Category Archives: Book Loves

Insects, Insects Everywhere








Last night we held our inaugural in-person Fill-in-the-Blank Book Club (if you don’t know what that is, read this post), and it was a joy, especially if you happen to love books, reading and … insects. Displayed at the top of this post are just a few of the titles folks brought along to share. I was thrilled to see a variety of fiction and non-fiction, as well as books for adults and for kids!

Our discussion was interesting and wide-ranging and, as I’d hoped, a clear demonstration of how books can connect and engage us. At the end of it all, our small group shared ideas for the next Fill-in-the-Blank subject, which I’ll share as soon as I clear a date for it at the library. Stay tuned.

FITBBC Recommendation: Joyful Noise

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
(HarperTrophy, 1988)
by Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by Eric Beddows

“The following poems were written to be read aloud by two readers at once, one taking the left-hand part, the other taking the right-hand part. The poems should be read from top to bottom, the two parts meshing as in a musical duet. When both readers have lines at the same horizontal level, those lines are to be spoken simultaneously.”

This is one of my favorite insect books of all time. Some of my fondest family memories involve gently encouraging (this might be a euphemism) my three kids to perform a poem from this book as part of our one glorious homeschool year.

I found a couple YouTube videos featuring Joyful Noise and two voices, and I couldn’t decide which I loved best. Have a peek at both. But truly, the best way to enjoy this book is out loud and with a friend.


The Fill-in-the-Blank Book Club

If you’ve been here before, you know how inspired I was by last April’s March for Science. One of the commitments I made at the march was to do what I could to further science literacy in my community. Since I make my living writing about science for audiences of all ages, a book club featuring all things science was a no-brainer way for me to do this. I recently hosted a book talk at my hometown library, which I blogged about here, and with the help of the book lovers who showed up that day, have fashioned a new-fangled all-ages book group. And I’d like you to join it.

Unlike more traditional book clubs, ours will not focus on a single book, but rather on a single topic. Attendees can choose fiction or nonfiction, a children’s book or a young adult book or an adult book, a picture book or chapter book or graphic novel. Pretty much anything goes. The only requirements are that your book selection tie into our monthly theme, and that you’re willing to share a little bit about it with the rest of us.

Those of us who live in central Massachusetts can meet in person at the Beaman Memorial Library at 4 Newton Street in West Boyslton, Massachusetts on Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30pm. But if you don’t live in the area and would like to join in the fun, please do! I’ll be featuring themed book suggestions here on my blog each week, and anyone can participate here; my dream is that this book club thrive in the virtual world as well as the real one.

Since I’m organizing this Fill-in-the-Blank Book Club (FITBBC) shin-dig, I get to choose the first topic. And as y’all know, I’m a bit of a bug geek. So for this first meeting, we will fill in the blank with …

drum roll, please …


I’ll be sharing some of my favorite insect-themed books on this blog in the coming weeks. At the same time, my friends at Beaman Memorial Public Library will be sharing their favorite insect books, too. (You can find them on Facebook and Instagram.) Please follow along as you’re able, and feel free to add your own book suggestions. You know what I always say: The more insect books, the merrier life is!

One last thing: this is an all ages book party, open to tweens, teens, and adults. I truly, really, surely, honestly hope you join the fun, and that you’ll think about inviting a kid or adult or neighbor or complete stranger to join in, too. Let’s share some time–and some books–with one another.

Happy Reading!

Some WRAD Book Recommendations

Yesterday, February 16, was World Read Aloud Day, and it was magnificent. I celebrated by Skyping into classrooms in Fairfax and Virginia Beach (Virginia), Madison (Wisconsin) and Quito (Equador), and I got to read and talk with students about butterflies, citizen science, and honey bees. I also got to give a sneak peak of my newest book (LIFE ON SURTSEY, due out in November of this year) and recommend some of my very favorite recent nonfiction books. You know, books like …

The Dolphins of Shark Bay


Earlier this year, I had the chance to talk with author Pamela Turner about her next big thing. (Here’s that post.) I’m logging on today to let you know that thing, the ‘Scientists in the Field’ book THE DOLPHINS OF SHARK BAY, is officially out in the world. Also? It’s a must-read.

I know. I say that about all the SITF books.

And I probably am biased, as I write for the series myself.


This is still a book I will recommend to everyone in my life, young and old. The dolphins living in the waters of Shark Bay are opening our eyes to the complexity of dolphin life and behavior … and what scientists are learning from these dolphins is rocking human notions of, well, what it means to be human. Don’t miss this one, folks!

Here’s a link to more information on the book.

Here’s a link to one of Pam’s latest blog post on the SITF website.

And the winner is …


Sue Heavenrich!

Sue has won a copy of Ocean Sunlight, signed by co-author Penny Chisholm. I didn’t mention this in my original raffle post, but Penny is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she and her lab study marine phytoplankton. (Of course!) She is a wonderful woman and an excellent scientist and I was lucky to meet her at the AAAS meeting in Boston a few weeks ago, where she signed this raffle book.

So … congratulations, Sue! I think you are really going to enjoy this read. Please send your mailing address to me at lgb (at) loreeburns (dot) com and I’ll get it in the mail first thing Monday.

Nonfiction Monday Giveaway: Ocean Sunlight




by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm

The Blue Sky Press, 2012

Category: Picture book

If you were reading this blog back in 2010, you might remember my love for LIVING SUNLIGHT, the brilliant picture book, also by Bang and Chisholm, that introduced young readers to the process of photosynthesis and the chemistry of life on our planet. I still recommend that book to kids, teachers, and strangers on the street; it is simply the most accessible look at the topic I’ve ever seen.

And now, a sequel to sing about!

OCEAN SUNLIGHT furthers the story, sharing with readers the tale of a “billion billion billion” tiny plants floating in the ocean’s surface layer, turning sunlight into energy that further fuels life on Earth. With only 781 words spread across forty-four beautifully illustrated pages, Bang and Chisholm have created another masterpiece. This is a book everyone can read and learn from. This is a book everyone should read and learn from.

So, would you like a copy? Signed by Penny Chisholm?

Great! Just leave a comment on this post by 5pm EST on Thursday, March 14, 2013.  If you spread the word about the contest on your social media outlets, leave me a second comment telling me so and I’ll add your name to the raffle drawing a second time. On Thursday night I’ll hold the raffle and on Friday morning I’ll post the winner.  A couple rules:

1. Winners must live in the continental United States. I’ll send the book to the winner by USPS Media Mail next Monday.

2. Please remember to check back on Friday to see if you’ve won; I’ll post instructions then for how to get me your mailing address.

3. If you already won a giveaway this month (I’m looking at you, Mary Laughton and Laura Purdie Salas) you can’t enter again.

4. Good luck, and happy reading!

A few last links before you go:

For a peek at the other SB&F Prize-winning titles raffled off here lately, check out this post about Sy Montgomery’s TEMPLE GRANDIN and this post about Terrie Williams’ THE ODYSSEY OF KP2.

And for a the weekly lode of great children’s nonfiction, check out this week’s round-up of Nonfiction Monday posts over at Sally’s Bookshelf.

And the winner is …


It’s raffle time!

I printed the names of all the entrants in my TEMPLE GRANDIN giveaway on strips of paper, folded them up, mixed them into a vase (the favorite mug I used for last week’s giveaway was too small this week!) and had one of the Burns kids draw a winner.

Congratulations, Laura Salas!

Please send your mailing address to me at lgb (at) loreeburns (dot) com, Laura, and I’ll get your book in the mail first thing Monday.

I’ll be raffling one last signed SB&F Prize winning book (OCEAN SUNLIGHT, by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm) next Monday, so please come back and check it out.

Nonfiction Monday Giveaway: Temple Grandin




By Sy Montgomery

Houghton Mifflin, 2012

Category: Middle Grade Biography (148 pages)

Welcome to week two of my very own science book lovefest …

After a smashing weekend celebrating science books at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) two weeks ago, I was inspired to share some amazing science books via raffles here at my blog. I bought extra copies of three SB&F Prize winning titles and asked the authors to sign them; last week I raffled a signed copy of The Odyssey of KP2, by Terrie Williams and next week I’ll raffle a signed copy of Ocean Sunlight, by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm. This week, though, is all about Sy Montgomery and her astonishing biography of Temple Grandin.

Temple Grandin is a scientist and a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She has revolutionized the meat packing industry by designing and implementing humane meat processing facilities. And she is autistic.

Temple’s life story is inspiring, and Sy shares it beautifully. With a window into Temple’s growing up years, readers begin to understand the behaviors that so confused and scared Temple’s classmates. By watching Temple put her mind to work on problems that vexed her–the cruel way animals are sometimes treated in captivity–readers embrace Temple’s unusual and extraordinary way of thinking. By hearing Temple say, “If I could snap my fingers and be nonautistic, I wouldn’t … It’s part of who I am,” readers come to appreciate that this world of ours needs all kinds of minds. Theirs. Yours. Mine. Temple Grandin’s. All of them.

Of the books I’ve read this year, this is the one that changed me the most. I wish I could give every person I know a copy. But since I can’t, I’d like to give YOU a copy. Leave me a comment below before 5pm EST on Thursday (March 7, 2013) and I’ll add your name to my raffle. If you spread the word via your blog or your social media outlets and let me know that you have done so in a second comment, I’ll add your name to the raffle a second time.

Ground rules:

1. Winners must live in the continental United States. I will send the book to the winner by USPS Media Mail next Monday.

2. Please remember to check back on Friday to see if you’ve won; I’ll post instructions then for how to get me your mailing address.

3. If you won last week (I’m looking at you, Mary Laughton) you can’t enter this week.

4. Good luck, and happy reading!

And don’t forget to catch this week’s full Nonfiction Monday roundup at the Supratentorial blog!