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Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard
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Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  196 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Anyone can get involved in gathering data for ongoing, actual scientific studies such as the Audubon Bird Count and FrogWatch USA. Just get out into a field, urban park, or your own backyard. You can put your nose to a monarch pupa or listen for raucous frog calls. You can tally woodpeckers or sweep the grass for ladybugs. This book, full of engaging photos and useful tips ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Square Fish
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Jan 17, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author of this book, Loree Griffin Burns, is my friend and critique partner, but I'd be singing this praises even if she were a stranger who didn't make good soup. I love this book for so many reasons it's tough to know where to start.

There's the gorgeous, outdoor photography...that perfect nonfiction voice that's knowledgeable and fascinating but friendly, too... and opportunities for kids to get involve and extend the reading experience after the last page is turned.

But really, what I th
Melissa Stewart
Mar 20, 2012 Melissa Stewart rated it it was amazing
I love that this book is so kid friendly. It features four projects--one for each season of the year--and includes sections written in the second person point of view, so kids will know it's for them. The book has plenty of examples of kids participating in citizen science projects and tips for how readers can get involved in the projects themselves. I just know this book will convert tons of kids into citizen scientists, and later, into adults who care for and protect the natural world.
Aarifa - Lover of Harry Potter, Books, and Animals-
This was amazingly helpful and inspired me to go look in the backyard!
Richie Partington
Mar 16, 2012 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: CITIZEN SCIENTISTS: BE A PART OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY FROM YOUR OWN BACKYARD by Loree Griffin Burns and Ellen Harasimowicz, photographer, Henry Holt, February 2012, 80p., ISBN: 978-0-8050-9517-3

“It’s poetry in motion, and when she turned her eyes to me
As deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony
She blinded me with science (‘She blinded me with science!’)
And failed me in geometry.”
-- Thomas Dolby

“Scientists are still studying these and many more questions about monarch migration.
May 25, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
A surprisingly interesting and readable book! The book begins by explaining what citizen science is -- it's anyone who is interested in studying our world, in formal or informal ways. Loree Griffin Burns describes four examples of citizen scientists: tracking monarch butterfly migration, participating in an annual Christmas bird census, counting frogs by listening to mating calls, and mapping ladybug diversity.

This is a really solid nonfiction text. The author and photographer use pretty much ev
Tina Andrade
Dec 08, 2014 Tina Andrade rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
Griffin Burns, L. (2012). Citizen scientists: Be a part of scientific discovery from your own backyard. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

2013 Orbis Pictus Honor.


This book is a fun and interactive book about science, science experiments, and how the reader can conduct simple experiments from her own backyard. The pages have background color and decoration much like a scrapbook, and each page is full of bright and colorful photographs, diagrams, and varying font colors,sizes, a
Mar 09, 2014 David rated it liked it
This is a really interesting (but dense) book for kids about how to be a “citizen scientist.” What I like best is that the book demonstrates the fact that our own backyards and parks are areas where we can conduct significant scientific research, collect data that is relevant, and learn about the fascinating wild world around us. The book focuses on four species correlated with the four seasons: monarch butterflies of Fall, over-wintering birds, frogs in Spring, and summertime ladybugs. A lot of ...more
Rebecca Tenbrook
Mar 07, 2014 Rebecca Tenbrook rated it really liked it
Citizen Scientist is a book that is divided into four sections. The book describes activities that children could get signed up to do in their own backyard. These activities are butterflying, birding, frogging, and ladybugging. Each chapter discussed these activities in great depth. The book described programs you could get involved in to do these activities officially. They provided readers with a list of materials they would need to do each activity. It provided additional reading and websites ...more
Ashley R.
Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard is about basic scientific concepts that children can learn about from home. The main goal of this book is to teach kids that they can make actual scientific discoveries, they do not have to be adults or certified scientists, they simply just need to know what to look for. This is a very encouraging message fro children. It can really inspire them in a simple enough way to get involved with science. The pages are very co ...more
Katie Bible
This book had a lot more information than I thought it would. There is a lot of good information for kids but I think this book is made more for teachers to create lessons from than for students to read on their own. I think children would just glance through it. It would be a great book however for teachers to divide into lessons. For example, there is a section called Bird Counters. The teacher could read this section to the children and show them the illustrations. Then the teacher could take ...more
Annie Oosterwyk
An excellent way to raise awareness of the world around us. I will buy this for my school and make sure my science teachers know it's there.
Appropriate for upper elementary and middle, but an interesting read for anyone. The book is divided into four sections, butterflies, birds, frogs, ladybugs and resources are provided in the back matter for more information.
The focus is all about how YOU can be a scientist and even make important discoveries in your own backyard. Any of these activities co
Apr 10, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Citizen science is ‘the study of our world by the people who live in it” which means YOU! Kids are drawn to nature and what better place for them to learn about the science all around them. I love when my kids are out exploring and learning with a hands on approach. This book is fascinating in opening up my young ones eyes to the variety of nature that is in their own backyard during each season of the year.
Spring frogging entices kids to use their senses to listen for the different sounds of v
Jim Erekson
Apr 15, 2013 Jim Erekson rated it really liked it
I'm willing to bet Burns originally pitched this as a 4-book series, like Serafini's 4-book Looking Closely series. Each chapter has several parts, each with a different approach to text--the imaginative, the didactic, the 'be the scientist', and an equipment checklist and picture-matching quiz. There's a lot of text, compared to the DK approach to info text, but Burns' writing is very good and I the balance of texts and visuals was fine for me. My 8-year-old daughter read several parts I asked ...more
****Please note that I won this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program****

Originally posted on Melissa's Midnight Musings:

I have to say right off the bat that this is a great book. It's informative, well written, and most important of all, fun.

The first thing that caught my eye was the author's definition of citizen science. It's a very basic definition but still important. Burns defines citizen science as: "The study of our world by t
Paul  Hankins
I got to see the early pages of this book last fall. I'll bet someone out there will remind me what this is called--I cannot think of it right now. Loree Griffin Burns does a solid job of presenting non-fiction subjects (Tracking Trash, The Hive Detectives) and CITIZEN SCIENTISTS will be welcomed by classroom teachers looking to address NF found in the new standards.

The early pages I saw were about the monarch butterfly project that talks about how these are tagged and tracked (simply amazing).
Apr 24, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
Citizen Scientists is nominated for the 2013-2014 South Carolina Children's Book Award.

I'm not a big nonfiction reader. I'm also not fond of being outside. Many of my students, however, are my opposites. They love nonfiction, and they'd rather be outside than anywhere else. Citizen Scientists may be the perfect book for some of those students. This book takes a look at how kids can "be a part of scientific discovery from your own backyard." It presents the concept of citizen science in a way tha
Feb 04, 2013 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Henry Holt & Company, 2012
80 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

Initially alarmed by the notion of kids working to tag the fragile wings of the monarch butterfly, by the end of the section I was already making plans for doing this next fall with my students!
There are 4 main sections of this book that teach kids how they can become involved in the study of animals in their own communities. Monarchs, winter birds, frogs and ladybugs.
If you have children or you work with children, go bu
Mar 17, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Another delightful, inspiring offering from Loree Griffin Burns, this title shows young readers and their teachers and families how they can make a difference in the world by getting involved in natural science. After explaining what it means to be a citizen scientist, the author provides four different ways to help scientists from your own backyard. She divides the efforts in seasonal style: Fall Butterflying, Winter Birding, Spring Frogging, and Summer Ladybugging. Each of those chapters expla ...more
Apr 04, 2012 Samantha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I loved this book! I was so pleased when I won it from Goodreads.

An overview: Citizen Scientists presents four different real-life research projects you and your family can participate in, one for each season related to different animals: butterflies for fall, birds for winter, frogs for spring, and ladybugs for summer.

The book is well written. Each section opens with an immersion, story-like description of the project, followed by more details on the scientific research, and lastly a section o
Jessica Deboer
Nov 30, 2013 Jessica Deboer rated it it was amazing
What a great book to get kids interested in science and the outdoors! Burns does an excellent job of walking us through the process of collecting data for four different animals, one for each season of the year. She also shows us what other kids have already done in the field, as well as advice on how to get started. The back of the book is filled with resources specific to each animal and general resources as well as a glossary and index for reference. The photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz add ...more
Makenzie Sliva
Nov 05, 2013 Makenzie Sliva rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly well-written book that encourages young readers to go out and explore the world. Though this is targeted at younger children, I enjoyed it quite a bit and I took away quite a bit of knowledge from it. Loree Griffin Burns sparks the readers interest in becoming what she defines as a "citizen scientist." She defines a citizen scientist as anyone who lives in this world today and explains to the reader that they don't have to be an actual scientist to study the world around th ...more
Danielle Brill
Sep 13, 2013 Danielle Brill rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Citizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns is a great way for young readers to get excited and involved with science in a hands-on way. There are four chapters in the book: butterflies, birds, frogs, and ladybugs. Each animal exploration has its own season so kids can do experiments, explore, and learn throughout the year. The text is scientific and precise, educating children on the important facts and features of each animal, but with child friendly language. I think each exploration would be f ...more
Angelina Justice
It has taken me forever to get around to doing this review. But it is not because the book was hard to read. It is exactly because it is so well done that I'm just now doing a review.

Our Summer Reading theme next year is Feed Your Brain. It is going to center around the broad theme of science. As soon as I received this book and realized how great it was, I started taking notes and adapting the sections into library programs. I have already designed an entire program series pulled from the pages
Rachel Pederson
Dec 03, 2013 Rachel Pederson rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a great non-fiction book written by Loree Griffin Burns. This book encourages children to be scientists on their own, outside of the classroom! The book is divided into 4 sections, each for an activity in every season of the year. Not only does Burns give children information about the animals/insects that are prevalent during that season, she explains ways to catch them and examine them for different parts and information. She creatively uses animals that are easy for children to ident ...more
Sep 08, 2013 Audrey rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard is a fun scientific book for children. Loree Griffin Burns writes in a way that captures the reader’s attention and makes reading about science fun.

The book contains four chapters: Fall butterflying, winter birding, spring frogging, and summer ladybugging. Each chapter provides a lot of interesting information on the subject. For example, the chapter on butterflies describes how to identify butterflies, how to determin
Jessica Jackson
Citizen Scientists, written by Loree Griffin Burns and photographed by Ellen Harasimowicz, is a nonfiction nature chapter book with dense photography. Citizen Scientists takes its readers through a nature exploration in their own backyards. The explorations are seasonal and in order: chapter one is about catching butterflies in Autumn, chapter two is about bird watching in Winter, chapter three is about catching frogs in Spring, and chapter four is about catching ladybugs in Summer. Each chapter ...more
Adam Bakken
Dec 01, 2013 Adam Bakken rated it it was amazing
This is one of the few books out there that deliver on their promise. “Be a part of scientific discovery from your own backyard” is the promise in question, and this book delivers in spades. Chocked full of ways to engage children as scientists in data collection, this book has the potential to be used year round. Full of vibrant pictures and easy to understand directions, this book is full of potential learning experiences and information that is bound to captivate children who read it.
What I
Paul Farbman
Apr 26, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Second-Third Grade
Shelves: nsta-science
This book features activities that children can due to study nature during all four seasons. These are contained in four sections on Fall Butterflying, Winter Birding, Spring Frogging, and Summer Ladybugging. Each section contains a narrative describing what the reader would experience doing the activity, a scientist and actual studies of this subject, tips for when children perform the activity, and a quick quiz on the wildlife discussed.

The photographs and bright colors give the book a scrapbo
Jul 17, 2013 Cherilyn rated it really liked it
Audience: Intermediate

Genre: Nonfiction

Awards: NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K—12: 2013; 2013 Green Earth Award Winner, Children’s Nonfiction; 2013 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, Honor Book

Bloom's Taxonomy Questions:
1) Remembering: What is the purpose of tagging a butterfly?

2) Understanding: Describe what is meant by mortality during migration for butterflies.

3) Applying: Using what you know, how would you monitor frogs in your own backyard o
Amber Roth
I loved the way this book was set up. There is no particular order to read the book. Each section even has a small quiz at the end. The book is full of resources and facts about lady bugs, butterflies, birds, etc. The pictures are real and they make the reader want to look some more. I think this is a great book to use in order to get a student interests in biology.
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Loree is a scientist-turned-writer specializing in books about science and nature for young readers. You can learn more about her adventures and her books by visiting her website ( or by following her blog (
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