Spanish Translation of Award-Winning Children’s Book Supports Science and Reading Skills for English Language Learners

Life-like illustrations and engaging animal facts help families and educators spark interest in STEM topics

This book helps kids see themselves as members of a group, rather than as solitary individuals.”

— Dia L. Michels

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, January 7, 2019 / — Si mi mamá fuera un ornitorrinco, an NSTA Recommended title and Creative Child Magazine Book of the Year, is being re-released in Spanish in paperback, hardback, and eBook formats.

Originally published in English in 2002, this 64-page book has long been praised by teachers, librarians, and museum educators. Its science-through-literature approach helps kids extract important science content while strengthening and rewarding reading skills. The content aligns directly with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), as well as both primary and middle school curricula. In addition to its other awards, this title earned a Young Voices Foundation Seal of Approval.

The Spanish text helps readers develop reading and science skills. According to the Migration Policy Institute, “Dual Language Learners now make up nearly one-third of all children in the U.S., ages eight and under. These children stand to benefit disproportionately from high-quality early learning opportunities.” Si mi mamá fuera un ornitorrinco provides engaging early learning opportunities for Spanish-speaking English Language Learners.

The universality of the life cycle is beautifully captured in this stunning book, described as, “Completely engrossing” [Foreword Magazine] and, “As engaging visually as it is verbally!” [Carnegie Academy for Science Education].

Si mi mamá fuera un ornitorrinco reveals how fourteen mammal babies travel the path from helpless infants to mature adults. Unlike reptiles, insects, and amphibians, all mammal mothers feed, protect, and teach their young—even though these tasks often challenge their own needs for survival.

“A mammal baby's journey to maturity varies dramatically depending on whether it is a bear or a bat, a shrew or a seal, a hippopotamus or a human," explains author Dia L. Michels. "Despite these differences, all mammals are born entirely helpless. All mammal mothers must guide their young from this helplessness to maturity. As their mothers teach them how to find food and shelter, social mammals learn another important survival skill: that they are part of an interconnected society in which each member helps the others. Humans are no exception. Born more immature than any other baby, we rely even more heavily on our family and community. This book helps kids see themselves as members of a group, rather than as solitary individuals.”

The stories of these mammal babies address important science topics, including sensory perception, infant identification, habitats, life cycles, adaptation, ecology, metabolism, anatomy, biomes, classification, and survival. A Teacher’s Guide (also available in Spanish) expands and extends the science content and includes hands-on activities. It is available for free download at the publisher’s website. Educators also appreciate the glossary and metric measurements included in the book.

This title has been embraced in educational settings, but also as a community health resource. Birth Centers, Departments of Health, and maternal and child health facilities use it to share with expectant parents and families with young children. In 2011, the New Mexico Department of Health purchased 6,000 copies for a statewide program designed to promote family life, parenting, and literacy.

“This is one of the most engaging nonfiction books I have ever read! It correlates so well with our science curriculum and the supplemental resources are especially teacher-friendly,” says Sonya Smith, Science Coordinator for the Advancing Teachers of Middle School Science program at Mississippi State.

Dia L. Michels, an internationally published, award-winning science and parenting writer, has written or edited over a dozen books for children and adults. She gives presentations across the country on mammal lactation, family science, and attachment parenting. She can be reached at

Andrew Barthelmes is a talented illustrator and graphic artist. He is the designer behind the award-winning One Minute Mysteries series of science and math books. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and other publications. He lives in Peekskill, NY with his wife and three kids. Contact him at

Science Naturally is an independent press committed to increasing science and math literacy in fun and engaging ways. Our books are designed to help readers gain a better understanding of how science and math affect everyday life. All of our titles have earned the coveted “NSTA Recommends” from the National Science Teachers’ Association.

Science Naturally titles are available for direct purchase. They are distributed to the trade by National Book Network. Library bound editions are distributed by Children’s Plus. They are also available at a significant discount on the First Book Marketplace for organizations who serve children in need.

Review copies are available upon request. Sample text, cover scans, the articulation of content to the NGSS, and the Teacher’s Guide can be found at

Anna Cohen
Science Naturally
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Source: EIN Presswire