Bugs and Bugsicles

Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter

By Amy S. Hansen
Illustrated by Robert C. Kray
Bugs and Bugsicles cover
Ages 4-12
32 pages
Boyds Mills Press, Feb 2010
ISBN: 978-1590782699 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1590787632 Paperback
non-fiction picture book

Hard cover list: $17.95
Paperback list : $11.95




Lady Bugs wintering

Every fall, bugs disappear. And every spring, they return. Where do they go? Bugs and Bugsicles answers the mystery. Some die, leaving their young safe in an egg sack or crawling along the bottom of a pond. Others fly distant places. And one even freezes to thaw out and live another day.Watch as crickets, ladybugs, dragonflies, and other insects get ready for the killing frosts. Then look again, as spring arrives, snow melts, flowers bloom, and suddenly, the bugs are back.


In 2011, 2012, and 2013 Bugs and Bugsicles was the focus of two all- school book grants, and a county-wide grade-level read. The idea is to have all the students read the same book and then do age-appropriate writing projects. I’m honored that Bugsicles is part of a new tradition.

Use Bugsicles in your classroom. Look here for downloadable classroom activities as well as a list that shows the national and state curriculum alignment of this book.


Named to the John Burroughs List of Outstanding Nature Books for Young Children
Presented April 4, 2011 by the John Burroughs Association at the American Museum of Natural History

Named to the Maine Cream of the Crop 2011 list of excellent books for children.

Named a Best Children’s Book by the Children’s Book Committee, Bank Street College of Education, April, 2011 [Bugsicles is listed in the category Special Interests and then under Science]

Named a 2011 Skipping Stones Honor Award Book “The honored books promote an understanding of the world’s many cultures, cultivate cooperation and encourage a deeper understanding of the world’s incredible diversity, ecological richness, respect for differing view points and relationships between human societies.


From Kirkus Feb. 15, 2010

“… Wildlife painter Kray’s glorious double-page acrylic illustrations show the animal in context, including minute detail. … In an appealing, conversational tone, the author includes information about life cycles, preferred habitats and living arrangements. …This is the first title for young readers in 25 years to offer an answer. … A splendid addition to the science shelf. ”

Chicago Tribune Feb. 20, 2010
“Hansen provides not only a great title but also an eye-opening world of detail on how summer’s visible insects adapt to winter. … Hansen’s prose is that of a talented and confident science teacher.”
Reviewer: Mary Harris Russell, professor emeritus of English at Indiana University Northwest, reviews children’s books for Tribune newspapers.

Friends Forward: The Winter 2010 newsletter of the US Fish and Wildlife Service/ National Wildlife Refuge System
“Amazing moments in the life of the refuge’s tiniest creatures abound on every page.”
Reviewer: Karen Leggett

Children’s Literature  Feb. 17. 2010
“Amy S. Hansen couples with Robert C. Kray in this enthralling and informative picture book to explain the frosty fate of numerous well-known insects. … Each insect is illustrated with breathtaking detail, and the manuscript could be incorporated in any elementary classroom. This would be a perfect book to read with children in the autumn months, when insects are beginning to “disappear.”
Reviewer: Jennifer Keeney

Midwest Book Reviews
“…From the Arctic Woolly Bear Caterpillar to the Praying Mantis, Field Cricket and Dragonfly, all are clearly pictured and described in fascinating accuracy of detail.”

Click below for more reviews:



Simply Science
Deseret News

Wrapped in Foil

A Book and a Hug

Grand Magazine

Book Programs and Signings for Bugs and Bugsicles

More to come.

Previous events

February 21, 2010 2 pm
Aladdin’s Lamp Book Store
in Arlington VA

March 7, 2010 1 pm
Greenbelt Community Center 
Greenbelt MD
Part of the City’s Artful Afternoon — focus on Children’s Literature

March 13, 2010
Patuxent National Wildlife Visitor’s Center
Laurel MD
Part of the Wildlife Refuge’s Birthday Bash!


Fire Bird Tour Notes

We started at a lovely presentation in Charlevoix, Michigan’s beautiful library. If you ever have a chance to see this library stop and take a look. It is gorgeous (and I’m not just saying that because they have my books).

Then it was off to Traverse City where I made my talk-radio-show debut. And then signings at Wild Birds Store and Horizon Books. Thanks Michigan. I’ll be back soon.

Fire Bird Soars

I hadn’t tracked the Kirtland’s Warbler book for a month. I was teaching camp and working on the newspaper. But I did get to do a Children’s Book Festival where it sailed off the table.

And I’m happy to say it’s out there flying. Here are some reviews:

Children’s Literature – Nancy Garhan Attebury

A Kirtland’s Warbler listens to the song of his relatives, “Chip-chip-chip-way-o.” It is a lilting song that fills the forest where he lives as soon as he is born. …This book does an excellent job of introducing youngsters to the Kirtland’s Warbler and the act of migration. Lovely illustrations enhance the fine text and make the warbler seem to come alive.


The Post-Journal    [Jamestown, NY] — Scott Shalaway

May 6, 2017

“Fire Bird: The Kirtland’s Warbler Story” by Amy Hansen (2017, $18.95, Arbutus Press) explains how fire is essential to the life cycle of this endangered species that nests in young jack pine forests in north central Michigan and winters in the Bahamas.

I read “Fire Bird” to my 5-year old grandson just a few days ago. He sat quietly engrossed for the entire 32 pages, so it passed the “kid test.” And he loved the colorful artwork by Janet Oliver that illustrates the story.

Fire Bird

My new book arrived yesterday. This is the story of the Kirtland’s Warbler, a tiny bird that lives near fire most of the time. I love the complexity of this story. The warbler lives underneath jack pines. The jacks have to burn in order to reproduce. This means bird is often around fire and yet somehow finds a way to live in this threatening habitat. Thank you to Jan Oliver and Arbutus Press for helping to tell this story.

Trying a New Form

Some days I want to be the author that young kids run to. I want to write mysteries too, partly because I love to read them, partly because kids get such a kick out of early mysteries. So, I tell myself, go ahead. Write it.

But then I stare at the page and have no idea how to start so I go back to a form I know well. Finally, one summer, I decide I must figure this out. It is, a mystery how mysteries are put together. And I should be able to crack the code. I decide I want to do an early chapter book mystery, so I gather up many Magic Tree House, Cam Jansen, A-Z and others. What I’m going to do is simple. I’ll take these books apart and learn the structure from the inside. Since the books are all about 5,000 words, I could read a lot of them.

And they all have a formula. Each chapter is about 500 words. There are ten chapters and none of their problems involve bloodshed. I decide that I need an outline of at least 10 books.

To do this, I create a spreadsheet and start listing attributes. Where is the problem introduced? Where is the secondary problem introduced? When does the first plot twist come? What about second? How many characters? When is the first problem solved? When is the second one solved? Does the solving of one create more problems? How are the characters developed? And then working backwards, when was the clue introduced?

It isn’t easy to decode books. It is well-written, you get caught in the writing and sail right through the important turning points without anyone holding up a sign saying “Here’s the important point!” I had to read some of the books several times to uncover the formula. I grew to greatly appreciate subtle writing.

In the end, I learned it well enough to rewrite my sample mystery. I was starting from a short story (2,000 words) that I had written 20 years ago when I first started writing for kids. The mystery was fun, but didn’t fit the format for magazines or short books. However, it fit my purposes. I now knew it needed a b-plot (secondary problem), and some other interesting characters. I needed to try to get each chapter to 500 words. I knew where the problem had to be introduced and the key clues.

I did it. I hit the form. It wasn’t great but hey, it wasn’t expected to be. When I saw a call for submissions from a new company called Schoolwide, I revised it again and sent them Hunt for the Tomato Killer. To my delight, they bought it. It is due out in August.

Thank You Cards

Love it when I get thank you notes!

Sometimes I read without the illustrations and I get wonderful images back.



Off the Grid

Off the Grid

A family of four tries to use only the electricity they can produce themselves for a whole month.

By Amy S. Hansen, November 11, 2008

Copyright ©2008 Culture11

It’s 9 a.m., and I’m standing next to our house staring at the electric meter. Like a dieter staring at the scale, I will it to go backwards, but it’s whirling forward. This is wrong. It is June 5, the fifth day of our family’s electricity experiment. Is the meter running amok? No, I finally remember, I started the dishwasher before I came out. Hopefully, we’ll have enough sun to make the meter run backwards the rest of the day.

During June, our family of four people and one cat went on an electricity diet. We have a photovoltaic solar panel system on the top of our house that produces an average of 7 Kilowatt-hours a day. The electricity we produce goes into the wires and back into the general grid. So when we aren’t using much electricity in the house, our meter runs backwards.

We also have solar tubes in our house that bring in outside light (much like sunroofs). We have already done the “easy” stuff: We shifted to compact florescent lights; we put our computers to sleep; we unplug the television to avoid vampire usage; we use ceiling fans, and so on. But can we go a step farther and live comfortably using only the electricity that we produce? In our Washington DC suburb, June is the month to try this diet. The solar panels produce the most electricity because the sun is the highest in the sky. June is also likely to be too warm for the furnace and cool enough that we can get away without air conditioning. If we can’t do it in June, we can’t do it.

On June 1, our meter reads 5602.

We are neither Spartans nor Luddites in our family. The dishes are still washed in the dishwasher—uses less water than washing by hand. The computers are still being used. The refrigerator and lights are necessities. However, I bought a solar cooker and learned to use it, so the stove and the rice cooker are used less often. And I took a look at my boy’s habits and got them to buy into this month’s experiment. So I nagged them about turning off lights and closing the fridge door, but they actually became self-policing.

I looked at my own habits too. I used a wattage detector to find out how much each appliance actually uses, thus learning that it costs less to make hot water in an electric kettle than on the stove, and making two sets of toast right in a row is slightly less expensive then if the appliance cools down in between. Also I realized I drink lots of hot tea. Often I reheat the pot five times a day. Now, I heat up the pot once and stick the hot water in a thermos. Yes, the savings are miniscule, but I hope to find other savings that will add up.

June 2, our meter is still at 5602. It’s getting warm out, but with the boys in school and my office in the basement, we’re fine without the AC. June 3, it rained in the morning and then was cloudy the rest of the day. June 4, the cat got sick on the bed, so I had to do wash. Meter now reads 5603.

Okay, here is my problem with solar energy: You have to use it while the sun shines. It sounds silly but bear with me. This is my normal morning routine: get up at 7 a.m., get the kids breakfast and make their lunches, and get them on the bus by 8:30. Then I have about six hours to be my professional self. When the school bus drops them off at 3:30, I try to be available. I may not be entertaining, but I can cook and talk at the same time — better yet, they can cook too.

However, when I use a solar cooker, I have to start while they’re still at school and I am in the middle of work time. And here’s another problem. The solar cooker can be dangerous. The light is focused on the cooker using aluminum panels. Looking at it, for even a second, can burn your eyes. I have to put this hazard in our front yard, since that’s where the sun is. The front yard is also the school bus stop. So my cooking needs to be cleaned up before the kids get off the bus.

Some days I am ready to do this; others, I turn the oven on inside.
Here’s the next problem: Clotheslines. What better use of the sun could I ask for? But to do this requires rearranging our family’s chores. My husband does the laundry late at night. Both he and I are happy with this division of labor. Unfortunately, to use a clothesline I would need to take the chore back, and do it while the sun is shining. After the cat pukes, I wash the sheets and then hang them to dry. Okay, I can do it, but I can’t get as much writing done.

All of that said, we aren’t doing too badly. On a sunny day, we produce enough energy to run the dishwasher, the wash, even the drier (it’s natural gas), and still break even. So June 1 our meter read 5602, June 5 it read 5603. On June 20 it is still 5603. Not bad. The end of the month, though, blew our budget. It got hot. School was out. Friends were over and it was 90 degrees at 10 a.m. Do we get cranky in the heat? Spend fossil fuels to go somewhere air-conditioned? Or flip the switch?

I turn on the AC.

The next day my boys sat in the house on a cloudy afternoon. They had been sniping at each other all day and now both were quietly reading in different rooms. Do I ask them to move to the same light bulb?

Again, I used electricity to ensure domestic tranquility.

Because of the hot and cloudy days, our final meter reading on June 30 was 5615, thirteen more than what we started at. Or, in other words, we bought (each single digit increase represents 10 kilowatts) 130 Kilowatts in addition to the 220 or so that we produced.

Learning to read the meter was crucial to this month. If I didn’t pay attention, we could spend lots. I Googled “reading electric meters” and found many sites with decent explanations. The process is not really a mystery, but it does take a little practice.

June is over and we aren’t ready to get off the grid yet. Our next steps will be to get a solar water heater, and look at the efficiency of our appliances. We need to boost our production and whittle down our use. But we did it for most of the month. Vigilance on turning off lights, keeping fridge openings short, and using the solar cooker — especially the solar cooker —really did make a difference.

Someday soon we’ll be there. And I’ll be keeping track.

Plays and Short Stories


Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards” was written by Amy S. Hansen and the children of Greenbelt Community Church and first presented in 2005. I worked with the children to develop the ideas of character and dramatic conflict and then used their ideas and the Bible to write skits we called Christmas Cards. Publisher Wild Grace! says, “Hansen’s dialogue is fresh and sparkling with life.”


She’s Pregnant

Winner of the Writing Show Short Story Celebration 2008

Naomi and her best friend just turned 14. Now the friend is pregnant and Naomi is pissed. Pregnancy changes everything. It was definitely not part of the plans.

When she’s not writing fiction, Amy S. Hansen generally writes science for kids. Her books include How Things Work (Publications International 2006), and  Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter (Boyds Mills Press, 2009). Amy lives in Maryland with her husband, two sons and two cats, all of whom appear in her writing at a moment’s notice.

Interviewee: Amy S. Hansen
Date: December 21, 2008
Running time: 12:02
File size: 6 megabytes
Rating: G
Amy S. Hansen’s Web site: AmySHansen.com

Bugsicles brings schools together!

Lady Bugs winteringIn 2011, 2012, and 2013 Bugs and Bugsicles was the focus of two all-school book grants, and a county-wide grade-level read. The idea is to have all the students read the same book and then do age-appropriate writing projects. I’m honored that Bugsicles is part of a new tradition.

Kirkus Reviews “A splendid addition to the science shelf.”

Use Bugsicles in your classroom. Look here for downloadable classroom activities as well as a list that shows the national and state curriculum alignment of this book.

Maryland State Archives

Maryland State Archives
Writing and Research:
I’m spending a lot of time here—
the Maryland State Archives. Sometimes it is hard to stop researching and start writing. What kind of stuff do you like to research?

Touch the Earth went Digital!

Touch the EarthHere’s what NASA says:
NASA’s “Touch the Earth” takes a multimedia approach to teach middle school students about the Earth’s biomes — areas on Earth with similar climate, soil and vegetation — using sound and visual aids, tactile and colored graphics, large print and Braille. It was developed for Blind and Deaf users as well as students who learn best with a multimedia approach, and was published with the support of NASA Headquarters’ Office of Earth Science Education programs.

picture of Earth from space

To read more about the book, click on the book. To go to the online version, click on globe.

Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council Work In Progress grant

Amy and illustrator Lucy Dirksen received a Work In Progress grant from Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council. We read from stories and asked students to think about what they heard and  draw the characters.

Amy and Rena in classroom Lucy in 3rd grade classAmy (left) and Lucy (right) in Greenbelt Elementary School’s third grade classrooms March 2012.

Powering Our World

Six books explaining energy sources for third grade and up. (Rosen, 2010)

School Library Journal
Gr 2-4–Though they cover similar material, the text in this attractive series is shorter and simpler than that in ABDO’s “Future Energy,” making it accessible to a younger audience. Chapters are confined to a spread each, with the chapter heading in an eye-catching banner on the top left, one important fact placed in a similar banner on the bottom left, and text on clean white space in between. The recto features a clear photograph complementing the information provided opposite. Each book refers readers to a PowerKids Web site with relevant links that will be updated on a regular basis.


 Geothermal: Hot StuffGeothermal Energy: Hot Stuff

Named to the  Junior Library Guild list.

Children’s Literature review:
This “Powering Our World” series entry appears designed to bring information about energy sources to a younger audience than usual. … the content is accurate, and the illustrations are both appropriate and well chosen. In this book, students are introduced to geothermal energy with some historical background on the use of hot springs by Romans and other ancient peoples. Geothermal energy comes from deep in the earth; natural hot springs in Iceland heat buildings and greenhouses. Underground hot water is converted to steam in geothermal plants, where it turns turbines to make electricity, as in California’s impressive Geysers plant (illustrated). Scientists can also use dry heat from Earth’s crust by adding water and using heat pumps small enough to fit in a basement. … Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft

Geothermal Energy was mentioned in the additional resources list on the Washington Post MiniPage newspaper for kids

solarSolar Energy: Running on Sunshine

Children’s Literature review:
This “Powering Our World” series entry appears designed to bring information about energy sources to a younger audience than usual. … In this book, students are introduced to solar energy with some historical background on passive solar power used in ancient Greece and by the Acoma of New Mexico. Students learn that solar energy is captured by photovoltaic panels to make electricity and in thermal solar plants that heat water with the sun’s energy. The author stresses the availability, cheapness, and cleanness as great advantages of solar power, although it does not work at night or in places with little sunlight, when it needs to be stored. …Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft


Wind Energy: Blown AwayWind Energy: Blown Away

Children’s Literature review:
This “Powering Our World” series entry appears designed to bring information about energy sources to a younger audience than usual. The reader-friendly, slim, square books cover basic information in a format using large sans serif type and a color photo for each page of text (possibly putting off older readers because any photographs of children are of primary-age students). That said, the content is accurate, and the illustrations are both appropriate and well chosen. In this book, students are introduced to the concept of using wind for renewable, non-polluting power. The movement of air (wind) has been used for thousands of years to sail boats and turn the arms of windmills, both attractively illustrated. Today, wind power is being generated by wind turbines, whose blades cause a drive shaft to move gears that turn a generator—hundreds of these turbines make up a wind farm. …  Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft


Hydro Power: Making a SplashHydro Power: Making a Splash

Children’s Literature review:
This “Powering Our World” series entry appears designed to bring information about energy sources to a younger audience than usual. … In this book, students are introduced to the concept that moving water has energy, captured in many ways. Fast-flowing water as in waterfalls or dams can be harnessed to generate electricity in places like Niagara Falls or Hoover Dam. Illustrated is a weathered watermill in Virginia, built in 1910 and still in use. Scientists are experimenting with other types of hydropower from waves, buoys, and strong tides. Although hydropower is clean and renewable, the author warns that dams can cause flooding and destroy fish and animal habitats, even forcing people to move. …Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft


Nuclear Energy Amazing AtomsNuclear Energy Amazing Atoms

Children’s Literature review:
This “Powering Our World” series entry appears designed to bring information about energy sources to a younger audience than usual….In this book, students are introduced to atomic particles (protons, electrons, neutrons) circling around a nucleus, and the two ways energy is released: fusion—as in the Sun—and fission, when uranium atoms break apart. … Nuclear energy does not pollute, but uranium is nonrenewable, mining destroys land, and, worst of all, toxic waste is produced. (The author warns that nuclear waste will leak radiation for some 100,000 years.) The danger of accidents is illustrated by the bleak picture of an abandoned town near Chernobyl; another photo shows costumed women protesting the proposed nuclear waste dump under Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Each book includes a fuel time line and a glossary, but teachers will need to plan additional activities and projects, with field trips to nearby sources of energy production. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft


Fossil Fuels: Buried in the EarthFossil Fuels: Buried in the Earth

Children’s Literature review:
This “Powering Our World” series entry appears designed to bring information about energy sources to a younger audience than usual. ,,,In this book, students are introduced to the concept of nonrenewable energy and the fossil fuels oil, natural gas, and coal. … To her credit, the author focuses on the down side of using fossil fuels and the urgency of finding alternatives. Especially touching and frighteningly timely is the close-up of a black, oil-coated duck suffering as a result of an oil spill; global warming and melting polar ice are illustrated with a sad photo of a polar bear barely balancing on a narrow piece of floating ice. Alternative fuels offer some hope—a photo of wind turbines suggests one. … Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft

How Things Work

Pull the tab, open the flap, learn how your stuff — your fridge, your DVD player and lots of other stuff — work. (Publications International, 2006)

How Things WorkEver wonder what happens inside your DVD player, or your refrigerator?  Well, come on, grab a screwdriver and …
There’s an easier way.
Turn a page and open a flap on Amy Hansen’s new book How Things Work. The book explores the workings of everything from televisions and microwaves to helicopters and submarines.

Here’s what reviewers are saying:

Science Books & Films
“…the text stands as an enticing invitation to young people to understand technology.”

“***** This is a book kids can really get into, December 5, 2007 By teacher6 (Maryland):
I teach sixth grade and I’m always on the lookout for books that reach a wide range of readers. This book does just that. …It’s perfect for kids that are seeking to learn about how the things they see and use everyday work: computers, …”

Children’s Literature review:
“This is the book for any child (or grown-up) who has ever asked, “How does it do that?” …The author encourages young readers to nurture their own inventive spirits and acknowledges a ten-year-old girl who is the youngest female ever to receive a U.S. patent. … For families, How Things Work will appeal to a wide age range, with the youngest children pushing and pulling all the moving parts.”
Karen Leggett, Dec., 2006 CLCD

Washington Parent
“…Wonderfully lucid, Hansen’s prose neither obfuscates nor “dumbs down” complex concepts. Photographs, diagrams, fun-fact boxes and pull- and fold-out interactives further engage youngsters and invite them to take a closer look. Inspired by the book’s “try this” experiments, your kids may decide to start investigating a few cool gizmos or even try creating their own.”
Mary Quattelbaum, January, 2007

Approved for Prince Georges County School Libraries.

Age level: 8-16
ISBN: 1-4127-1149-5

Touch the Earth

Touch the Earth
Touch the Earth — go ahead, touch it. The tactile maps are there so you can find the stripe of boreal forest in the north and gauge the size of the African Sahara Desert. Now listen to descriptions of the biomes — the forests, the deserts, the grasslands — all of the pieces that together make our tangible and living Earth.

Touch the Earth is a multi-media book. It was designed for blind and visually impaired students, as well as for deaf and hard of hearing students. But it will be useful to anyone who enjoys getting information in several dynamic formats. With many interesting facts and hundreds of images, Touch the Earth meets the national science standards in a new and exciting way.

Earth from space

Touch the Earth is available online at NASA.

A tactile book about the biomes,
Produced and published by NASA. 2009



Touch the Earth
Designed by Elissa Levine
Written by Amy S. Hansen
NASA and National Federation of the Blind, 2010
Ages 10 and up
ISBN 978-0-615-27820-9



Touch the Earth teamNBC report.


Touch the Earth team


National Federation of the Blind press release: 

The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to announce the release of a new tactile book created with the support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Touch the Earth: A Multimedia book about the Earth’s Biomes was written by Amy S. Hansen and conceptualized by Elissa Levine. It includes tactile graphics created by Noreen Grice.

This book aims to educate middle school students while also providing guidance for teachers on how to incorporate this book into classroom instruction. Each book contains DVDs with spoken scripts, contracted Braille and large print, along with tactile and visual graphics to illustrate important concepts in both a tactually and visually friendly way. Each book also comes with a colorful tactile map of the continents of the Earth.

Exclusively available through the NFB Independence Market, TOUCH THE EARTH (product# LSA91B) can be purchased for $20. To place an order please visit NFB’s Independent  Market or call  (410) 659-9314.

We are  pleased to announce that we  are offering  one  free copy upon request to schools and libraries for the blind across the country for their collections.  Please contact Mary Jo T. Hartle, Director of Education for the National Federation of the Blind  Jernigan Institute, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407, or by e-mail at mhartle@nfb.org to request a free copy for your institution.


A Book and A Hug

What’s a biome and what kind of biomes exist on our different continents? There are books out there that answer those questions but they don’t offer a tactile experience like this one. Each continent is constructed of different patterns that you can feel with your fingers. A blind child can read the braille text and run his or her fingers over the continents to feel the different biomes. Forest has diagonal raised lines and agriculture has yellow raised circles. All of the continents are explored and there are lists of website resources for teachers connected to each part of the world. National Science Education Standards are listed in charts at the back of the book. This is a great book for all children with the tactile experience of the geography but is especially designed for those who are physically challenged. There are two dvd’s included with American Sign Language as well as audio. 69 pages



My Science Library for preK-2

Six books exploring matter and thermodynamics for preK-2 (Rourke, 2010)

Grades prek-1

What is it Made of?What Is It Made Of?

Children’s Literature review:
“Young students will explore what everyday objects are made of in this colorful and engaging book. Materials of cloth, metal, plastic, wood, and paper are each given a page that correlates to an example and picture of a coat, school bus, table (hard plastic), rain hat (soft plastic), and pencil. The large font and bright pictures, and a total of eighty-seven words, will make beginning readers feel confident. The last page encourages students to apply what they have learned by showing a picture of a playground and asking, “What is it made of?” … This is a good purchase for a curious kindergarten or first grade student interested in basic science. As a teaching tool, the paperback version is reasonably priced and conforms to National Science Education and Teaching standard curriculum.” Reviewer: Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Solid or Liquid?Solid or Liquid?

Children’s Literature review:
“Learning about the difference between solid and liquids begins with instructions to “turn on the tap” in this examination of everyday science. By using common examples like milk, a cookie, a chair, and water, children will learn why liquids need a container and solids do not, and that solids hold their own shape. At eighty words, all the language is basic and meant to be an introduction to simple science. All the content is appropriate for a kindergarten or first grader and reflects National Science Teachers Association standards. … As a paperback copy, the low price makes this a reasonable and helpful addition to a classroom. It is part of the “My Science Library” series from Rourke Classroom.” Reviewer: Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Grades K-1

Floating SinkingSinking and Floating

Children’s Literature review:
“The principles of buoyancy and density, i.e. what floats and what sinks, are discussed in this easy-to-understand book for elementary school students. Readers will learn that air pockets are a key factor in what can float, as a cork has less than density than water, whereas metal coins will sink. Rated as a Level I, this book is appropriate for first or second grade students. The text reflects National Science Education and Teaching Standards. This is part of the “My Science Library” series from Rourke Classroom. At a low price point for a paperback version, it is a reasonable purchase for a home-school curriculum or for a library.” Reviewer: Elizabeth Leis-Newman

 Matter Comes in All ShapesMatter Comes in All Shapes

Children’s Literature review:
“A basic look at the concept of matter is posed in this look at the science around us. Young readers will learn that everything that has mass and a shape is matter. Matter can be a liquid, solid or gas, such as a chair, cookie, water or air. Since energy does not have mass or shape, it is not matter. … The large text, color pictures and easy-to-understand concept make this an appropriate, budget-conscious choice for the elementary classroom or library. The text reflects National Science Education and Teaching Standards. It would be best for a first or second grader, and teachers can follow up with Melting Matter or other books in the “My Science Library” series from Rourke Classroom.” Reviewer: Elizabeth Leis-Newman

Grades 1-2

Melting Matter Melting Matter

Children’s Literature review:
“As an introduction to the concept of matter, young readers will learn how all food is made from matter. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space, and can be a solid, liquid or gas. Matter can change forms, such as the way ice cream may start out in a shape but eventually melts and becomes a liquid. Molecules of solids do not have as much energy as molecules of liquids, the text explains. Other substances, like glass, have to reach a very high temperature before it melts and matter like wood burns rather than melts. The book is essentially the sequel to Matter Comes in All Shapes, and would be appropriate for second or third graders. It compliments other books in the “My Science Library” series from Rourke Publishing, and reflects scientific teaching standards. …This is an excellent, low-cost choice for a classroom.” Reviewer: Elizabeth Leis-Newman

 Where did the Water Go?Where Did The Water Go?

Children’s Literature review:
“This look at water is about solids, liquids and water vapors. Elementary students will learn why water changes, i.e. boiling makes it become a gas, and a low temperature changes it into ice. Large colorful pictures of clouds, water molecules, thermometers, icicles and gas enhance the straight-forward text. …With a total of 300 words, the book is appropriate for young readers in second or third grades, although they will need adult guidance understanding the scientific concepts. …The text reflects National Science Education and Teaching Standards. This is part of the “My Science Library” series from Rourke Classroom. At a low price point for a paperback version, it is hard to beat as a resource.” Reviewer: Elizabeth Leis-Newman


Early Science Mysteries

How Do We Stay On Earth? and Where Does the Sun Go At Night? (Capstone, 2012)

These first graphics answer basic questions about our world and solar system. preK- 3. Using a question and answer format, the books are all non-fiction, and have fun cartoon kids to follow through the book.

How do we stay on Earth? Where Does the Sun Go at Night?

School Library Journal blog called  How Do We Stay on Earth? one of the 10 best graphic novels in 2011

Graphic Classroom named the book to the top five list for 2011!
Keith Hodgson, staff writer, says:  “I highly recommend HOW DO WE STAY ON EARTH for your shelves.”

Graphic Novel Reader (Nathan Herald) says:

Kids have always been fascinated by the way the world works, but explaining such concepts as gravity can be difficult to explain without bogging little ones down in lots of jargon. In the new First Graphics series, Gravity and other heavy concepts are discussed in easily digestible chunks that younger readers can easily understand. In How Do We Stay on Earth? kids are introduced to gravity, what it is, how it affects us and how we can experience the effects of gravity here on Earth. … my test subjects (Mark, 6 and Patrick, 3) were absolutely enthralled with the book.

Nathan Herald ‘s TOP 10 LIST for 2011!

Children’s Literature review of How Do We Stay on Earth?

When kids discover the Earth is round they may wonder how they keep from falling off. The answer to this question, and others pertaining to gravity, are answered in this book from the “First Graphics” series. The book is attractive with its graphic “frames” and simple text. Material is presented in three chapters. Child characters in the book ask interesting questions throughout the book and readers will keep turning pages to discover the answers. Readers can relate to—examples of how gravity works when someone tosses a ball in the air and how it feels when someone rides on a carnival ride. The sections about gravity and the moon and how astronauts feel gravity in space is especially well done. The book contains a large amount of information even though the text is presented in short simple sentences. The illustrations are playful and add to ease of comprehension. Material following the text consists of a simple glossary, index, and book and Internet resources to use for extra information. The books in the series make excellent supplements to science lessons. Reluctant and emerging readers will find them attractive. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury

Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries Blog:

This is an excellent book for young students who are just learning about the mysteries of gravity. The book explains about how mass affects an object’s gravitational pull and discusses some instances where gravity feels different, like on roller coasters or the moon, all without going over the reader’s head. The illustrations make the subject matter easier to understand and more inviting to read.

No Flying No Tights 
This easy reader is a first introduction to gravity. Told in the simplest of terms, it answers a child’s first questions about gravity.

Back to Books Blogspot
Wonderful quality cartoonish illustrations are delightful and add humour to the factual text.

Children’s Literature review: Where Does the Sun Go At Night?

“From dawn to dusk the sun appears to move across the sky. But youngsters will discover this is not true when they pick up this book from the “First Graphics” series. The book is set up in a friendly format. It offers two to three graphic frames on each page. Frames are accompanied by short, easy-to-read text and the pace moves along steadily. On most right hand pages curious kid characters ask a question about the sun. A flip of the page reveals the answer. Answers to what causes day and night, why shadows come in different lengths, and why there are seasons are all presented. Illustrations support the text explanations well. In addition, the reading level is kept low and encourages reluctant and emerging readers. End matter consists of a simple glossary and index plus book and Internet resources for extra information. The books in the series make good supplements to science lessons and they meet many common core curriculum goals.” Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury

Wild Animals

Wild AnimalsExplore the lives of Wild Animals and their habitats. How do they build houses? Change for the seasons? Find food? Includes activities that children can relate to.

Age level: 4-up
Published in 2007
ISBN: 1412715938
ISBN-13: 9781412715935

Reviews at Barnes and Noble:
Children’s Literature:
“Hansen has devised an exciting format for learning about the subject of wild animals, … A wonderful addition to an elementary library collection or someone’s home book shelf, this book makes the animal kingdom come to life. It is the first in the “My First Time for Learning” series, designed to involve children as active readers. Reviewer: Theresa Finch”

KidSource Science Experiments

“A welcome change from run-of-the-mill science fair books” Basic science and advanced science experiments tested with the help of Maryland middle school students. Each chapter addresses a different discipline of science. Also included are interviews with scientists in the field. … Continue reading

Reading A-Z books

Hubble: An Out-of-this-World Telescope

What do images of distant galaxies tell us about our future, our past and the fate of the universe? (2009)



Hermit Crabs

Follow the lives of the fun crabs as they move along the beach, jumping from shell to shell until they find the right home. (2010)


Private Spaceships

What is the future of space travel? Get on board and get ready to blast off! (2012)PrivateSpaceships

Visit Reading A-Z to learn more.

Earth Explorer

Earth ExplorerA CD-Rom based, environmental encyclopedia with hundreds of articles, games, data sets, and movies. It came out in 1996, and won a Parents’ Choice Award. I was a staff editor and writer.


CD-Rom Today
Earth Explorer: The Multimedia Encyclopedia of the Environment actually lives up to its lofty title. This CD-Rom is an example of educational programming at its best, presenting solid information in an intelligent and thought-provoking format.

Age level: 8-16

Editing Jobs

I’m also an editor.

Here are some of my books:

(Lowell House Juvenile, 2001)




Here are some of my publications

NSF Frontiers 597cover_f