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Judith Jango-Cohen

Nonfiction Author and Photographer

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Fissures and Feathers: Iceland Part II


 

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From a fissure along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, my husband hoists the Bridge Between Continents.

In Iceland, you can stand with one foot in North America and one foot in Europe. No  need to be a colossus. Just cross the Bridge Between Continents, spanning the North Atlantic and Eurasian continental plates.

As these plates jostle, slide and collide, they set off earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In fact, magma spewing from a seam between these plates, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, formed Iceland.

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Reynisdrangar Sea Cliffs ignite foaming fireworks at Reynisfjara Beach.

Iceland’s igneous origin is on display at Reynisfjara Beach, where the cinder-colored sand formed from eroded lava. Off shore, breakers batter the Reynisdrangar Sea Cliffs, also created from cooled lava.

According to Icelandic legend, the cliffs formed one night as two trolls tried to drag a ship to shore. Dawn broke before they completed their task–a fatal mistake for trolls, who must not be exposed to daylight. Consequently, the trolls remain forever petrified.

Reynisfjall Mountain and Gardar Basalt Cliffs, Reynisfjara Beach
Reynisfjall Mountain looms over Reynisfjara Beach.

Another imposing feature along Reynisfjara Beach is Reynisfjall Mountain–a 340 meter (1115 foot) tower. At its base are balsaltic columns. Their honeycombed shape formed as  lava cooled and contracted.

Basaltic Columns and Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks, Reynisfjara Beach
Cliffs and Columns
People on Gardar Basalt Cliffs, Reynisfjara Beach, Vík í Mýrd
Pick a column–any column!

The coastal cliffs are fascinating geology exhibits that also showcase bustling bird colonies.

Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula arctica
Iceland’s most common sea bird–.Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica

Resembling Pixar characters, puffins prance and pinwheel around Latrabjarg Cliffs. Undersea, their whirring wings become feathered flippers–useful for catching tiny fishes.

Photographing Puffins on Latrabjarg Cliffs, Westfjords, Iceland
My husband photographing a puffin on Latrabjarg Cliffs, Westfjords, Iceland
People Observing puffins Latrabjarg Cliffs, Westfjords, Iceland
Puffin fans on Latrabjarg Cliffs, Westfjords, Iceland

Puffins take their human admirers in stride, nonchalant despite people’s curious proximity.

Arctic Tern Flying, Sterna paradisaea
Soaring in splendor–Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea

Like puffins, arctic terns nest near coastal waters. They’re journeyed to these ancestral breeding grounds from Antarctica–25,000 miles away! Unlike puffins, they are intolerant of people’s approach. Get too close and they swoop and swerve above you, angling to peck at your head.

Greylag Goose Family Swimming, Anser anser
A family outing–Greylag goose Anser anser

Greylag geese prefer to nest in Iceland’s marshes. These birds are believed to be the wild ancestors of today’s domesticated geese.

European Golden Plover, Pluvialis apricaria
Harbingers of spring–European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

Rivers and lakes are the preferred habitat of the golden plover. When this wading bird returns each spring, it is always nationwide news. Schoolchildren welcome it in song: “The plover is come to bid farewell to the snow.” According to Iceland Magazine, no bird is loved as dearly. This is understandable when Iceland’s winters bestow only five hours of daylight.

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After two weeks in Iceland we were looking forward to a New England spring. As we headed home, our plane swept over frosty Greenland. Maybe next year?

 

I look forward to meeting you in the classroom.
Keep reading and writing!

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AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Program/author visit video:
SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Photography website:
http://www.agpix.com/cohen

 

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Greenwood’s Great Buncee Books


 

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Dear Mrs. Braham, Mrs. Curran, and Students,

Thank you for sending me your nonfiction projects. I learned a lot of fascinating facts from reading them. I also learned how smart you all are and what good writers you are! Many of you did an excellent job including similes, vivid verbs, and alliteration.

Below are some of my thoughts about your work . . . with apologies to Jacob because your Star Wars project appears to have gone missing.  May the Force be with your teachers in finding it.

Stella: Welcome to My Room
You used your “paintbrush” to paint a vivid picture of your room, Stella.
Two awesome similes—
“My walls are white as marshmallow.”
“My little cousin and my little sister “make the room SO dirty it’s like the cafeteria floor after the first lunch.”
But my favorite sentence is—
“The thing I like most about my room is that I have someone to share it with.”

Anya: How To Be An Expert On The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
What an excellent job in sequencing the events of the story, Anya and in giving details about the characters’ looks and personalities.
I enjoyed the interesting chapters you wrote about the different houses and the equipment needed to be a wizard.

Michael: How to Hide from Your Annoying Brother
I am impressed by your ingenious ideas, Michael! (Sorry about your brother blowing up your Minecraft game.) Maybe one day you’ll use your considerable creative talents to design your own video game.

Thomas: Star Wars
You’ve demonstrated a wealth of knowledge about Star Wars weapons, Thomas. I learned a lot—including the fact that there is a Star Wars bounty hunter with my name—Jango Fett. Thanks for that information!

Derek: My Favorite New England Patriots
I love the way you started your Introduction, Derek – “Boom!! The ball goes right into your hand.” That opening made me want to read on. Your last sentence in the Introduction also enticed me to keep reading—Get ready to learn a lot about famous players. Your passion for football shines through!

Jaylee: Best Friends Whenever
You are lucky, Jaylee, to have a best friend like Kayla. It is good that you appreciate each other. I love your advice about being kind to others—even if they are not your best friends.

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Tristan: Animal Jam
Animal Jam sounds like fun! Aren’t animals amazing? My husband used to play Space Invaders, which you showed in your Mini Games section. That was many moons ago!

Kevin: Elite Team
I like the way you started with a question, Kevin. That gets the reader involved.
“Do you want to have the ultimate Madden Mobile team?”
It was also clever how you ended by returning to that question.
“So now do you want to play Madden Mobile?”
You did an excellent job of telling readers at the beginning what they will learn. Then at the end, you summarized what they learned.
I enjoyed your many sensational similes!
“Bo Jackson is like a truck with an engine that never runs out!”
“He is like a palace guard in England except he protects Tom Brady not the Queen of England.”
“J.J. Watt is like a pro sumo wrestler because he’s super strong, super tuff and super big.”
“Larry Fitzgerald is like superman. Nobody can stop him.”
“Also when he sees someone ahead of him, like most tight ends he runs over the guy. Rob Gronkowski is like a Mack Truck!”
“Stephen Gostowski is like the most accurate weather man.”

Konstandina: Girl Scout Flavors
Very enticing information, Konstandina! I was intrigued by the statistics you gave regarding flavor preferences. I agree with you—I can’t choose! Your illustrations are great too. The opening photograph made my mouth water and the old drawing you found was cool. Are you in the photograph of the scouts on page 3?

Gracie: RaeAnn Williams
You’ve painted some vivid pictures, Gracie!
“Ireland has the personality of a mouse being chased by a big, hungry, cat.”
“I’m about as fast as a tennis ball trying to go up hill, when RaeAnn is almost as fast as a football player.”
“EVERY time RaeAnn saw me she would put on the biggest smile ever and wave her hand so much it’s like she’s waving 50 times per second.”
Speaking of pictures, I love the picture you put in at the end of the two girls holding hands.  I also love the insect paintings you picked.
P.S. Why did you name your dog Ireland, if her father was American and her mother was French?

Zachary: Madden Mobile
Wow! You have given extensive details, Zachary. I didn’t know anything about Madden Mobile, but after reading your Buncee Book I feel very well informed. Doing research is lots of fun when you like the topic, isn’t it?

Luke: Famous Tennis Players
Amazing photographs, Luke! The one of Gael Moflese on your title page, where he is stretched out horizontally as he hits the ball, is jaw-dropping. I also like that you emphasized how necessary practice is. My favorite part was when you said that sometimes Gael Moflese tries a very difficult shot and fails. But even though he might feel foolish and people might laugh, at least he tried.

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Brendan: Independent Read
That’s great that you love reading. I can tell by your sentence—
“I was waiting for it for 5-10 minutes (which seemed like 1000 HOURS).”
I’ve never heard of A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy. I’ll have to get it from the library. There used to be book called Minute Mysteries, because these mysteries could be read in a minute. You had to guess the solution to each mystery by analyzing the clues. Thanks for the mysteries book tip!

Ryan/Jacob: Madden Mobile Playing
I like the fascinating fact you put into your Introduction, Ryan—
“In 2009 Madden Mobile sold 2.3 million copies.”
Your enthusiasm shines through in your writing and you’ve added lots of action photos.

Adeline: Diving
Excellent beginning, Adeline! You start off by plunging the reader right into the diving scene—
“ON YOUR MARK! You take your stand on the diving block early in the morning. GET SET, GOOO!!!”
I see you also took out your “paintbrush” with this simile—
“A dive is like a spaceship soaring through the solar system in space!”
Good job adding questions to lure in the reader.

Giuliana: Figure Skating
Beautiful photos and graphics of skaters, Giuliana!
Excellent Introduction that speaks directly to the reader—
“Who is going to be the next figure skating champ? It might be someone from Wakefield, Boston, or Melrose. Or maybe it might be you!”
I can really picture this—
“When you glide, you shoot your body like a hockey puck that has just been touched by a hockey stick shooting itself across ice.”
“ . . . like you’re running away from a maniac brother with 2 darts in his hand aiming for you and misses.”
Your videos are wonderful. They make me want to do just what you advise at the end—
“So, GO TRY IT ON ICE!”

Sam: All About Dirt Bikes
I like the way you named your chapters with opposites. Very Clever, Sam!
Fast/Slow Winning/Losing Start/Finish
This is a great phrase—“flickering fast.”
Intriguing questions and fun to imagine—
“Who would win a dirt bike vs a lightning bolt?”
“Dirt bike vs a motorcycle chopper?”
You found some fantastic photos.

Cassidy Silva: Hamster Cages
Cute animation and voice-over for your hamster wheel!
You really had your paintbrush out here—
“A hamster running in its wheel is like a hamster scattering from a giant monster. “A hamster wheel is like a frisbee spinning in the air.
“You know what they say, ‘Happy hamsters love to drink like an elephant eating nuts.’ Your humor is terrific—“Well OK I admit I only say that.”
Adding sounds keeps your writing interesting—“and… POP!”
You’ve also done a great job of sprinkling in lots of questions.
I never knew hamsters were such clever escape artists!

 

Feel free to send me any of your other “Exciting Writing!”

Thanks again to all at Grennwood,

Judith

Author_program-school-Massachusetts

Read or download my school program/author visit brochure:

AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

View my program/author visit video:
SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

View my husband and my photograph website:
http://www.agpix.com/cohen

 

Science Snippet: The Perfect Pizza


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Ahhh! Picture the perfect pizza slice: steamy and sizzling, with stretchy cheese dripping from the edges as you lift it from the pan. Its savory scent entices you, as your mouth waters to welcome that first bite.

I LOVE pizza. (Bet you do too!) So I was intrigued when Scholastic asked me to report on the science behind pizza cheese for March’e SuperScienceAuthor_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_103

My research brought me to materials engineer Bryony James, who is investigating the properties of pizza cheese. In her lab, at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, James has eight pizzas simmering. Each is topped with a different cheese. She wanted to find out what physical properties give pizza cheese those golden patches of toasty bubbles.

When James’s results were in, they explained why mozzarella is the pizza cheese champion. Mozzarella has just the right amounts of moisture, oil, and stretchiness to create that bubbly top that appeals to pizza lovers.

Here’s how the mouth-watering magic happens. When the pizza heats up, moisture evaporates to form steam. The steam expands the stretchy mozzarella to form bubbles. As the bubbles grow, oil slides off, allowing the bubbles to brown.

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_102Scientists like James have been studying pizza cheese for more than a century, because cheese makers are always seeking out improved varieties. For example, when U.S. cheese makers shipped mozzarella across the country, it spoiled. So scientists engineered a drier mozzarella that stays fresh longer. When faster pizza ovens were invented in the ’80s, cheese needed to be tweaked so it wouldn’t melt quickly and burn. Today, scientists are experimenting with making pizza cheese with less fat and sodium. Their challenge: make a healthier pizza that also tastes good.

If you want more historical information to chew on, read The Power of Pizza.

Here’s a question to whet your appetite:

Cultural historians believe pizza became popular in the United States after World War II because:

1. American G.I.s grew to like it while serving in Italy.
2. It was easy to eat in front of the newly invented TV.
3. Lots of cars enabled take-out, delivery, and road food.
4. 1, 2, and 3

See paragraph nine for the answer.

Still hungry for more cheese information? Click on James’s picture above to watch a video of her describing her experiments and/or read the NPR story.

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

View or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Craneville School Salute!


The snow was swirling on a blustery day in the Berkshires. But despite the frosty weather, I received a heartwarming welcome from the teachers, principal, custodian, and students at the Craneville School. Thank you all for a rewarding and exciting day. Thanks also to Rob Difazio for a skillful job organizing the visit and to Sascha for her colorful and cheery poster! 

Beautiful work Sascha!
BEAUTIFUL WORK, SASCHA!

I hope to hear from you again soon, when you send along your “Exciting Writing.” Please do!
P.S. How did your class’s alliteration and similes activities go, Mrs. Cimini?

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

You can view or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Author Program/School Visit Video


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Previewing a program before an author visits is not always possible. In order to give teachers and parents a better idea of my programs, I am adding a short movie to this blog. So break out the popcorn and hope to see you soon!

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

You can view or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Science Snippet: Gotcha!


Prowling predators is the subject of the story I wrote for this month’s SuperScience magazine. [SuperScience]

Gharial
Gharial

Contrary to what you may see in horror films, all predators are not jagged-jawed giants like  sharks, grizzlies, or crocodiles.

Alligator
Alligator

Predators come in all sizes, shapes, and species.
And they use a variety of  tactics to bag their lunch.
Some trick, some trap, some shoot, and some smash.

Want to test your prowess at identifying predators?
Then take the quiz below.

For answers and intriguing videos, click on the link beneath each question.
Good luck nabbing the correct answers!

Dew Drops on Spider Web
Dew Drops on Spider Web

SPIDERS

Which spider clutches its web in its legs and flings it over prey?
1. Trapdoor Spider
2. Net-casting Spider
3. Tarantula
ANSWER and VIDEO

Fiddler Crab, Uca pugilator

CRUSTACEANS

Which crustacean punches through its prey’s shell with club-shaped claws?
1. Spiny Lobster
2. Red King Crab
3. Mantis Shrimp
ANSWER and VIDEO

Alligator Gar
Alligator Gar

FISH

Which fish shoots down insects by spitting at them like a water pistol?
1.  Archerfish
2. Airbreathing Catfish
3. Armored Searobin
ANSWER and VIDEO

Fence Lizard
Fence Lizard

REPTILES

Which reptile launches its sticky tongue like a slingshot at insects, lizards, and even small birds?
1. Crocodile
2. Komodo Dragon
3. Chameleon
ANSWER and VIDEO

Great Blue Heron Eating Fish
Great Blue Heron Eating Fish

BIRDS

Which bird outwits fish by forming its wings into an umbrella? This fools prey into thinking the shadow is cast by a protective log or stone.
1. Black Heron
2. Pelican
3. Flamingo
ANSWER and VIDEO

Hope you had fun and learned a lot!

Below is a link to a short author visit video:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

You can view or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Bo
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE 
See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

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The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Mrs. Jennifer Cimini, M.Ed.

Positively passionate 4th grade teacher, mom, being myself and helping others!

Sam Kane's Corner

Educating for an interconnected world one story at a time

NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

A service of New England SCBWI. All opinions expressed belong to the individual bloggers and commenters who are solely responsible for their content.

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