Dynamic Book Duos: Lyrical Books for Boat Lovers + Stem

Please welcome authors Kelly Rice Schmidt and Erin Dealey to Dynamic Book Duos – a blog featuring two books that pair together in a meaningful way along with educational activities to strengthen reading skills. This week’s pairing focuses on lyrical books for boat lovers + STEM.

PERFECT PAIR: Lyrical Books for Boat Lovers + STEM

Do you have a vehicle lover in your home? Are your students fascinated with transportation? Then look no further than I SHIP: A CONTAINER SHIP’S COLOSSAL JOURNEY written by Kelly Rice Schmitt and illustrated by Jam Dong and CHRISTMAS AHOY! written by award-winning author Erin Dealey and illustrated by Kayla Stark for two fabulous picture books featuring many types of boats and ships. These lyrical books are great read-alouds and also include fascinating backmatter to learn more about many different types of boats/ ships, container shipping, world trade, jobs at sea, and the science of buoyancy!

Book 1: I Ship

Come aboard a massive container ship as it pulls into port, loads up with cargo, and heads out to the open ocean. The ship’s voyage includes starry skies and stormy seas, swift currents, and unforeseen delays. Through it all, the crew keeps working—with goods to keep the world going, they must carry on. This lyrical, STEM, informational fiction picture book with colorful collage illustrations is loaded with back matter on international shipping and trade, STEM, and a playful search & find. Named a 2023 Best STEM Book for Kids by NPR’s Science Friday!

Book 2: Christmas Ahoy!

Ahoy! A spectacular Christmas boat parade is underway. Count up to ten as the dazzling crafts bob pass… but wait Where is Santa and his reindeer? Surely, they aren’t missing the parade? Never fear, little mariners, Santa simply has a surprise in store. With backmatter on the bevy of boats featured.

Educational Activities:

Activities for I Ship:

Find Imported Items in Your Home or Classroom

After Reading I Ship, have children learn more about how imported items are in their own lives. Items imported into the United States and Canada must be clearly marked with where they are made.

With help from an adult, have readers search for imported items. Check tags on clothes and jewelry, labels on food and art supply containers, stickers on produce, and the writing on the underside of toys.

How many countries can you find? Bonus: Look up how far away the countries are from where you live. What item traveled the farthest?

You might see:

Product of ______

Made in _______

Manufactured in ______

Imported from ________

For more I Ship Activities including worksheets, buoyancy science experiments, discussion questions, coloring pages and more, check out Kelly’s Free I Ship Teaching and Activity Guide here:

Activities for Christmas Ahoy!

STEM Design Challenge

After reading CHRISTMAS AHOY!, have students build their own holiday themed boats that float using recycled materials.

For a full guide on this STEM Challenge, check out Erin’s Teachers Pay Teachers Free Guide here:

Activities for Both Books:

Nautical Creative Writing

Use at least 5 words in this list to write a story or poem about a boat or ship at sea!

Or as text:

Type of Boat/ShipPeoplePlacesShip PartsVerbsPhrases
sailboat             captainshipyardsail (noun)navigate                Land ho!
ship                   crewlighthouse         hullsail (verb)Ahoy!                 
boat   marinersport (noun)bowturnAvast!               
barge                 helmsmanseastern HONK!
yacht                  waves               port (adj)           
lifeboat              canalstarboard             
tugboat               fore                    
gondola               aft      

Meet the Authors:

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is an award-winning nonfiction children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds. Suzanne’s first nonfiction picture book, I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks, debuted in April 2019 from Warren Publishing. Her second book Mighty Mahi launched from Doodle and Peck Publishing in March 2022. Suzanne enjoys speaking to schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.

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