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Judith Jango-Cohen

Nonfiction Author and Photographer

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science

Knock, Knock! Who’s there? Crayfish!


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Tap! Tap! Children knock on pots to call out their crayfish during a science experiment.
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Hmmmmmm . . . Male or female?

When I visit classrooms I learn about my readers–and from my readers! Thank you to all the teachers and students who welcomed me this year.

Below are some highlights.

“Gators, Octopi, and Grizzlies, Oh, My!”

Version 2

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Pre-program Reading
Version 2
How does an alligator brush her teeth?
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Where’s the octopus’s stomach?
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Looking like an antelope

 

“Exciting Writing!”

Version 2
Revising fairy tales is exciting writing!

 

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“Making Music” with Alliteration!

 

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“Painting Pictures” with similes.

“Images of Immigrants”

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“Even those with no possessions carry three things with them: courage, hope, and a story.”
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Children whose ancestors are Jewish, Italian, and Irish

 

I look forward to meeting some of 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

Who’s Reporting on Your Book? You May Never Know, Unless . . .


Version 2  . . . a lovely parent sends you photos.

 

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Matthew chose to report on porcupines.
He did some reading . . .

 

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and assembled a model with his sister Emily’s assistance.

 

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After many hours of research and work  . . . Ta da! A bristly beauty!

Matthew’s porcupine was ingeniously assembled with:
1. Styrofoam balls for the head and body
2. A large pine cone tail
3. Pipe cleaners for the hairs
4. Skewers for the body quills
5. Toothpicks for the face quills
6. A big button for the nose
7. Paper towel rolls for the legs
8. Styrofoam for the paws
9. A googly eye

Version 2
Matthew also built a terrific tri-fold with photos, facts, and an author biography!

 

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And here is his grade. Congratulations, Matthew!

 

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Thank you Valeska, for these photos and for allowing me to post your son’s inspiring work!    
Judith

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AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

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

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

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

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

 

Science Snippet: Eeeek! Freaky Feet


These feet may not be your idea of beautiful,
but their avian owners think they fit the bill.

Read the clues
That tell how they are used.
Then figure out whose is whose.
Wood Stork Feet, Mycteria americana
1. As this tall bird slowly wades, it uses its feet to stir up the water, flushing out fish.
Red-footed Booby Feet, Sula sula
2. This diving bird’s webbed feet assist it in swimming, and their bright color attracts mates.
Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus
3. This fowl’s feet  distribute its weight like snowshoes, allowing it to walk on floating vegetation.
Wood Stork, Mycteria americana
Wood Stork, Mycteria americana
Red-footed Booby on Nest, Sula sula
Red-footed Booby on Nest, Sula sula
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Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus

Here are the correct matches:

Wood Stork Flying, Mycteria americana
Wood Stork Flying
Wood Stork Feet, Mycteria americana
Wood Stork Feet
Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus
Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus
Purple Gallinule Feet
Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus
Purple Gallinule walking on  lily pads
Red-footed Booby Feet, Sula sula
Red-footed Booby Feet
White Morph of the Red-footed Booby, Sula sula
Red-footed Booby (White Morph)

See more amazing wading birds at:
http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Author on Playa Las Bachas, Santa Cruz Island

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

View my school program brochure:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS 

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

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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

Science Snippet: Wild & Kooky Critters


Author taking photos on Playa Las Bachas, Santa Cruz Island
Author taking photos on Playa Las Bachas, Santa Cruz Island

The Galapagos Islands are home to such bizarre beasts that they seem to have escaped from a Pixar movie. On a recent trip to this volcanic archipelago, my husband and I walked and snorkeled among its quirky creatures, who were unfazed and unflustered by our curiosity  . . . and our cameras.

Here’s a selection of some of the dazzling characters we encountered.

Blue-footed Booby and Napping Nestilings
Blue-footed Booby and Napping Nestilings
Male Great Frigatebird Displaying Gular Sac to Attract a Mate
Male Great Frigatebird Displaying Gular Sac to Attract a Mate
Marine Iguana Crawling from the Sea
Marine Iguana Crawling from the Sea
Nazca Boobies Bill Clacking Mating Ritual
Nazca Boobies Performing Bill Clacking Mating Ritual
Flycatcher Checking Out Concave Lens as Possible Nesting Cavity
Flycatcher Checking Out Concave Lens as Possible Nesting Cavity
A Curious Sea Lion Investigates Our Guide
A Curious Sea Lion Investigates Our Guide
Fishing Flamingo
A Flaming Orange Flamingo

When it comes to the Galapagos inhabitants, it’s hard to tell fact from fiction!
See how YOU do in detecting the truth on the quiz below.
Directions:
1. Select the letter of each true statement below.
2. Put the letters (in order) into the blanks.
3. The completed word is the animal whom the islands are named after.
(This animal’s Spanish name is “galapagos.”)
4. Click on the link at the bottom to check your answer.

______   O  _____  T  ______  I  ______  ______


1. RED-FOOTED BOOBY

Red-footed Booby on Nest
Red-footed Booby on Nest
Red-footed Booby Feet
Red-footed Booby Feet

I catch fish by plunging head-first into the water. For protection I

Always wear a helmet. <S>

Have air sacs in my skull to soften the blow. <T

2.  MARINE IGUANA

Marine Iguana Looking Like Movie Monster, Godzilla
Marine Iguana: A Godzilla Look-alike
Marine Iguana Sunning Near Surf
Marine Iguana Sunning Near Surf

When I build up too much salt in my body from snacking on seaweed, I

Switch to a salt-free diet. <Q>

Snort clouds of salt spray from my nostrils. <R>

3.  GIANT TORTOISE

Galapagos Giant Tortoise
Galapagos Tortoise Mid-Meal
Galapagos Giant Tortoise
Galapagos Giant Tortoise

I live a long life. So I may have been plodding along when

The first Hersey bars were invented (1900). <O>

Stegosaurus feasted on ferns.  <P>

4. SEA LION

 Sea Lion Floating
Sea Lion Floating
 Sea Lion Pup
Sea Lion Pup

For excitement, I

Play tag with the sharks. <R>

Body surf on the waves. <S>

5. SALLY LIGHTFOOT CRAB

Sally Lightfoot Crab on Lava Rock,
Sally Lightfoot Crab on Lava Rock,

If someone bothers me I

Make like a water pistol and squirt them. <E>

Get crabby and put out a DO NOT DISTURB sign. <F>

PUZZLE ANSWER

To see more Galpagos photos you can visit  my husband’s and my photography website at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

View my program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

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


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_138AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Science Snippet: Elephantheads & Horsetails


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A red and gold firecracker “pops” amidst its green foliage.

As blue hydrangea blooms are making way for golden oak leaves, I wanted to share another “look-alike” plant post with you. Previous Post.

As before, six “look-alike” plants are pictured below. After studying their shapes and colors, try to guess their names. Then click on the photos for the answers–and for information about these intriguing plants.

NAMES

Trumpet Creeper   Elephanthead

Horsetails   Pitcher Plant

Fairy Duster   Monkshood

White pitcher plant, Crimson Pitcher Plant, Crimson Pitcherplant, Sarracenia leucophylla, Sarracenia drummondii,

Elephanthead Lousewort, Elephant's Head, Pedicularis groenlandic

Baja Fairy Duster, Red Fairy Duster, Calliandra californica

Horsetails, Equisetum sp.

Columbian Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

Trumpet Vine, Trumpet Creeper, Campsis radicans

Here are two other fun activities:

  1. Write a fairy tale that explains one interesting fact about a “look-alike” plant.
    For Example:
    Perhaps the trumpet creeper was once a small girl who annoyed a wicked witch. Every morning she would wake the witch up by blowing her horn, so the witch turned her into a trumpet creeper flower. The spell can be reversed if a hummingbird comes and drinks from her blossom. (Hummingbirds are attracted to trumpet creepers because of their red color.)
  2. Make up your own “look-alike” flower.
    Name it after one of the following:
    favorite dessert, favorite pet, or favorite sport
    Draw a picture.
    Label the different plant parts: roots, stems, leaves, flowers.

To see more exquisite flowers you can visit  my husband’s and my photography website at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

View my program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

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

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

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

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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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