The 2018 Missouri Science Trade Book Annual Reading List (MO-STAR) includes some of last year’s best books to help engage K-5 readers in learning science. The criteria by which these books are selected have been previously described (Author, 2017). Briefly, the MO-STAR winners meet the following criteria:
1. The book has substantial science content;
2. Information is clear, accurate, and up to date;
3. Theories and facts are clearly distinguished;
4. Facts are not oversimplified to the point where the information is misleading;
5. Generalizations are supported by facts and significant facts are not omitted;
6. The book is free of gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic bias;
7. Information can be connected to a grade level and strand from the Missouri Learning Standards;
8. The book is readily available in public libraries or bookstores; and
9. The book has received positive reviews in at least one of the following venues: Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Science and Children.
The 2018 MO-STAR selections are books that teachers should be able to access easily from public or school libraries. Even though the books are aligned with Missouri Learning Standards for specific grade levels, many selections can be used with a wide range of age groups. These books can be read aloud by teachers or enjoyed during independent reading time. They also can serve as reference material in the classroom. Teachers will find countless ways to integrate science with language arts and other content areas.
Highlights from this year’s winners include the following:
Vivid photographs will catch every reader’s eye in Living Things and Nonliving Things by Kevin Kurtz. Simple text poses questions for readers to consider about the qualities and traits of a variety of living and nonliving things. Teachers and parents will be pleased to find cross-curricular activities to help extend the lessons and expand children’s thinking about this topic.
Visual learners will delight in Robins: How They Grow Up, written and illustrated by Eileen Christelow. Comic book panels beautifully illustrated with watercolors and ink showcase the life cycle of the robin and how two young birds emerge from eggs and mature into adults. Even though the book uses anthropomorphism to humanize the baby robins, there are facts galore about these common, yet remarkable, backyard birds. Endnotes include a glossary, additional questions and answers, and resources for the adult reader.
2018 MO-STAR List: Inspiring Books to Promote Integration of Science and Language Arts
Jennifer Fox, .Joyce Gulley, Jeff Thomas
2018 MO-STAR List