Black History Month, Cyblis Awards 2018, History

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present

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Back of Book:
Meet 52 icons of color from the past and present in this celebration of inspirational achievement—a collection of stories about changemakers to encourage, inspire and empower the next generation of changemakers. Jamia Wilson has carefully curated this range of black icons and the book is stylishly brought together by Andrea Pippins’ colorful and celebratory illustrations.. All children deserve to see themselves represented positively in the books they read. Highlighting the talent and contributions of black leaders and changemakers from around the world, readers of all backgrounds will be empowered to discover what they too can achieve. Strong, courageous, talented and diverse, these extraordinary men and women’s achievements will inspire a new generation to chase their dream… whatever it may be.
My Review:
I was excited to read this book as a part of the Cybils Awards. It is a fantastic look at 52 African Americans who have made an impact on the world around them. It is an excellent resource to teach children about some of the bold, brave, and gifted men and women who have stood for equality and honor. I loved that the text covers heroes from our past like Harriet Tubman, but also discusses people who are making an impact now like Simone Biles. I appreciated the welcome note from the author and illustrator in the front of the book. I can tell that they put a great deal of thought and research into the men and women in this book. I can see using this book in class as an opening to many discussions involving, race, equality, history, and activism. The illustrations are appealing and vibrant. A great addition to any school library or classroom. I also see it as a great book for Black History Month.
Ages 8 and up
64 Pages

Biography, History

Have You Heard About Lady Bird?: Poems About Our First Ladies By Marilyn Singer

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Back of Book:
The role of First Lady has been defined differently by each woman who’s held it, but all of them left an impact on our nation as a partner of the commander in chief.

Incisive poetry by Marilyn Singer and energetic art by Nancy Carpenter provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of women from Martha Washington to Eleanor Roosevelt to Lady Bird Johnson-who variously embraced the position and shied away from it, craved the spotlight and fiercely guarded their privacy, took controversial stands and championed for the status quo. Detailed back matter includes short biographies, quotations, and more.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Marilyn Singer in exchange for an honest review.
I was so thrilled when I saw an updated picture book that covers all the First Ladies from Wahington to present day. Each First Lady is showcased with a short poem about their life in the White House. I loved learning so many tidbits of information about the women who helped shape our nation. Each poem is written in a slightly different form. I loved seeing the different ways that Marilyn told each woman’s tale. The illustrations from Nancy Carpenter are beautiful! each picture transports readers to the different time periods and shows them a part of history. The colors are soft and enhance the story. The back of the book has a great timeline with more background information.

I believe that this book should be in every elementary library and classroom. It is a great nonfiction read for any history unit or Presidential unit.
Ages 7 and up
48 Pages

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Biography, History

Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton By Margaret McNamara

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Back of Book:
” Best Of Women” is how Alexander Hamilton described his wife, Eliza. Born during the reign of King George II and died shortly before the Civil War. Eliza had a front row seat to the early history of the United States and her mark on this country is felt today.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Margaret McNamara in exchange for an honest review.
I was so excited when I learned that a picture book biography had been written about the amazing Eliza Hamilton. She is not recognized nearly enough for the work that she did in the early life of the United States. Margaret has written a beautiful story that follows Eliza from a young girl playing with her sisters, to the strong woman who stood by Alexander through thick and thin. I love that the text is written in the first person from Eliza. It allows readers to connect with her story. The illustrations are detailed and show the beauty and strength of Eliza’s legacy. I loved the note in the back of the book from actress Phillipa Soo. It shows readers the impact that Eliza still has on us today. This is a stunning biography that can be enjoyed by upper elementary as well as Middle School students. A perfect addition to any history or women’s unit. A must-have for the classroom.
Ages 6 and up
48 Pages

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Click Here to go to Esm’e website

Biography, Christmas, History

The Queen and the First Christmas Tree: Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England by Nancy Churnin

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Back of Book:
Queen Charlotte brought her family’s festive holiday yule bough from Germany to England. While planning a Christmas Day party in 1800 at Windsor Castle for over 100 children, she realized a single bough isn’t enough. So she brought in the whole tree instead, making it the first known Christmas Tree in England. This story tells a little-known fact about a favorite holiday tradition.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Nancy Churmin in exchange for an honest review.
Nancy has a true talent for writing nonfiction stories that bring history to life. This story shares with readers how Queen Charlotte created the beautiful tradition that we now have. The story follows Charlotte as a young girl in Germany to a grown Queen in England. Nancy highlighted the queen’s compassion and kindness throughout the story. I also loved that Nancy shared with readers that the queen didn’t like fancy balls, and often smudged her dresses. It allowed Queen Charlotte to become a real person in readers eyes and not simply a historical figure. The watercolor illustrations tie in the time period with the story beautifully! The back of the book has a two-page biography that shares more about Queen Charlotte. Nancy and Luisa have weaved together a beautiful story about one of the worlds most recognized Christmas traditions.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Biography, History

Hammering for Freedom By Rita Lorraine Hubbard

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Back of Book

The inspirational story of William Lewis.
Born into slavery in Tennessee, William Lewis learned the blacksmith trade as soon as he was old enough to grip a hammer. He proved to be an exceptional blacksmith and earned so much money fixing old tools and creating new ones that he was allowed to keep a little money for himself. With just a few coins in his pocket, Bill set a daring plan in motion: he was determined to free his family.
Winner of Lee & Low s New Voices Award and a Junior Library Guild selection, Hammering for Freedom tells the true story of one-man s skill, hard work, and resolve to keep his family together.

My Review:
I received a copy of this story from author Rita Lorraine Hubbard in exchange for an honest review. Before reading this story, I had never heard of William Lewis. I was quickly drawn into this remarkable nonfiction story about a man who worked his entire life so his family would be free. The story follows Will as he grows up and becomes a young man. The more Will works, the more money he makes and the more family he is able to free. This is an amazing story about the strength and determination that Will continued to have throughout his life. The illustrations are vibrant and beautiful. The detail on each page is marvelous! I loved reading the afterword in the back of the book that has a more in-depth look at Lewis’s life. I think this story is an excellent addition to any Civil War or Slavery Unit. It looks at how some slaves were able to buy their freedom and is a perfect lead-in for history or book reports. Rita opened my eyes to a part of history I didn’t know much about. I look forward to sharing it with my classroom.
Ages 7 and up
32 Pages

 

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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History

A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women by Lynne Cheney

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Back of Book:

Lynne Cheney and Robin Preiss Glasser collaborated on America: A Patriotic Primer, which captured the imagination of American children and became a national best-seller. Now they turn their hands to A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women and bring the great women of American history to life. Filled to the brim with words and pictures that celebrate the remarkable (although often unmarked) achievements of American women, this is a book to relish and to read again and again.
Mothers, daughters, schoolchildren, generations of families — everyone — will take Abigail Adams’s words to heart and “remember the ladies” once they read the stories of these astonishing, astounding, amazing American women.

My Review:
I was so excited when I stumbled upon this fantastic story by Lynne Cheney. It is the most amazing alphabet story about the American women who played a role in history. Many of the women in this book are ones that I had never heard of. The book is well researched and put together. The beginning of the book has a forward from Lynne that tells readers about the importance of remembering the strong women who walked before us. The illustrations in this book are beautifully drawn. The very talented illustrator is the same creator of the Fancy Nancy series. The details on each page bring these women to life. This is a book that is perfect to use for book reports or research projects. A must read for the month of March.
Ages 6 and up
48 Pages

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History

A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights By Kate Hannigan

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Back of Book:

Activist Belva Lockwood never stopped asking herself the question Are women not worth the same as men? She had big dreams and didn’t let anyone stand in her way–not her father, her law school, or even the U.S. Supreme Court. She fought for equality for women in the classroom, in the courtroom, and in politics. In her quest for fairness and parity, Lockwood ran for President of the United States, becoming the first woman on the ballot. In this riveting nonfiction picture book biography, award-winning author Kate Hannigan and celebrated artist Alison Jay illuminate the life of Lockwood, a woman who was never afraid to take the floor and speak her mind.

My Review:
I think that the story of Belva Lockwood is a perfect example to share with readers during National Women’s month. Before I read this story, I had never heard of the amazing, and strong woman. I loved learning about her fight for equality for women. She earned a law degree and was one of the first women to do so. This story is rich in history and makes it a perfect nonfiction addition to any Civil War History Unit. The illustrations are well drawn and show the strength and determination of one strong woman. The back of the book has a fantastic note from the author and a timeline so readers can see the history behind what Belva accomplished. I am so glad that I got to share this with my students this year.
Ages 7 and up
32 Pages

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History

Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero by Patricia McCormick

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Back of Book:

 

When a group of US Marines fighting in the Korean War found a bedraggled mare, they wondered if she could be trained to as a packhorse. They had no idea that the skinny, underfed horse had one of the biggest and bravest hearts they’d ever known. And one of the biggest appetites!

 

Soon Reckless showed herself more than willing to carry ammunition too heavy for the soldiers to haul. As cannons thundered and shells flew through the air, she marched into battle—again and again—becoming the only animal ever to officially hold military rank—becoming Sgt. Reckless—and receive two Purple Hearts.

 

My Review:

 

All I can say about this beautiful picture book is wow! I was amazed by the story of Reckless. This is the story of a little horse who went on to do mighty things. She was instrumental in helping troops win a major victory. There are not many picture books about the Korean War which makes Sargent Reckless even more of a special read. The illustrations in this book are truly spectacular! Iacopo Bruno is a gifted artist and shows readers the strength of the marines and of one horse who become a true hero.  The back of the book has a lovely author note as well as a picture of Reckless. This is a great nonfiction story to add to any war unit.  I truly enjoyed this book!

 

Ages 6 and up

 

40 Pages

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History, Read Your World

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle

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Back of Book:
Dramatic, quiet, and warming, this is a story of friendship across cultures in 1800s Mississippi. While searching for blackberries, Martha Tom, a young Choctaw, breaks her village’s rules against crossing the Bok Chitto. She meets and becomes friends with the slaves on the plantation on the other side of the river, and later helps a family escape across it to freedom when they hear that the mother is to be sold.
My Review:
Before reading this book, I wasn’t aware that there were Native American Tribes that helped slaves cross into freedom. I was completely immersed in this story from page one. It is a beautiful tale of an unusual friendship that would save a family. Martha Tom shows true courage as she helps her friends cross the river to their freedom. Tim Tingle is a gifted storyteller. He brought this story to readers in a way that they could understand and appreciate. The text is rich in history and tradition. The story of two cultures working together is woven into a tale that allows readers to see the importance of looking beyond race and color. The illustrator painted each scene using colors that matched the mood of the text. There is a note in the back of the book that discusses the Choctaw people then and now. This is a fantastic story to add to any diverse book list.
Ages 7 and up
40 Pages

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