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Podcast Podcast

Episode 60 — A Kathryn Lasky Feature Episode


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Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

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Grades K – 5
Podcast Series Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers
See all episodes in this series

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Duration 15:40
Original Air Date Published September 25, 2013

Music in this podcast is provided by Freeplay Music.


Book Chat

Expert Chat


Book Chat

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin by Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by Matthew Trueman (Candlewick Press, 2009)

“There was absolutely nothing under the sun—from carnivorous plants to cows, from fossil bones to volcanoes, from pigeons to barnacles, from orchids to earthquakes—that did not absorb the mind of Charles Darwin.” Kathryn Lasky describes the life of Charles Darwin and what led up to his major work The Origin of Species. Readers may be interested to learn that Charles Darwin did not like school and, in fact, wasn’t a very good student. But he did love to collect and experiment. Lasky takes a hefty subject and expertly weaves a fascinating story that is appropriate for kids.

The Man Who Made Time Travel by Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Melanie Kroupa Books, 2003)

In this fascinating history of John Harrison, readers learn about a man with such genius and dedication that he devoted over 50 years to solving the problem of measuring for longitude while at sea. In 1714 the British Parliament created the Longitude Act. This act promised to pay 20,000 pounds sterling (which would be about 12 million dollars today) to the man who came up with a way to measure longitude. At this time, sailors could easily measure for latitude, but without knowing the longitude they easily lost their bearings while at sea. If sailors could know both, then mapping, commerce, discovery would all be at their fingertips. Many scientists believed the answer was in measuring the moon and the stars, but John, an uneducated carpenter and clockmaker, had a simple idea: make a clock that could keep precise time at sea. To the amazement and dismay of many, it was John Harrison’s H4 clock that was the answer and changed history. Kids will be amazed at the tenacity of this inventor.

Poodle and Hound by Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by Mitch Vane (Charlesbridge, 2009)

Poodle and Hound are best friends. Poodle is all about frivolity and beauty while Hound is all about practicality and functionality. Yet, the two are the dearest of friends and always manage to find a way to meet in the middle. This book will hit a chord with fans of Frog and Toad and George and Martha. It’s appropriate for beginning readers in first through third grade.

Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture (Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic, 2003)

Someone or something is stealing the owl eggs and baby owls, including owlet Soren, who becomes the main character of this series. Soren and his band of owl friends try to figure out what is going on and how to get back to their families. They must defy being moon-blinked at St. Aegolius Academy and learn to fly without the help of their parents so that they can reach the legendary Ga’Hoole tree. There, they hope to find the mythical Guardian Owls, who they believe will help them fight for freedom and peace.

Guardians of Ga’Hoole: Rise of a Legend by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic, 2013)

“There’s something about him that took me back to my own youth. It stirred me deeply.” So starts the prequel to the Guardian of the Ga’Hoole series, as Ezylryb watches the Band of Owls, with Soren in the lead, fly towards him. In books 1-15 readers follow the tumultuous journey of the owls of St. Aegolius Academy as they try to win back their kingdom and make life peaceful and right for owls. Throughout the series, readers are introduced to Ezylryb, a wizened owl, and in this book, Lasky tells Lyze’s story, one that involves bravery, love, and tragedy. Kids who are fans of the Guardian of Ga’Hoole series will enjoy immersing themselves back into this world and of learning Ezylryb’s back story.

Wolves of the Beyond: Lone Wolf (Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic, 2010)

Wolves that are born with any imperfections are taken out of the clan. A mother wolf thinks she is safe, but the wolf designated as the Obea finds her and when the wolf with the splayed paw is born Obea takes him away to a spot where no one will find him and where there is very little chance of survival. What she doesn’t count on is that this wolf is special and destined for great things. The first book in the series introduces main character Faolan, a wolf that defies the odds and now must prove himself in the wolf clan.

Wolves of the Beyond: Star Wolf (Book 6) by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic, 2013)

The Beyond has been destroyed, and Faolan must lead his motley clan of wolves to a new land. But getting there will be no easy feat. They must cross the great Ice Bridge that spans the Frozen Sea. Will they find a new life on the other side or more desolation? As they move hopefully toward a new beginning, the savage outclanner Heep is right behind, trailing them to take what he believes is rightfully his. It will take intelligence, faith, and some helpful sea creatures for Faolan and his clan to survive this journey. Again, Lasky masterfully creates a land and characters that draws readers into a suspenseful action.

Expert Chat

Listen in as Kathryn Lasky chats about her Guardians of Ga’Hoole and Wolves of the Beyond series with Emily. Kathryn discusses her research, which involved visiting Harvard’s ornithology department, and how she came up with the idea to write a fantasy series about owls and wolves.