JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans. Join now (it's free).
Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: nonfiction, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,447
How to use this Page
You are viewing the most recent posts tagged with the words: nonfiction in the JacketFlap blog reader. What is a tag? Think of a tag as a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find posts on JacketFlap.com as well as provide an easy way for you to "remember" and classify posts for later recall. Try adding a tag yourself by clicking "Add a tag" below a post's header. Scroll down through the list of Recent Posts in the left column and click on a post title that sounds interesting. You can view all posts from a specific blog by clicking the Blog name in the right column, or you can click a 'More Posts from this Blog' link in any individual post.
Classic concepts get a brand new look in these two My First Books compiled by tiger tales.
My First Book Of Things to Learnshares colors, animal noises, shapes, baby animals, numbers 1 – 10, and objects in a child’s world all in bright colors. From pink flamingos to the baa of a sheep, from heart-shaped balloons to penguin chicks, and from 10 ladybugs to a toothbrush and toothpaste, Things to Learn will engage your child ages 3 to 7.
In My First Book of Things to See,little ones get a glimpse at what they will find at the park, on the farm, at the beach, at preschool, at the zoo, and at a birthday party. Everything from slides to tractors, to crayons, and more is included in this sturdy book filled with pictures and simple labels.
In addition to their nice size (8 5/8 x 8 5/8″), the bright colors, sturdy construction, and tabbed pages make these a wonderful addition to your preschooler’s library. The simple labels will help with vocabulary and word-picture association, and the variety of objects featured will provide tons of fun. I could see these being packed in a bag to take along on a road trip, picnic, or visit to the zoo so youngsters can identify objects from the books within their surroundings.
Rating: (both books)
Things to Learn
Hardcover: 12 pages
Publisher: Tiger Tales; Board Book with Tabs edition (March 1, 2013)
Things to See
Hardcover: 12 pages
Publisher: Tiger Tales; Board Book with Tabs edition (March 1, 2013)
by Mary Holland. Sylvan Dell, 2013. (Review copy). This charming book is packed with gorgeous close-up photographs of a fox kit in his first summer. Holland is a nature photographer and environmental educator doing a fine job of introducing children and adults to the secret lives of foxes . You may think there are no foxes living near you, but if you are in the Northern Hemisphere you might be
Sometimes I think half my job simply consists of making lists. Not that I’m complaining. I love lists. I love making them, and checking them, and adding to them. Lists let the organizational part of my frontal lobe feel needed and wanted. Still, once in a while you get stuck on a list and it’s hard to move. For example, just the other day I was asked to come up with a list for Kindergartners of books that talk about Native American tribes. Some of the books, I was told, would also have to talk about American Indians living today. Now I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know if reading this review you’re a teacher or a librarian or an interested parent or my mom. Whosoever you might be, you are still probably very aware that asking for nonfiction titles for very young children on Native Americans is akin to asking for the moon and the stars above. Half the stuff on library and bookstore shelves is woefully out-of-date and offensive while the other half is written for kids ten-years-old and up. The pickings for small fry are slim. Enter Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo. The rare book that is both poetry and fact, with content for both big and little, here we have a title that finally fills that gap. Best of all, you don’t have to be looking for school or specialty fare to enjoy this one. Like wild bucking stallions and bulls that could impale you without so much as a snort? Welcome to the world of Navajo rodeo.
“Can’t sleep. Can’t eat. Mind keeps figuring, figuring, figuring – how tight to hold, how far to lean, how hard to squeeze to stay on top.” That’s just a sample of the thoughts going through a person’s head before the Navajo rodeo. Though it has its roots in places like Arizona and Texas, rodeos can be found all over the Navajo Nation and are family affairs. Setting her book during the course of a single rodeo day, author Nancy Bo Flood plunges readers into what might be an unknown world. We see children near bucked from woolly riders (sheep), adults flung from broncos, women who sweep the barrel racer events, steer wrestlers, and, best of all, bareback bull riders. Saturating her text with facts, background information, and tons of photographs, this is one title that will prove tempting to kids already familiar with the rodeo world and those approaching it for the very first time.
It’s a challenge facing any work of standard nonfiction for kids: How do you prefer to present your material? In this particular case, Ms. Flood has a wealth of information at her fingertips regarding the Navajo rodeo circuit. Trouble is, you can fill your book to brimming with the brightest and shiniest photos that money can buy, but if you’ve long blocks of nonfiction text you might lose your readership before you’ve even begun. Now in this book Ms. Flood presents her material over the course of a single rodeo day. It’s a good format for what she has to say, but the downside is that there are sections at the beginning that aren’t all that thrilling. If kids are coming to this book to see some high-flying riders, they’ll have to first wade through explanations about the announcer and the arena. That’s where the poetry comes in. Sure, there are big blocks of explanatory text before the action begins, but Flood tempers each two-page spread with not just photos and explanations but also poems. The advantage then is that younger children can read the poems while older ones get something out of the nonfiction sections. Win win!
It sounds strange to say but in many ways the book that to me feels the closest to the format of Cowboy Up! is Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz. Both books find that the best way to get kids to swallow a spoonful of nonfiction is with a bit of first person narration. With that in mind, the poems in Cowboy Up! offer great promise. Each one is written in the first person and could easily be considered short monologues. The small child auditioning or the teacher who wants to do a theatrical presentation with readily available material would do well to take these poems and use them freely. Now granted, the poetry can be touch-and-go at times. I’ve a friend who personally cannot stand free verse in children’s books because to her it just looks like the author took a paragraph and broke it up into arbitrary lines. I happen to like free verse, insofar as I like any poetry, but I admit that the ones found here varied widely in terms of quality on a case-by-case basis.
Much like the poetry, the photography in this book can vary. Some of the shots (created by photographer Jan Sonnenmair) are brilliant. I’m quite fond of the image on the jacket as well as shots of riders mid-air (one hand waving freely about their heads), the portraits (love those endpapers, though the decision to flips the images was a poor one when you consider library processing techniques), and even one of a rainbow rising behind the honor guard. On the other hand, there are times when it feels as though the book ran out of the good photographs and had to rely on some of the lesser variety. For example, there’s a shot of an announcer that looks like it appears twice in two pages, only flipped. This is a rare occurrence, but it happens early enough in the book that a reader could be forgiven for wondering if more duplication is bound to happen.
When I think of books that talk about contemporary Native Americans today, the pickings for kids are slim. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian isn’t exactly meant for the 12 and under crowd. Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky is pretty good, if a bit poetic (this might have something to do with the fact that it’s a book of poetry). And the book Native Americans: A Visual Exploration by S.N. Paleja covers a lot of ground, but only in brief. No, the whole reason Cowboy Up! even works is because it’s not trying to be about anything but how particularly cool this kind of rodeo is. This is Navajo life in the 21st century. So forget depressing texts that cover the past with all the interest of a phone book. Flood and Sonnenmair have culled together a look at the just-as-interesting present, and given it a format that will stand it in good stead. Cowboys and cowboys-to-be everywhere, stand up and rejoice. Your rodeo is here.
On shelves now.
Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.
A lesson hard learned. When searching for this book on any online site, I advise you to search via the ISBN 978-1-59078-893-6 rather than typing in the words “Cowboy Up”. Let’s just say that the bulk of titles you’ll find with the same title are a bit . . . ah . . . saucy.
National Geographic and J. Patrick Lewis work well together. In 2007 they released The Brother’s War: Civil War Voices in Verse. It was a solemn, evocative and gut churning collection that stays in my mind even today. But, could we expect less of the U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate? The answer, of course is no and to prove my point, NatGeo—as we hipsters refer to them—and Lewis have done it again.
The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry is a treat. It’s more than a treat, it’s a triumph. The combination of stunning photos–as only Nat Geo can seems to be able to produce—and the writings of some of America’s best poets lights up the imagination and thrills the soul. It doesn’t hurt that a “parent /child” photo of a giraffes, one of my favorite animals, graces the cover. The book entices the reader with a subtitle that states, “200 poems with photographs that squeak, soar and ROAR!”
Mr. Lewis has chosen a wide variety authors who represent an even wider variety of styles—19th century, 20th century or 21st century; lighthearted, silly, or serious; rhyming verse, haiku or concrete poems. It’s all there, all carefully chosen by Mr. Lewis and all perfectly matched to the photography.
Don’t miss a chance to share these little gems with a favorite child or better yet, just curl up in a comfy spot and let yourself go wild among the animals.
The flowers all around us astound me at this time of year. It makes me remember hiking through the California hills with my mother, noticing all the different flowers around us. These memories drew me to this picture book biography about Lady Bird Johnson, but what makes it stick in my mind is how it shows us the way that each one of us can make a difference by taking action, starting with small steps and moving larger.
This picture book biography weaves together two tales, one of Miss Lady Bird Johnson's life story, and the other of her passionate work to spread wildflowers and beauty throughout our country.
Lady Bird grew up in eastern Texas in the early 20th century, finding solace in the wildflowers and bayous after her mother died. I loved the image of her as a young girl holding ceremonies for the first daffodils that bloomed each spring. Appelt writes,
"It was as if Aunt Effie's flowers became companions and helped take some of Lady Bird's loneliness away."
After Lady Bird moved to Washington, D.C. when her husband was elected to Congress, she realized that the city parks were dingy and had few flowers. Appelt quotes Johnson as telling a friend,
"It is important for a child to plant a seed, to water it, to nourish it, tend to it, watch it grow, and when he does, and when she does, they themselves will grow into great citizens." -- Lady Bird Johnson
Johnson followed this passion by urging Congress to pass the Highway Beautification Act, and later in her life, establishing the National Wildflower Research Center. Have you ever noticed wildflowers growing along the side of a highway? Or traveled to Washington, D.C. to see the cherry blossoms? Or marveled at a city landscape with native flowers? Much of those are the direct result of Johnson's efforts.
The scene that stands out in my mind is how she stepped in front of her neighbor's tractor on her Texas ranch, imploring him not to plow under a field of pink evening primroses. It's this gusto, this initiative that captures her energy, creativity and determination to keep wildflowers growing throughout our land.
The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, HarperCollins. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
The book mostly focuses on 9,000 years-old Kennewick Man, how we was discovered on a riverbank in 1996 and how much we have discovered about where we came from.
I'm a huge fan of Bones and so I love of Walker shows us how the reconstruction and renderings work in real life. I find such things fascinating. I also like how Walker looks at a range of finds and how they all relate to each other in forming a unified theory of early human life in the Americas. I hope Walker continues to write books on using forensic science and history-- wonderful stuff.
After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction by crafting cozy mysteries published by MuseItUp Publishing. With Girls Succeed she returns to her first love, writing about real people. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.
I grew up in a small town in Central Illinois where the rich, fertile soil of the plains yields productive corn and soybean crops. My dad was the town undertaker and my mom taught second grade. That means I had to be a very good girl or everyone in town would tell my parents about me. There was lots of pressure to be good too because I felt if I messed up, it could ruin my father’s business.
When did you begin writing?
My mother was my teacher when I was in second grade, so in order to stay out of trouble, here I go again, I started writing stories. When I was in seventh grade I wrote my first “novel” which suspiciously echoed my favorite book, Black Beauty. My grandmother typed up the story I had scawled on a yellow tablet. The moment I saw my “manuscript,” in neatly typed paragraphs, I envisioned myself as a writer.
What is this book about?
Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, a non-fiction e-book about careers, includes interviews with fifteen remarkable women who have achieved recognition for accomplishment in their occupations. This diverse group of careers encompasses women in the arts, business, science, medicine, ministry, entertainment, and sports. Stories include women who have stamped out disease, made people laugh, earned Olympic and Paralympic gold medals, crossed the country in the cab of an eighteen wheeler, and many more chapters to inspire and empower girls to reach for their dreams.
What inspired you to write it?
I was stirred to write a book for girls after working four summers at Camp Newaygo, a girls’ residence camp in Michigan. I met the most amazing young women who were counselors and energetic campers. They kept my life interesting! I marveled at the potential for the futures of these smart, enthusiastic girls. Faced with so many possibilities for careers, I wondered what choices they would make. This e-book is a good reference for them to learn about a career, and the women’s stories inspire and empower girls to follow their dreams.
How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?
Girls Succeed is similar to other career books for children because the chapters discuss various careers and the responsibilities of the job, but very different because the women I interviewed also told me about the careers they dreamed about when they were little girls. They share how they made the dream come true. I purposely chose women who are respected in their fields of work, but they are not nationally known celebrities. (Unfortunately this was cited as a reason for publishers not to accept the book for publication. So I published it myself.) I include their advice about perseverance, determination, and dreaming big.
This e-book is different in many ways. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote. Many books include books and magazines for resources, but my little twist is possible because it is an e-book. I added live links to websites about each woman and her career. With one click the reader, if she is connected to the Internet, is linked to a cyberspace filled with facts, guides, and articles. Not only can the reader discover horse woman Pati Pierucci’s story in the e-book about how she became a horse trainer and an award winning dressage competitor, but she can also click on a website to watch the Olympics dressage competition, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0te-vc_O04k&feature=related and learn about riding at the Young Rider site http://www.youngrider.com/ .
What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?
Besides learning about a career, the reader may identify with the situations in the childhood stories. Living in a home with alcoholic parents, fighting illness, being smart and trying to hide it, or being a star athlete were some of the difficulties for these now successful women to overcome. Even with obstacles in their paths, the women did not give up on achieving their dream careers. It is my hope readers will be inspired and empowered by their stories.
The Girls Succeed book is published, but I continue to find stories about careers and about women both past and present who are considered trailblazers breaking down barriers for women. I feel I have to share their stories, so I began blogging about them on the Girls Succeed Blog. http://girlssucceed.blogspot.com/I enjoy doing the research on these amazing women. I have a few trailblazers which I plan to feature in another book. Of course I will continue writing mysteries…one about an undertaker’s daughter perhaps???
Is there anything you would like to add?
Readers who are interested in obtaining a study guide for the e-book can email me for a FREE guide this month. My e-mail addy is jqrose02 at gmail dot com
Thank you so much, Cheryl, for hosting me today so I can get the word out about this inspirational book. If anyone would like a copy to review, please email me at jqrose02 at gmail dot com
I am interested in writing a nonficiton book and talked to an editor about the idea this week. She is interested. Hurrah!
But she needs a full proposal that includes a table of contents and a sample chapter. In other words, I have to do some–no, a lot–of work, on spec, before I get a contract. And then, it will be a ton of research to write the book. It’s daunting. To even be in the game, I have to do a lot of work.
I am inspired by Harrison Ford. In an article in the April, 2013 issue of American Way, Jan Hubbard reports on what Ford had to do to get the his latest role. Ford had read an early version of the screenplay for “42,” the new movie about Jacki Robinson’s entry into the world of baseball. Ford was intrigued by the role of Branch Rickey, the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who desegregated baseball by signing 26-year-old Jackie Robinson.
Director Brain Helgeland wasn’t interested in well-known actors for any of the parts. He wanted people to see the movie because they wanted to learn about Jackie Robinson; he didn’t want people to go to see another “Harrison Ford movie.”
Helgeland refused to even talk to Harrison Ford about the role. Ford was too big an actor.
“Nothing against him,” says Helgeland, who won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for L.A. Confidential in 1997. “He’s obviously a strong actor and a movie star and someone that movie fans int he country are really fond of, but I didn’t see how it could work. I didn’t see him playing a character.”
Now–what would you do, if you were Ford?
Move on to the next role? There are probably lots of directors courting him for their movies.
Instead, Ford went to work.
He studied his character, Branch Rickey. He found archival film of Rickey and listened to hours of audio tape. He read and re-read the script. He did his homework.
Then, and only then, did he insist on a meeting with Helgeland. (OK, he’s a big enough actor to get that meeting, but the rest of the story depends on his preparation work.)
During the conversation, Ford asked Helgeland how he saw a particular scene playing out, because there were two ways it might go.
Then, Ford broke into a private audition, complete with Rickey’s voice and mannerisms.
“Helgeland said, ‘He took on that Branch Rickey voice and he did the whole scene off the top of his head, so he obviously had memorized it,’ Helgeland says. ‘And I was sitting there saying, ‘Geez. He could really pull this off.’”
From the movie, "42."
OK, Mr. Big Actor, Mr. Harrison Ford. If YOU can do that much prep to get a part, I can work hard for my proposal, my audition. I can do the research, create a viable Table of Content sna dwrite that sample chapter. And I will work hard enough to nail it. Because I want this book.
Children are eager to explore the world around them. Many love to read about animals, learning about different species, their habitats and life cycles. I've often wondered how we help young children learn about problems caused by pollution, habitat loss or global warming without making children too worried or sad. Melissa Stewart's A Place for... series of picture books look at environmental problems, but focus on ways people can change them and help animals live and grow.
Turtles live in all sorts of different environments, but many have faced challenges brought about by environmental problems. Melissa Stewart introduces young children to specific problems that turtles face, such as habitat loss caused by invasive nonnative plants, but does so in a clear, simple way. Throughout, she emphasizes that we can all help change these problems.
"Some turtles have trouble building nests when new kinds of plants spread into their home habitat. When people find ways to control the new plants, turtles can live and grow."
Stewart balances this clear, simple narrative with sidebars that provide more details on different species and the challenges they face. These specific examples add detail and interest, especially when combined with Bond's detailed acrylic illustrations. For example, Stewart writes that the bog turtle's wetland habitat has been threatened by invasive purple loosestrife that is growing too thickly. Families will find it interesting to talk about different projects that communities are undertaking to improve life for turtles.
I have greatly enjoyed following Melissa Stewart's blog: Celebrate Science. - she shares her passion for science, animals and the environment in many different ways. She has been thinking deeply about how to connect information picture books to the Common Core, and has many helpful ideas for teachers and librarians.
The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Peachtree Publishers. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
For years I've been thinking about writing a memoirish book of essays about my experience as a maritial arts student. I even had a working title, Black Belt Essays. I even wrote and published two said essays. But that's as far as I've gotten with this project because of the time issues I keep writing about on Tuesdays and poor discipline and whine, whine, whine.
Of course, my weak grasp of zennyness tells me that wanting, as in wanting to have written that book, as in wanting someone else not to have written it first, leads to unhappiness. Damn straight about that. But soon this moment of wanting and unhappiness will be in the past and over, and I will be on to another moment in which I will be slow and inept about other things. Yeah. I'm sitting here waiting for that. And waiting.
Oh. Here's a cheery thought. Schorn's book is about karate, and mine would have been about taekwondo. Plus, she teaches karate, while I can barely manage to maintain my own taekwondo skills, let alone teach anyone else. (I've already written one essay on that subject and am sure I can probably wring two or three more on it.) So if we both end up writing martial arts memoirs, they wouldn't be anything alike.
Now, that's a relief. I'm into that better feeling moment already.
Add a Comment
Last week, our students were thrilled to spend time with Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, learning about her writing process and hearing her passion for her work. As we read books by different authors, we try to think about an author's purpose in writing a story or a piece of nonfiction. We dig into the ideas authors layer in their work. Our students really appreciated hearing directly from Ms. Nelson about her many books.
"Bass Reeves was a true American hero. I felt that everyone should know about him." Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Our students had all read Bad News for Outlaws before meeting Ms. Nelson. She really talked with them, asking them questions and making them an active part of the discussion. This really extended their thinking beyond just listening to the book or hearing her presentation. They could feel just what she meant when she said,
"Bass was honorable; he had integrity; he was strong, smart and clever."
Ms. Nelson told our older students about her newest book, No Crystal Stair, which tells the story of her uncle's bookshop in Harlem. She talked about how he wanted to establish a bookshop that helped African Americans learn about their history, their stories, their literature. We are all looking forward to the picture book which Ms. Nelson is writing about her uncle's bookstore.
Our 2nd and 3rd graders talked with Ms. Nelson about her picture book Almost to Freedom, a story about a young girl's escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad. She started off by talking about why she writes.
"I know it's because my parents read to me every night. My siblings would argue about going to bed, but secretly I was dying to get into bed because my mom would read the next chapter of our book. My dad loved poetry and would recite poetry from memory to me."
Her parents taught her not only to love stories, but to love words and to understand their power. Our students love Almost to Freedom because it's told from the perspective of a doll. Ms. Nelson really creates the voice of this doll, and students can connect to that voice.
Ms. Nelson talked about how when she looked at the dolls in the museum, she started wondering,
"If those dolls could talk, what would they tell me?"
I loved a 3rd grader's question: "When you write, do you start feeling how your characters are feeling?" Yes, she does very much -- because she needs to feel what it might be like to run away through the forest at night hiding from the slave catchers, to be able to share those feelings in her words and create them for her readers. She brought her collection of African American dolls to share with our children.
Enjoy this Animoto slideshow of our visit with Vaunda Micheaux Nelson.
I want to thank the Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California for sponsoring Vaunda Nelson's trip to the Bay Area. For a wonderful resource of materials about sharing history with children, check out ACL's resources from their recent Institute. I would also like to thank the Emerson PTA for sponsoring Ms. Nelson's visit to our school. Our children appreciate your support and enrichment. But most of all, I want to thank Ms. Nelson herself for her time, energy and enthusiasm sharing her passion for stories with our children.
If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
Who's that playing? Tip tap I am a kitten. I have long fur and pointed ears.
Who's that splashing? Splish splosh I am a duckling. I have a beak and webbed feet.
Who's That...Playing is a fun board book for young readers--toddlers and preschoolers. Each two-page spread focuses on a different animal at play: kittens, puppies, ducklings, bear cubs, lambs, penguin chicks, piglets. Real photographs are used throughout. It is in a series of board books published by Kingfisher. Other titles include: "Who's That? Roaring," "Who's That? Jumping," "Who's That? Eating."
Who's that eating? Chomp I am a giant panda. I have black and white fur and I like munching bamboo.
Who's that gnawing? Gnaw I am an otter. I have whiskers and I use my tail to help me swim.
If you're looking to share simple animal facts with your little one, this new series by Kingfisher would be a great choice. There are four books in this series, each focusing on a different aspect of animal life. Different animals are featured in each book. In this title, the focus is on eating. The animals featured include pandas, otters, caterpillars, squirrels, anteaters, chickens, and giraffes.
Another series published by Kingfisher is the Seek and Peek series. There are four titles in the series: Seek and Peek in the Rainforest, Seek and Peek On the Farm, Seek and Peek Dinosaurs, and Seek and Peek at the Zoo. The books are oddly shaped, which may appeal to young readers who love to grasp. Readers can choose which animal they want to read about--learn about--and turn directly to that page. But some pages feature more than one animal. And some animals are not featured on the cover.
The final book I'll be reviewing today is another in the Kingfisher's Seek and Peek series. I'm curious if little hands will appreciate the oddly shaped board book--it is almost a circle. It is easy to grasp and turn pages, which may be a plus! Farm books are almost always fun, and this one isn't an exception. Little ones can learn simple facts about farm animals like pigs, horses, chickens, cows, ducks, etc.
by Lucy Cooke
Margaret K. McElderry Books 2013
This non-fiction book, ostensibly for kids, should forever change the synonym for sloth from "lazy" to "cute."
Many decades ago when I first learned about sloths and their sloth-like behavior they seemed to me a perfect insult. Calling someone a slug was up there but there was nothing that rolled off the tongue quite like "move it, you sloth!"
Every Monday the Kidlit blogosphere hosts a round up of posts about children's and young adult nonficiton books. Today I am hosting with links from all over. If you have a post up leave a comment and put your unique URL in Mr. Linky below. Then come back later in the day or tomorrow to visit all the blogs.
My contribution is a recommendation of the book Hand in Hand; Ten Black men Who
The best way to capture the past is to step back into it -- visiting the places you are writing about. Last week Fran and I toured Monticello, the mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson. There is no better way to get into a person's head than to walk the red Piedmont soil and marvel at the blue rolling hills off in the distance. Now I know why he called it his "sea view."
But stepping back in time also takes a healthy dose of imagination, too. Mulberry row, where slaves lived and worked, is empty now. I have to imagine the lane busy with boys making nails, and the air thick with smoke from the forge and the cook house. Instead of the two white women driving a four-wheeler from tree to tree in the orchard, I have to envision perhaps two black men carrying a ladder and saws to trim the branches.
The past is not black and white, either. Old photos make everyone look somber and give the impression that history was fuzzy and dull. But people wore shades of red and blue, laughed and danced. One of the more startling things I noticed at Monticello was the neon yellow dining room. Not what I would have expected had I not known how much he appreciated light and air.
Hustled through the house with other tourists it was hard to really see everything, but then again, it gave me a more accurate portrayal of a house filled with children, servants, and family. And when I return, I can dig deeper, look closer, and reveal even more.
As regular readers may remember, last year I was on the committee for the Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. In addition to our winners and finalists, the committee also publishes a list of vetted nominations (what I like to call the "long list.") I'm in the process of highlighting these titles during Nonfiction Monday.
In December 1917, war was raging in Europe. In Halifax Harbor, two ships were on their way to the action, one on it's way to pick up relief supplies, the other full of munitions. The two ships collided, causing a fire. As the munitions ship drifted, fire on its deck, it crashed into the pier and exploded, leveling most of of the harbor area and creating a shockwave that blew out almost every window in Halifax proper. 2000 people died, 9000 more were injured. Rescue and relief efforts were further dampened when a blizzard blew in the next day and dumped over a foot of snow on the area.
Until the advent of nuclear weapons, the Halifax explosion was the largest man-made explosion ever.
Walker tells this story (one that's very well known in Canada, but not so much in the US) through the eyes of children who lived around the harbor at the time. Children getting ready for school, running errands, and going about their day. She weaves these daily accounts in with the context of shipping lanes and traffic, and what was happening in the Harbor. Walker also covers the communities on the other side of the Harbor who were affected by the explosion, resulting shock wave, and tsunami. The book is also very good at detailing what happened after the explosion to everyone.
Fun fact: The Halifax coroner's office had a tested system in place to deal with a mass casualty event like this. It had been developed 2 years earlier, when they brought in the bodies from the Titanic.
Chris Barton. Shana Corey. Brian Floca. Megan McCarthy.
Me. (I am still in alphabetical order this way.)
On 4/21/13, from 3 to 5:45 p.m. (yes, almost three hours!), at the International Reading Association Convention in San Antonio, we five authors, moderated by Susannah Richards, Associate Professor of Education at Eastern Connecticut State University, will panel-discuss the importance of unconventional nonfiction...the stories that are not yet widely known, the people who are nottextbook names. Please join us. This group has never assembled before, and may never again. Therefore (speaking of nonfiction), history will be witnessed. Unconventional nonfiction will be glorified.