October 26, 2012

FREE Stuff Friday

We thought we'd post some free stuff this Friday. So, here are three seasonal worksheets available for download from our Blue Wave Classroom website. Kids will enjoy writing their own acrostic poems and they look great displayed on bulletin boards. Just click on any worksheet to take you to page where you can download all three for FREE! If you enjoy these, let us know and we'll provide more in the future.

October 25, 2012

Check Out Our Author Interview

Today, we're posting an interview with Brian Aberback, author of Black Sabbath: Pioneers of Heavy Metal from our Rebels of Rock series.

Q: Brian, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I started working for the Record daily newspaper in Hackensack, New Jersey, after graduating college in 1996. I was an English major in college and took a journalism 101 course but always thought I would end up in the publishing industry, perhaps as a copy editor. After becoming an editorial assistant in the Features department at the Record and given the opportunity to write stories on hard rock and heavy metal bands I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Q: How did you begin your writing career?
A: I began working at the Record as a part-time editorial clerk. The job entailed answering phones, taking messages for reporters and writing obituaries. I then became the editorial assistant in the Features department, where I took on writing assignments in addition to my main responsibility of compiling calendar listings. From there I became a full-time features reporter and then a news reporter. I left the paper in 2007 for a new career in government communications and have continued to write for the paper and other publications as a freelancer ever since.
Q: Do you have a background in music?
A: I have been a music fanatic since middle school, when I would listen to any hard rock and heavy metal album I could find. My musical tastes have broadened but heavy metal will always be my first love. I played guitar and was in a band in high school. But my brother is the musician of the family. He is a fantastic percussionist.  
Q: How did you go about researching and planning for writing the Black Sabbath book?
A: My knowledge base of Black Sabbath was pretty extensive prior to writing the book, so I knew what I wanted to include and how to weave the tale. I then read dozens of books and articles on the band and learned some new, surprising information. For example, I had no idea that Ozzy Osbourne had performed in school productions of “The Mikado” and “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
A highlight was being able to quote from and use my own prior interviews with the band as references. Prior to writing the book I had separately interviewed Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and singer Ronnie James Dio, who replaced Ozzy. These interviews were for various features in the Record.
Q: Where there any particular obstacles you encountered while writing this book?
A: The biggest challenge was how to write an age-appropriate book on a band with a notorious past that included significant substance and alcohol abuse.
Q: How did you overcome this obstacle?
A: By being straightforward without going into too much detail or glamorizing the band’s, and especially Osbourne’s, drug and alcohol problems. I also pointed out the negative effects that this had on the band, how it led to their breakup and also made it easier for corrupt managers and agents to cheat Black Sabbath out of significant earnings.
Q: What is your typical day of writing like?
A: I typically wake up early to work on freelance writing for an hour or two before heading to work. In my job in government communications I’m writing all day, whether it be press releases, answering reporter inquiries, or working on internal reports. I will sometimes try to do freelance when I get home, but have found it more effective to write early in the morning.
Q: If you weren’t a writer, what might you be doing instead?
A: I think I would be involved in the music industry, perhaps doing publicity for a record label or a band. Or I might be an editor at a newspaper, magazine or publishing house.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59845-212-9
Library Binding ISBN: 978-0-7660-3379-5

Black Sabbath: Pioneers of Heavy Metal can be purchased from Enslow or online retailers, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

To learn more about Brian and his books, you can visit Brian's website. You can follow him on Twitter @bsa172. 

October 24, 2012

Great Elementary Non-Fiction for Thanksgiving (and you can win them!)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it's a great time for kids to learn about Thanksgiving while building their literacy skills. Enslow Publishers' non-fiction expert authors believe that reading informational texts should  be educational and fun.  With that in mind, here are three great, Common Core correlated, Thanksgiving books to make sure that young readers have an educational and fun Thanksgiving.  As a side note: if you like any of these books, be sure to check out our Pick-A-Page giveaway (details at the end of the post).

Thanksgivng Day, by Dorothy Goeller, is a delightfully silly reader for children just beginning to read. Featuring bright illustrations and simple text with one sentence per page, Thanksgiving Day is great for kids reading alone or with an adult. Common Core Correlations for Thanksgiving Day can be found here.
Storyteller Randel McGee's Paper Crafts for Thanksgiving shows young readers how to make their own Thanksgiving crafts while learning about the holiday.  Paper Crafts for Thanksgiving contains easy step-by-step instructions as well as reproducible templates for all of the crafts shown in the book.  Common Core Correlations for Paper Crafts for Thanksgiving can be found here.
What is Thanksgiving?, by Elaine Landau, introduces early readers to the traditions of Thanksgiving with beautiful photos and carefully crafted text.  To further engage the reader, What is Thanksgiving? features an activity where the reader constructs a "Thank-You" poster to give their thanks to the community for Thanksgiving. Common Core Correlations for What is Thanksgiving? can be found here.

Our Pick-A-Page Giveaway is still going on!  To enter the giveaway, go to our e-catalog and pick a page of titles you would like to receive for free. Like us on Facebook and leave a comment on Facebook, letting us know which page you would like to receive, and how those books would benefit your school/library. For everyone who enters, they will receive one book from the page they requested. One winner will be chosen at random at the end of the week, and that person will receive a copy of every book on that page. The winner will be announced on Facebook sometime next week!

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October 23, 2012

It's Dark, It's Graphic, It's Classic Fiction, and It's from Enslow

We recently visited a public library which featured a Halloween book collection for young readers. We were delighted to see one of our new graphic novels -- Dark Graphic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe -- included in their display, right next to a Robert Louis Stevenson collection that included the wonderful, YA-appropriate short story The Body Snatcher. The Enslow book stood out, thanks to its cover that's just scary enough for Halloween, but not too scary to keep off a library shelf.

The Poe title, part of Enslow's new "Dark Graphic Novels" series, includes some of the 19th Century writer's finest work, including The Gold Bug and The Fall of the House of Usher. The carefully composed text delivers the sense and style of Poe's original work. The Enslow book's illustrator, trained in a rigorous European art school, has created strong, vivid images that will attract young readers.  These elements will encourage repeat circulation, a circumstance Enslow's sturdy library-bound edition is designed to handle.

The library-bound edition of Dark Graphic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe is available from Enslow for $22.95; that price represents a 25% school/library discount from Enslow's list price for this book. The book is also available at your preferred vendor, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Don't forget to join our Pick-A-Page Giveaway, go to our e-catalog and pick a page of titles you would like to receive for free. Like us on Facebook and leave a comment on Facebook, letting us know which page you would like to receive, and how those books would benefit your school/library. For everyone who enters, they will receive one book from the page they requested. One winner will be chosen at random at the end of the week, and that person will receive a copy of every book on that page. The winner will be announced on Facebook sometime next week!

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October 22, 2012

National Book Month and the return of our Pick-A-Page Giveaway!!

It's National Book Month. How about taking a visit to one of our national parks? Yosemite is located approximately four hours from San Francisco, and just about all of California's residents live within a one-day's drive of the park.

This park has lots of trails, camping facilities, scenic views, and for the adventurous souls, the ability to climb to the top of Half Dome, one of the huge granite monoliths. Standing next to one of the giant sequoia trees is another experience in and of itself. Enslow's nonfiction title describes the park, detailing the hiking and camping facilities, as well as the different and extraordinary things to see, like Glacier Point and El Capitan.

Now for the Pick-A-Page Giveaway, go to our e-catalog and pick a page of titles you would like to receive for free. Like us on Facebook and leave a comment on Facebook, letting us know which page you would like to receive, and how those books would benefit your school/library. For everyone who enters, they will receive one book from the page they requested. One winner will be chosen at random at the end of the week, and that person will receive a copy of every book on that page. The winner will be announced on Facebook sometime next week!

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October 19, 2012

Check Out Drawings From Our Friends

Our friends, Ethan and Nolan, made these great drawings from our Drawing in 4 Easy Steps series. The books in this series are now also available in paperback as well as in their original library editions. They make great gifts for those aspiring artists or for kids who just like to draw. The books also provide prompts for kids to write stories based on the pictures they draw. They can be purchased from Enslow.com or from online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Draw Aliens and Space Objects
Draw Animals
Draw Cartoon People
Draw Pirates
Draw Princesses
Draw Superheroes

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October 18, 2012

Are the Yankees Missing Derek?

Even though Derek Jeter from the New York Yankees is sidelined due to a fractured ankle he suffered in the playoffs, we still think he's a champion baseball star!

Scheduled to undergo surgery on Saturday, the Yankee's captain is expected to need several months for a full recovery.

Do you think not having this champion player in the lineup for the remainder of the playoffs has made a difference in the outcome of the games?

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October 17, 2012

3 Interesting Facts About Mars

  • Methane, a gas produced on Earth almost entirely by living organisms, can be found on Mars.  Since no living organisms have been found on Mars, the cause behind the Martian methane is still unknown.
  • NASA's Phoenix lander found that the soil on Mars would be suitable for sustaining plant life.
  • The gigantic, dead volcano on Mars, Olympus Mons, is the largest mountain on any planet in the solar system.  Olympus Mons is about 2 1/2 times as high as Mount Everest, and the area it covers is about the size of New Mexico.
All of the above facts are from Enslow Publishers' Far-Out Guide to Mars from the award winning series, "Far-Out Guide to the Solar System".  If you can't get enough facts about Mars or the Solar System, be sure to look for these books at your favorite online store or ask for them at your local library! Follow Me on Pinterest

October 16, 2012

Cuban Missile Crisis: 50 Years Ago Today

A half-century ago today, the United States and the Soviet Union began a series of events that nearly commenced a catastrophic nuclear war. This critical episode in American history is the subject of Enslow Publishers' Cuban Missile Crisis: In the Shadow of Nuclear War.

Author R. Conrad Stein's 128-page book succinctly provides young readers with the facts and age-appropriate style to understand this dramatic incident. He provides useful background on the Cold War and key figures such as JFK, Robert Kennedy, and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. Stein provides a clear discussion of the implications of possible American actions during the crisis, such as a naval blockade and United Nations deliberations. The author also weaves the consequences of a nuclear conflict into his narrative, a lesson young readers need to grasp and carefully consider.

Enslow's Cuban Missile Crisis: In the Shadow of Nuclear War, part of the "America's Living History" series, is available in a library-bound edition for $23.95. That price represents a 25% school/library discount from Enslow's list price for this title. Follow Me on Pinterest

October 15, 2012

Their Eyes Were Watching God and Teen Read Week

What books are part of your middle or high school list? For today, I thought I would focus on an author who has written several classics read by many middle and high school students.  I did not read Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Did you?

Library ISBN: 978-0-7660-3164-7
This is a heated story of love and passion. Written in 1937, this story of Janie Crawford, a resourceful and independent African-American woman, who searches for herself through her relationships with men. The main characters, Janie and Tea Cake, were modeled after Zora and Percival McGuire Punter, a man whom Zora loved. Percival wanted Zora to give up her writing career, but she would not do that, and instead went to the Caribbean, and wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God.

The book on the left is a reader's guide to that particular title. A plot summary and analysis as well as character studies of some of the major and minor characters in the book are included. In addition to all of this, primary and secondary themes are also discussed.

As far as biographies of Zora Neale Hurston, this middle-school biography describes her life as an anthropologist. She studied African-American culture in the South and collected stories and folklore and gave these stories life and made them widely known as a writer.

Posted by Pam

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October 12, 2012

The History of Fire Prevention Week

Each year schools around the country celebrate National Fire Prevention Week. But do you know why it's celebrated during the month of October?

On October 9, 1911, Fire Prevention Day was proclaimed. This day was chosen because it was the fortieth anniversary of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, which killed hundreds of people and destroyed thousands of buildings. In 1992, Fire Prevention Day was extended to an entire week. Fire Prevention Week is celebrated each year during the week that includes the date of October 9.

From our "Fire Dog Heroes" book

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October 11, 2012

It's Fire Prevention Week - How Many Kids Aspire to Become Firefighters?

Choosing A Community Service Career
Library Edition: 978-0-59845-147-4
Paperback: 978-1-59845-312-6
Besides teaching fire safety, do think that Fire Prevention Week also inspires children to become firefighters?

Which other events throughout the school year, besides Career Day, do you think might influence children in their career choices?

What influenced your career choice?

Choosing a Community Service Career is from our Life–A How-to-Guide series

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October 10, 2012

The Holocaust Through Primary Sources: Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht: The Nazi Terror That Began the Holocaust, from Enslow Publishers' award-winning series of books, "The Holocaust Through Primary Sources", is now available as a paperback through Blue Wave Classroom.  Author James M. Deem's freshly researched, primary source-based of Kristallnacht is now readily available for use in the classroom.

Blue Wave Classroom offers a free educator's guide for Kristallnacht (available here) as well as State Standard and Common Core correlations (available here).

The original Library Edition of Kristallnacht can be found on Enslow Publishers' website here.

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October 09, 2012

Enslow's Graphic Version of "Frankenstein" and Tim Burton's New Movie "Frankenweenie"

Tim Burton's comic-horror riff on the "Frankenstein" story -- Frankenweenie --  is in movie theaters now. This Disney film production delivers a charming spoof on the Frankenstein legend that children are likely to enjoy.

One intriguing aspect of the movie is that it's shot in black-and-white. Burton has effectively used b-and-w in other films, and clearly believes black, white, and gray delivers the strongest impact for this picture.

Enslow Publishers' new graphic version of the classic novel Frankenstein was also created in black and white. The book's excellent art, which resembles woodcuts in its intensity, depth, and line, draws children into the mysterious world author Mary Shelley created nearly two centuries ago. The age-appropriate text gracefully flows from frame to frame, providing young readers with an enriching, exciting experience.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is available in an attractive library-bound edition for the school/library price of $22.95. That rate represents a 25% discount from Enslow's list price for this book.

Other books in the "Dark Graphic Novels" series include vivid color versions of Chilling Tales of Horror: Dark Graphic Short Stories and Dark Graphic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe.

October 08, 2012

It's Columbus Day

This anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas is celebrated in the United States as well as in Latin America, the Bahamas, Spain, and other countries.

Library ISBN 978-1-59845-101-6
Columbus: Opening Up the New World, by Stephen Feinstein, is a middle school title, tells the story of Columbus' discovery of what is now the modern-day Bahamas. In search of a faster trade route to Asia, Columbus thought he had landed in the Indies. Columbus sailed the Atlantic Ocean four times and claimed several Caribbean islands for Spain. He established colonies and opened up the trade of products and ideas that would forever change the world.

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October 05, 2012

Some Friday Fan Mail

Every so often we receive fan mail in our office for our authors. Here's one that continues to make us smile so we wanted to share it so you can smile too. Hey fans, keep those letters coming!

October 04, 2012

More on the Common Core

There has been a lot of talk about the Common Core State Standards and how Appendix B applies. Many educators are using the list as a primary source for text.  The Common Core State Standards states as follows, with regards to appendix B:

Selecting Text Exemplars
"The following text samples primarily serve to exemplify the level of complexity and quality that the Standards require all students in a given grade band to engage with. Additionally, they are suggestive of the breadth of texts that students should encounter in the text types required by the Standards. The choices should serve as useful guideposts in helping educators select texts of similar complexity, quality, and range for their own classrooms. They expressly do not represent a partial or complete reading list."

There are many ways for educators to choose excellent books for their reading lists. Some of them include:
Recommendations from other teachers, librarians, and even parents!

Award Winners. You can find many award winning lists on the Internet.

Review committees and booksellers post their lists on their web sites.

How are you choosing your books for your reading list to use in conjunction with the Common Core State Standards? We would like to know!