Achoo! Why Pollen Counts has received two 5 star reviews from student reviewers at LitPick. This earns the book their highest honor, the LitPick Top Choice Book Review Award! Wow, I am so honored and excited! Here are the two reviews:
Age at time of review - 12
Reviewer's Location - Matthews, NC, United States
View Jonny's profile
Achoo! Why Pollen Counts by Shennen Bersani is about a baby bear who comes out of his den in the spring, sneezing so much that he wishes pollen didn’t exist. When he meets up with his mom, she cleans him up and explains how important pollen is. Then he wanders around and meets all sorts of critters who explain why pollen is important to them too.
It’s a cute story with catchy language that is easy to understand and educational at the same time. It even has a “For Creative Minds” section at the end that has interesting information about allergies, pollination, and bees. A couple of activities about flower parts and pollinators make learning fun, and anyone can read more about allergies, pollen, insects, and bears if they look up resources listed in the bibliography that is included. The very best part of this book is its beautiful artwork. Happy pictures with bright colors and a swirling effect that mimics pollen in the air practically jump off every page.
Achoo! Why Pollen Counts is written for children ages 5-8, but I can’t imagine who wouldn’t love this book (no matter how old they are)! It is a fantastic multi-purpose book that is perfect for anyone who enjoys nature or wants to know more about pollen. The artwork is detailed enough that young children can picture walk themselves through the basic story. Parents can help their children learn the names of specific creatures that they may not have seen before or do not know yet. Anyone could use it as a guide to help others understand allergy symptoms better, what pollen is, and how it’s used in nature. The more I read this book and looked at its pictures, the more detail I saw and the more I learned. It was like taking a real nature walk outdoors and finding something new to explore with every next step.
Age at time of review - 13
Reviewer's Location - Corning, New York, United States
View hawkreader10's profile
Achoo! Baby Bear is allergic to pollen. And he gets covered in it as soon as he wakes up from his long winter hibernation! As he struggles to get rid of the sticky yellow dust covering his fur, Baby Bear decides he does NOT like pollen. He even says that he wishes pollen didn't exist. But as his other animal friends wake up, Baby bear learns that pollen does a lot more than just make him sneeze. In fact, many other animals and insects rely on pollen. His friends Sandy Spiderling, Zoe Zebra Butterfly, and some honey bee larvae even eat it! Will Baby Bear be able to use all his new knowledge to make the best of this “sticky” situation?
At first, pollen might seem like a strange subject for a children’s book, but in Achoo! Why Pollen Counts by Shennen Bersani, the curious young reader will learn many interesting facts about pollen right along with Baby Bear. The easy to follow storyline and colorful pictures will engage young readers and help them learn about pollen in a fun way. Parents who are reading with their children will probably learn a lot, too.
Bersani packs a lot of scientific information into her story, while still keeping it at a level that young children can understand. Additional information and activity pages in the back of the book offer an opportunity for children to apply their new knowledge.
I would recommend this book for children three to seven years old to enjoy with their parents. Kids with allergies will be able to identify with Baby Bear and maybe see a brighter side to pollen.
My SIX MINUTE AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH LitPick
SIX MINUTES WITH SHENNEN BERSANI: Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author is Shennen Bersani, author and illustrator of almost 30 books. Her book, Achoo! Why Pollen Counts, is perfect with spring right around the corner. One of our student reviewers gave it 5 out of 5 stars, saying, “It is a fantastic multi-purpose book that is perfect for anyone who enjoys nature or wants to know more about pollen.”
***How did you get started writing?
When I was very young, my parents sang songs to me. By the time I reached fourth grade, I was writing my own songs, composing them, and singing along with my guitar. As I grew older, I took creative writing classes and expanded my writing into stories. I always dreamed of being an author.
***Who influenced you?
My mother was my biggest influence. She encouraged me to keep journals. I filled my journals with poems, songs, stories, and drawings.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I am very fond of earth science, nature, and animals. I don’t have a particular favorite book, I simply love learning new things! I gobble up any books I can find on animals and their habitats.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Read, write, edit.
Read as much as you possibly can. By reading the works of others, you get an understanding of what makes a successful poem, song, or story.
Take a notebook along with you; you can keep one handy in your backpack. When rhymes, poems, or story ideas come to you just jot them down. Read your entries over at the end of the day. Add descriptions, including how you felt at the time, if you were happy, sad, tired, hungry; was it cold, hot, sunny, dark, or raining? Expand on these notes to write poems, stories, plays, books.
Then comes the edits. This is the hardest part but most important. It is natural to feel your first draft is fabulous and couldn’t possibly be improved! You struggled over your words, selecting just the ‘right’ ones - and it took so darn long for Pete’s sake! There is no way you will want to change anything, it will kill you to do so! Wrong, and I’ll prove it. Set your first draft aside for a few days, a week, or a month... then reread it out loud to yourself. Time has a way of changing our perspective. You will now chuckle at yourself and find all sorts of words or sentences you will want to change and correct. Oops, there you missed a period, and there’s a misspelled word. I simply can’t stress how important edits are to improve your writing. I just wrote this answer over a dozen times.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
I love sitting alone near my aquarium, surrounded by plants and photos of my family. I have this set up in my studio where I also illustrate books. I write out my research notes and my story arcs freehand on sheets of paper first, then type them up on my computer where I edit, edit, edit.
***What else would you like to tell us?
Don’t ever get discouraged! Follow your dreams wherever they take you. I have piles of unpublished stories. The more books you read, the more you write, the better your writing becomes.
Also research as much as possible. I crisscross the country doing research and asking people I meet countless questions. I try to learn as much as I can about a subject before I write about it.
Thanks for joining us, Shennen. We love how your parents began by igniting this passion inside of you that you continued to fan into flame. Your advice about placing a first draft to the side is very helpful, and we know it will benefit many students and other writers. We look forward to your next book featuring natural elements.
Website, blog, social media links: https://www.shennenbersani.com