The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Special Book Feature: The Trouble with Ants

Every once in a while a special book comes my way and I want to celebrate it… here’s one I couldn’t resist featuring:

The Trouble with Ants by Claudia Mills – NEW SERIES ALERT!
Realistic Fiction, 3rd grade and up.
“This was a good book”- my son’s voice.
Author Interview Feature Link

Reading this book aloud was quite an entertaining process. I enjoyed reading about scientific inquiry projects and learning how passion for something, like ants, can drive someone to research and learn more. There was a wonderful storyline connected to classroom dynamics where there were social issues, arguments, and report presentations. We loved how both parents were scientists who support and encourage research and passion projects. Also, the main character Nora didn’t care to be told that she couldn’t do something because she was a girl nor did she want to be limited by her age. She had friends who were boys and girls and didn’t tolerate any silly issues that popped up between other friends. I appreciated how she took a risk and wrote an article for a top scientific journal and mailed it off without telling anyone. Also, I appreciated reading about how failure and tragedy didn’t stop her from pursuing her goals. This was a terrific story that would be a fun classroom read aloud which would probably encourage many students to celebrate learning about science, maybe even ants.

Book Talk: Do you like doing experiments? Do you love ants? No worries, you don’t have to love ants to have fun reading this book! Nora Alpers is trying to navigate science, one ant at a time… or is it a group at a time? Nora loves researching ants and is thoroughly disappointed that her friends and classmates don’t find them just as amazing. As she researches, she notices connections to her life, makes new discoveries, and learns how to open herself up to new friends and life experiences.

One scientist who was referenced in the book is actually going to be featured on OPB soon, thought some might enjoy:
E.O. Wilson- Of Ants and Men

Goodreads Summary: 
“Science-obsessed fourth grader Nora has ants all figured out—now she just has to try to understand her fellow humans!
The trouble with ants is . . .
. . . people think they’re boring.
. . . they are not cuddly.
. . . who would ever want them for a pet?
Nora Alpers is using her new notebook to record the behavior of ants. Why? Because they are fascinating! Unfortunately, no one agrees with her. Her mom is not happy about them being in the house, and when Nora brings her ant farm to school for show and tell, her classmates are not very impressed. They are more interested in cat videos, basketball practice, or trying to set a Guinness World Record (although Nora wouldn’t mind that).
Mostly they are distracted by the assignment their teacher Coach Joe has given them—to write a persuasive speech and change people’s minds about something. Will Nora convince her friends that ants are as interesting as she thinks they are? Or will everyone still think of ants as nothing but trouble?
With real science facts, a classroom backdrop, an emphasis on friendship, and appealing black-and-white interior illustrations from artist Katie Kath, The Nora Notebooks is perfect for newly independent readers—especially budding scientists like Nora!—and adults who want to encourage awareness of STEM subjects in young readers.”

Claudia Mills is the author of over fifty books for young readers. She does not personally keep an ant farm, but she does have a cat, Snickers, with whom she curls up on her couch at home in Boulder, Colorado, drinking hot chocolate and writing. To learn more, and to download free curriculum guides for her books, visit her website at

From the publisher:

THE NORA NOTEBOOKS, BOOK 1: THE TROUBLE WITH ANTS by Claudia Mills, illus. by Katie Kath
(Knopf/PRH, Sept 2015, ages 7-10)
This sweet and funny novel features 4th-grade budding scientist Nora Alpers. She finds ants fascinating and keeps a journal with important ant facts–if only it were as easy to understand her human peers!
As you know, Claudia Mills is superbly skilled with these kinds of books–she weaves in so much wit and humor to the typical school setting. I’m thrilled to work with her on this book, and I love the fact that her protagonist is crazy about science.

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

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