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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

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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: Musical Migrants


Science Word in the News: MIGRATE

Canada Goose babies, Branta canadensis
Canada Goose babies

Migrating animals
Never guess.
They know where to go
With no GPS.

Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncates
Bottlenose Dolphin

Definition: MIGRATE means to move from one region or habitat to another.

Male Monarch Butterfly, Milkweed Butterfly, Danaus plexippus
Male Monarch Butterfly

Derivation: MIGRATE comes from the Latin word migrāre,
which means to move from place to place.

Other words with this root:
Immigrant
 a person who comes to live permanently in a new country
Migrant
a person or animal who migrates
OR
 a person who moves from place to place for work, especially a farm laborer

African Elephant Eating, Loxodonta africana
African Elephant

Examples:
Gray Whales
Each fall they travel 5,000 miles from Arctic feeding grounds to warm Mexican breeding lagoons. In the spring they head back.
African Elephant
At the start of the dry season they migrate to find water holes.
Monarch Butterflies
In autumn, they fly 2,500 miles to warmer regions in Mexico or southern California.

Did You Know?
Many European song birds migrate to Africa in the winter. Some scientists believe they use this time to practice their singing–“like a bird band camp”–in preparation for the mating season when they return.

Red-winged Blackbird Singing, Agelaius phoeniceus
Male Red-Winged Blackbird

In the news:
Read about “bird band camp”:
New Scientist

Find out more!
View an entertaining migration video:
Kids Learning Animation Video

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

Author_program-school-Massachusetts

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

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_46.jpg.

Read or download my school program/author visit brochure:

AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Science Snippet: Carnivore Counts


Science Word in the News: CARNIVORE

Harbor Seal Yawning, Phoca vitulina
Harbor Seal Yawning, Phoca vitulina

Not all carnivores
Have jaws or claws.
Can you believe
Some have leaves?

Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes
Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes

Definition: A CARNIVORE is an organism that feeds on animal flesh.

Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus
Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus

Derivation: CARNIVORE comes from two Latin words.
Carn means meat and vorare means to devour.

Other words with these roots:
Carnage, large-scale killing
Voracious, having a great appetite
Locavore, a person who eats locally grown foods

Alligator Eating Nutria, Alligator mississippiensis1
Alligator , Alligator mississippiensis

Examples:
Lion
Crocodile
Wolf
Walrus

Did You Know?
Some plants are carnivorous because they trap and digest insects. One carnivorous plant, the venus fly trap, “counts” from one to five to trap and digest its prey. 

Purple Pitcher Plant with Insects Inside, Purple Pitcherplant, S
Purple Pitcher Plant with Insects Inside, Sarracenia purpurea

In the news:
Learn more about the “counting” carnivorous plant:
New Scientist

Find out more!
Read an amazing article about insects’ “fatal attraction” to carnivorous plants:
National Geographic

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

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

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

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

Author Program/School Visit Video


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_46.jpg.

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

Delightful Day at Dennett


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_63When I walked through the doors of the Dennett Elementary School for an author visit, my first sight was a colorful display case filled with my photographs and books. I immediately felt welcome.

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The Librarian, Geri O’Reilly, showed me the creative response projects her students had written after viewing the photos on my blog.What a clever way to to stimulate her students’ imaginations and to prepare them for the program.

Working with the Dennett School community was fun and inspiring, as we delved into nonfiction, writing, and science. Thank you to the  teachers, custodian, principal, and students who gave me the gift of a delightful day!

You can view or download my school program brochure at:Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS 
See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

 

 

 

Summer of the Glacier


Hiking on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park of Alberta, Canada
Hiking on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park of Alberta, Canada

This summer, our family discovered that hiking on a glacier is a thrilling way to stay cool. Our destination was the Canadian Rockies–a wonderland filled with glaciers, mountain trails, wildflowers, and wildlife.

Now that autumn is near, and we’ve begun the school year, we have memories to savor of our Summer of the Glaciers. Here are a few photos of our adventures.

Matt stands with pick ax on the Athabasca Glacier. Note the snowmobile in the background--for less intrepid souls.
Matt stands with pick ax on the Athabasca Glacier. Note the snowmobile in the background–for less intrepid souls.
I am photographing the Athabasca Glacier we had been hiking on.

 

Here we stand before the angel Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell. the peak was named for the WWI heroine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Edith_Cavell
Here we stand before the Angel Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell. The peak was named for the WWI heroine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Edith_Cavell
We ventured to Opal Hills, where we had previously met a Mama grizzly bear and two cubs. No “luck” this year. :->
We met bears this year, but only from the car.
We met bears this year, but only from the car.
Photographing wildflowers is a lovely way to rest on a hot, steep trail.
Photographing wildflowers is a lovely way to rest on a hot, steep trail.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Arrowleaf Balsamroot

 

Fairy Slipper or Calypso Orchid
Fairy Slipper or Calypso Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed your summer and I look forward to working with you this year.
You can view or download my school program brochure at:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE
See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

Science Snippet: Poison Power


Pygmy Rattlesnake
Pygmy Rattlesnake

From Snow White’s poisonous apple to Harry Potter’s venomous basilisk, storybooks are filled with poisonous brews and venomous beasts.

Pacific Poison Oak
Pacific Poison Oak
Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy
Scalycap fungus
Scalycap fungus

People are fascinated by poisons, toxins, and venoms, says Mark Sidall, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Sidall is curator of the exhibition “The Power of Poison,” which will be on display until August 10, 2014. The exhibition explores poison’s roles in nature, myth, and human health. Visitors will discover how poison may be used as a defense against predators, a source of strength, or as a lethal weapon-turned-lifesaving treatment.


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Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Sidall for Scholastic’s SuperScience magazine. The resulting story introduces three pairs of predator and prey facing off in toxic arms races. It describes how, over generations, these competitors’ defenses have become more extraordinary and their chemical weapons more extreme.

To read the story go to http://magazines.scholastic.com/news/2014/05/Poison-Power .

For information about the exhibition go to http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/the-power-of-poison .

You can view or download my school program brochure at:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE 

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

See our photography web site: 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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