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Fun Facts, Tremendous Trivia, and Miscellaneous Mind-lint

The Hot Off the Press Spotlight segment showcases new books from our current Hot Off the Press list to further assist parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and other book enthusiasts in finding engaging books for all types of readers.

Do you know what forest bathing is? What about inferential statistics? Did you know that Antarctic fish have a special protein in their blood that works like antifreeze? Or that 700 million years ago the earth was almost entirely covered in ice? What’s it like being an app designer or maintenance technician? What really causes an ice cream headache? And what happens with astronaut poop? This selection of nonfiction from our March Hot Off the Press list focuses on everything from how humans have changed the planet and created civilization to how to collect data and create a visual representation to how loneliness can actually bring us together. In fact, these books might just prove that truth really is wilder than fiction!

Alone Together, by Petti Fong; illus. by Jonathon Dyck (Orca Book Publishers) — Nonfiction, Prose, Mental / Physical Health, Concepts, Science / Nature, ages 7-12.

The world is facing an epidemic of loneliness.

The COVID-19 pandemic taught us new words, like isolation, quarantine and social distancing. In places like the UK and Japan, governments have appointed ministers of loneliness to examine the problem and find ways to help their citizens. What does it mean to be lonely, and what can we do about it?

Alone Together explores what superheroes can teach us about being alone, the ways kids have survived on their own and how activists in the civil rights movement took a stand against loneliness. Discover what comfort foods, sweatpants and being kind to each other have to do with loneliness.

Based on the podcast of the same name. Readers will learn about loneliness and how being alone can ultimately bring us closer together.

How Do You Turn Data into Drawings?, by Clayton Grider; illus. by Srimalie Bassani (Flowerpot Press) — Nonfiction, Picture Book, STEM / STEAM, Math, Concepts, ages 7-12.

Have you ever wondered how to turn data into graphs and charts? A basic explanation of statistics concepts including descriptive and inferential statistics, collecting and recording data, how to make various graphs, and more is explored through charts, illustrations, and informative text in this new addition to the How Do series. Includes activities in the back of the book.

How to Teach Grown Ups About Climate Change, by Patricia Daniels; illus. by Aaron Blecha (What on Earth Books) — Nonfiction, Prose, Environment / Sustainability / Recycling, Nature / Science, How-to / Activity, ages 7-12.

A witty guide to the science behind climate change, which puts kids in charge.

Never has there been a more perfect time to empower kids to take the lead and educate their grown-ups about climate change. Featuring a foreword by internationally renowned climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann and bursting with fabulous original illustrations, this delightfully witty book deals with the pressing topic of our changing planet in an uplifting, positive way.

Interwoven amongst the more serious questions––why is Earth so special in the first place? How do we know about climate change? What causes it? How can we recognize false information?––are fun-filled facts about cow burps, wooly mammoths, panda-shaped solar panels, and much more. Crucially, this book also equips kids and adults alike with the practical tools they need to tackle climate change in their everyday lives. And there’s a handy quiz at the end so that you can check your grown-up has been paying attention!

Science FACTopia, by Rose Davidson; illus. by Andy Smith (What on Earth Books) — Nonfiction, Picture Book, Science / Nature, STEM / STEAM, Concepts, ages 7-12.

Follow the Trail of 400 STEM-tastic facts! 

Follow an ingenious trail of 400 facts about space, animals, rocks and crystals, virtual reality, the body, coding, 3D printing, engineering, plants, fungi, math, and more, where each fact is connected to the next in hilarious and unexpected ways. You’ll meet a parrot called Squawkzilla, find out about the fastest muscles in the body, discover gems that can change color, and learn about black holes that “burp.”

Lavishly illustrated with witty illustrations that combine artwork and photography, and verified by the experts at Encyclopaedia Britannica, Science FACTopia! brings STEM topics to life, with facts kids will be desperate to share with their friends and family.

Scientists in the Wild: Antarctica, by Dr Kate Hendry and Helen Scales; illus. by Rômolo D’Hipólito (Flying Eye Books ) — Nonfiction, Picture Book, Environment / Sustainability / Recycling, Science / Nature, Animals, ages 7-12.

Take a deep dive into the science surrounding the Antarctic, revealing how scientists work in remote, challenging places, armed with cutting edge research tools and technologies.

The reader is invited to join a crew of scientists as they sail around Antarctica studying one of the most vulnerable environments on the planet. Discover how scientists work in extreme environments, and how scientific methods have been adapted to suit this unique location. Join the team as they use drones and satellites in space to monitor colonies of penguins, seals and albatrosses, observe the team’s palaeontologist studying fossils that show Antarctica used to be covered in forests home to dinosaurs. Search for Shackleton’s lost ship using a deep-diving robot and help glaciologists unlock the secrets of the ice using ice cores and space lasers and finally experience the south pole sunrise after six months of darkness.

That’s a Job? I like Making Things … What Jobs Are There?, by Robin Pridy; illus. by Tom Woolley (Kane Miller) — Nonfiction, Prose, Careers / Hobbies, Music / Art, Technology / Computers, ages 7-12.

In this book, children who love to get creative with science and art can find out all about the future careers they can have! From factories to bakeries, web designers to jewelers, readers are taken through a day-in-the-life of 25 craftspeople. They’ll learn about the people whose work we rely on every day, like welders, carpenters, and upholsterers, as well as jobs they never knew existed—like bioengineer and luthier! A fantastic introduction to the skilled professionals who make our favorite things.

Unstoppable Us, Volume 2: Why the World Isn’t Fair, by Yuval Harai; illus. by Ricard Zaplana Ruiz (Random House Children’s Books / Bright Matter Books) — Nonfiction, Prose, History, Science / Nature, Series, ages 7-12.

From world-renowned historian and philosopher Yuval Noah Harari, the bestselling author of Sapiens, comes the second volume in the bestselling Unstoppable Us series that traces human development from the Agricultural Revolution to Prehistoric Egypt.

Humans may have taken over the world, but what happened next? How did our hunter-gatherer ancestors become village farmers? Why were kingdoms and laws established? How did we go from being the rulers of Earth to the rulers of each other?

And why isn’t the world fair?

The answer to all of that is one of the strangest tales you’ll ever hear. And it’s a true story!

From cultivating land and sharing resources to building pyramids and paying taxes, prepare to discover how humans established civilization, endured the consequences for it, and created history-changing inventions along the way.

In Unstoppable Us, Volume 1: How Humans Took Over the World, acclaimed author Yuval Noah Harari explored the early history of humankind. In Volume 2, he is back with another expertly crafted story of how human society evolved and flourished. His dynamic writing is accompanied by maps, a timeline, and full-color illustrations, making the incredible story of our past fun, engaging, and impossible to put down.

For more great book suggestions, be sure to check out the full March Hot Off the Press list!

List compiled by CBC’s resident book connoisseur, Brooke Pisarsky. Check out other Hot Off the Press Spotlight book lists on our blog.

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