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Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Boys Dancing: From School Gym to Theater Stage

Title:  Boys Dancing:  From School Gym to Theater Stage
Author:  George Ancona
Series:   —
Recommended for:  kids in grades K and up, especially active athletic boys who like to run, jump, spin and leap
Pages:   Unpaged  (approximately 46 pages)
Call Number/Link:   E 793.3 ANC

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“Follow four energetic boys as they train for and take the stage in a community dance performance celebrating classic kids’ books”–Provided by publisher.

Comments:

With the exception of break dancers, there’s not a lot of support out there for boys who dance.  This book shows that average, everyday boys who like to run, jump, yell, climb and throw balls to each other at recess can also like to dance.  They warm up for dance class by running through the halls of their dance school and do pull-ups to strengthen their arms.  They are going to perform a dance number based on Treasure Island so learn how to fake fistfights.  Older boys in their school learn how to fight with swords.

As part of a collaboration between the National Dance Institute of New Mexico and several schools in their town, students are taught movement (i.e. leaping, running, spinning, jumping and showing emotions like joy or anger) set to music.  These movement classes teach students to dance – and prepare them for performances in May.  The final May performance has more than twenty dances and all of the 500 students are in the grand finale.

The book shows that dance can be fun, athletic, active and very boy (and girl and firefighter) friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of

Title:  Lesser Spotted Animals:  The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of
Author:   Martin Brown
Series:  —
Recommended for:  kindergarten and up for sharing, third grade and up for solo reading
Pages:   53 p.
Call Number/Link:   E 590 BRO

Rating:  *****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Find out all about the amazing animals you need to know but never get to see, from the numbat to the zorilla, and everything in between.

Comments

This book definitely fits into the fun non-fiction category!  While it is factual, it also has humorous illustrations and funny comments.

As an example, here is a paragraph from the entry about the Lesser Fairy Armadillo:

“Imagine having your own suit of armor – not the clanking, noisy, metal medieval knight kind of armor – but tough, leathery bony plates that fit you like a second skin.  That’s what armadillos have.  Sticks and stones?  Dog bites?  Little brothers?  Ha!  You’d laugh at these pesky annoyances.”

And, I must admit that I would probably love any animal book that decided to include animals with names like the lesser fairy armadillo, dagger-toothed flower bat or Speke’s pectinator in it.  What awesome names!

This would be an excellent class readaloud.  I think a teacher would only need to read one chapter to grab the students’ interest.  And then there would hopefully be multiple copies of the book in the classroom so that fisticuffs didn’t ensue,  The book would also be an excellent way to introduce a unit where students would write animal reports, about either frequently spotted or lesser spotted animals.  Students could be asked to include wacky facts and try to make their reports fun.  (Or at least attempt one or two humorous illustrations.)

But now I must close so that I can search the Internet for photos of the lesser fairy armadillo!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in Funny, Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Lost in the Pacific, 1942: not a drop to drink

lost-in-the-pacificTitle: Lost in the Pacific, 1942: not a drop to drink
Author: Tod Olson
Series: Lost
Recommended for: 6th- 9th Grade
Pages: 168 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION OLSON, T.

Synopsis: World War II, October 21, 1942. A B-Seventeen bomber drones high over the Pacific Ocean, sending a desperate SOS into the air. The crew is carrying America’s greatest living war hero on a secret mission deep into the battle zone. But the plane is lost, burning through its final gallons of fuel. At 1:30 p.m., there is only one choice left: an emergency landing at sea. If the crew survives the impact, they will be left stranded without food or water hundreds of miles from civilization.

This is an interesting event that happened during World War II.  I found it interesting that you would hear what was going on while they were lost at sea.  It was also fun to hear the different views from the different crew members.  It was a little slow in some areas, but I did find it fascinating.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Historical, Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Conoce a / Get to know Gabriela Mistral

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Title: Conoce a / Get to Know Gabriela Mistral

Author: Georgina Lazaro Leon

Series: Personajes del mundo hispanico

Recommended for:  grade 2-5 

Pages: 29

Call Number/Link:  SPA J B MISTRAL, G.

Synopsis: A quiet, shy, and humble little girl grew up to become a very important writer. How important was she? She was the first Latin American writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, the most prestigious award given to writers in the world!

Thoughts:  I like how these books are bilingual and are illustrated very nicely.  They are attractive to the eye and present the information in a storybook form while giving excerpts from their body of work. For a biography it was interesting and told their story fairly quickly and would be a great use for book reports or personal information.  We only have a few books in the series so they would have to be held and brought over from other libraries.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Historical, Juv, Non-Fiction, Spanish

 

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Hidden Figures- Young Reader’s Edition

hidden-figures

Title: Hidden Figures
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Series: N/A

Recommended for: 8-12 years old

Pages: 231

 

Call Number/Link:  J 629.4 LEE

 

 

Synopsis: Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Review: I think this is a very interesting book that highlights what women were doing behind the scenes in the equal rights movement.  A real revelation that it is never how it seems and always nice to see people being given recognition for their contributions to society.   This would be a great read aloud for an elementary school classroom and will undoubtly be a book to reach for during Black History Month this coming year.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Historical, Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Some Writer! : The Story of E. B. White

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Title:   Some Writer!:  The Story of E. B. White
Author:   Melissa Sweet
Series:   —
Recommended for:   kids in grades 3 and up, especially fans of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.  And…  kids who love books, writing and creating art.  Not to mention teens and adults who love E.B. White and his books.
Pages:   161 pages
Call Number/Link:  J B WHITE, E.

Rating:   *****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter.

Comments:

After reading this book, I wanted to read (or reread) every book that E.B. White has ever written – Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swans, his collected essays, even (possibly) his revised version of Elements of Style.  I can’t pinpoint the last time that I loved a book so much.

I was interested in E.B. White’s life, but even more fascinated by his creative process – his inspirations, attempts to find the perfect first line for a book, conversations with his editor.  The combination of Melissa Sweet’s words and artwork created one of those synergies where one plus one equals much more than two.

1030 lexile, Reading Counts 9.2

 

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2016 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean

Coral ReefsTitle: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean
Author: Maris Wicks
Series: Science Comics
Recommended for: Grades 4-9
Pages: 120
Call Number/Link:  GN J 577.789 WIC

Synopsis: As the series title suggests, this introduction to coral is given the graphic-novel treatment. The panel illustrations are bright and colorful; a clean design makes the information accessible. The content is somewhat advanced, making this appropriate for upper-elementary-age readers. The lighthearted text, narrated by a fish, includes humorous asides along with a solid presentation of the facts.

Comments: Did you know that a coral reef has more biodiversity than a rainforest? Did you know that even if you lived far from the ocean, you still depend on coral reefs? Did you know that coral is not a plant but an animal?  This book is an excellent introduction to the topic of coral reefs. It is bright, colorful and tries to use a little humor to keep the reader engaged. It is narrated by a cute bespecticled yellow fish and covers ocean life, biodiversity, scientific names, the water cycle and more.

This would be a great read for a reluctant reader in junior high or a advanced middle schooler. It skews for older kids just because of the scientific jargon, but it does sound out a lot of the scientific words and has a glossary in the back. It is broken up into five chapters, but refers back to the main points learned in previous chapters, which helped me remember things like: coral gets it’s color from a symbiotic relationship with an algae. The final chapter talks about climate change, and it’s impact on coral reefs, and how people can help.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction

 

Animals by the Numbers : A Book of Infographics

animals-by-the-numbers-cover

Title:   Animals by the Numbers : A Book of Infographics
Author:   Steve Jenkins
Series:   —
Recommended for:  kids in third grade and up, including tweens, teens and possibly adults
Pages:   48 p.
Call Number/Link:   J 590.7 JEN

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

How many species are there across the globe?    How much do all of the insects in the world collectively weigh?   How far can animals travel?  Steve Jenkins answers these questions and many more with numbers, images, innovation, and authoritative science in his latest work of illustrated nonfictionJenkins layers his signature cut-paper illustrations alongside computer graphics and a text that is teeming with fresh, unexpected, and accurate zoological information ready for readers to easily devour. The level of scientific research paired with Jenkins’ creativity and accessible infographics is unmatched and sure to wow fans old and new.

Comments:

This book didn’t grab me right away, partly due to it having fewer of Steve Jenkins’ usual cool animal illustrations.  However, I was drawn in by the interesting information provided and think it will be a big hit with animal lovers and kids who like to learn odd facts like the world’s most poisonous animal.  (Or the breed of animal that most frequently kills humans.  It turns out that we should be more afraid of dogs than sharks.  Who knew?)

This book works best for independent reading, and I can imagine kids poring over it for hours. It would also be a great classroom book, both to teach about infographics (diagrams, charts, graphs, statistics) and animals and for pleasure reading.  It could also work well for one-on-one sharing with a younger child who is fascinated with animals, infographics and other nonfiction.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Heroes for my Daughter

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Title:   Heroes for my Daughter
Author:   Brad Meltzer
Series:   —
Recommended for:   parents and teachers to share with children, independent reading fourth grade to adulthood
Pages:   115 p.
Call Number/Link:  J 920,02 MEL

Rating:  ****

 

Synopsis:

Meltzer presents short overviews of extraordinary heroes and role models for girls. The result is a diverse set of individuals from across time and from all walks of life.  One thing they all have in common is that they were ordinary people who became extraordinary.

Metzer was inspired by the birth of his daughter to create this collection, but this book is appropriate for children, parents, teachers, and anyone looking for inspiration. The sixty featured figures represent the spectacular potential we all have within us to change the world. The format allows for reading straight through or at one’s own pace, and includes photos, quotes, brief biographies, and vignettes that highlight the single moment that made each person great. The diverse heroes included in the book are women, men, historical, contemporary, athletes, actors, inventors, politicians, and so many more.

People profiled include Marie Curie, Audrey Hepburn, Helen Keller, Christopher Reeve, Carol Burnett, Sacajawea, Theodore Roosevelt, Julia Child, Stevie Wonder, Susan B. Anthony, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Tina Turner, Wangari Maathai, Agatha Christie, Leonardo da Vinci, Sojourner Truth, Branch Rickey, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahatma Gandhi, Mary Shelley, Billie Jean King, Temple Grandin, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, The Dalai Lama, Abraham Lincoln, Thurgood Marshall, Dorothea Lange, Sally Ride, Benjamin Franklin, Wilma Rudolph.

Comments:

This is a very nice book and would be a good choice for a teacher or parent who wants to read a profile or two a day to children.  It could also work as a readaloud to teens or adults.  And, of course, it is a good choice for independent reading for readers, ages 9 and up, who enjoy biographies and inspirational stories.

The profiles are brief enough that it is not a first choice for kids doing biography reports, although it could provide supplementary information.  It would be an excellent choice for a family history project.

The author wrote a companion book titled Heroes for my Son.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The History of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA

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Title: Blood, Bullets, and Bones: the Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA
Author: Bridget Heos
Recommended for: 12th Grade and Up
Pages: 264
Call Number/Link:  J 363.25 HEO

Synopsis: “Blood, Bullets, and Bones provides young readers with a fresh and fascinating look at the ever-evolving science of forensics. Since the introduction of DNA testing, forensic science has been in the forefront of the public’s imagination, thanks especially to popular television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But forensic analysis has been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese detectives studied dead bodies for signs of foul play, and in Victorian England, officials used crime scene photography and criminal profiling to investigate the Jack the Ripper murders. In the intervening decades, forensic science has evolved to use the most cutting-edge, innovative techniques and technologies. In this book, acclaimed author Bridget Heos uses real-life cases to tell the history of modern forensic science, from the first test for arsenic poisoning to fingerprinting, firearm and blood spatter analysis, DNA evidence, and all the important milestones in between. By turns captivating and shocking, Blood, Bullets, and Bones demonstrates the essential role forensic science has played in our criminal justice system[.]”– Provided by publisher.

My Thoughts: Blood, Bullets, and Bones is a curious book. In terms of reading level, it would be accessible for middle schoolers, or even advanced elementary students. In terms of content, however, this book lands squarely in the advanced high school or post-secondary category. Blood, Bullets, and Bones details the history of forensic science, illustrating many of the important scientific advances with actual cases.
These crimes, including those of Jack the Ripper and other serial killers, are described in somewhat graphic detail and some include descriptions of rape cases; arson; adultery, and other inappropriate relationships, one of which involves a 34-year-old man’s inappropriate relationship with a (later murdered) teenaged girl. Some of the other murder cases involve young teenagers, either as rape and/or murder victims, perpetrators, or both.
Much of the scientific and historic information in this book may be useful for academic study. Moreover, footnotes are plentiful, and there is an extensive bibliography. That being said, I would have a difficult time recommending this to anyone but an advanced high school or even college student pursuing a career in forensic criminology, as the disturbing content will almost certainly be too much for younger readers.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

 

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