Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Safe Home for Manatees

A Safe Home for Manatees
By Priscilla Belz Jenkins
Illustrated by Martin Classen
5/5 *****
Grades 2-4

         I thought Jenkins did a great job of incorporating several different writing styles and aspects of Manatee life into this book. She included factual information about Manatee’s: how they live, what they eat, what their relationship with their babies is and much more. In addition, she weaved in a personal story of a mother and baby manatee and how they fight to survive despite many human-caused complications. Because of the diversity she uses, this book could be used in so many different ways.
        One of the first ways I noticed would be to use it to introduce the Manatee or a unit on marine life, habitats, life cycle, the ocean or many other great topics. Using the Manatee to introduce a broad unit would be very beneficial, because most students wouldn’t have very much, if any, background knowledge on Manatee’s, so this would likely be an intriguing book for them. At the end of the book there is a page giving more information on how to help save the Manatee’s, which are a recently endangered species. This is a very empowering section, as kids could write a letter to someone or simply spread the word about Manatee’s and their struggles and feel like they are helping to solve a major, worldwide problem.
          Another great way to use this book in the classroom, is to introduce a science lesson on the environment. The book gives several specific examples of how human pollution causes major problems in the lives of the mother and baby Manatees. Giving students examples of how the human race doesn’t always respect nature and when we litter or as a society put our waste into other animal’s homes, their lives become very difficult. How would we feel if animals were putting trash in our homes or schools? I think this book has such great examples of the negative impact we as humans have on animals. Then at the end of the book, the Manatee’s finally reach a “Manatee-safe area” which humans created. This could open the door for many different animal rights or environmentally friendly groups to be discussed or simply introduced.
         I think that this book is foreshadowing events in our future as a society. It doesn’t tell the reader what is going to happen in the future, but if we keep disrespecting animals and our environment, they will soon have no place to go. And there is something that we can do to prevent this, which I am very glad the author included at the end of the book, because it makes it so much more meaningful to the students reading it to know they can make a difference. I would definitely use this book in my classroom; I think that it is a very interesting and intriguing topic with lots of lessons to teach students.

1 comment:

  1. This book is great to incorporate into any science lesson about conservation or endangered species! I love the ideas you put together about writing letters and I think that this topic is often overlooked in the younger elementary classrooms.