General Knowledge

Looking for a book that is true?

Gifford, Clive. 50 Things You Should Know About Inventions. Lake Forest, California: QEB Publishing, Inc, 2016.

“In the ancient world, philosopher Archimedes designed new machines for farming. During the Renaissance, artist Leonardo da Vinci sketched his ideas for wondrous flying machines. Scientist James Watt provided ideas that would power the Industrial Revolution, while American inventor Thomas Edison patented more than 1000 inventions that would shape modern life, including the movie camera and the electric light bulb. Today’s inventors still explore ideas for new and clever technology, producing miniature machines that we can only see under a microscope. Step inside the world of invention and see where it might take us next.” – FVRL. Includes an index.  Recommended for readers 10 years old and up.

Richardson, Gillian. 10 Plants that Shook the World. Vancouver : Annick Press, 2013.
A fascinating account of how these plants changed history: papyrus, pepper, tea, sugarcane, cotton, cacao, cinchona (quinine), rubber, potato, and corn. Includes a map, an index, and a bibliography. Highly recommended for readers 10 years old and up.

Tate, Nikki. Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2016. 

“In this work of nonfiction, the role of trees in maintaining a vibrant ecosystem, as well as providing food, fuel and shelter, is depicted through photographs, personal stories and facts.” – FVRL. Includes a glossary, index, and list of recommended books and websites for further research. Recommended for readers 10 years old and up.

Sandy Koufax

Did you know that Sandy Koufax was the greatest lefty in the game of baseball? Did you know that Sandy Koufax was nobody special before he became the greatest lefty? You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter (Schwartz and Wade Books, 2009) tells all sorts of interesting facts about Sandy Koufax. I learned that Sandy Koufax broke the National League record with 269 strikeouts and he is the greatest major league pitcher of all times. I discovered that Sandy was a whiz at every sports he played and at practice he practiced so hard his elbow swelled to the size of a grapefruit. You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! is an amazing book about the greatest lefty, Sandy Koufax. (Agnes)



Did you know that the average distance between the Earth and the moon is 238,000 miles? Did you know that in spaceships, Velcro is almost everywhere, so that when the ship leaves the atmosphere and loses gravity, astronauts can clip onto something and not float around? Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca (Simon & Schuster, 2009) tells all sorts of facts and wonders about space and the first people to walk on the moon. I learned that the spaceship carrying Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin was actually two small spaceships, the Columbia and the Eagle, and they stood about thirty stories high and weighed over six million pounds. I discovered that Apollo 11 took off from Cape Kennedy, Florida at 9:32 a.m. (Eastern daylight time) on July 16, 1969, and twelve minutes later, it was already one hundred miles up in the sky.  I learned that many people watched on television as Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. Finally, I found out that the three astronauts arrived back on Earth, landing in water, on July 24, 1969.  Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 is such an extraordinary book and shares a lot of great information about the first trip to the moon. (Brenna in grade eight)

Did you know that the distance between the earth and our moon is 238 000 miles? Did you know that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldin, Michael Collins were the astronauts on Apollo 11 when it launched? Moonshot: The Flight Of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2009) tells all sorts of intriguing facts about the flight of Apollo 11. I learned that the Apollo 11 left the earth at 9:32am ET on July 16, 1969 in Cape Kennedy and that it landed in the ocean at 12:50pm July 24 EDT. I discovered that when you are on the moon it is so bright that you cannot see the stars above you and that the two space ships they flew up on were named “Columbia” and “Eagle”. Moonshot: The Flight Of Apollo 11 is an attention-grabbing book about the flight of the first spaceship to deliver people to the moon. (Emily)

Did you know that rainforests are quite humid? Did you know that a chameleon’s skin colour changes depending on its mood, surroundings and lighting? The World of Animals by Tom Stacy (Random House, 1990) tells all sorts of interesting facts about animals. I learned that snakes can’t see or hear very well, and hummingbirds’ wings beat fifty times a second. I discovered the smallest frog in the world is only found in Cuba, and flying fish can’t actually fly but instead glide over the surface of the water for a few moments. The World of Animals is a very informative book on the intriguing creatures found on this planet. (Alanna in grade eight)

Did you know that a microscope uses sunlight to see objects on the slide? Did you know that microscopes used to be small enough to be held by one hand? The Microscope and a Hidden World to Explore by Irene S. Pyszkowski (Whitman Publishing Company 1963) tells all sorts of eye opening facts about microscopes. I learned that microscopes where invented in 1637 and that with modern day microscopes you can see the makeup of cells. I discovered that there are two types of cells (plant & animal) and that for thousands of years the invisible world of cells was just that, invisible. The Microscope and a Hidden World to explore is an incredible book about microscopes! (Sean)

 Pyramids were Built

Did you know that the ancient pyramids of Egypt were actually huge tombs for dead pharaohs and very important people? Did you know that back when the ancient Egyptians cooked bread they would sometimes knead the bread with their feet? I Wonder Why Pyramids Were Built and Other Questions About Ancient Egypt by Philip Steele (Kingfisher, 1995) tells all sorts of astonishing facts about Ancient Egypt. I learned that back then the roof was the coolest spot to sit on and that bricks were made out of mud. I discovered that all the rich people and pharaohs wore a wig on his or her head and not only did women wear makeup, but men did too. I Wonder Why Pyramids Were Built and Other Questions About Ancient Egypt is a phenomenal book telling us all about the mysteries and wonders of this famous culture. (Stephanie)


Did you know that the Hoover Dam is 726 feet? Did you know that 150 million years ago the bed of the Delaware River rose? Rivers by Alexander L. Crosby (Whitman, 1961) tells all sorts of eye opening facts about rivers. I learned that cities are not accidents and that there are boats specially designed for river travel. I discovered that settlers built along the Mississippi and that there are river highways. Rivers is a breathtaking book about a large fast flowing rush of water heading south. (Calvin)

 Did you know that Depthmen are underwater divers who research the ocean? Did you know coral is made up of tiny little colourful animals? Turn to the Sea by Athelstan Spilhaus (Whitman, 1962) tells all sorts of shocking facts about the sea! I learned that two Frenchmen, Jacques-Y-Ves Cousteo and Emile Gangnan, presented underwater breathing with the AquaLung in 1943 and that Dr. Beebe was one of the first people to create a submarine which he called “BathySphere”. I discovered that the first fish was born less than half a billion years ago. I discovered that the sea floor has 4 levels called the continental shelves, the continental slopes, the abyssal regions and the trenches.  Turn to the Sea is an amazing book about the great bodies of saltwater on our earth. (Chris)

Did you know that a blanket of gases called the atmosphere surrounds our planet? Did you know that if it weren’t for the atmosphere, we would not be able to live? Weather by Brian Cosgrove (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, 1991) tells all sorts of intriguing facts about weather. I learned that as you go up and up through the atmosphere, the air will to get hotter or colder depending on the layer, and that the lowest layer, where all the weather occurs, is called the troposphere. I discovered that in the troposphere, the temperature drops steadily with height and that the reason weather only occurs in the troposphere is because that layer contains the most water vapor. Weather is a creative, informative book about the atmosphere and how it practically affects us. (Aria)

Did you know that garter snakes are named after a piece of clothing? Did you know that there are 30 different species of garter snakes? Garter Snakes by Heather L. Montgomery (Capstone, 2011) tells all sort of cool facts about garter snakes. I  learned that garter snakes aren’t poisonous and actually make good household pets. I discovered that garter snake enzymes can stun prey and young garter snakes shed their skin four to five times a year. Garter Snakes is a great book about these peaceful reptiles. (Argyle in grade eight)


Did you know that there are about 30 different species of rattlesnakes in the world? Did you know that the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake carries enough venom to kill eight people? Rattlesnakes by Heather L. Montgomery (Capstone Press, 2011) tells all sorts of intriguing facts about rattlesnakes. I learned that Diamondback rattlesnakes can live up to thirty years in the wild and that rattlesnakes are cold-blooded. I discovered that rattlesnakes scales are made of keratin, the same material human fingernails are made of and that each time a rattlesnake sheds, a new segment is added to its tail. Rattlesnakes is an excellent book about these infamous creatures. (Shane in grade eight)

Did you know that rattlesnakes use their rattle as a warning system to their predators? Did you know that they can also hunt in the darkness? Wild about Snakes: Rattlesnakes by Heather L. Montgomery tells all sorts of blood- thirsty facts about Rattlesnakes. I learned that about thirty different species of rattlesnakes live in North, Central, and South America and that they don’t have ears but can hear by sensing with their tongues. I discovered rattlesnakes can grow up to 2.4 meters long and weigh from 1.8 to 4.5 kilograms. Wild about Snakes: Rattlesnakes is an exciting book about these menacing creatures. (Batoul in grade eight)

Did you know that wild cats are strong, silent hunters? Did you know that wild cats live in hidden places among rocks, trees and bushes? Wild Cats by Deborah Hodge (Kids Can Press Ltd. 1996) tells all sorts of fascinating and fun facts about wild cats. I learned that there are three kinds of wild cats in North America: the cougar, the bobcat and the lynx. I also learned that cougars are the biggest and fastest cats in North America. Another cool fact I learned was that lynx are sometimes called “ghosts of the forests.” I discovered a lynx eats hundred fifty to two hundred snowshoes hares a year. I also discovered that wild cats don’t chew their meat, but instead slice off pieces with their sharp teeth and swallow them whole. Another amazing fact I learned was that lynx paws work like snowshoes; the toes spread out so the lynx can run on top of the snow. Wild Cats is a very interesting book full of facts about big cats. (Da Eun in grade eight)

Did you know that a manta ray can eat up to 25kg of plankton? Did you know that an octopus can change its colour to match where its hiding? Deep Sea Exploration by Richard Spilsbury (Crabtree, 2011) tells all sorts of interesting facts about the ocean. I learned that spider crabs eat scallops and ships are like artificial reefs. I discovered that some jellyfish are six feet long and cuttle fish send messages to each other by flashing in the dark. Deep Sea Exploration is a fascinating book about the ocean. (Donovan in grade eight)

Did you know that is you draw a big 69 on a piece of paper, put it on the wall and look at it upside down it will still say 69? Did you know that if you take a flashlight and twirl it around in the dark your friends will see the light after it has passed? Optical Illusions by Eiji and Masko Orri (Gareth Stevens Children’s Books, 1989) teaches you all sorts of cool facts like these. I learned that if you stretch your arms out and bring your finger tips together, it looks like your fingers collide. Optical Illusions tells all sorts of awesome things for you and your friends to try. (Megan in grade eight)

Top 10 Tallest

Did you know that the tallest mountain in the world, measuring 8850 meters, is Mount Everest? Did you know that the tallest living man in the world is 8.087 feet tall? His name is Sultan Kosen. Top 10 Tallest by Ruth Owen (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2010) helped me discover that tall things are unbelievable! I learned that people have to use air tanks to climb Mount Everest because the air is so thin and that in the tallest huma-built structure, The Burj Dubai, has elevator that can carry you10 meters in one-second! I discovered that the Kingda Ka roller coaster can go from 0 to128 miles an hour in just 3.5 seconds and that the biggest iceberg ever spotted was measured at 551 feet! Top 10 Tallest was an inspiring book about the world’s tallest features. (Tyler in grade eight)

Top 10 Longest

Did you know that 32.8 feet is the length of the largest snake in the world? Did you know that 43 feet is the length of  the longest legs in the world? Top Ten Longest by Ben Hubbard (Crabtree, 2010) tells all sorts of neat facts about the longest or largest things in the world. I learned that an ostrich has the tallest legs of all birds, there is an insect 223 inches long,  and the largest reef – the Great Barrier Reef in Australia – is 2300 kilometres long! I also discovered that the biggest hotdog ever made was 1114.32 meters long. Top Ten Longest is a cool book about gigantic objects and creatures. (Jordyn in grade eight)

Did you know that the longest human-made structure is the Great Wall of China? Did you know the longest hotdog was 375 feet long? Top 10 Longest by Ben Hubbard (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2010) tells all sorts of appealing facts about long objects. I learned that the longest swim was 5267 km long and that the longest car is 100 feet long. I discovered that the longest fingernails were 90 cm and that the longest coral reef is 1999 km. Top 10 Longest was a marvelous book about long objects. (Tyler in grade eight)

Who would Win

Who Would Win? Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark.  This is a non-fiction book written by Jerry Pallota and illustrated by Rob Bolster. It was published in 2009 by Scholastic. One of the creatures is known for being a “gentle giant”; the other is known as the most feared predator of the ocean. But, in a 1 on 1 battle, who would win? This book gives readers all the information they need to know in order to answer that question.
The author increases your curiousity and knowledge page by page with both scientific facts and fun “did you know” facts. The language used in the book is easy to understand and the text changes often, this helps to keep the reader interested.  The facts that the author wants to highlight are surrounded in comic style boxes and bubbles. The illustrations are both realistic pictures or diagrams and fun cartoons.
In the beginning of the book, each page lists a fact along with a picture or drawing.  The reader is told about things like the size of each animal, the speed that each animal can swim, the size of each animals jaw and teeth. The author uses everyday objects for the reader to compare sizes to, this helps to create a picture in your mind of what these animals actually look like. The reader also learns about the habits of each of the animals, what they like to hunt, or where they live.
Towards the end of the book, the author has activities such as checklists for the reader to do.  The author reminds the reader that if you keep reading, you will learn the answer to the questions.
The last few pages of the book ask the reader to make a choice as to who would win the battle.  Finally, on the last page of the book, the reader learns that the Killer Whale would win if the two animals were to get in a fight.
I think the author did a great job of making this fact-filled book exciting and fun to read. (Maya in grade eight)


Toxins in the Food Chain

Toxins in the Food Chain by Sarah Levete (Crabtree, 2010) made me aware of the impact of toxins on our planet. Toxins are endangering our wildlife, harming our environment and maybe even destroying our future. Did you know that the global warming is spreading toxins into new environments? In Costa Rica, the unusually warm weather has increased the strength of toxins from the chemicals used on crops in the low lands. Warm air always rises, and the warm air containing concentrated toxins has reached cloud forests and is poisoning both animals and plants. Chemicals sprays used to protect our food are entering our food chain and causing long-term effects on our body. The frothy scum you find on rivers or beaches is actually detergents and chemicals found in cleaning products that are washing up on our shore. The chickens that we buy at our local food stores could be the chickens that have been given growth hormones, been crammed in small sheds and fed many antibiotics, which enter our bodies when we eat them causing our bodies to not respond to antibiotics when we need them. This book is full of information that everybody should know and be aware of. (Natalie)

Supply and Demand

Supply and Demand by Gare Thompson (Crabtree, 2010) is full of information about taxes, goods and services, trade, importing and exporting, insurance, mortgages, loans, credit work and supply and demand.
Have you ever wondered why there are not many expensive sports cars at local car dealerships? One reason is that manufacturers create a shortage of sports cars to keep both the demand and the price high. When demand is high and supply is low, prices generally go up.
Bikes have also became more popular nowadays as people try to save money on gas and stop pollution. An increased demand for bikes has increased the prices.
As prices continue to rise for all products and become less affordable for consumers, a black market has been created. People illegally buy and sell goods without paying taxes. This illegal buying and selling of goods usually takes place out of sight or sometimes under the cover of dark.
A free market economy is when a country buys and sells things without interference in the form of taxes and tariffs from the government or outside sources. Canada has a free market economy for its sale of goods, such as oil, to other countries.
These are a few interesting facts that I learned from this book. I recommend all teens and parents read this book to learn more about economics and economies. (Natalie in grade eight)

Why Should I Bother to Keep Fit?

Why Should I Bother to Keep Fit? by Kate Knighton and Susan Meredith (2008, Usborne) is an interesting and informative book about how to stay healthy and fit using fun and creative ideas. Did you know exercise strengthens your immune system and helps your body to prevent illnesses? If you start exercising when you are young, odds are that you will exercise, as you get older. There are many ways to get exercise besides engaging in traditional sports; walk a dog, dance, or play around at the playground. Exercise is any kind of physical activity – vigorous, moderate or light. But, remember to always warm-up and stretch properly before doing any strenuous exercise. Try to do activities that help improve you stamina, strength and suppleness. This book is full of important information that I think all teens should know! (Natalie in grade eight)


Beavers, by Deborah Hodge, is full of lots of interesting facts about beavers. Some of the facts I already knew, but others surprised me. For example, did you know beavers are rodents?!? They are related to the muskrat, the nutria and the capybara. This book also states where beavers live, how they make their homes and dams, how their body works, how they are born and much more.
Beavers have very powerful jaws. Their front jaws are used to protect themselves from predators such as bears, coyotes, wolves, cougars, foxes, lynx and their main enemy, the otter. They also use their front jaws to chew the bark off twigs and branches. Beavers use their back teeth to grind up the bark once they chew it off. They have a gap between their front and back teeth which is used for carrying twigs.
Beavers have webbed feet to help them swim, but that makes it hard for them to walk on land, although their tails help balance them. They can swim underwater for fifteen minutes because their heart slows down so they need less air.
Beavers make dams from five to thirty metres across. They make them by wedging sticks into a stream bed in a row. Next, they put mud and rocks on the sticks to keep the sticks down. They put branches and grass in between the sticks and put mud everywhere to stop the water from passing through. Beavers can finish a dam in two to three days, then they have a deep pond.
Beavers also make homes, called lodges, using sticks, rocks, and mud. The lodge helps keep them warm throughout winter. Some lodges can last for 30 years. When a mother beaver gives birth, the family cleans the lodge, and the mother has three or four babies. When the kits are born, they can already hear, see, walk, and swim. Every spring, beavers have a litter of kits! They leave home and find their own mates at two years of age.  I found this book full of interesting facts. I couldn’t believe how much I could learn about beavers. This book expanded my knowledge, because before I just thought they made dams, but there is much more to their life. (Sydney)


I read Space by Ruth Owen (Crabtree, 2010). I chose this nonfiction book because I wanted to know how astronauts get ready to go to space. Before I even started reading, I already knew that astronauts preserve their own food before going out to space. I also knew that astronauts need to have their space suits to survive in space. Another fact I knew was that astronauts must train hard to be able to go to space. Reading this book, I learned a lot more: astronauts take a medical training session; NASA astronauts sometimes fix their spacecrafts; astronauts sometimes have to leave the safety of their spacecrafts and go on space walks or EVA; space suits have 14 different layers including visors covered in thin layers of gold to protect astronauts from the Sun¡¯s harmful rays. Now I wonder, can people ever live in space? This book started me thinking more about space and how astronauts train to go to space. (Da Eun)  

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2 thoughts on “General Knowledge

  1. Did you know that it takes two days for a meal to make its way through the digestive system? Did you know that on the way down nutrients are extracted so that waste is the only thing left? Body Talk: Digestion by Jenny Bryan (Wayland, 192) tells all sorts of intriguing facts on what to do to stay healthy in life. I learned that instead of taking extra vitamin and mineral supplements, you can just eat healthy balanced meals. I learned that nearly all the food we consume can be divided in to three groups: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. I discovered that a healthy way to lose weight is to exercise daily everyday and that another way is to cut down on sweets and unhealthy fats. Body Talk: Digestion is a captivating book about how to maintain a healthy body. (Alanna Man Div:3)

  2. Did you know that a microscope uses sunlight to see objects on the slide? Did you know that microscopes used to be small enough to be held by one hand? The microscope and a hidden world to explore by Irene S. Pyszkowski (Whitman Publishing Company 1963) tells all sorts of eye opening facts about microscopes. I learned that microscopes where invented in 1637 and that with modern day microscopes you can see the makeup of cells. I discovered that there are two types of cells (plant & animal) and that for thousands of years the invisible world of cells was just that, invisible. The microscope and a hidden world to explore was an immaculate book about microscopes!

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