Friday, April 12, 2013

Keep an eye out for Sylvan Dell

We had the opportunity today to sit and chat with with Darcy Pattison and Terry Jennings, two  award winning authors who write for Sylvan Dell publishers. Their enthusiasm and excitement about their books, Desert Baths (Darcy) and Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story (Terry) reminded us of why we keep coming back to see Lee & Donna German, who started the publishing company, every chance we get.

We first met the folks from Sylvan Dell at the 2008 NSTA Convention in Boston, when their books The Rainforest Grew All Around, ABC Safari (both of which are perfect for the tough K-1 crowd), and Ocean Seasons (for the older 3rd -5th crowd) caught our eye. Over the past five years, we've seen their collection of offerings grow to over 80 books focusing mostly on science (and math & and geography) concepts for elementary age learners. Many of their books have won awards...including some International Reading Association/Children's Book Council's Teachers Choice Awards & some NSTA Outstanding Trade Book Awards--two of our favorite "lists" for good books! They also quite impressively rely on a cadre of scientists in the field who vet each book, ensuring accuracy. These are books teachers can use knowing the information is correct.

However, Sylvan Dell offers unique opportunities to push the reading experience beyond the pages of the book with some of the more unique aspects of their publications.Teachers will likely be impressed with the "For Creative Minds" sections included at the back of each book. (Follow this link to see the Creative Minds pages for Ocean Seasons!) These pages include a variety of ways to extend the concepts explored in the book in cross-curricular ways, often including more detailed information, related maps and charts, fun little quizzes, and even experiments. But... of the most exciting parts of the Sylvan Dell way of doing things has to be their online supplemental resources. Each book has its own homepage with an array of "extras" that include .pdf previews of each book, teaching guides, quizzes, related websites, and even interviews with the author. They also have a searchable standards database that links books with individual state standards or vice versa. And, just in case that wasn't appealing enough, Sylvan Dell offers eBook options in both English or Spanish (text AND audio!). They even offer some free trials and actually have pretty good deals for school site licenses.

If you ever get to NSTA or IRA or any of trade shows Sylvan Dell attends, keep an eye out for them and be sure to stop by the booth and introduce yourself to Lee and Donna (or any of their friendly employees!). But even if you don't get out much, you can spend a few hours exploring their books and resources on the website. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I really love The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell. After reading the book, one thing I'd really love to do with students is make the cookie recipe found in the back of the book. This book could help teach a lesson about goods and services and is a great way to begin explaining how different things come from different places, not just the grocery store. This book does a great job of explaining which ingredients can be found in the rainforest. Also, baking can incorporate math and team building skills for students. Lastly, the lesson can end with a tasty treat!