Fun Learning with These Books, Even Reluctant Readers Can Pick Up Some Interesting Information

Article excerpt

It's time to get back to it. Spring break is over and class is in session. If your gradeschooler has reports to do, whether it's for social studies, science or English class, today's choices of non-fiction books are invaluable. Title: Garbage Author/Photographer: Robert Maass Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Price: $16.95

Age: 8-11

The jacket of the book classifies Garbage as a photo essay, but the words are just as compelling as the pictures. The text outlines what happens to junk -- orange rinds and fast-food wrappers -- from the moment it goes into the trash can to when it gets buried in a landfill.

Complete with a glossary of terms such as "turbine" and "incineration," the book covers the subject of garbage and recycling in a succinct manner that elementary school students will find easy to understand. At the end of the book, there are sections on making a compost pile and reducing use of hazardous wastes.

Students could use this book as the basis for a report or to get ideas for a classroom science project. Other titles by Maass include Garden and Tugboat. Title: Why I Sneeze, Shiver, Hiccup and Yawn Author/Illustrator: Melvin Berger/Paul Meisel Publisher: HarperCollins Price: $16.95

Age: 5-9

Relating terms and concepts to children's everyday lives is the best way to teach new ideas. Why I Sneeze, with its cartoon illustrations and simple words does just that.

After a brief but complete description of the nervous system, the author explains how hiccups, shivers, yawns and other reflexes work.

You Are Playing hide-and-seek. You've found a good hiding place. You want to be as quiet as you can. All of a sudden -- KA-CHOO ! . . . A sneeze is also a reflex, so you can't stop it even when you want to be extra quiet . . . A bit of dust and dirt gets into your nose. The nerves sense that something is there that is not supposed to be. They shoot the message to the brain. The brain sends a message to the spinal cord . . ."

The simple explanations are enhanced by childlike drawings labeled "Why Jake Hiccups," and "Why You Sneeze," that include numbered steps listing how a reflex occurs.

The last two pages of the book list ways to test reflexes and fun facts about making hiccups stop. Even if you're child doesn't have a science report due, the neat-o factor on this book is high. …