[Nonfiction Monday] Colors of Insects and Bug Off!

Paired Picture Books

Colors of Insects
by me, Laura Purdie Salas
Capstone Press, 2011
(signed discounted copies available here–
be sure to email and specify who you’d like it inscribed to)

I never thought I would like writing a book about bugs, but doing this book really gave me a new appreciation for them (though I still don’t want them in my house!). The pictures are just stunning! It fits right in with?the growing emphasis on visual literacy and visual learning, mixing close-up, large?photos with a brief factual paragraph about each insect. One of my favorites is the blue morpho butterfly. Here’s the text that goes with it:Colors of Insects (A+ Books: Colors All Around)

This blue morpho butterfly isn’t really blue. Its wings have brown, not blue, pigment. But tiny scales on the wings reflect light. That makes the wings look blue. Armies are studying morpho butterflies. They hope to learn how to make better camouflage for soldiers.

And of course, I’d like to add some poems to the mix. So a fun book to pair with this would be Bug Off! Creepy Crawly Poems, by Jane Yolen. This book matches poems with images and prose text. Here’s the nasty tick poem:

POP! Goes the Tick

The tick is mostly mouth,
and if he lands on you
he’ll try to suck your blood,
’cause that’s what all ticks do.

But never try to squeeze him.
He’ll pop! and leave some ick.
Bacteria comes sliding out,
which makes a person sick.

Ick, indeed.

A few fun classroom activities for after you read:

1) Go outside and find a bug to observe. For five whole minutes, just watch the bug. Now sketch the bug–don’t worry about being perfect!

2) Talk about the ways different bugs move and eat. As a group or individually, write a story from the point of the view of the bug, describing its day.

3) Make your own insect rainbow. Draw/color pictures of and write about bugs of all different colors. Arrange them on the bulletin board, organized by color.

P.S. David Harrison has a terrific bugs poetry collection, too. And Lee Bennett Hopkins has a great new?anthology called Nasty Bugs. And for upper elementary kids, Paul Fleischman’s Newbery-winning Joyful Noise is a fabulous collection of poems for two voices–all about bugs. And I just featured Douglas Florian’s UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings on Friday.?So many wonderful bug options!

P.P.S. Interested in writing books for the educational market (like my Colors of Insects above)? Check out my textbook, available in print or Kindle version.

Review copies from me and my library.

Travis at 100 Scope Notes?has the Nonfiction Monday roundup!

42 Responses

    1. Me, too. They are a nightmare! No, I didn’t. Capstone procured the images based on the insects I chose. I was really happy with the pictures they got…

    1. Me, too. They are a nightmare! No, I didn’t. Capstone procured the images based on the insects I chose. I was really happy with the pictures they got…

  1. All the posts I’ve read this morning and I choose to eat lunch reading yours lol. Congrats on your latest book, I love the pairing of close up pics with poems. My favorite book over Christmas was the National Geographic animal poems edited by J. Patrick Lewis. I will check out your textbook soon because that is something I am interested in, thanks Laura!

      1. Oh no, I hope you didn’t buy my Colors of Insects book thinking it was poems. I will feel so bad if that’s the case. I should have been more clear. My book is nonfiction prose, and I was pairing it with a collection of bug poems. Hehe–probably not the most appetizing choice for lunchtime reading. Pat’s National Geo anthology is so stunning. I, too, love closeup images with poems. Poems are like little close-up pictures themselves, in fact. OK, I’m going to go make my post clearer!

  2. All the posts I’ve read this morning and I choose to eat lunch reading yours lol. Congrats on your latest book, I love the pairing of close up pics with poems. My favorite book over Christmas was the National Geographic animal poems edited by J. Patrick Lewis. I will check out your textbook soon because that is something I am interested in, thanks Laura!

      1. Oh no, I hope you didn’t buy my Colors of Insects book thinking it was poems. I will feel so bad if that’s the case. I should have been more clear. My book is nonfiction prose, and I was pairing it with a collection of bug poems. Hehe–probably not the most appetizing choice for lunchtime reading. Pat’s National Geo anthology is so stunning. I, too, love closeup images with poems. Poems are like little close-up pictures themselves, in fact. OK, I’m going to go make my post clearer!

  3. What fun! I’m as curious as a kid about bugs. Will definitely check out your textbook, thanks for the tip.

    1. I find them really fascinating–I just don’t want them flying at me. One of the things I was happy to leave behind when we moved from Fla. to Minn. was cockroaches!

  4. What fun! I’m as curious as a kid about bugs. Will definitely check out your textbook, thanks for the tip.

    1. I find them really fascinating–I just don’t want them flying at me. One of the things I was happy to leave behind when we moved from Fla. to Minn. was cockroaches!

  5. Laura:
    I ordered Colors of Insects” and Bug Off. Have an iPad and Nook but no Kindle. Is the textbook available for iPad, iPhone or Nook?
    Jeanne Poland

    1. Hi Jeanne–It’s not–I just have the print version and the Kindle version. There are free Kindle apps for all those devices you listed, and my textbook looks good on my iPhone, though I wouldn’t want to read such a dense text on my iPhone. If you get the Kindle app for your iPad, buy the book, and the formatting doesn’t look good for you (though I sure hope it does!), Amazon lets you return the Kindle book. There’s also a Kindle app for Nook–I’m just not sure of bn.com’s return policy if the Kindle book doesn’t look great for you… Thanks for your interest!

      1. What a completely comprehensive reply!
        I’m off to search for the app for iPad!
        Jeanne Poland

        1. I hope it works out. IF you do end up getting the book and trying it on the iPad, would you let me know whether it looked good or was a complete mess? The conversion tool showed it looking good, but you never know…

          1. Well, well Laura. My tech mate, Don helped me to figure out how to get Kindle on my iPad. It was really confusing finding Amazon to order the textbook. (Included copy and pasting the url of the book (from your site) into the Amazon search url slot! Navagation from the $50 copy to the Kindle $10 version was tricky too. Then one must enter the Apple password and the Amazon password
            to get through the toll booth.
            I was able to view the book on iPad as one column page or as two column page.Naturally, the one column page is bigger text. And it looks great!
            Now I will try to study the textbook and share discoveries with Catherine.This authorstrator/illusauthor life is the greatest.
            Please let me know what you think of my iPhone Sestina:
            http://www.thevibrantchanneledcreator.wordpress.com
            Jeanne Poland

          2. Well, what a pain! Ordering books directly from my Kindle is an ordeal, and it sounds like it is on the iPad, too. I order them on the Amazon site on my laptop and then have them delivered to my Kindle. You have to set that up the first time, though. Not sure if that’s an option on your iPad, as well, but might be an easier way if you end up buying more Kindle books. That way, from the Amazon site on your computer, you would just search by title of the e‑book, buy it, and choose “Deliver to Jeanne’s iPad” (or whatever name you’ve given your device in Amazon). Anyway, thank you for persevering! I’m glad to hear that it looks good. Whew! Thanks for the feedback on your process. I’m going to think about if there’s some way I can streamline the purchasing process for people who don’t have Kindles.

            I’m off to check out your iPhone sestina–intrigued!

          3. Just to let you know:
            Studying your textbook from the iPad is a scholarly treat.
            I have the device on a pedestal on the table and can activate it whenever I have a contemplative moment. Using all the links to step onto the stones you have provided. It is so gratifying to move around the net to see samples of your recent experiences and to note the essence of writing and sharing with the educational market. E‑reading, e‑studying, e‑sharing, e‑publishing, e‑poetry, e‑generosity.
            Thank you for reviewing iPhone Sestina. You encourage me to respond to the requests for reviews that I get from B&N and Amazon.com.
            Jeanne Poland

          4. Thanks, Jeanne! I’m so glad it’s working out for you! It’s funny, I hate reviewing things. I never review when I buy something on ebay (which is rare, but still). But this past few months, I’ve decided on reviews as my way to try to reciprocate all the kindness I receive in the kidlit/poetry community. I haven’t done much this past month with holidays/travel/illness, but basically, when I read a book and love it (give it a 4 or 5 on goodreads), I try to take a few minutes and review it on Amazon, too. And sometimes post it on my FB Page, and I’m trying to share more books I love here on my blog. I especially make the effort for the books that AREN’T already by well-known writers. It’s kind of a pain, but I’m feeling good about doing it. I’m hoping I get better/more efficient at it! Feedback and support really keeps us going, whether it’s on traditionally published work or stuff we share on our blog…

  6. Laura:
    I ordered Colors of Insects” and Bug Off. Have an iPad and Nook but no Kindle. Is the textbook available for iPad, iPhone or Nook?
    Jeanne Poland

    1. Hi Jeanne–It’s not–I just have the print version and the Kindle version. There are free Kindle apps for all those devices you listed, and my textbook looks good on my iPhone, though I wouldn’t want to read such a dense text on my iPhone. If you get the Kindle app for your iPad, buy the book, and the formatting doesn’t look good for you (though I sure hope it does!), Amazon lets you return the Kindle book. There’s also a Kindle app for Nook–I’m just not sure of bn.com’s return policy if the Kindle book doesn’t look great for you… Thanks for your interest!

      1. What a completely comprehensive reply!
        I’m off to search for the app for iPad!
        Jeanne Poland

        1. I hope it works out. IF you do end up getting the book and trying it on the iPad, would you let me know whether it looked good or was a complete mess? The conversion tool showed it looking good, but you never know…

          1. Well, well Laura. My tech mate, Don helped me to figure out how to get Kindle on my iPad. It was really confusing finding Amazon to order the textbook. (Included copy and pasting the url of the book (from your site) into the Amazon search url slot! Navagation from the $50 copy to the Kindle $10 version was tricky too. Then one must enter the Apple password and the Amazon password
            to get through the toll booth.
            I was able to view the book on iPad as one column page or as two column page.Naturally, the one column page is bigger text. And it looks great!
            Now I will try to study the textbook and share discoveries with Catherine.This authorstrator/illusauthor life is the greatest.
            Please let me know what you think of my iPhone Sestina:
            http://www.thevibrantchanneledcreator.wordpress.com
            Jeanne Poland

          2. Well, what a pain! Ordering books directly from my Kindle is an ordeal, and it sounds like it is on the iPad, too. I order them on the Amazon site on my laptop and then have them delivered to my Kindle. You have to set that up the first time, though. Not sure if that’s an option on your iPad, as well, but might be an easier way if you end up buying more Kindle books. That way, from the Amazon site on your computer, you would just search by title of the e‑book, buy it, and choose “Deliver to Jeanne’s iPad” (or whatever name you’ve given your device in Amazon). Anyway, thank you for persevering! I’m glad to hear that it looks good. Whew! Thanks for the feedback on your process. I’m going to think about if there’s some way I can streamline the purchasing process for people who don’t have Kindles.

            I’m off to check out your iPhone sestina–intrigued!

          3. Just to let you know:
            Studying your textbook from the iPad is a scholarly treat.
            I have the device on a pedestal on the table and can activate it whenever I have a contemplative moment. Using all the links to step onto the stones you have provided. It is so gratifying to move around the net to see samples of your recent experiences and to note the essence of writing and sharing with the educational market. E‑reading, e‑studying, e‑sharing, e‑publishing, e‑poetry, e‑generosity.
            Thank you for reviewing iPhone Sestina. You encourage me to respond to the requests for reviews that I get from B&N and Amazon.com.
            Jeanne Poland

          4. Thanks, Jeanne! I’m so glad it’s working out for you! It’s funny, I hate reviewing things. I never review when I buy something on ebay (which is rare, but still). But this past few months, I’ve decided on reviews as my way to try to reciprocate all the kindness I receive in the kidlit/poetry community. I haven’t done much this past month with holidays/travel/illness, but basically, when I read a book and love it (give it a 4 or 5 on goodreads), I try to take a few minutes and review it on Amazon, too. And sometimes post it on my FB Page, and I’m trying to share more books I love here on my blog. I especially make the effort for the books that AREN’T already by well-known writers. It’s kind of a pain, but I’m feeling good about doing it. I’m hoping I get better/more efficient at it! Feedback and support really keeps us going, whether it’s on traditionally published work or stuff we share on our blog…

    1. Thanks, Alice. I’m trying to figure out what I can offer that teachers might find useful. Not sure if this is the way to go, but it’s one approach I’m considering:>)

    1. Thanks, Alice. I’m trying to figure out what I can offer that teachers might find useful. Not sure if this is the way to go, but it’s one approach I’m considering:>)

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