unfolds page by page as they build a summer of memories together. Weston tells this sweet story in a sequence of tanka, a traditional Japanese poetic form that builds on haiku with an extra couplet. Weston explains the form in the backmatter and provides information about the cicada’s significance in Japanese culture. Immersive illustrations and rich poetry urge young readers to slow down and appreciate nature.”–Kirkus Reviews

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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