Biography, History, Uncategorized

Amelia And Eleanor Go For A Ride Pam Munoz Ryan

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Back of Book:
On a brisk and cloudless evening in April 1933, Amelia and Eleanor did the unprecedented: They stole away from a White House dinner, commandeered an Eastern Air Transport jet, and took off on a glorious adventure–while still dressed in their glamorous evening gowns!

This picture book tour de force celebrates the pioneering spirit of two friends whose passion for life gave them the courage to defy convention in the name of fulfillment, conviction, and fun. Soaring text, inspired by the known facts of this event, and breathtaking drawings ask readers to dream dreams as big as Amelia and Eleanor’
My Review:
Both Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt were strong independent women who leaders of the Great Depression era. I was excited to find a story about their friendship and adventures together. Pam Munoz Ryan is a talented author. Her ability to weave a story about a time in history is incredible. The back of the book has a fantastic author note as well as a recipe of Elanor Roosevelts favorite dessert. The illustrations are done in black and white by Brian Selznick. They are soft and show the beauty of the night flight that the two women took together. The very last page of the book has a photograph of the two women together. This is a perfect nonfiction book to add to any Great Depression or Aviation history unit. It is also a perfect story to share during National Women’s Month in March.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Biography, Read Your World

Grandad Mandela Ambassador Zindzi Mandela,Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela, & Zondwa Mandela

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Back of Book:
Nelson Mandela’s two great-grandchildren ask their grandmother, Mandela’s youngest daughter, 15 questions about their grandad – the global icon of peace and forgiveness who spent 27 years in prison. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner and realize that they can continue his legacy in the world today. Seen through a child’s perspective, and authored jointly by Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren and daughter, this amazing story is told as never before to celebrate what would have been Nelson’s Mandela 100th birthday.
My Review:
I think the beauty of this book is that it was written by Nelson Mandela’s own family. Their personal story about his life flows on each page. As a teacher, I felt like I learned several new things about Mandela’s life and legacy. I think this is an excellent nonfiction picture book about a very important man who changed South Africa for the better. It is perfect for elementary book reports. And research projects. Sean Qualls is an incredibly talented illustrator and this book is no exception. The pictures jump off the page and capture the depth of the story. This is a story that should be a part of every children’s library.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Biography, Black History Month

Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

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Back of Book:
You know the Super Soaker. It’s one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.

A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson’s life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention and of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.
My Review:
I was raised in the 90s so Super Soakers were apart of every summer. Everyone I knew had one. When I saw that there was a biography picture book about the man who invented them, I knew I needed it in my collection. I loved reading about the determination of Lonnie Johnson. The story begins with his childhood and ends with the invention of the soaker. It was fun to share this story with my students. They loved hearing about the creation of a toy that they all play with regularly. The illustrations are Don Tate and have beautiful images and detail. There is a note in the back of the book from the author about his interview with Lonnie Johnson. This is a great story to give to any readers who want to be inventors. I would also recommended adding this to all summer reading lists.
Ages 6 and up

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Biography, Gardens and plants

Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt

 

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Back of Book:
Bluebonnets and lady’s slippers, larkspurs and blazing stars, black-eyed Susans and Granny’s nightcaps.
From a lonely childhood in the Piney Woods of East Texas to an exciting life in the White House, Lady Bird Johnson loved these wildflowers with all her heart. They were her companions in her youth, greeting her everywhere as she explored wild forests, bayous, and hills. Later, as First Lady, she sought to bring the beauty of wildflowers to America’s cities and highways. She wanted to make sure every child could enjoy the splendor of wildflowers.
In this warm, engaging look at the life of a great First Lady, Kathi Appelt tells the story behind Lady Bird Johnson’s environmental vision. Joy Fisher Hein’s colorful wildflowers burst from every page, inviting us to share in Lady Bird’s love for natural beauty.

My Review:
My students are eagerly watching their seeds grow into sunflowers. In the meantime, I wanted to share the story of Lady Bird and her love of gardens and flowers. She had a huge impact on the environment. This book tells the amazing story of how Lady Bird grew up and learned to love all kinds of plants. While in the White House as the First Lady, she started a campaign to make the United States a more beautiful place to live. In her later years she helped establish the National Wildflower Research Center. She was an amazing woman and this story shows readers all the ways she changed the world! The back of the book has a list of beautiful wildflowers as well as an biography note about Lady Bird Johnson. A great story to share with readers when discussing plants and growing.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Biography

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez

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Back of Book:
Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school!

When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties–with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.
My Review:
My very best friend growing up was just like Joan. She loved catching and examining lizards. When I read this book I instantly thought of her. Joan Procter was a misunderstood, brilliant woman who changed the way people saw reptiles. This book is well written and keeps readers engaged with what they are reading. My students loved learning about the Komodo Dragon that she took care of and raised. It made them all want to have one of their own. The illustrations are clear and detailed. They draw readers into the story. The end of book has a mini biography about Joan as well as a photo of a young Joan. I truly enjoyed sharing this book with my classroom. It should be on every teachers must read list.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Biography

The United States v. Jackie Robinson By Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

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Back of Book:
Jackie Robinson broke boundaries as the first African American player in Major League Baseball. But long before Jackie changed the world in a Dodger uniform, he did it in an army uniform.
As a soldier during World War II, Jackie experienced segregation every day—separate places for black soldiers to sit, to eat, and to live. When the army outlawed segregation on military posts and buses, things were supposed to change.
So when Jackie was ordered by a white bus driver to move to the back of a military bus, he refused. Instead of defending Jackie’s rights, the military police took him to trial. But Jackie would stand up for what was right, even when it was difficult to do.

My Review:
Jackie Robinson was an amazing, and well-known baseball player. Until reading story, I had never heard much about his time in the Army. I absolutely fell in love with the lesson of courage and standing up for what’s right. Jackie was put in jail for sitting in on a bus. He had to stand in court and hear lies spoken to the judge about who he was. Still, Jackie told the truth and won the fight! The text in this book is informative and easy to read. The illustrations are stunning and show readers the strength that Jackie had. The back of the book has a fantastic timeline and authors note which makes it perfect for book reports and research projects. A must read!

Ages 7 and up

40 Pages

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Biography

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin (Amazing Scientists)

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Back of Book:

When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!
My Review:
I am so excited that the life of Dr. Temple Grandin is being told in picture books. Her life is nothing short of inspiring! “The Girl Who Thought in Pictures” is a well written and researched story. The text rhymes which makes it a perfect book for early readers. I also love that the book teaches children about Autism in a realistic yet simple way. The book shows readers that people with Autism are not “weird” just different. There is a beautiful note to readers in the back of the book encouraging them to find out what they are good at and follow their dreams. The back of the book also has a timeline and mini biography, perfect for book reports and research projects.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Biography

Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala by Lina Maslo

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Back of Book:

 

When Malala Yousafzai was born, people shook their heads because girls were considered bad luck. But her father looked into her eyes and knew she could do anything.

 

In Pakistan, people said girls should not be educated. But Malala and her father were not afraid. She secretly went to school and spoke up for education in her country.

 

And even though an enemy tried to silence her powerful voice, she would not keep quiet. Malala traveled around the world to speak to girls and boys, to teachers, reporters, presidents, and queens—to anyone who would listen—and advocated for the right to education and equality of opportunity for every person. She would shout so that those without a voice could be heard, so everyone could be as free as a bird

 

My Review:

 

I have been so excited to see the many picture books that have come out recently about Malala. She is such an inspiration and her story should be told to all children everywhere. Free As a Bird is another fantastic biography about the girl who fought for education. The story is written in third person but allows readers to feel like they were there among the fight with Malala. The illustrations are muted and show readers the hardship of war. I love that Malala always has red on which catches a reader’s eye. The back of the book has an author note and timeline which is perfect for book reports or research projects.  I truly enjoyed this story.

 

Ages 5 and up

 

40 Pages

 

Biography, Books and Library

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind by Cynthia Grady

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Back of Book:
When Executive Order 9066 is enacted after the attack at Pearl Harbor, children’s librarian Clara Breed’s young Japanese American patrons are to be sent to prison camp. Before they are moved, Breed asks the children to write her letters and gives them books to take with them. Through the three years of their internment, the children correspond with Miss Breed, sharing their stories, providing feedback on books, and creating a record of their experiences.
My Review:
I have not read very many picture books about the Japanese camps in 1942. I believe that this is a part of history that all children should learn about. Write to Me is a beautifully written nonfiction look at one librarian who fought to ensure that the children had books to read. The illustrations are unique in that they show the letters written to librarian. They are soft and show the children in many different areas of the camps. The back of the book has an author note and photo of librarian Clara Estelle Breed with some of the students that she sent books to. There is also a very detailed timeline of Japanese people in the United States. All the information in this book makes it an excellent story for a history unit or book report.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Biography

Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird by Bethany Hegedus

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Back of Book:

 

Nelle Harper Lee grew up in the rocky red soil of Monroeville, Alabama. From the get-go she was a spitfire.

 

Unlike most girls at that time and place, Nelle preferred overalls to dresses and climbing trees to tea parties. Nelle loved to watch her daddy try cases in the courtroom. And she and her best friend, Tru, devoured books and wrote stories of their own. More than anything Nelle loved words.

 

This love eventually took her all the way to New York City, where she dreamed of becoming a writer. Any chance she had, Nelle sat at her typewriter, writing, revising, and chasing her dream. Nelle wouldn’t give up—not until she discovered the right story, the one she was born to tell.

 

Finally, that story came to her, and Nelle, inspired by her childhood, penned To Kill a Mockingbird. A groundbreaking book about small-town injustice that has sold over forty million copies, Nelle’s novel resonated with readers the world over, who, through reading, learned what it was like to climb into someone else’s skin and walk around in it.

 

My Review:

I remember reading To Kill A Mockingbird for the for the first time in high school. It had a profound effect on the way I thought of slavery. When I heard that Alabama Spitfire was coming out I was very excited! This book is a great look into the life of Harper Lee. It follows her life from a young girl to an adult.  I learned many new facts about the author who changed the world. The illustrations are beautiful and show readers the strength of diligence that Harper Lee had. There is a authors note in the back of the book that shares with readers about why she wrote this wonderful biography. Another great story to read for National Women’s Month.

 

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages

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