Friday, April 18, 2014

National [Water] Poetry Month

The Water Library would like to celebrate National Poetry Month by presenting some of our favorite water-related poems. 

Here are links to a few favorites. We will post more throughout the next two weeks of April!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Weather Wheels at Ho Chunk Nation Head Start

The librarians from UW-Wisconsin's Water Library recently did some STEM story time and outreach activities with the students at Ho Chunk Nation's Head Start Program in Baraboo, WI. 

The theme was rain, as part of the water cycle, and the students did a "weather wheel" craft. One student colored their weather wheel almost entirely with pink, purple and yellow marker. When asked the types of weather days the drawings represented the student responded by pointing to each picture and saying: 

"This is a really nice day, this is a pretty day, this is a beautiful day and this is a cloudy day!"

Either this student does not actually live in Wisconsin, or she has a very positive outlook about the long winter. 

You might even say this student has a very sunny disposition ; ) 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review! On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, Author of Silent Spring

Throughout March, The Water Library's book display is highlighting books featuring female explorers, environmentalists, scientists and scientific activists for Women's History Month.

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Souder was published in 2013 and made an excellent addition to The Water Library's collection. 

Rachel Carson made environmentalism a topic of discussion in the United States with the publication of her book Silent Spring, but her life and writing spanned far beyond that single publication. Souder's biography carefully traces the many events of Carson's life that inextricably linked her to a deep sense of compassion and curiosity for the Earth. The narrative details the post-World War II fear that led to the overuse and promotion of chemicals in everyday life alongside Carson's burgeoning interest in fisheries and ecology. From the first paragraphs of On a Farther Shore there is a sense of the incredible impact Carson had on the popular conception of environmentalism: The book opens with a description of a press conference delivered by John F. Kennedy in 1962 when Kennedy alluded to Carson's book Silent Spring in response to the inquiries of a news reporter. 

Souder writes, "In this brief exchange something new came into the world, for this was a cleaving point--the moment when the gentle, optimistic proposition called 'conservation' began its transformation into the bitterly divisive idea that would come to be known as 'environmentalism.'"

William Souder's On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson is a compelling read. Souder offers great insight into the origins of environmental activism and the roots of Rachel Carson's legacy. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaching all about the Great Lakes!

The library is currently researching Great Lakes teaching material for a library patron. There are so many great resources out there that might be of interest to our readers... here is just a sampling:

GREAT LAKES LITERARY PRINCIPLES: From Ohio Sea Grant, eight essential principles and fundamental concepts for Great Lakes learning which support an understanding of the Great Lakes’ influences on you and your influence on the Great Lakes. Link.

FRESH AND SALT CURRICULUM: Fresh and Salt is a collection of activities connecting Great Lakes and ocean science topics to enhance teacher capabilities for accessing science information in Great Lakes and ocean sciences. Designed to be used by teachers in grades 5-10, this exemplary collection provides teachers with an interdisciplinary approach to ensure students achieve optimum science understanding of both Great Lakes and Ocean Literacy Principles. A varied range of instructional modes is offered, including data interpretation; experimentation; simulation; interactive mapping; and investigation. Link.

NOAA EDUCATION RESOURCES - GREAT LAKES ECO-SYSTEMS: Very complete and detailed look at materials for use in teaching about the Great Lakes on a variety of topics from invasive species to hazards to watershed science.  Link.

Do you have a favorite resource? We'd love to hear about it. Just send a message to askwater at

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our Big Fat Winter Experiment

On January 21st The Water Library conducted a snow-science-themed story time. The experiment to accompany the stories is called 'Blubber Gloves.'

'Blubber Gloves' is an experiment designed to simulate how blubber works to protect some mammals (like seals) from freezing during the winter. It is also a great use of all that Crisco-brand shortening you have lying around....

To conduct this experiment:

'Blubber Gloves' experiment video...

Put about 2 cups of Crisco (or other vegetable shortening) into a gallon-size zipper bag.
Put your hand into a separate gallon-size zipper bag and insert your bagged hand into the bag of shortening.
Spread the shortening evenly between the two bags, avoiding the topmost portion of the bags
Fold over the lip of the inside and outside bags and then duct tape around the folded lips

Have children put their hands into a bucket/bowl of ice water without any kind of glove until it becomes uncomfortably cold
Have children then put on the Blubber Glove and see how long they can hold their hand in the ice water

Here is a photo of the experiment in action from a blog called ''

And here is another photo from ''

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fulfill New Year's Resolutions at The Water Library!

Resolve to....

Camp in the winter wilderness with Paradise Below Zero by Calvin Rutstrum!

Originally published in 1968, this book is perfect for people seeking adventure during winter break. Calvin Rutstrum's classic guide to winter-weather camping advises on the basics like mittens and footwear, but also advises on advanced techniques and equipment.

Learn to ice fish with Ice Fishing Secrets by Al Linder, Dough Stange, & Dave Genz
And/Or Fishing on Ice by Noel Vick

Both books cover ice-fishing techniques for beginning-advanced fishermen. These books have detailed information about species, locations and water patterns for freshwater angling. Helpful recommendations about equipment are also key in both books.

Appreciate children's literature with The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day is a favorite winter tale loved by millions. Keats adeptly captures the wonder of childhood discoveries with his bright story and matching artwork. This book is the 1963 Caldecott winner.

Learn more about science with The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D.

The Story of Snow highlights real images of snow crystals and snowflakes in order to answer questions about how snow forms. A great book for snow enthusiasts and snow-hating children alike. BONUS: Instructions for catching snowflakes also included.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Best Children's Water Books for the Holidays

Here is a list of some of the best water resource books for children right in time for the holidays. UW-Wisconsin's Water Library has all the books listed available for check out! Request these books for a holiday story time or buy one from a local bookstore for a last-minute gift!

1. If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano illus. by Erin Stead

If You Want to See a Whale is Julie Fogliano's prosaic tribute to the wonder of childhood paired with Erin Stead's masterful artwork. Fogliano's directions for seeing a whale are charming when they insist, "If you want to see a whale you will need a window...and an ocean." This book is a soothing introduction to imaginative play centered around ocean life. Stead's artwork features pelicans, pirate ships, lighthouses and other water-themed delights. Poetry and ocean life will make this a book your children will cherish for years. As a bonus, it is also available for the Kindle. 

Starred Reviews for If You Want to See a Whale from Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly and Booklist. 

2. Water in the Park: A Book About Water and the Times of Day by Emily Jenkins illus. by Stephanie Graegin

If a bustling New York City park could talk, what would it say? Emily Jenkins' book explores the unexpected day-to-day routine of a pond and other features of a busy park located in Brooklyn, NY. This simple, but unique, story will introduce young children to the concepts of the water cycle from sunrise to sunset--from first dog wading in the park's pond to last toddler to hurry out of the rainy playground. Older children will enjoy finding subtle surprises in Stephanie Graegin's detailed pencil and watercolor illustrations. A wonderful book for introducing children to many water-related science concepts. 

Starred reviews for Water in the Park from Booklist and BCCB. 

3. Rain by Linda Ashman illus. by Christian Robinson

Photo taken from page about this book.
World's collide when a crotchety old man, intent on rainy day misery, has his hat returned by a frog-imitating young whipper-snapper. Linda Ashman's succinct text paired with Christian Robinson's colorful illustrations make for a soothing story time during any weather. Rain shows the readers that dealing with different weather is all a matter of perspective. A great introduction to lessons on the topic of weather, rain, the water cycle or humidity.

4. 999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura

Reading about frogs waking up from a long winter nap will have the youngest readers longing for springtime. Ken Kimura's whimsical book follows these frogs as they journey to wake up all of the swamp animals. Along the way they try to avoid the scary snake! The design of this book's illustrations are stunningly simple yet beautiful. An excellent choice for frog and swamp enthusiasts in every family. Also a great companion to Kimura's 999 Tadpoles.